"Smooth As Glass" — How to Write Transitional Sentences Like a Pro
by Ben Frederick MD
on November 25, 2017
The key to having a personal statement that flows well is strong transitions. These are sentences that connect concepts like little bridges throughout your essay. Without them, your essay can feel choppy, disconnected and confusing.
Here are some ways you can create transitions for a smooth and seamless essay:
- Placement. First and foremost, when transitioning between paragraphs, your transitional sentence should always come as the first sentence of the new paragraph.
- Find the common element. If you’re trying to link two very different concepts, try to find what the two have in common and focus on that. For example, if your last paragraph was about your volunteer work and your next one is about some important lab research you did, you can focus on how one reinforces the other.
- Transition Example: After working with children suffering from heart defects for three months, I was excited to investigate those same issues from a different angle, this time under a microscope.
- Lean on your timeline. When you're trying to bridge one sentence to the next and things are flowing in a chronological order, you can use time to your advantage. For example, if your last paragraph discussed your accomplishments in college, and your next paragraph discusses the work you did after graduating, go with the flow.
- Transition Example: After graduation, I put my architecture degree to work immediately at an interior design firm in San Francisco.
- Lean on a story. If you’re trying to transition from a general statement to a story, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out how to weave into it without an awkward jump. There’s no need to set it up with an overly complex introduction — just dive in with leads like: “One example of this…”; “One way I was able to accomplish this was…”; “By doing…”; “When I…”
- Transition Example: “I believe that developing strong doctor-patient relationships is key to delivering quality healthcare. I put this value into practice while working with at-risk children in Chicago. For example, I always started our sessions by asking them to tell me about themselves and what they love to do.”
- When in doubt, turn to these transitional words to start your transitional sentences:
- Even though
- In addition
- What’s more
- For the same reason
- In fact
Transitional sentences are key to creating a personal statement that flows well and that guides the admissions reader effortlessly through your past, present and future. If you’re struggling with a choppy essay, try these tips and then send your essay to one of our experienced editors at www.edityour.net. They can help polish your essay until it’s as smooth as glass.