Im trying to do Columbia here but my word count on the questions such as what books you read and stuff to be well below the word count. Is this normal or am I just not writing enough, should I fill in the blanks with paragraphs or something? Im only listing as it says right now
Listing is fine. Word count is the limit not the goal.
The list based questions where you describe favorite books/authors/events etc are pretty crucial - you can learn a massive amount about a person from understanding what they read both for entertainment and for learning (and a mix!)
If your list is short, you are not thinking hard enough - you’ve heard guest speakers talk, you’ve picked up random books at friend’s houses, you’ve read magazines standing in a book shop. Everything from reading a trashy movie magazine like Empire to the finance section of the Wall Street Journal is relevant here.
Most kids admitted to Columbia are curious in multiple areas and naturally being curious requires you to read - blogs, books, watch videos etc - you must have a few passions so think about what content you review to explore them and put it in.
Word count is the limit and not the goal but going well below the word limit sends a negative signal in general.