The college admission essay is one place where brevity is valued. Besides writing the actual essay, most students find that adhering to the word count is the other major obstacle. Often 500 to 1,000 words are all that you are allowed to express the meaning of your life. Some questions will require you to be even more concise - maybe only 300 words. These limits are a challenge to even the best writers and you must be disciplined in your use of words and sentences. As you are selecting topics, keep the word count in mind. You don’t want to choose a topic that would take five pages to thoroughly cover.
On the other hand, having such a strict word count frees you to focus on only the most important aspects of your life and to craft an essay where every word matters. As you write, be aware of the word count.
Having a few words over the limit will not hurt you, but if you exceed it by a significant number, say 100 words, then you are going to have to go back to the editing table and figure out what to cut.