How long is an essay?

The length of an essay is determined by your educational level and topic, as well as your department and basic course criteria. But generally, an essay is usually shorter than an academic paper or thesis.

Essay lengths for academic levels

Type of Essay Average Words Essay Content
High school essay
300 - 1000 words
A 5-paragraph essay, consisting of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
College admission essay
200 - 650 words
A brief personal essay is required for college applications to articulate your desires and motives. There is usually a tight word limit on this.
Undergraduate college essay
1500 - 5000 words
Essay assignments in college vary in duration and content depending on the school, department, course level, and syllabus.
Graduate school admission essay
500 - 1000 words
A longer personal statement and / or statement of purpose outlining your academic wins and motivations.
Graduate school essay
2500 - 6000 words
Graduate level assignments differ by school and field, but they often consist of longer academic essays or research papers.

How long is each part of an essay?

Determining the subject and difficulty

Beyond word and page count

Even if you remain under the appropriate word or page count for an essay assignment, you can still get a low grade if you do not use the count wisely.

In other words, keeping merely with the word count is not the major factor for getting a good grade.

Common issues and questions on essay length

There are many questions and problems related to the essay length. As the length of an essay can change drastically based on the instructor, these issues are expected. We answered some of it for you.

Always try to stick to the minimum length specified in your assignment. If you’re having trouble meeting the word count, you can try the following:

You should go beyond the word limit only if it’s absolutely necessary to finish your point. Longer essays take a longer time to evaluate, so don’t add up to your teacher’s workload. If you’re having trouble cutting down:

For some essay prompts, certain colleges do not set a word limit. This may be a little nerve-wracking, but the prompts usually fall into one of two categories.

Sadly, this is a shortcoming of the education system.

Tips on essay writing

Things to avoid

Just like the best practices for writing an essay such as preparing an outline, and making sure you have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, you also need to look for what not to do.


It is important that you make the most use of the available space. Get the points as concisely as possible to do this. You might be shocked by how many words you can remove just by reading your essay by avoiding wordiness in mind.

Unacceptable word choice

If you follow this how-to guide on determining the length of your essay, you can easily write the essay at the perfect length.

Picture of Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.