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A Guide to Format and Structure Your College Essay
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    A Guide to Format and Structure Your College Essay


    College is the next step after high school. If you’re getting ready for admittance, you should know prestigious colleges will probably review your college application, which will include strong college essays besides your GPA, SAT, and ACT scores. 

    Admissions officers can learn more about you through your writings than they would have otherwise learned through your grades, test results, and ECLs. 

    But how can you write essays that both capture who you are and appeal to admissions committees?

    It is generally observed that your essays often make up 25% of your overall application at the top 250 colleges. This is only marginally less than the 30% for extracurriculars. In fact, essays outperform the 20% weighted average of grades and coursework, the 15% weighted average of test scores, and the 10% weighted average of recommendations and interviews. 

    Importance Of Application Components For Top 250 Schools

    What attributes define a successful college essay?

    First off, the essays you write for high school differ from those you write for college applications. The narrative framework and the material can be thought of as the two components that make up a good college essay. That is to say, not only do you need a compelling subject, but you also need to structure and format your writing in a particular way. 

    Even the most original and touching issue won’t impress the admissions committee if it’s presented incorrectly.

    General Instructions for Formatting College Essays

    Your college essay’s substance should be its primary concern. In order to keep this emphasis, the essay’s format and organization should be simple to read.


    A title for your college essay is not necessary and reduces your word limit. If you choose to use titles, be careful how you do so because it can limit your essay to a particular meaning. To make the article easier to read, maintain your typeface double-spaced with a line space between paragraphs.

    Word count

    Some colleges specify word counts, while others do not. When the word count is not specified, the best bet is to stick with a maximum of 600 words. While it’s crucial to include personal information in your essay, going overboard could harm it. It should reflect your true personality. 

    Uploading a Paper

    Here are some steps you must follow if you are copying and pasting your essay into a text box to make sure it is read as intended.

    Ensure that every last bit of your essay has been transferred. When formatting using a different application rather than using the copy/paste option, you run the risk of cutting off your essay, changing the word count, changing the way the paragraphs are organized, and generally, changing how your essay was intended to be read.

    Depending on the platform, the finer elements, such as bold and italics, might not be possible. The absence of bold or italics just makes the essay’s text easier to read, which might even turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

    You’ll need to style a document more precisely when attaching it, however, note some general formatting guidelines:

     i) The norm is a 1″ margin, which is hard to err with.

     ii) The best option is to use a font that is simple to read, such as Times New Roman or Arial.  The last thing you want is for the admissions officers to struggle to read your essay because of a difficult-to-read font style.

     iii) Download your college essay in the format specified by the website for submissions.

    Three suggestions for structuring your college application essay

    The actual writing process—where you share your story—might be more terrifying than the format. A common framework for arranging an essay is in the form of a story with the three acts listed below:

    The Hook in Act 1

    The objective is to arouse the reader’s interest. So, introduce yourself creatively, establish the scene, pique their curiosity, and get them ready for Act 2.

    The Transformation in Act 2

    This is the occurrence that prompts a shift in you. It doesn’t matter how big or tiny it was as long as it affected you and brought about some kind of change.

    The Change in Act 3

    Now that Act 2 is over, you talk about how it has changed you and made you stronger, compassionate, perseverant, hardworking, etc.

    Although there are other structures, this is a common and rather simple one. Students have utilized a variety of inventive organizational techniques to make their writings stand out from the competition. 

    While the story structure is not the end-all-be-all, it does offer an efficient means of communicating a significant change within the word count.

    What not to do while writing a college essay?

    High-achieving students tend to have a tendency to underestimate the amount of work required to write a quality, compelling college essay. If you are unable to represent that in your essay, it is not enough to perform very well in other spheres of your life.

    Here are some simple errors you should steer clear of when writing your college application essay:

    Portraying a resume in your college essay

    There are various other sections of the application dedicated to this, even though you might wish to share all of your achievements. The essay gives you a more open-ended opportunity to discuss your personal characteristics, your experiences that changed you over time, and your future goals.

    Commencing with general quotations

    Avoid generic quotes, as they reveal nothing about you to the reader. These phrases are frequently used. Many people can connect with them, but it is not indicative of your particular personality or the changes you have gone through.

    Attempting to sound very academic

    It is a complete no-no. Because the essay you write for college differs from the academic essay you write for English class. Here, you should share your experiences as one person with another without needing a thesaurus.

    Making your essay sound different from the rest of your application

    Because every individual is unique and every person’s experiences are unique, your essay should represent your particular personality and experiences. It should also convey the essence of your personality to the admissions committee. To reflect the same self in both your activities and your personal essay, be unique and consistent throughout your application.

    By following the tips for writing a college application essay provided above, you can concentrate solely on the content and provide useful details about YOU and your potential as a student on the university’s campus. 

    So, get started, and for more information on other colleges and Ivy League read our other blogs!!

    Moonpreneur is on a mission to educate and ignite the flames of entrepreneurship through our holistically created online STEM programs, which will help kids master the futuristic sciences such as Robotics, Game Development, App Development, Advanced Math, and much more!! 

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    Rishabh Prasad

    Rishabh Prasad

    A writer with a talent to play with words and deliver impactful content. I have an undying love for literature, and firmly believe that pens have the power to change the course of human history!!
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