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College Application Essay Format

Your college essay should be a brief essay about who you are and what you intend to study at the academic institution of your choosing. You should write an essay that is strong and personal while being specific and focused. You will need to speak about who you are and who you hope to become. You need to connect who you want to become with the institution you believe will help you achieve your goal. You should note what you have studied while in high school; what activities you have joined both in and out of school; and you should write specifically about how the college of your choice meets your needs.

The Mechanics Of The Application Essay

Your essay should contain simple, yet formal language. This means that word choice should not require a dictionary by the reader, yet your essay should adhere to formal MLA writing styles. Not only is the message important but the delivery and presentation as well. More information on MLA style.

General Idea

Your essay does not need to be a novel. It should focused and succinct. You should be able to complete your essay with 5 paragraphs. Introduce your purpose, support your argument and then summarize and restate your purpose.

Page Mechanics

Your essay page should have 1-inch set margins along sides, top and bottom. Each paragraph should be indented the standard 5 spaces, the equivalent of hitting the "tab" button once. The type font and size should also be standard: Times New Roman 12 is universally accepted for formal papers. You should double-space the lines of your essay as well. Finally, you should include two spaces at the end of a sentence. This is very formal, but it makes your paper stand out.

Style Mechanics

Your essay can and should be written in first person. You are writing about yourself and your goals so first-person is the accepted perspective. Make sure you check your paper for use of 2nd person. This is rarely acceptable and you don't want to make this style error and a poor impression. Finally, you should review your paper for active vs. passive verbs. Active voice speaks firmly about who you are; passive voice leaves a hint of doubt because it is not strong.

Grammar Is Never To Be Forgotten

Don't rely on spell-check to deliver a perfect paper. Remember, when you intend to spell "there" and mistakenly spell "here" spell-check will not see this as an error though it will be one. Have someone else read your paper for content and errors. Also, read your paper from end to beginning to catch spelling errors. Use grammar help for simple rules on punctuation usage.  The entire paper is a reflection of who you are. Don't let a dangling modifier hang your college career.

To summarize, you want to be focused in what you say. Your paper should be set-up to adhere to MLA guidelines: margins should be 1-inch around; paragraphs indented correctly; proper spacing between lines and sentences; correct perspective and voice used; and finally correct grammar used. Don't let the words you say drown in a sea of mechanical difficulties. Presentation is just as important as content.

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