How to Make Your College Application Essay the Best Writing You’ve Ever Done (#9 of 25)

This method for making your college application essay the best writing you’ve ever done is technical, yet easy to execute.

#9: Keep paragraphs short

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, shorter paragraphs make for a faster paced read. And it is better for the reader to reach the end of your essay before he or she realizes it, rather than silently wonder, “When is this thing going to end?”

Visually, shorter paragraphs look more inviting on the page or screen. Remember that yours is not the only essay the reader has read that day, or in the last fifteen minutes. Glancing quickly at the essay and noting shorter paragraphs, the reader will breathe an inadvertent sigh of relief. “Ahh, no ten sentence paragraphs to slog through.”

Shorter paragraphs will also give you the chance to cover more topics. Or to break your overall topic into more digestible bites.

As you revise your essay, continually look for places to break your longer paragraphs into shorter ones. There has to be an organizational justification, of course, and you don’t want to sacrifice complexity or depth. But with all other aspects being equal, a fast paced essay will always be more effective than a plodding one.

For more personal help with the Common Application essay, supplemental or any other college application essays, please contact Craig Heller at, or 818-340-1276.

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