The Best College Essay Format

The Best College Essay Format

A five-paragraph essay structure is often used for college assignments. However, there are instances where a student is not strictly limited to follow this structure. In fact, college essays are less about the structure and more of how a student can effectively communicate ideas. Still, you will be required to be logical and write your essay so that it is easy for other people to follow. For instance, your college admission essay format is critical for the selection process, but not a single structure will guarantee success.

How Should You Structure Your Essay to Better Your Grades?

In the first place, a student should know that an essay is a communication tool. By this, I mean that every word and sentence in the essay must add meaning and overall flow. Colloquial language, slang, and little known short forms are not to be seen in your writing. The use of overly informal words and phrases should not even cross your mind. Making these mistakes knowingly or unknowingly may make the college selection committee perceive you as a lazy student and ruin the possibilities.

Away from the general form and into the essay's structural appearance, the introduction always comes first. And like you would probably guess, your writing should also have a conclusion. Even with the five-paragraph essay, these two should be there. However, there is no conventional format for what comes in between these two parts. In practice and as recommended by many professionals, your essay's body should be a logical series of ideas, each explained in a separate paragraph. I like to consider an essay to be a sandwich where the top and bottom parts are already known, but there are choices for the middle. And like with the sandwich, your college essay's body should be easy and exciting to read–adding taste to the whole. Here is how the sandwich essay format looks like:

  1. Introduction
  2. 5-8 idea paragraphs
  3. Conclusion

The 5-8 Idea Paragraphs

There is little restriction on what you can have in the body of your essay. However, a conventional essay has five paragraphs, each elaborating on a different idea. Still, a creative student can deviate from this convention and write an essay with up to 8 easy-to-read paragraphs. And while each paragraph should dwell on a different idea, it will be a mistake to write disconnected pieces. Therefore, you should try as much as possible to transition from one idea to another. Additionally, it is logical to start with ideas you understand and which a reader can quickly identify with than start with topics on which you have little knowledge.

Should my essay be an analogy or a narrative?

Unlike with other forms of writing, you can unleash the creator in you by using either a narrative structure or an analogy. Either way, you must ensure that ideas are covered exhaustively. And with the analogy form, all the paragraphs should easily weave to make a whole, but then the story should not be so bland.

Take-Home Tips

  1. Be original in voice and style
  2. Plan your essay before writing
  3. Be engaging but not disconnected

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