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How Long Is an Essay? Basic Academic Recommendations

Jacky M.
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Last updated:
Aug 5, 2021
Aug 5, 2021
How Long Is an Essay? Basic Academic Recommendations
How Long Is an Essay? Basic Recommendations

Basic Tips

Words by Essay Parts

High School Level

College Level

University Level

Graduate Level

Manage the Word Count

Final Words

Various types of essays differ in length. Students are often confused about how many pages to write and meet the professor’s requirements. Thus, the writer should know that everything depends on the subject of the study and the course. Generally, the professor provides the instructions with a clear guideline and word count. But if not, you should decide depending on the situation. You can learn how to become a good writer, or ask qualified paper writing service for help.

Speaking about the essay length: compared with other academic papers, an essay is shorter than the research or thesis. Still, if you don’t know the exact number of pages, you should concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Here, we will discuss how long is an essay for different educational levels and various types of essays. 

Basic Tips for Essay Length

Here you can find some useful recommendations that fit any essay:

essay length
  • the essay requires a minimum of three main paragraphs: introduction, main body, and conclusion. 
  • five paragraphs are the basic requirement for the essay;
  • the introduction and conclusion are shorter than the main body paragraphs;
  • in each of the paragraphs, there should be a topic sentence defining the central idea and the concluding sentence;
  • do not forget that single-spaced and double-spaced pages differ in word count (275 and 550 words).

How Many Words to Include in Each Part of the Essay?

The length of the paragraphs depends on the length of an essay overall. Everything you need is to divide the essay into equal parts (except for the introduction and conclusion). It is not OK when you write a very long paragraph consisting of 8 sentences and then continue with the small one comprising only three. There should be a certain balance to maintain throughout the text.

The main piece of advice is to think about the length of each paragraph before starting to write. Make an outline, define the main idea of each paragraph, and specify the word count for each part.

High School Level: How Long is an Essay?

One to five pages are enough for the high school level. Typically, the essay should consist of 5 paragraphs and follow the standard essay model. So, you will need to write an introduction with a thesis, main body (3 sections), and the conclusion. 

For the high school level, the quality means much more than the quantity. But you should not forget that the professor will expect the basic length of the essay. 

Recommendations for the College Essay

In the case of typical college essays, three pages are often enough to discuss the topic. Thus, you need approximately one page for the introduction and conclusion and two pages for the main body.

If the topic is very broad, it’s better to write 4-5 pages, but not more. If the college essay is longer than five pages, it can be perceived as a research paper. To complete such a big assignment, you might need to consult a research paper writing service. Anyway, the main requirements for the college essay are to be precise, coherent, and well-structured.

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Recommendations for the University Level (Undergraduate)

At this stage, the quantity of pages increases, and the typical essay starts from 1500 words, which is approximately five pages. The length of the written assignment depends on the subject, institutions, departments, and course level. 

The students often have a special course in the university where they study all essential writing skills. In this case, the word count is often clear as the professors teach you how to adhere to the word count and do not exceed or lack the number of words. 

University Essay (Graduate)

The graduate-level essay is very similar to the undergraduate. The same, everything depends on the requirements of the university and the course. The topic of the essay also affects the number of pages. 

Very often, each of the university courses requires several writing assignments for each module. If you do not know exactly how long is an essay for this level, remember that the word count ranges between 2000-6000 words.

Tips to Manage the Word Count

Of course, following the length requirements is essential for the student. But do not forget that the bad quality of the paper will affect your grade even if everything is OK with the word count. Do not try to use wordy expressions or thousands of linking devices in each sentence to make a long paragraph. This strategy means that you didn’t understand the main purpose of the assignment. 

You should focus on the argumentation provided in each paragraph and the basic structure of the paper. If you miss at least one part of the essay, it will result in a bad mark. That’s why prepare an outline and think beforehand about the word count for each paragraph. 

Why is it Important to Adhere to Expected Essay Length?

Remember that the professor expects a certain length of an essay depending on the academic level. Even if you don’t know exactly how long is an essay for a certain school subject or university course, follow the basic recommendations about word count.

If the student writes a shorter essay than expected, the tutor may decide that he/she doesn’t put enough effort into submitting the task. Indeed, if the word count exceeds a lot, the student might have used wordy constructions or added useless information to the essay without proper analysis. 

Final Words

Now you know what the professor expects from your essay at different levels. The main recommendation is to follow the basic requirements for the essay, including the structure (introduction, main body, and conclusion). Also, maintain a certain balance between the paragraphs. Do not forget that the introduction and conclusion are shorter than the main part of the text.

You might be interested in reading about how to write an essay on French Revolution. The article contains a lot of interesting information.

If you do not have an exact word count, adhere to basic recommendations about the length and focus more on the quality of the essay. If all these rules seem too convoluted, order an essay from a writing company and forget about feeling stressed.

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