Half of the student’s coursework time is spent on determining the perfect length of their essays. Even though they are well aware of the requirements about the topic, subject study and guidelines. They are still befuddled about the length of the essay on average and bother because of their writing skills.
Primitively, essay in its true form is shorter than a thesis or a research paper. However, the amount of time spent to research about the topic might be the same but the content added is minimal. Moreover, there are instances when the total word count or pages are not provided. If you can relate to this, then you’ll have to think sensibly and determine the perfect length for your academic essay.
This article will help you get through by providing some tips to analyse the length of the essay. Also, we’ve gathered different guidelines for each type of essay forms and discussed them in detail underneath for your ease.
Length Guidelines for an Essay for different grades
- For high school essay – The average length of an essay is 300-1000 words. If you are in high school your professor expects you to write the content in 5 paragraphs. Beginning with the introduction then comes the body of 3 paragraphs with the whole topic summarised in the last section.
- For college admission essay – The subsequent length for an admission essay lies between 200-650 words. This word limit is strict. This is where you will have to express your interests, motivations and why you are the best fit for the specific college. Moreover, ensure that you produce a precisely personalised content within the limiting length.
- For undergraduate college essay – The word count ranges from around 1500 to 5000. Depending on the subject matter, course structure and research required to conclude the study.
- For graduate college admission essay – This is similar to the undergraduate admission essay in terms of the context. However, as the level is advanced, you’ll have to write 500-1000 words detailing your academic achievements and educational background.
- For graduate college essay – Graduate-level assignments are of 2500-6000 words. Mostly, these are thesis and research papers where you have to conduct the study and state your opinion about the matter.
Sorting Out Each Paragraph
The Introduction Part
This paragraph works as an engagement anchor for the entire content of your academic essay. So, the introduction paragraph must be designed in a way to be informative including eye-catchy statements.
For instance, in a 2000 words essay, only one paragraph of 150-200 words should be dedicated to defining the goals and objectives. Ensure that it takes 15% of the total weightage of the document and achieve the following goals:
- Clears the concept and set focus on the topic.
- Provides the background of research.
- Develop interest and increase the engagement rate of the subject.
How to do this?
Step 1 – Grab the Attention
Your first sentence must have an effective tagline to hook the reader’s attention. Avoid using a monotonous tone and long sentences. You can use the following strategies to make your content catchy, concise and clear.
- Ask a question
- Add a quotation
- Write a summary
- Include vital statistics or facts
- Cover an anecdote
Step 2 – Define the concept of the topic
Next, don’t confuse your readers and stay disconnected from the background study of the subject. Irrespective of the content you are going to state, you can either:
- Start with a recent study or theories going around.
- If you are going to use an unfamiliar term, state its definition.
- Give the social, geographical and historical reference of your topic.
All the information stated must be free of anomalies and must reflect the concept of the topic in brief, bright light.
Step 3 – Firmly hold your purpose of the topic
After you have defined the concept of the subject, move on to scribble the purpose of the essay. Using an assertive tone sums up your main objective of the essay and use words that have a lasting effect on the reader’s mind.
This will act as a pathway from delivering the objective of the context to the actual arguments and reasoning behind the content. Also, it will then be easier to analyse and demonstrate your writing.
Step 4 – Read and revise
Whether you write the introduction in the beginning, middle or ending, always make sure to proofread it. Otherwise, the entire essay will be wasted if the introduction fails to hook the reader.
Moreover, revising and editing can help you identify mistakes that you might have made in the first attempt.
The Body Part
The main body of the academic essay is filled with reasons and supporting arguments with a highlight of background studies. You can say that in this section, the entire concept of the essay is explained in detail. This takes up to 75% weightage of the document and must not include repetitive sentences or vague content.
How to do this?
Here are a few tips to effectively craft your essay body.
1. Write your ideas on a paper before you start with an academic essay.
2. After that, plan your way from the start till the end. For instance, how you’ll address the issue, problem and back them with supporting arguments.
3. Prepare an anchor sentence. This will help you stick to the main point and relate your content to the topic.
4. Pen down the ideas and follow a proper structure. Always ensure to keep the word limit in mind to avoid putting extra time in writing the sentences.
5. In the end, proofread. Check the transitional flow throughout the essay and make amendments if required.
Mostly, the ending of an essay is stated in a single paragraph. It has a 15% weightage of the entire paper. Here, you do not have to summarise each of your ideas but give an overview of the main points along with your opinion.
Also, avoid stating new theories in the last paragraph. This leaves the reader confused and the essay fails to conclude the topic for them.
A strong conclusion must have:
- Connection with all the other paragraphs.
- Must relate to the concepts stated above and concludes the essay.
- Leaves no room for ambiguity and questions.
What a conclusion must not have:
- Usage of concluding words. For instance, to ‘sum up’, ‘in conclusion’ etc.
- Addition of brand new information
- Sentences which undermine your grip on the subject and content of the study.
Can You Go Beyond The Proposed Length?
In rare cases, you are allowed to cross the given word limit by 10%. However, it is better to consult your professor if you want to conclude your essay and are left with no word count. Also, remember that exceed only if it is really necessary. Otherwise, you can:
- Go through each paragraph to edit irrelevant information.
- Delete fillers and ensure the content doesn’t diverge from the main objective.
- Don’t cut out important statistics or facts which might be substantial for your essay.
- Do most of the modifications in the main body section. As the introduction and conclusion take time to write.
Can You Go Under The Proposed Length?
Whenever you think about how can I write my essay efficiently, always try to reach the given word count. If you are struggling to reach the minimum limit, try opting for:
- Rephrasing the sentences which you think can be explained in detail.
- Looking out for spaces where you can add more information but make sure these are not fillers.
- Writing a new paragraph stating other supporting reasons.
All in all, the length of an essay clearly depends on your grade level and instructor’s guidelines. May you ace in your academic career!