How long should a paragraph be in a college essay

Though any professionalessay writerwill insist that writing an essay about yourself, your own goals, and experiences is much easier than writing any other type of essay, many stude

How long should a paragraph be in a college essay

Though any professionalessay writerwill insist that writing an essay about yourself, your own goals, and experiences is much easier than writing any other type of essay, many students find it very difficult to share personal information. Even more so, if they need to do it in a college essay.

A college essay, more commonly known as a personal statement, is a written document explaining why you are a good fit for a particular college. It is a crucial part of your college application and provides a chance for the admissions committee to see who you are.

GPA and GRE scores are only numbers and cannot speak to your experience as a person. This is why personal statements are so important, as they allow you to talk about your life experience and passion for the field and serve as a window to your character.

Students often wonder how long should a personal statement be. After all, you dont want to bore the reader with irrelevant text. On the flip side, you dont want your personal statement to be bereft of any real substance either.

The structure, format, and word count of your personal statement are very important. Remember that age-old saying about first impressions? Well, that applies here too. An ill-organized and badly written personal statement will only hurt your chances of getting in. Hence, lets go over some of the things that you need to look out for when writing your college essay.

To answer this question, first, we need to determine your college essays word count. Typically, college essays are anywhere between 500 and 800 words long. However, in some cases, you will be required to follow a specific word limit set by your college. This limit is usually around 500 to 700 words depending on the college.

However, In most cases, you wont find a word limit, in which case anything between 500 and 800 words is appropriate.

Lets say you decide on 800 words or thereabouts. Your college essay should then be divided into five paragraphs:

  • Introduction
  • Supporting Paragraph
  • Second supporting paragraph
  • Third supporting paragraph
  • Closing

If its closer to 500 words, then you can minus a paragraph from the format above.


The introduction of your essay should serve as a hook that can draw the reader in and cause them to keep reading. You can start by introducing yourself and talk about an interesting life experience.

Supporting Paragraphs

Each supporting paragraph should talk about a specific thing. Dont try to cram in lots of unrelated thoughts as that would make the essay unpleasant to read. Instead, dedicate each paragraph to a particular idea. For example, the first supporting paragraph can talk about the reasons for your application. What interests you in the field you are applying to. It is always best to relate the field to your life experiences as it shows passion and commitment.

The second supporting paragraph can talk about your previous academic achievements. Talk about stuff that you have excelled in high school. These can be anything such as sports, debates, projects, and other activities. It doesnt necessarily have to be all about your academics.

The third supporting paragraph can talk about what you wish to achieve from studying a particular program. Explain why you want to study this program and what you plan to get out of it.


Keep the closing paragraph short and sweet. Then, bring it all together and conclude why you would make a good addition to the college.

However, do keep in mind that this is a simple beginner-level format. You cannot go wrong with this, but there are no set rules for personal statements unless your college gives you specific guidelines. If you are free to write how you want, its good to go through some essay samples and see if you like a particular style.

Treat it like a story

High schoolers are used to writing academic reports and analytical papers, which may influence them to write their college essays the same way. However, your college essay shouldnt read like a report. Instead, it should read like a story. One that is expressive and engaging.

You should treat your college essay as a creative writing project, and creative writing is supposed to be fun. Dry and monotone text is not desirable to the admissions committee as they want to see your personality. You already have your transcripts and test scores to speak for your academic skills, but numbers dont describe personality traits and life experiences. This is why a personal statement should read like a story where you are the main character. It shouldnt be pretentious but organic yet exciting. Striking the right balance between all these can be a bit difficult, which is why its important to look around and read sample ones first.

Dont write about too many events

Your personal statement should have a single overarching theme. Dont try to cram in your whole life story in the essay, as that would be cumbersome to read. Instead, choose a single life event/experience and tie it to why you would make a great candidate. Dont overcomplicate it, and dont include too many details.

Moreover, as I said earlier, dont spend too many words on your prior academic accomplishments. A short paragraph would suffice. Let your transcripts do the talking.

Avoid clichés

We all like a good quote by a famous person or historical person, but it starts getting mundane when overused. Dont forget the personal in the personal statement. The whole point of the essay is for the admissions committee to get a sense of who you are. Originality is the key here, and while quotes from personalities like Gandhi and Thoreau have a place, try not to rely on them too much.

Moreover, language like it was the best day of my life is severely overdone by everyone. Try not to use such cliched sentences as they obscure your message. Instead, show them why it was the best day of your life and not simply state so.

Make it your own

You must own your voice not only in the essay but in life in general. Often times we think that we are not good enough and resort to copying other people. This is not a healthy way to go about life. Instead, always try to be original and loyal to your true self. Dont rely too much on other peoples work. It is one thing to take inspiration from a sample essay, but its a whole different thing to copy their ideas word for word with slight adjustments. If you are unsure about your writing, ask friends or teachers to take a look at it.

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