Expert Tips on How to Correctly Format a College Essay

Format a College Essay

In our experience, most applicants consider writing an essay the most personal part of the application process. Frequently, they are not sure about correct college application essay format, including the margins and the font. Moreover, applicants may even agonize over the structure of a good application essay. If you are one of the college applicants, stop worrying about your essay! Owing to this comprehensive guide, you will be able to correctly format your application essay on the macro and micro levels. Initially, we will explain you minor formatting issues, such as fonts and headings. Following that, we will shed light on broad formatting concerns, including the overall structure of an effective admission essay.

Proper College Admission Essay Format

It is critical to check the application requirements. This allows you to understand whether you should attach a formatted document or insert your app essay directly into a text box. Keep in mind that the Common Application ordinarily require cutting and pasting the essay into a text box.

Many educational establishments allow applicants to send in an admission paper. However, we do not recommend you to do this for several reasons:

    • First, the majority of schools underlines that they find it more convenient to receive online applications. Thus, it is reasonable to comply with their preferences during the admission process. Although it will not improve your chances of acceptance at the college, the whole process will go more smoothly.
    • There is an increased likelihood that your admission paper may ultimately get lost in the mail. Certainly, some problems with online applications also may arise. However, you will be notified of this issue soon. Note that an online application ensures that the admissions committee will undoubtedly receive your materials.

Regardless of how you decide to submit your application essay, do not forget to draft it in a word processor. It will enable you to use a spell checker, track the number of words, and so on.

Here are several additional hints:

If You are Going to Insert Your App Essay Into a Text Box

In this case, you must double- and triple-check that your admission paper was transferred properly.

      • Make sure that your app essay was not cut off and was transferred entirely.
      • Check word count! Remember that the number of word may be counted differently. That is why be prepared to make necessary adjustments.
      • It is possible to lose formatting when inserting your essay into a text box. For instance, italics and bold may disappear. Most likely, italics and bold cannot work in the text box. Thus, no need to use them at all.
      • Paragraph spacing may also be changed. That is why you should delineate your paragraphs using either tabs or a skipped line.
      • Check whether the font is standardized. If not, select a standard font (Arial or Times New Roman) and a normal size (12 pt).

If You are Going to Attach Your App Essay

In this case, you should pay more attention to the admission essay format. Spacing and margins become much more important.

      • One-inch margins all around is considered a standard that allows comfortable reading.
      • Although it is acceptable to single-space college app essays, keep in mind that double-spaced essays are easier to read.
      • Delineate your paragraphs correctly. You should use a single tab at the beginning of the paragraph.
      • Select a font that facilitates reading, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Moreover, use 12 pt. font.
      • You may add a college essay heading with your admission ID and a page number.
      • Frequently, it is required to submit an admission essay in a particular file format. Keep in mind that the application may require specific versions of Word files, such as .doc, .pdf, and .rtf files. Be sure to save your file in one of the above-mentioned formats before you submit it! We recommend using .pdf files, since they always look the same.

General Formatting Guidelines for College App Essay

      • You are not required to add a title, since it increases word count.
      • You should avoid using ~unnecessary symbols~, #hashtags, and emoji. Your application college essay must look professional, which improves your chances of admission.

How to Organize Your College App Essay Correctly

Now, you know enough about the micro-level app essay format and can be less concerned with it. So let us start to examine the macro-level format, namely the admission essay structure. You might be interested whether there is a secret formula, which will facilitate the writing process and will enable you to clearly express your ideas to an admissions committee. Unfortunately, such a magic formula does not exist. Nevertheless, do not get upset about it. The good news is that a college admission essay has a flexible structure. It means that you do not have to stick strictly to the five-paragraph structure. An effective college app essay resembles a sandwich, where the introductory and concluding paragraphs represent two slices of bread, while the body paragraphs are the sandwich filling. It is impossible to prepare a good sandwich without bread. However, a good sandwich can have different fillings. Thus, your app essay must consist of a clear introduction that demonstrates your man idea and a conclusion that summarizes all information. However, it is up to you how you compose the body of your essay.

Why You Should Ignore College Essay Templates

College essay templates may seem helpful at first sight, because they provide guidelines on how to arrange your admission essay and what to write in every paragraph. Nevertheless, we insist on avoiding the use of essay templates, since it will deprive your app essay of originality and freshness. Instead of looking for college essay templates online, focus on what you want to say in your essay. Once you decide what information should be presented in your app essay, think of how to arrange your ideas effectively. It may be helpful to create a college application essay outline before you start writing your admission paper.

Note that you can find many good college app essay samples online. You may read them to get an idea of different topics and styles. However, we do not recommend patterning your application essay after a sample essay. Remember that your admission essay should reflect your unique writing voice and personal experiences.

Common College App Essay Format

We want to remind that you should pay particular attention to two levels of formatting, such as the micro (margins and fonts) and the macro (structure of the app essay).

Helpful Hints for the Micro Level of Your College App Essay Format

  • Draft your admission essay in a word processing software, even if you are going to insert it in a text box.
  • If you insert your essay in a text box, check whether your formatting transfers correctly, your paragraphs are delineated, and your essay is whole.
  • If you are required to attach your admission paper, make sure your margins are standard, your font is easy to read, your essay is double-spaced, and your file format is acceptable.
  • Do not add a title, if it is not required.

Helpful Hints for the Macro Level of Your College App Essay Format

  • There is no secret formula for a college app essay format, which will help you write a successful admission paper.
  • Remember that the structure of an admission essay is flexible. A college app essay must contain an intro and conclusion, while its body does not require any specific organization.
  • We do not recommend using an essay template, since it will certainly make your app essay sound unoriginal.
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