How Long Is an Essay?

Essays are not open-ended in terms of the number of words required for this type of assignment. An essay can be as short as 200 words or as long as 6000 words. It all depends on the type of essay you are writing. That should always come into mind. Once you understand the word count requirement for your essay, you can set your word processor to help you keep track as you type.

Typically, a double-spaced essay Times New Roman font size 12 gives you between 275 - 300 words. Therefore, the shortest essay length could only be one page whereas the longest could go as many as 20 pages. If you don't want to keep up with your word processor, you can work with the number of pages you have written. It will give you a rough idea of the number of words you have written or else, you can just calculate the number of pages to write from the beginning.

Different Essay Types and Lengths

Here is a list of essay types with different requirements and word count.

  • College admission essay. This is a type of essay written when seeking admission to a college of your choice. The objective of writing this essay is to persuade the admission panel to accept your application to the college. This essay is usually between 200 and 650 words, which is roughly 1-2 pages.
  • High School Essay. Essays for high school could be on different subjects. Regardless of the topic, high school students will be expected to write an essay between 300 and 1000 words. This should be around 1- 3 pages.
  • Graduate school admission essay. When seeking admission to a graduate school, students are expected to write an essay in the range of 500 and 1000 words. Here, students are required to give information about how they learnt about the school and why they feel it is the right fit for them. All these details should be captured in about 2-3 pages.
  • Undergraduate college essay. Essays for undergraduate studies range from 5 - 15 pages of writing. This is from 1500 to 5000 words of written content. These are essays given in your area of study and could be on a given topic or your own choice of topic. Therefore, expect to write an essay of not less than 5 pages. 
  • Graduate school essay. This is the longest of all essays usually written for academic purposes. The number of words for this essay is expected to be between 2500 and 6000. These are about 8 - 20 pages for each essay. You should have a good plan when writing this kind of essay!

Final Advice

The first question to ask your professor about the essay you are about to write is about its length. This should give you an idea of how you will approach your assignment. Based on your essay length, you can either choose to write in brief or expound on points to get to the desired number of words or pages. Ideally, some essays will be longer than others.