All Roads Lead To The 5 Paragraph Essay
A 5 part Mini-Series Based on this Conventional Form
“500 words is so much,” says one high school junior.
“500 words is not enough,” says another high school senior.
Both students are talking about the Common Application Essay, commonly referred to as “Common App,” for college admission. The first student, a junior, wants to get a jump-start on the process. She has already taken the March SAT, has taken one SAT Subject Test, and is planning on taking the US History SAT Subject Test in June. She would love to at least know what she’s going to write about for her Common App essay; she’s not expecting to finish it until the fall.
The second student, a senior, has a lot to say. He’s a dancer in an all-female dance group at his private New York City high school, and he wants everyone to know he is not gay. “It’s a supposition everyone makes,” he says. The boy is smart, funny, and obviously talented; he got into the prestigious public audition-only high school, LaGuardia, which was the inspiration for the movie, Fame. He rejected the offer. “I wanted somewhere more academic,” he says. “And now I want to go Ivy. And I want a higher word count on the Common App.” He laughs. He has a lot of wants.
When I ask these students, in private tutoring sessions, how they envision their essays and their game plan for structuring them, neither says the Five Paragraph Essay. “I’d only write the pro side,” the junior says and smiles. And the senior says he’ll just write about being the only male in his modern class and when he hits the word limitation of the Common App, he’ll stop.
I suggest the magic, the order, the readability of the Five Paragraph Essay as an organizing form and each student says, “Oh, wow, I forgot about that.”
The 500 word-count of the Common Application Essay fits comfortably – with legroom – into the Five ‘Graph form. A student can write a succinct opener, cite three supporting examples, and have space for a three or four sentence conclusion.
Both students vow they’ll give it a try and see how it feels. Ultimately, it’s up to them. These are their Common App Essays, after all.
Similar and Related:
- Prologue – 5 Tips to Writing A Persuasive Five Paragraph Essay
- Episode 1 – 5 Paragraph Essay and the High School Application Prompt
- Episode 2 – 5 Paragraph Essay and The College Common Application
- Episode 3 – 5 Paragraph Essay and The High School Junior
- Episode 4 – Spring Into High School With the Fail-Proof 5 Paragraph Essay
By Elizabeth England, Writing Coach