How Long Should an Essay Be? Ideal Length for an Academic Essay

22 Dec 2020 7 min read

Students always spend lots of hours trying to create unique and outstanding writings. They surely want to get good grades and impress professors with the content. They strive to present original works with various compelling ideas. The main point is to make works distinguishable. Sometimes creativity and originality of the content are placed on the top. And students usually forget about such an important aspect as college essay length. 

While being a student have you ever wondered how long should an essay be and what is an average essay word count? Undoubtedly, this question rarely arises at school. It is because of the fact that assignments there often have strict requirements. However, colleges usually give a word range that learners should not exceed. 

But this word limit still does not give a clear idea of «how long does a college essay have to be» in order to become successful and prominent. Check this article to find out what the ideal length of a college essay is and how to create the one that will impress any reader. 

How Long Is a Standard Essay and How Long Should Each Essay Part be

A boy is writing the ideas for a college essay

College assignments can be frightening and exhausting and may cause lots of stress. The good point is that if you feel nervous it means that you do care about your writing. There are a variety of tips from students and professors all over the world. However, most of them just describe the whole process and the main stages that each student overcomes while creating an essay.  

That is why students still wonder how long are college essays supposed to be and what are tricks that make them memorable.  

According to the statistics from top universities, the average word count for a college essay is about 650 words. Usually, students show their writing skills and share facts about their lives that can help them to stand out among others. Each college, surely, has its own admission requirements but in general, they require essays from 200 to 650 words. It is expected that those who want to be enrolled can easily share interests and strengths in essay size. 

Some students wonder if it is possible to either exceed or go under the word limit. The best idea if you want your essay to be remarkable is to keep things in the middle. If you go over the limit your work can be read only partly and if you write fewer words you can get lower points.  

Another challenging thing is that sometimes colleges do not provide clear information about the length of an essay. They just offer a general guideline without any word limits instead. It makes the process of creating even more frustrating and scares students. Basically, the main idea in both cases is to write an essay that will be logical, well-structured, and informative. 

The structure of any college essay is often the same no matter how many words are there in an essay. It has an introduction, main body, which can be subdivided into several parts, and conclusion. 

If we talk about admission essays, surely, the body part prevails. However, if we consider college assignments, the number of words in each section should be balanced according to the length of an essay. 

Let us have a closer look at parts of an essay and check how long they should be. 

First Part – Introduction

This is the beginning of your work and it definitely should be catchy and well-prepared. Usually, it includes a thesis and points out the key thoughts. It is one of the shortest parts of your essay and it often consists of one paragraph only. 

Second Part- Main Body

This is the core, the main part of your writing and it does not matter whether it is your admission college essay or a writing assignment. This section should include the main ideas, thoughts, statements, and disclose the topic. This is the biggest part, or several parts, that actually form your writing. 

Third Part-Conclusion 

This is the section that can be compared to the first part in length. It is undoubtedly the second shortest part of your essay that should sum up all the thoughts and ideas mentioned in the main block.  

Main parts of an essay

Well, but is it clear now or is there an exact answer to the «how long should an essay be» question? It still seems a bit confusing as length depends on many factors. What is obvious is the fact that university assignments usually have a structure that students should follow. It does not matter whether you have a writing assignment for 5-10 pages or you are preparing your admission essay. if you want to strike the commission just follow the rules and your work will be excellent. 

But, yet, remember that another factor that plays a huge role is the guide given by college or professors. Also, if they point that college essay length is important this note should be taken into consideration. 

Even though it is a bit challenging to set general limit rules for essay length, there are some guidelines for writing on different levels. Let us have a closer look and check what students can expect at diverse stages of their education process. 

Middle School

Students in middle school do not expect to write huge assignments and the average essay length is about 800 words. Usual papers include about 1-2 pages and the final ones can be up to 4. It is quite easy to write essays at this stage as teachers usually provide strict guidelines and limits.  

High School

The length of your writings changes and now you are expected to prepare essays about 1000 words or 3-5 papers in general and 5-7 for final papers. Here the instruction is also offered. And professors usually provide additional information for the tasks.

University (Undergraduate Level)

Before entering university students should write an admission essay. They usually wonder how long the typical admission essay is. As mentioned above, the general limit for admission writings is 200-500 words. Undoubtedly, this type of essay is one of the most challenging. It is not only because you need to put all your strength and experience in 500 words only but also it basically is the ticket to your new life. So, surely, it has to be well-prepared and unique, so it is a great idea to ask professionals for help.  When it comes to regular college essays, students can expect assignments from 1500 to 5000 words. But the tricky point is that not all the information and details are explained and provided. Sometimes students feel lost and have no idea how to complete their works on time. The best idea in such cases is to find professionals who will solve this issue in a short period of time. 

University (Graduate Level)

You are in the homestretch, but it also means that assignment length will be frightening. And probably your writing assignments will take too much time to be completed. The average amount of words on this level are about 2500-6000 words. And students rarely get a thorough explanation on how to prepare these papers  That is why graduates feel frustrated and ask for professional help in order to finish their papers on time.

Essay length guidelines

Words and Page Count

As can be seen, the amount of words and pages depends on the type of essay and on the level of education. Middle school students usually expect to write assignments for about 800 words and a few pages only. But graduates should be ready for long essays that will include about 6000 words and can be up to 20 pages when it comes to final assignments.  


«How long should an essay be? », «How long does the college essay have to be? », «How many pages should an essay be? »: these are the questions that students on various levels of their education ask regularly. And it is quite easy to find answers for those who are in middle or high school as teachers give them thorough instructions almost all the time. Yet, it can be quite challenging for college students as professors rarely provide full instructions. And they barely describe exact limits for the assignments.  

Moreover, college admission essays still are the ones that cause lots of confusion among students enrolled. It happens due to the fact that limits vary and sometimes are not even stated.  

Some students know that it is better to ask professionals for help in case they feel lost while writing their enrolment essays. They also do the same in case they have no time to complete regular ones on time. The only thing that should be taken into consideration is that the service should be picked wisely as there are lots of scammers nowadays.  

The only thing that should be taken into consideration is that the service should be picked wisely as there are lots of scammers nowadays.  

Do not be scared by any essay length as we are sure you can complete any assignment. If not and you need some assistance we are glad to lend a helping hand.