How to Format a College Essay: Guide and Examples

With the issues of high school and childhood behind you, there are new challenges that await. These challenges include writing a college essay. These essays are not like the ones you wrote in high school, as they require more detail, more research, and more content. If you want to succeed in college, you need to learn how to write good college essays.

Our article will help you; all you have to do is continue to read.

What is a College Essay?

A college essay is usually one part of the application process. The content usually talks about you, your achievements, and your goals. The essay also includes your reasons why you belong to that particular academic institution.

While the application college essay will not be graded, you must be honest in your content. You are trying to show the acceptance committee that you belong at their institution.

Also, you do not want to embellish any details or events that you consider essential in your life. In essence, this particular college essay is all about you, and that puts some pressure on students who rarely talk about themselves.

What Is a College Essay Format?

There are several key steps you need to be aware of and pay special attention to so your college essay looks good. Here are those steps:

  • No title – this takes up needed space which you can use for your story
  • Stick to the word count – do not go longer than the college admissions committee asks. They have lots of essays to read, and going longer only puts you at a disadvantage
  • Make sure paragraphs are separated, and do not worry about indenting or double spacing
  • Avoid using italics and bold options
  • Use a standard font size – usually, New Times Roman at 12 points is acceptable
  • Put spaces between your sentences if you can – 1 1/2 to double space is okay
  • Use 1-inch margins
  • Number each page and put your last name in front of the page number

Text box essay formats won’t let you do many of these formatting options. Their formatting requirements are pre-set by the program and will auto adjust.

College Essay Formats and Examples

Essential Elements of a College Essay

The essential elements are also the most generic ones you will find. You will need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Another essential element will be how you organize your thoughts, do they flow into each other correctly and smoothly.

The introduction should be about 1 paragraph, while the body can be between 2 and 5 paragraphs long. Finally, your conclusion should only be 1 paragraph summing up what you have just written.

Keep in mind that the length of your essay will be governed by the stated word count limit the college has set. Stick to the basics for this essay as the readers want to see good chronology, clear writing that does not stuff the essay with large or too many words.

You are not trying to impress but tell a story about yourself. Forget being creative, like using flashbacks and other creative writing techniques. Just be yourself and be honest.

How to Format & Structure Your College Essay

  • Follow the instructions- this is the first step in formatting as those instructions tell you how your paper should look as well as the length and type of content needed
  • Use business type font- don’t get creative here and use Chilanka when Arial or New Times Roman is needed
  • Pick a good font size- between 11 and 14 are good sizes to use
  • Set your Word program to 1-inch margins- no more and no less and all the way around the paper
  • Space your sentences properly- you can go with 1.5 to 2.0 spacing if you want
  • Do not indent- this is a formal essay, not a personal letter
  • Avoid creative touches- italics, bold, underlining, or other creative options you have on your program should not be used at this time
  • Pick a style- you can use at the moment, and over time narrative or simply use anecdotes. But stick with the same one throughout the essay
  • Make your point- don’t get sidetracked and go off on tangents. Stick to your point
  • Give details- don’t just go for the highlights but add in what you learned and other key details
  • Tell your story

Final Thoughts

Writing college essays are not that difficult once you understand the instructions and figure out what you want to say. The key is to keep it interesting and does not get bogged down with too many details. There is a thing called too much information, and that applies to college essays.