I've seen job application processes that require both more substantial amounts of "work" as apart of a submission and ones that require less. A 1000 word essay is perhaps a little bit on the high side for a technical role in my experience but it's not ridiculous - an A4-sized page of text at 12pt font will typically be about 400-500 words.
The request for an example project is more common, as this will presumably be intended as a demonstration of your technical skills. You mention recently graduating from university so presumably you did something that fulfills these criteria you could use?
The bottom line though is that if you want the job then you'll need to jump through whatever hoops the potential employer wants you to. No-one has a gun to your head making you do this and if you feel like it's too much then, well, don't apply.