Whether you are writing an essay for school or for a course, you may wonder how many words you can include in your written essay.
Generally, the exact word count in an essay depends on the subject, the course and the essay requirements.
In this article, we take a closer look at the word count for different types of essays, and how you can avoid exceeding the word limit.
How Many Words Should An Essay Have?
Different types of essays have different word limits. Generally, essays can vary from a few hundred words to 6,000 words.
An essay is typically defined as a short piece of writing with a certain structure. An essay should present an idea as concise as possible, and it shouldn’t be too lengthy.
Essays aren’t as comprehensive as research papers or a thesis. They should be much shorter.
Typically, essays are assignments given to students in higher education. They come with guidelines on how many words and pages are expected to be written.
Many standard essays range from 2,500 to 4,000 words, although this can vary depending on the course and assignment restrictions.
High school essays are usually a little shorter and they tend to be 300 to 1,000 words. These are often simple 5-pagragraph essays that include an introduction, a few paragraphs and a conclusion.
Undergraduate college essays are a little more extensive and they range from 1,500 to 5,000 words.
The exact length of undergraduate essays depends on the department, syllabus, course level and the institution.
Other graduate essays, including postgraduate essays, tend to be much longer with 2,500 to 6,000 words.
They also vary depending on the course level and department but they are typically the beginning of a research paper.
There are also a number of different admissions essays, such as undergraduate school admission essays, that you may need to write to be admitted to a college or university.
These can range from anywhere between 200 and 1,000 words.
Whatever essay you are tasked with to write, it’s essential that you check the guidelines on word count and the expected pages.
Often these guidelines also advise the style of writing as well as the font and font size. All this can make a difference to the length of your essay.
How Long Is Each Part Of An Essay?
All pieces of writing are typically split into introduction, main body and conclusion. This also applies to academic writing and essays.
The main body of the text should take up the most space of your essay. This is where you present all your arguments, develop your ideas around the topic and provide evidence.
An introduction is usually just a couple of paragraphs to introduce the topic. It should be proportional to the overall length of your essay.
The longer your essay, the longer your introduction needs to be. After all, you will need to put down some background information and introduce your argument.
An essay conclusion should be kept brief and concise. The conclusion is usually just a single paragraph, although this can also vary depending on the overall essay length.
As a rule of thumb, many basic academic papers are five-paragraph essays. This means that there is one paragraph for the introduction, three paragraphs for the main body and one paragraph for the conclusion.
When you are writing your body text, then each body paragraph should cover a central argument and idea.
How Long Should A Paragraph Be In An Essay?
The length of a paragraph in your essay will vary depending on the overall word count of your essay and the arguments that you present in your written work.
Essays are typically divided into five paragraphs, although this depends on the essay guidelines.
In academic essays, the majority of space is taken up by the main body text which is typically three paragraphs long.
The main body text allows you to present your main arguments, ideas and offer evidence for your thoughts.
It’s important to structure your essay in the right way. While there’s no exact paragraph length or paragraph word limit, you need to make sure that your presented arguments are clear and concise.
Can You Go Under The Suggested Essay Word Count?
Yes, you can also write fewer words for your essay as long you fulfilled the assignment requirements and you have structured your work well.
However, bear in mind that you should not sacrifice any good arguments just to stay under the word limit.
If you are struggling to get even close to the word count, then there are quite a few things you can do.
It’s a good idea to add as many examples and evidence pieces to your paragraph as you can. This will support your arguments.
Also make sure that you fully analyze and explain each example in detail to fully develop your point.
Each paragraph in the main body text of the essay should pick up a new argument and aspect of the topic.
It’s essential that you do not use any filler words or text that doesn’t add to the meaning of your essay.
Artificially bumping up the word count with complicated sentences or unnecessary words will just weaken your arguments in your paper.
Lastly, don’t overfixate on your word count. While word limits are set to guide you, many markers do not always worry too much about 100 words over.
The important thing is that you bring your argument across and that you have a good essay structure.
Can You Go Over The Suggested Essay Length?
Sometimes you are allowed to go over the suggested word limit by roughly 10%. However, how strict the word count is handled depends on your institution and the course.
That’s why it’s important that you check with your course instructor.
As a rule of thumb, it’s only a good idea to exceed the word limit when it supports your argument.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep the number of words in your essay as low as possible.
It’s important that each paragraph is clearly structured to support your argument and idea. You should deviate from the main point and don’t include any irrelevant information.
Check the words that you use and remove any filler words that don’t add to the clarity of your sentences.
When you remove a paragraph or sentence, then you need to make sure that you revise any links or transitions from your previous paragraph.
As the introduction and conclusion are both relatively short anyway, there is usually not much space to cut out words.
No matter how many words you need to cut, your essay should be on topic and packed with powerful arguments.
The length and word count of an academic essay can vary, from a few hundred words up to 6,000 words.
Whether you are writing an essay for an academic assignment or college admission, make sure that you read the instructions and guidelines carefully.
They will give you an idea of what to write about and how many pages as well as words you should write.