I don't agree with this assessment. If a college requires an essay, it is because it has holistic admissions and wants to get to know its applicants as more than a list of grades and standardized test scores. The essay is typically the most powerful tool you have for conveying who you are and what you care about. If you've chosen the right focus for your essay—one that reveal something meaningful about you—you're going to need far more than 250 words to provide the type of detail and self-reflection that makes an essay effective.
The popular "topic of your choice" option had been removed from the Common Application between 2013 and 2016, but it's now back again for the 2017-18 admissions cycle. Use this option if you have a story to share that doesn't quite fit into any of the options above. However, the first six topics are extremely broad with a lot of flexibility, so make sure your topic really can't be identified with one of them. Also, don't equate "topic of your choice" with a license to write a comedy routine or poem (you can submit such things via the "Additional Info" option). Essays written for this prompt still need to have substance and tell your reader something about you. Cleverness is fine, but don't be clever at the expense of meaningful content.