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Must I Cut My Too-Long College Essay? If So, How?

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I am working on my Common App essay and I've cut it down significantly, but can't get it below 650 words. I had someone else work on it and they got it below 650, but some key elements were missing and after I added them back in, it was above 650 again. Will colleges accept a longer essay? If not, what tips do you have on cutting?

“The Dean" has read hundreds of college application essays (can you see that permanent glaze over my eyes?) and only rarely have I found a draft that benefited from exceeding the length limit. As I writer myself, I do appreciate how tough it can be to part with even a single well-chosen word, especially if the final product is pleasing. But when it comes to college essays, it's a mistake to ignore the rules. Why?

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