EDITOR’S NOTE: A version of this article appeared on the Edmodo blog, at this link.

As the number of colleges students apply to continues to grow, the number of college admissions essays students have to write goes up as well. If you’re a sophomore or junior (or the parent of one) starting to think about college applications, you might be wondering: “How many college admissions essays will I have to write?”

The answer, it turns out, is much more than you might expect. One counselor says “My students are probably up to 20 or so essays between Honors colleges, the Common App, colleges using their own applications, scholarship essays, and specific program essays.” It’s common now for students to have to write 12-20 essays as part of their process.

How Many College Admissions Essays Will I Have to Write?

Why so many essays? There are many reasons:

  • More universities have added supplementary essays or questions to their applications, even if they use the Common App or the Coalition Application. This is because additional essays serve as a measure of a student’s “demonstrated interest” in a college: enabling the college to gauge the likelihood that you’ll accept their offer of admission.
  • Many universities – such as the Universities of California or Texas – use their own application system instead of the Common App or Coalition Application. Using different application systems usually creates the need for additional essays.
  • Colleges often add required essays for applications to honors programs or programs in the arts or engineering.

What Does it Mean to You?

What does it mean that the number of essays has grown so large?

The college admissions process is becoming more stressful and complex each year. And the number of essays is reflective of this complexity. But with a little planning, you can write thoughtful, personal, authentic responses to each question and essay prompt.

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