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Essay For College Admission | Format and Structure Your College Essay

Filed in School News by on March 5, 2021

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Essay For College Admission: You’ve completed all the application forms, taken all the tests, and now it’s finally time to impress your university’s admission officers with a great college application essay. Your essay can be the difference between an acceptance and rejection, it allows you to stand out from the rest of the applicants with similar profiles.

This article we’ll go over in detail how to properly format and structure your college essay so you can land your dream college in no time.

Essay For College Admission

The Purpose Of The College Application Essay

Your college application essay needs to breathe life into your application. It should capture your genuine personality, explaining who you are beyond a series of grades, test scores, and after-school activities.

Take a minute and think about the college or university admission officers who will be reading your essay. How will your essay convey your background and what makes you unique? If you had the opportunity to stand in front of an admission committee to share a significant story or important information about yourself, what would you say?

The college application essay is your chance to share your personality, goals, influences, challenges, triumphs, life experiences, or lessons learned. Not to mention why you’re a good fit for the college or university—and why it’s a good fit for you

Role of College Application Essay in College Admission

College application essays are important in college admission because an examiner can judge a lot about the student by a simple glance at their essay. Generally, a student considers three things while writing an essay:

General Essay Formatting Guidelines

Some of your formatting concerns will depend on whether you will be cutting and pasting your essay into a text box on an online application form or attaching a formatted document. If you aren’t sure which you’ll need to do, check the application instructions.

  • There’s no need for a title; it takes up unnecessary space and eats into your word count
  • Stay within the word count as much as possible (+/- 10% of the upper limit).
  • Indent or double space to separate paragraphs clearly.

If you’re submitting in a text box:

  • Avoid italics and bold, since formatting often doesn’t transfer over in text boxes
  • Be careful with essays meant to be a certain shape (like a balloon); text boxes will likely not respect that formatting. Beyond that, this technique can also seem gimmicky, so proceed with caution.
  • Make sure that paragraphs are clearly separated, as text boxes can also undo indents and double spacing.
Essay For College Admission

If You’re Attaching a Document:

If you’re attaching a document, you have to be more concerned with the overall college essay format. Things like margins and spacing become more important.

  • Use one-inch margins all around. This is standard and easy to read.
  • While single-spaced essays are usually acceptable, your essay will be easier to read if it’s 1.5 or double-spaced.
  • Clearly outline your paragraphs. A single tab at the beginning is fine.
  • Use a font that’s easy to read, like Times, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, etc. Avoid fonts like Papyrus and Curlz. And use 12 pt font.
  • You may want to include a college essay heading with a page number and your application ID. Don’t include your name unless it’s specifically requested.
  • At times, you’ll need to submit your college essay in a specific file format. The application may only accept certain versions of Word files (only .doc and not .docx), .rtf, or .pdf files. So just be sure that you are saving your file in an accepted format before you upload it! I recommend .pdf files whenever possible because they are uneditable and always look the same.

Top 5 Tips for College Admissions Essay

Understand the Admissions Board Psychology

When you have compiled all the pieces of your application and sent it to the college/university of your dreams, all of your hard work gets placed in a pile with hundreds of other applications. The key to convincing the admissions officers is in understanding what they are looking for. They want students who will:

  • Succeed once they are admitted;
  • Contribute to the educational experience of other students; and,
  • Bring honor and prestige to the university once they graduate.

Determine Your Essay Goals

Most students want the college admissions board to view them as responsible, dependable, and academically ambitious. These are excellent essay goals, but you should also consider the essay in relation to your classwork.

If your classwork already shows that you are studious and determined (because you have taken a wide variety of advanced classes), then you may want to highlight another feature of your personality.

Along with developing an image of your character, writing the college admissions essay allows you to feature other aspects of your life that are not reflected in your pre-college coursework. Such as: belonging to any clubs or organizations, leadership or teamwork skills, compassion or community-responsibility, etc.

Essay For College Admission

Distinguish Yourself from the Other Applicants

Remember that you are more than just an international student from an interesting background; you are a complete person with a lifetime of experiences.

You should take some time to think about what else makes you different from most of the other hundreds of students writing college admissions essays. Add those features (plays piano, excellent at football, speak five languages) to your growing list of essay goals.

Related Read:

Contribute to the University

Remember that one of the goals of the admissions board when reading college admissions essays is to find students who will enhance the educational experience of other students.

One of the general goals of education is to broaden people’s experiences so that they come to realize the limits of their own intellect, and then grow beyond those limits. As an international student, you offer other students an opportunity for cultural diversity.

Essay For College Admission

Understand and Answer the Essay Prompt

Now you need to focus your goals to only three or four ideas – the ones that will make you the most attractive to the college admissions board. No matter what the prompt asks, you want to ensure you include those three or four ideas in your college admissions essay.

Reading and answering the prompt may seem a bit obvious, but it’s often the obvious that people ignore. You should take the time to read and re-read the essay prompt, so you can answer it fully. Don’t be intimidated; unlike some college exams, the college application essay prompt is not designed to trick you. However, you must demonstrate that you can read and follow directions.

At some point, you will file your college admissions application. After you post it, please don’t panic. With these tips, and your determined intellect, you have an excellent chance of being accepted to an American university.

Take a look at our college essay samples to get an idea of what colleges are looking for in your essay.

CSN Team.

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