How Long Should the ApplyTexas Essay Be?
This question comes up a lot. Mainly because the application allows for up to 120 eighty-character lines of text. What’s that? You’re not up on your character count layout for a standard page? A typical single-spaced page of average size font is about 50 lines of text. ApplyTexas allows you to enter something more than twice that long; but, I beg of you, do not take them up on that!
As the ApplyTexas application becomes more and more popular (more than 1.4 million applications were submitted this past year with about 300,000 of those applications coming from students outside of Texas), the ApplyTexas folks seem to be working to simplify and clarify their process a bit more each year. When the 2016-2017 application opened a few days ago, I noticed they added some guiding text on the essay page directly answering this question:
- ApplyTexas recommends that you keep your essay to between 350 and 500 words in length, with no more than 650 words.
I recommend heeding their advice, especially if you’re applying to a school requiring more than one of their prompts. For example, if Texas A&M is on your list, they require a response to Topic A and Topic B, but they also encourage you to submit Topic C if you don’t qualify for automatic admission. That’s three major essays! Now think of the admission officer reading all those essays. I promise, no matter how good of a writer you are, your admission officer does not want to read three 1000 word essays when she has a pile of other applications to get through that day.
If you haven’t yet, check out the new prompts for the 2016-2017 application cycle. ApplyTexas has mixed things up quite a bit this year and the prompts are a lot of fun—especially Topic C. Make sure you’re looking at current information, as some of the schools have changed their requirements to reflect the new prompt choices (namely UT-Austin!). For years University of Texas at Austin required Topic C and a second of your choice. This year they have changed to requiring topic A along with a second of your choice.
While the ApplyTexas platform isn’t the prettiest and might be a bit clunky (if I’m being kind), they do have an incredibly helpful set of FAQs posted on their site. Be sure to check out what they say about submitting their essays.
TOPIC: Special circumstances that affect your family's ability to fund your college expenses
The circumstances that affect my family's ability to fund my college expenses are that we are a very low income family. I rely heavily on my grandparents for any and everything that I need and they try to do their best to make sure that I don't have to go without. My grandmother was my sole provider until she died last September, since then my mother has suffered from severe depression which has resulted in her being admitted into mental institutions during the last few months. My brother and I have been residing with my grandfather and close relatives while my mother is going through this time of sadness. My grandpa's ability to provide for two very active children's has been very difficult so I obtained a job this summer which came to an end in August due to a mcl injury. Due to the fact that my parents are separated it is hard for my father to be a full-time dad to me while he resides in Austin, TX. Attending the University of Texas at Austin will aid my financial situation because my dad will be down the road from the school and I won't have to worry about being alone in central Texas.
I can help you with your essay. If you are typing your essay in a Word Document, you have to click on file, scroll down to properties, and then click on statistics. You will see how many line and characters are in your essay. Please check to see if the 6 lines and 80 characters is correct. If this is the rule, you have too many lines and characters.
Therefore, you have to choose what you must include and be very brief if this can only be 6 lines and 80 characters. Here is a suggestion to help you:
1)Only include the main details and try to combine events. Ex: In the second sentence, you could explain how you and your sibling rely on your grandparents financially because of your mother's condition. This will help you to reduce the words you use.
2)Tell your story. When you discuss your grandmother's death, then combine how this took a toll on what your grandpa could provide for you, so you obtained a summer position until you experienced an injury this August.
3)If there are still too many words, you can delete some words or think about a word that you could use as a replacement. Ex: "us has been very difficult".
I am sorry about your loss. I hope this helps you.
Jasmine, you currently have 1107 characters in this essay. As the contributor pointed out, that is something that a simple word processing program can help you keep track of. If you want to be able to respond to this scholarship with the briefest statement possible, you will need to throw away the current version you have. It just won't work for you because you have too much going on within it. Too many topics presented is the main cause of your over the character limit presentation.
The best way to present your special financial circumstances would be to refocus the content of your essay towards the origin of this problem. That is the divorce of your parents. when you start with that and then work your grandparents immediately into the picture as the sole providers for your family due to your mother's mental illness, you already present the most salient points of your response. There is no need to get personal with your story due to the character limit. You need to make simple topic statements instead of trying to tell your life story.
Since you are not being asked to explain how moving to Austin will benefit your financial needs, I don't feel that there is a need to tell the reviewer that your father lives there. It does not really explain why your family cannot help you fund your college education. Rather it is a solution to your problem. A solution that is not required in the statement because it does not exist in the prompt. So removing that reference will definitely help you meet the character count. Remember, never offer information that is not asked for because the reviewer will not care about it. It will just be passing information for the reviewer.
- M y family's...
- ...expenses is due to the fact that..
- we are a low income .
- ...summer which ended in August..
- ...due to an mcl injury( I believe you have to elaborate what "mcl" means because I for one don't know what it means ) .
- With my parents are separated...
It's quiet a tough life, but hey, there's always a rainbow after each rain, so hang on tight.
Now, with your essay, I'm not so sure if they mean minimum of 6 words to 80 words per sentence or they mean the whole essay should be 80 words, because that will be a little bit short given what is needed in the prompt and the purpose of the letter too.
Anyhow, I wish you the best of luck and we would love to hear how it goes!