All about the College Essay: Structure and Format

21K School · Feb 9, 2023 · 3 min read

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Colleges increasingly want the applicants to prove their worth among thousands of candidates that apply for a program. Besides exam scores and resumes, many universities now require a personal essay or statement in their admission procedure. A college essay is a semi-formal narrative write-up. It allows the candidate to share their academic achievements, learnings and goal. Hence, showing the selectors how they are perfect for the job.

Structure of the essay

While writing your personal statement, it is essential to give it structure. Cohesion and Coherence are two pillar stones of any good writing. A framework makes your essay coherent. It also facilitates the writing process by giving it a direction.

1. Begin with a bang

The beginning of the application essay is essential. During school, students are asked to begin their essays with a quote. However, it is not a good idea to do so while writing your personal statement. It acts like a hook to keep the readers interested in reading further. Beginning with a story serves this purpose. The story can be a learning incident from your life that helped you grow.

2. Keep them engaged

Use the body of the essay to highlight your experience and growth. Here, you can build the background of your life, providing details of your professional achievements and learning. Do not shy away from sharing a failed project, as that can be used to highlight the important lesson you learned in the process. This also helps you stand out among thousands of applications.

3. End with an impact

Make your application memorable for the selectors by ending the essay with your future goals. It will help your candidature if the goals align with the course outcomes you are applying for. Another idea to end your essay with an impact is to use a quote from a famous person aligning with your goals or learnings. As this shows your alignment with the bests in the world.

Though the structure forms the outline of the essay, the content should be the real hero of your piece. If a good structure is followed while writing, the content shines through, keeping the focus on you and your story.

Things to keep in mind

  • Do not replicate your resume in the essay. The selectors are looking for your personal story.
  • Do not repeat ideas in the essay. Choose the right and precise words.
  • Be mindful of the word limit.
  • Do not make up experiences or copy from others. It is vital to be honest in your statement.
  • Follow the guidelines for formatting the essay before the final submission.
  • Do not include a lot of quotes or statistics in your statement, as that makes the writing generic.

Process of writing

1. Before writing

Before writing the essay, prepare a timeline so there is enough time to write several drafts. Then, research about the college and read essays that have already been selected. Finally, note down some common keywords from these essays and include them while writing your statement.

2. While writing

While writing the essay, make sure that the ideas in the essay flow logically and are connected. Remember that the college essay is an opportunity to express your unique personality.

3. After writing

After writing the essay, take a break. Work on the draft after the break, as it would help you approach your writing from a new perspective. Then, ask a friend or colleague to edit the essay. Incorporate their feedback to enhance clarity and flow of thought. If possible, get in touch with the college’s current students and ask them for feedback.

Originality, honesty and creativity are the key elements that selectors look for while reading an application. By following the do’s and don’ts from this essay, you will be able to focus on the original content of your essay and produce an honest statement. In addition, the essay will be a glimpse of your personality for the selectors, convincing them that you are a right fit for their college.

Writing a college essay can feel like a daunting task. Yet, it is the key to gaining entry into your dream college. With the right kind of help, this task can be made easier. So do not hesitate to ask for help from your peers, especially from your school. Schools, these days, help their students in writing personal statements. 21K World Campus can help you become an ideal candidate for your dream college and provide resources to write that personal statement to ensure entry into your dream college.

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