How long should an essay be?

Depending on the level that one has reached or the subject the one is going to about, departmental guidelines, and unique course specifications, the essay’s length varies. In general terms, an essay is shorter than a thesis or research paper. Usually, one’s essay assignment will incorporate clear guidelines on the number of words and number of pages that you have been expected to write. The instructions will be given information about a range but not the exact number for the number of words. For example, a range of one thousand to one thousand five hundred words, or ten to twelve pages, and now if one is not sure of the guidelines of writing that particular essay, then they should consult with their instructor.

We have listed general guidelines for how long or short an essay should be. Make sure the mind of your essay’s quality, not the quantity, focuses on making strong analysis or arguments but not on the number of words that the essay must-have. 

Guidelines for essay lengths

  1. Essays for high school.
  2. In high schools, students are generally asked to write essays that contain five paragraphs that have a conclusion, a body of three sections, and an introduction hence totaling to five paragraphs. The number of words in these essays is generally between three hundred to one thousand words.

  3. Essays for college admissions.
  4. Essays that are meant for college admissions purposes do not require you to write a lot, but they need you to write about your motivations and interests. In this case, the word limit is stringent. The range of words required to write in this essay is between two hundred to six hundred fifty words.

  5. Essays for undergraduate college.
  6. In this case, the length or amount of words that one would be required to write in college varies from one institution to another, syllabus, course level, and department. The number of words that one would be required to write here is between one thousand five hundred to five thousand words.

  7. Essays for admission to graduate school.
  8. Applications to graduate school normally need someone to write a longer statement of purpose and a personal statement, which entails your motivations and academic achievements. The number of words that one would be required to write in this essay is between two thousand five hundred and six thousand words.

  9. Essays for graduate schools.
  10. Essays given in graduate schools vary by discipline and institutions. But the essays in this level are most likely to be very long and with many words to write. The number of words that one is supposed to write in this essay is between two thousand five hundred to six thousand words.

How long each part of the essay is

  • In an essay that is meant for academics, the body should contain most of the words because most of the argument is stated.
  • The introduction should be proportional to the essay, say in an essay of 3000 words, the introduction should be a paragraph.
  • When writing the conclusion, it should be just a paragraph and should be concise.

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