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College Application Essays Help
Lesson Four: Sentence Variety

College Application Essays Help

Many students think that the longer the sentence they write, the better the sentence. This is far from the truth. You do not need long, complicated sentences to show that you are a good writer. In fact, short sentences often pack the most punch. The best essays contain a variety of sentence lengths, mixed within any given paragraph. Try reading your essay out-loud, pausing at every period. Listen to the rhythm of your prose. Are all of the sentences the same length? If each of your sentences twists and turns for an entire paragraph, or you run out of breath at any point, break them up into smaller statements. You may also want to try a more methodical approach:


EXERICISE #3: SENTENCE VARIETY

Once you have completed your essay, try labeling each sentence "short" (under 10 words), "medium" (under 20 words), or "long" (20 or more words). A nice paragraph might read something like M S M L M S. A dry essay would be S S S M L L L.

Continue to Word Choice

Lesson One:
Tackling the Question
Lesson Two:
Brainstorming a Topic
Lesson Three:
Structure and Outline

Lesson Four:
Style and Tone
Select One:
Sentence Variety
Word Choice
Verb Tense
Transitions
Essay Clichés

Lesson Five:

Intros and Conclusions
Lesson Six:
Editing and Revising
From ESSAYS THAT WILL GET YOU INTO COLLEGE, by Amy Burnham, Daniel Kaufman, and Chris Dowhan. Copyright 1998 by Dan Kaufman. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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