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Make it flow start–to–finish

Mix things up

This is

where you’ll vary your sentence and paragraph length.

Many people write sentences with the same structure. They do this over and over. The reader starts to notice. It sounds choppy. It gets boring. Don’t do this.
(Oh, by the way, not just sentences!)


Do this because

it will add pop and pizazz, and will bring your reader’s attention to what you want them to focus on. 

Now, do this


Mix up your sentence length.

This graphic says it all.

(It’s been floating around the internet for a while. Props to whoever made it!)

Ok, it doesn’t say it all. Sometimes you’ll want a few similar sentences in a row for effect. That’s ok. The trick is to be intentional about each sentence!


Mix up your paragraph length.

[[[Very quickly written]]]

You know when you’re reading a book, and you turn the page, and there’s no section break, and the paragraphs are really, really long, and you think to yourself, “Why??!!??!!!”

Well, don’t do that to the admissions officer.

Varying your paragraph length can do a number of things:

  • It can highlight language or ideas you want to make sure the reader pays attention to
  • It can give the reader a sense at first glance that this probably isn’t the same old, same old bad college essay (or, if it is, that it’s bad in small, digestible chunks)
  • It can create a rhythm in for the reader, making the essay more interesting.


Here’s a few screen shots. Which would you rather read?

[[[insert screenshots or examples–a five paragraph looking essay, an essay with lots of smaller blocks but little variation, and one with a lot of variation]]]

You're ready to move on when

  • You have gone through your essay top-to-bottom to make sure that you’ve varied your sentence and paragraph length.