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How to Format and Structure Your College Essay

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College essays are an entirely new type of writing for high school seniors. For that reason, many students are confused about proper formatting and essay structure. Should you double-space or single-space? Do you need a title? What kind of narrative style is best-suited for your topic?

In this post, we’ll be going over proper college essay format, traditional and unconventional essay structures (plus sample essays!), and which structure might work best for you. 

General College Essay Formatting Guidelines

How you format your essay will depend on whether you’re submitting in a text box, or attaching a document. We’ll go over the different best practices for both, but regardless of how you’re submitting, here are some general formatting tips:

  • There’s no need for a title; it takes up unnecessary space and eats into your word count
  • Stay within the word count as much as possible (+/- 10% of the upper limit). For further discussion on college essay length, see our post How Long Should Your College Essay Be?
  • Indent or double space to separate paragraphs clearly

If you’re submitting in a text box:

  • Avoid italics and bold, since formatting often doesn’t transfer over in text boxes
  • Be careful with essays meant to be a certain shape (like a balloon); text boxes will likely not respect that formatting. Beyond that, this technique can also seem gimmicky, so proceed with caution
  • Make sure that paragraphs are clearly separated, as text boxes can also undo indents and double spacing

If you’re attaching a document:

  • Use a standard font and size like Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Make your lines 1.5-spaced or double-spaced
  • Use 1-inch margins
  • Save as a PDF since it can’t be edited. This also prevents any formatting issues that come with Microsoft Word, since older versions are sometimes incompatible with the newer formatting
  • Number each page with your last name in the header or footer (like “Smith 1”)
  • Pay extra attention to any word limits, as you won’t be cut off automatically, unlike with most text boxes

Conventional College Essay Structures

Now that we’ve gone over the logistical aspects of your essay, let’s talk about how you should structure your writing. There are three traditional college essay structures. They are:

  • In-the-moment narrative
  • Narrative told over an extended period of time
  • Series of anecdotes, or montage

Let’s go over what each one is exactly, and take a look at some real essays using these structures.

1. In-the-moment narrative

This is where you tell the story one moment at a time, sharing the events as they occur. In the moment narrative is a powerful essay format, as your reader experiences the events, your thoughts, and your emotions with you . This structure is ideal for a specific experience involving extensive internal dialogue, emotions, and reflections.

Here’s an example:

The morning of the Model United Nation conference, I walked into Committee feeling confident about my research. We were simulating the Nuremberg Trials – a series of post-World War II proceedings for war crimes – and my portfolio was of the Soviet Judge Major General Iona Nikitchenko. Until that day, the infamous Nazi regime had only been a chapter in my history textbook; however, the conference’s unveiling of each defendant’s crimes brought those horrors to life. The previous night, I had organized my research, proofread my position paper and gone over Judge Nikitchenko’s pertinent statements. I aimed to find the perfect balance between his stance and my own.

As I walked into committee anticipating a battle of wits, my director abruptly called out to me. “I’m afraid we’ve received a late confirmation from another delegate who will be representing Judge Nikitchenko. You, on the other hand, are now the defense attorney, Otto Stahmer.” Everyone around me buzzed around the room in excitement, coordinating with their allies and developing strategies against their enemies, oblivious to the bomb that had just dropped on me. I felt frozen in my tracks, and it seemed that only rage against the careless delegate who had confirmed her presence so late could pull me out of my trance. After having spent a month painstakingly crafting my verdicts and gathering evidence against the Nazis, I now needed to reverse my stance only three hours before the first session.

Gradually, anger gave way to utter panic. My research was fundamental to my performance, and without it, I knew I could add little to the Trials. But confident in my ability, my director optimistically recommended constructing an impromptu defense. Nervously, I began my research anew. Despite feeling hopeless, as I read through the prosecution’s arguments, I uncovered substantial loopholes. I noticed a lack of conclusive evidence against the defendants and certain inconsistencies in testimonies. My discovery energized me, inspiring me to revisit the historical overview in my conference “Background Guide” and to search the web for other relevant articles. Some Nazi prisoners had been treated as “guilty” before their court dates. While I had brushed this information under the carpet while developing my position as a judge, it now became the focus of my defense. I began scratching out a new argument, centered on the premise that the allied countries had violated the fundamental rule that, a defendant was “not guilty” until proven otherwise.

At the end of the three hours, I felt better prepared. The first session began, and with bravado, I raised my placard to speak. Microphone in hand, I turned to face my audience. “Greetings delegates. I, Otto Stahmer would like to…….” I suddenly blanked. Utter dread permeated my body as I tried to recall my thoughts in vain. “Defence Attorney, Stahmer we’ll come back to you,” my Committee Director broke the silence as I tottered back to my seat, flushed with embarrassment. Despite my shame, I was undeterred. I needed to vindicate my director’s faith in me. I pulled out my notes, refocused, and began outlining my arguments in a more clear and direct manner. Thereafter, I spoke articulately, confidently putting forth my points. I was overjoyed when Secretariat members congratulated me on my fine performance.

Going into the conference, I believed that preparation was the key to success. I wouldn’t say I disagree with that statement now, but I believe adaptability is equally important. My ability to problem-solve in the face of an unforeseen challenge proved advantageous in the art of diplomacy. Not only did this experience transform me into a confident and eloquent delegate at that conference, but it also helped me become a more flexible and creative thinker in a variety of other capacities. Now that I know I can adapt under pressure, I look forward to engaging in activities that will push me to be even quicker on my feet.

This essay is an excellent example of in-the-moment narration. The student openly shares their internal state with us — we feel their anger and panic upon the reversal of roles. We empathize with their emotions of “utter dread” and embarrassment when they’re unable to speak. 

For in-the-moment essays, overloading on descriptions is a common mistake students make. This writer provides just the right amount of background and details to help us understand the situation, however, and balances out the actual event with reflection on the significance of this experience. 

One main area of improvement is that the writer sometimes makes explicit statements that could be better illustrated through their thoughts, actions, and feelings. For instance, they say they “spoke articulately” after recovering from their initial inability to speak, and they also claim that adaptability has helped them in other situations. This is not as engaging as actual examples that convey the same meaning. Still, this essay overall is a strong example of in-the-moment narration, and gives us a relatable look into the writer’s life and personality.

2. Narrative told over an extended period of time

In this essay structure, you share a story that takes place across several different experiences. This narrative style is well-suited for any story arc with multiple parts. If you want to highlight your development over time, you might consider this structure. 

When I was younger, I was adamant that no two foods on my plate touch. As a result, I often used a second plate to prevent such an atrocity. In many ways, I learned to separate different things this way from my older brothers, Nate and Rob. Growing up, I idolized both of them. Nate was a performer, and I insisted on arriving early to his shows to secure front row seats, refusing to budge during intermission for fear of missing anything. Rob was a three-sport athlete, and I attended his games religiously, waving worn-out foam cougar paws and cheering until my voice was hoarse. My brothers were my role models. However, while each was talented, neither was interested in the other’s passion. To me, they represented two contrasting ideals of what I could become: artist or athlete. I believed I had to choose.

And for a long time, I chose athlete. I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and viewed myself exclusively as an athlete, believing the arts were not for me. I conveniently overlooked that since the age of five, I had been composing stories for my family for Christmas, gifts that were as much for me as them, as I loved writing. So when in tenth grade, I had the option of taking a creative writing class, I was faced with a question: could I be an athlete and a writer? After much debate, I enrolled in the class, feeling both apprehensive and excited. When I arrived on the first day of school, my teacher, Ms. Jenkins, asked us to write down our expectations for the class. After a few minutes, eraser shavings stubbornly sunbathing on my now-smudged paper, I finally wrote, “I do not expect to become a published writer from this class. I just want this to be a place where I can write freely.”

Although the purpose of the class never changed for me, on the third “submission day,” – our time to submit writing to upcoming contests and literary magazines – I faced a predicament. For the first two submission days, I had passed the time editing earlier pieces, eventually (pretty quickly) resorting to screen snake when hopelessness made the words look like hieroglyphics. I must not have been as subtle as I thought, as on the third of these days, Ms. Jenkins approached me. After shifting from excuse to excuse as to why I did not submit my writing, I finally recognized the real reason I had withheld my work: I was scared. I did not want to be different, and I did not want to challenge not only others’ perceptions of me, but also my own. I yielded to Ms. Jenkin’s pleas and sent one of my pieces to an upcoming contest.

By the time the letter came, I had already forgotten about the contest. When the flimsy white envelope arrived in the mail, I was shocked and ecstatic to learn that I had received 2nd place in a nationwide writing competition. The next morning, however, I discovered Ms. Jenkins would make an announcement to the whole school exposing me as a poet. I decided to own this identity and embrace my friends’ jokes and playful digs, and over time, they have learned to accept and respect this part of me. I have since seen more boys at my school identifying themselves as writers or artists.

I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity – me. Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion. I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind – and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together.

The timeline of this essay spans from the writer’s childhood all the way to sophomore year, but we only see key moments along this journey. First, we get context for why the writer thought he had to choose one identity: his older brothers had very distinct interests. Then, we learn about the student’s 10th grade creative writing class, writing contest, and results of the contest. Finally, the essay covers the writers’ embarrassment of his identity as a poet, to gradual acceptance and pride in that identity. 

This essay is a great example of a narrative told over an extended period of time. It’s highly personal and reflective, as the piece shares the writer’s conflicting feelings, and takes care to get to the root of those feelings. Furthermore, the overarching story is that of a personal transformation and development, so it’s well-suited to this essay structure.

3. Series of anecdotes, or montage

This essay structure allows you to focus on the most important experiences of a single storyline, or it lets you feature multiple (not necessarily related) stories that highlight your personality. Montage is a structure where you piece together separate scenes to form a whole story. This technique is most commonly associated with film. Just envision your favorite movie—it likely is a montage of various scenes that may not even be chronological. 

Night had robbed the academy of its daytime colors, yet there was comfort in the dim lights that cast shadows of our advances against the bare studio walls. Silhouettes of roundhouse kicks, spin crescent kicks, uppercuts and the occasional butterfly kick danced while we sparred. She approached me, eyes narrowed with the trace of a smirk challenging me. “Ready spar!” Her arm began an upward trajectory targeting my shoulder, a common first move. I sidestepped — only to almost collide with another flying fist. Pivoting my right foot, I snapped my left leg, aiming my heel at her midsection. The center judge raised one finger. 

There was no time to celebrate, not in the traditional sense at least. Master Pollard gave a brief command greeted with a unanimous “Yes, sir” and the thud of 20 hands dropping-down-and-giving-him-30, while the “winners” celebrated their victory with laps as usual. 

Three years ago, seven-thirty in the evening meant I was a warrior. It meant standing up straighter, pushing a little harder, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am”, celebrating birthdays by breaking boards, never pointing your toes, and familiarity. Three years later, seven-thirty in the morning meant I was nervous. 

The room is uncomfortably large. The sprung floor soaks up the checkerboard of sunlight piercing through the colonial windows. The mirrored walls further illuminate the studio and I feel the light scrutinizing my sorry attempts at a pas de bourrée , while capturing the organic fluidity of the dancers around me. “ Chassé en croix, grand battement, pique, pirouette.” I follow the graceful limbs of the woman in front of me, her legs floating ribbons, as she executes what seems to be a perfect ronds de jambes. Each movement remains a negotiation. With admirable patience, Ms. Tan casts me a sympathetic glance.   

There is no time to wallow in the misery that is my right foot. Taekwondo calls for dorsiflexion; pointed toes are synonymous with broken toes. My thoughts drag me into a flashback of the usual response to this painful mistake: “You might as well grab a tutu and head to the ballet studio next door.” Well, here I am Master Pollard, unfortunately still following your orders to never point my toes, but no longer feeling the satisfaction that comes with being a third degree black belt with 5 years of experience quite literally under her belt. It’s like being a white belt again — just in a leotard and ballet slippers. 

But the appetite for new beginnings that brought me here doesn’t falter. It is only reinforced by the classical rendition of “Dancing Queen” that floods the room and the ghost of familiarity that reassures me that this new beginning does not and will not erase the past. After years spent at the top, it’s hard to start over. But surrendering what you are only leads you to what you may become. In Taekwondo, we started each class reciting the tenets: honor, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, courage, humility, and knowledge, and I have never felt that I embodied those traits more so than when I started ballet. 

The thing about change is that it eventually stops making things so different. After nine different schools, four different countries, three different continents, fluency in Tamil, Norwegian, and English, there are more blurred lines than there are clear fragments. My life has not been a tactfully executed, gold medal-worthy Taekwondo form with each movement defined, nor has it been a series of frappés performed by a prima ballerina with each extension identical and precise, but thankfully it has been like the dynamics of a spinning back kick, fluid, and like my chances of landing a pirouette, unpredictable. 

This essay takes a few different anecdotes and weaves them into a coherent narrative about the writer’s penchant for novel experiences. We’re plunged into her universe, in the middle of her Taekwondo spar, three years before the present day. She then transitions into a scene in a ballet studio, present day. By switching from past tense to present tense, the writer clearly demarcates this shift in time. 

The parallel use of the spoken phrase “Point” in the essay ties these two experiences together. The writer also employs a flashback to Master Pollard’s remark about “grabbing a tutu” and her habit of dorsiflexing her toes, which further cements the connection between these anecdotes. 

While some of the descriptions are a little wordy, the piece is well-executed overall, and is a stellar example of the montage structure. The two anecdotes are seamlessly intertwined, and they both clearly illustrate the student’s determination, dedication, reflectiveness, and adaptability. The writer also concludes the essay with a larger reflection on her life, many moves, and multiple languages. 

Unconventional College Essay Structures

Unconventional essay structures are any that don’t fit into the categories above. These tend to be higher risk, as it’s easier to turn off the admissions officer, but they’re also higher reward if executed correctly. 

There are endless possibilities for unconventional structures, but most fall under one of two categories:

1. Playing with essay format

Instead of choosing a traditional narrative format, you might take a more creative route to showcase your interests, writing your essay:

  • As a movie script
  • With a creative visual format (such as creating a visual pattern with the spaces between your sentences forming a picture)
  • As a two-sided Lincoln-Douglas debate
  • As a legal brief
  • Using song lyrics

2. Linguistic techniques

You could also play with the actual language and sentence structure of your essay, writing it:

  • In iambic pentameter
  • Partially in your mother tongue
  • In code or a programming language

These linguistic techniques are often hybrid, where you write some of the essay with the linguistic variation, then write more of an explanation in English.

Under no circumstances should you feel pressured to use an unconventional structure. Trying to force something unconventional will only hurt your chances. That being said, if a creative structure comes naturally to you, suits your personality, and works with the content of your essay — go for that structure!

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College Application Essay Format Rules

what font should a college essay be in

The college application essay has become the most important part of applying to college. In this article, we will go over the  best college essay format for getting into top schools, including how to structure the elements of a college admissions essay: margins, font, paragraphs, spacing, headers, and organization. 

We will focus on commonly asked questions about the best college essay structure. Finally, we will go over essay formatting tips and examples.

Table of Contents

  • General college essay formatting rules
  • How to format a college admissions essay
  • Sections of a college admissions essay
  • College application essay format examples

General College Essay Format Rules

Before talking about how to format your college admission essays, we need to talk about general college essay formatting rules.

Pay attention to word count

It has been well-established that the most important rule of college application essays is to  not go over the specific Application Essay word limit .  The word limit for the Common Application essay is typically 500-650 words.

Not only may it be impossible to go over the word count (in the case of the  Common Application essay , which uses text fields), but admissions officers often use software that will throw out any essay that breaks this rule. Following directions is a key indicator of being a successful student. 

Refocusing on the essay prompt and eliminating unnecessary adverbs, filler words, and prepositional phrases will help improve your essay.

On the other hand, it is advisable to use almost every available word. The college essay application field is very competitive, so leaving extra words on the table puts you at a disadvantage. Include an example or anecdote near the end of your essay to meet the total word count.

Do not write a wall of text: use paragraphs

Here is a brutal truth:  College admissions counselors only read the application essays that help them make a decision .  Otherwise, they will not read the essay at all. The problem is that you do not know whether the rest of your application (transcripts, academic record, awards, etc.) will be competitive enough to get you accepted.

A very simple writing rule for your application essay (and for essay editing of any type) is to  make your writing readable by adding line breaks and separate paragraphs.

Line breaks do not count toward word count, so they are a very easy way to organize your essay structure, ideas, and topics. Remember, college counselors, if you’re lucky, will spend 30 sec to 1 minute reading your essay. Give them every opportunity to understand your writing.

Do not include an essay title 

Unless specifically required, do not use a title for your personal statement or essay. This is a waste of your word limit and is redundant since the essay prompt itself serves as the title.

Never use overly casual, colloquial, or text message-based formatting like this: 

THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT!. #collegeapplication #collegeessay.

Under no circumstances should you use emojis, all caps, symbols, hashtags, or slang in a college essay. Although technology, texting, and social media are continuing to transform how we use modern language (what a great topic for a college application essay!), admissions officers will view the use of these casual formatting elements as immature and inappropriate for such an important document.

How To Format A College Application Essay

There are many  tips for writing college admissions essays . How you upload your college application essay depends on whether you will be cutting and pasting your essay into a text box in an online application form or attaching a formatted document.

Save and upload your college essay in the proper format

Check the application instructions if you’re not sure what you need to do. Currently, the Common Application requires you to copy and paste your essay into a text box.

There are three main formats when it comes to submitting your college essay or personal statement:

If submitting your application essay in a text box

For the Common Application, there is no need to attach a document since there is a dedicated input field. You still want to write your essay in a word processor or Google doc. Just make sure once you copy-paste your essay into the text box that your line breaks (paragraphs), indents, and formatting is retained. 

  • Formatting like  bold , underline, and  italics  are often lost when copy-pasting into a text box.
  • Double-check that you are under the word limit.  Word counts may be different within the text box .
  • Make sure that paragraphs and spacing are maintained;  text input fields often undo indents and double-spacing .
  • If possible, make sure the font is standardized.  Text input boxes usually allow just one font . 

If submitting your application essay as a document

When attaching a document, you must do more than just double-check the format of your admissions essay. You need to be proactive and make sure the structure is logical and will be attractive to readers.

Microsoft Word (.DOC) format

If you are submitting your application essay as a file upload, then you will likely submit a .doc or .docx file. The downside is that MS Word files are editable, and there are sometimes conflicts between different MS Word versions (2010 vs 2016 vs Office365). The upside is that Word can be opened by almost any text program.

This is a safe choice if maintaining the  visual  elements of your essay is important. Saving your essay as a PDF prevents any formatting issues that come with Microsoft Word, since older versions are sometimes incompatible with the newer formatting. 

Although PDF viewing programs are commonly available, many older readers and Internet users (who will be your admissions officers) may not be ready to view PDFs.

  • Use 1-inch margins . This is the default setting for Microsoft Word. However, students from Asia using programs like Hangul Word Processor will need to double-check.
  • Use a standard serif font.  These include Times New Roman, Courier, and Garamond. A serif font adds professionalism to your essay.
  • Use standard 12-font size. 
  • Use 1.5- or double-spacing.  Your application essay should be readable. Double spaces are not an issue as the essay should already fit on one page.
  • Add a Header  with your First Name, Last Name, university, and other required information.
  • Clearly   separate your paragraphs.  By default, just press ‘ENTER’ twice.

Sections Of A College Admissions Essay

University admissions protocols usually allow you to choose the format and style of your writing. Despite this, the general format of “Introduction-Body-Conclusion” is the most common structure. This is a common format you can use and adjust to your specific writing style.

College Application Essay Introduction

Typically, your first paragraph should introduce you or the topic that you will discuss. You must have a killer opener if you want the admissions committees to pay attention. 

Essays that use rhetorical tools, factual statements, dialog, etc. are encouraged. There is room to be creative since many application essays specifically focus on past learning experiences.

College Application Essay Body

Clearly answering the essay prompt is the most important part of the essay body. Keep reading over the prompt and making sure everything in the body supports it. 

Since personal statement essays are designed to show you are as a person and student, the essay body is also where you talk about your experiences and identity.

Make sure you include the following life experiences and how they relate to the essay prompt. Be sure to double-check that they relate back to the essay prompt. A college admissions essay is NOT an autobiography:

Personal challenges

  • How did you overcome them?
  • How or how much do past challenges define your current outlook or worldview? 
  • What did you learn about yourself when you failed?

Personal achievements and successes

  • What people helped you along the way?
  • What did you learn about the nature of success

Lessons learned

  • In general, did your experiences inform your choice of university or major?

Personal beliefs

  • Politics, philosophy, and religion may be included here, but be careful when discussing sensitive personal or political topics. 
  • Academic goals
  • Personal goals
  • Professional goals
  • How will attending the university help you achieve these goals?

College Application Essay Conclusion

The conclusion section is a call to action directly aimed at the admissions officers. You must demonstrate why you are a great fit for the university, which means you should refer to specific programs, majors, or professors that guided or inspired you. 

In this “why this school” part of the essay, you can also explain why the university is a great fit for  your  goals. Be straightforward and truthful, but express your interest in the school boldly.

common app essay format, essay sections 1

College Application Essay Format Examples

Here are several formatting examples of successful college admission essays, along with comments from the essay editor.

Note: Actual sample essays edited by  Wordvice professional editors .  Personal info has been redacted for privacy. This is not a college essay template.

College Admission Essay Example 1

This essay asks the student to write about how normal life experiences can have huge effects on personal growth:

Common App Essay Prompt: Thoughtful Rides

The Florida turnpike is a very redundant and plain expressway; we do not have the scenic luxury of mountains, forests, or even deserts stretching endlessly into the distance. Instead, we are blessed with repetitive fields of grazing cows and countless billboards advertising local businesses. I have been subjected to these monotonous views three times a week, driving two hours every other day to Sunrise and back to my house in Miami, Florida—all to practice for my competitive soccer team in hopes of receiving a scholarship to play soccer at the next level. 

The Introduction sets up a clear, visceral memory and communicates a key extracurricular activity. 

When I first began these mini road trips, I would jam out to my country playlist and sing along with my favorite artists, and the trek would seem relatively short. However, after listening to “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs for the 48th time in a week, the song became as repetitive as the landscape I was driving through. Changing genres did not help much either; everything I played seemed to morph into the same brain-numbing sound.  Eventually, I decided to do what many peers in my generation fail to do: turn off the distractions, enjoy the silence, and immerse myself in my own thoughts. In the end, this seemingly simple decision led to a lot of personal growth and tranquility in my life. 

The first part of the Body connects the student’s past experience with the essay prompt: personal growth and challenging assumptions.

Although I did not fully realize it at the time, these rides were the perfect opportunity to reflect on myself and the people around me. I quickly began noticing the different personalities surrounding me in the flow of traffic, and this simple act of noticing reminded me that I was not the only human on this planet that mattered. I was just as unimportant as the woman sitting in the car next to mine. Conversely, I also came to appreciate how a gesture as simple as letting another driver merge into your lane can impact a stranger’s day. Maybe the other driver is late for a work interview or rushing to the hospital because their newborn is running a high fever and by allowing them to advance in the row of cars, you made their day just a little less stressful. I realized that if I could improve someone else’s day from my car,  I could definitely be a kinder person and take other people’s situations into consideration—because you never know if someone is having one of the worst days of their lives and their interaction with you could provide the motivation they need to keep going on . 

This part uses two examples to support the writer’s answer to the essay prompt. It ends the paragraph with a clear statement.

Realizing I was not the only being in the universe that mattered was not the only insight I attained during these drives. Over and over, I asked myself why I had chosen to change soccer clubs, leaving Pinecrest, the team I had played on for 8 years with my best friends and that was only a 10-minute drive from my house, to play for a completely unfamiliar team that required significantly more travel.  Eventually, I came to understand that I truly enjoy challenging myself and pushing past complacency . One of my main goals in life is to play and experience college soccer—that, and to eventually pursue a career as a doctor. Ultimately, leaving my comfort zone in Pinecrest, where mediocrity was celebrated, to join a team in Sunrise, where championships were expected and college offers were abundant, was a very positive decision in my life. 

This part clearly tells how the experience shaped the writer as a person. The student’s personality can be directly attributed to this memory. It also importantly states personal and academic goals.

Even if I do not end up playing college soccer, I know now that I will never back down from any challenge in my life; I am committed to pushing myself past my comfort zone. These car rides have given me insight into how strong I truly am and how much impact I can have on other people’s lives. 

The Conclusion restates the overall lesson learned.

College Admission Essay Example 2

The next essay asks the reader to use leadership roles or extracurricular activities and describe the experience, contribution, and what the student learned about themselves.

As I release the air from the blood-pressure monitor’s valve, I carefully track the gauge, listening for the faint “lub-dub” of  Winnie’s heart. Checking off the “hypertensive” box on his medical chart when reading 150/95, I then escort Winnie to the blood sugar station. This was the typical procedure of a volunteer at the UConn Migrant Farm Worker Clinic. Our traveling medical clinic operated at night, visiting various Connecticut farms to provide healthcare for migrant workers. Filling out charts, taking blood pressure, and recording BMI were all standard procedures, but the relationships I built with farmers such as Winnie impacted me the most.

This Introduction is very impactful. It highlights the student’s professional expertise as a healthcare worker and her impact on marginalized communities. It also is written in the present tense to add impact.

While the clinic was canceled this year due to COVID-19, I still wanted to do something for them. During a PPE-drive meeting this July, Winnie recounted his family history. I noticed his eyebrows furrow with anxiety as he spoke about his family’s safety in Tierra Blanca, Mexico. I realized that Winnie lacked substantial information about his hometown, and fear-mongering headlines did nothing to assuage his fears. After days of searching, I discovered that his hometown, Guanajuato, reported fewer cases of COVID-19 in comparison with surrounding towns. I then created a color-coded map of his town, showing rates across the different districts. Winnie’s eyes softened, marveling at the map I made for him this August. I didn’t need to explain what he saw: Guanajuato, his home state, was pale yellow, the color I chose to mark the lowest level of cases. By making this map, I didn’t intend to give him new hope; I wanted to show him where hope was.

The student continues to tell the powerful story of one of her patients. This humbles and empowers the student, motivating her in the next paragraph.

This interaction fueled my commitment to search for hope in my journey of becoming a public health official. Working in public health policy, I hope to tackle complex world problems, such as economic and social barriers to healthcare and find creative methods of improving outcomes in queer and Latinx communities. I want to study the present and potential future intervention strategies in minority communities for addressing language barriers to information including language on posters and gendered language, and for instituting social and support services for community youth. These stepping stones will hopefully prepare me for conducting professional research for the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement. I aspire to be an active proponent of healthcare access and equity for marginalized groups, including queer communities. I first learned about the importance of recognizing minority identities in healthcare through my bisexual sister, Sophie, and her nonbinary friend, Gilligan. During discussions with her friends, I realized the importance of validating diverse gender expressions in all facets of my life.

Here, the past experience is directly connected to future academic and professional goals, which themselves are motivated by a desire to increase access among communities as well as personal family experiences. This is a strong case for why personal identity is so important.

My experiences with Winnie and my sister have empowered me to be creative, thoughtful, and brave while challenging the assumptions currently embedded in the “visual vocabulary” of both the art and science fields. I envision myself deconstructing hegemonic ideas of masculinity and femininity and surmounting the limitations of traditional perceptions of male and female bodies as it relates to existing healthcare practices. Through these subtle changes, I aim to make a large impact.

The Conclusion positions the student as an impactful leader and visionary. This is a powerful case for the admissions board to consider.

If you want to read more college admissions essay examples, check out our articles about  successful college personal statements  and the  2021-2022 Common App prompts and example essays .

Wordvice offers a full suite of proofreading and editing services . If you are a student applying to college and are having trouble with the best college admissions essay format, check out our application essay editing services  (including personal statement editing ) and find out  how much online proofreading costs . 

Finally, don’t forget to receive common app essay editing and professional admissions editing for any other admissions documents for college, university, and post-doctoral programs.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 3 popular essay formats: which should you use.

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Not sure which path your essay should follow? Formatting an essay may not be as interesting as choosing a topic to write about or carefully crafting elegant sentences, but it’s an extremely important part of creating a high-quality paper. In this article, we’ll explain essay formatting rules for three of the most popular essay styles: MLA, APA, and Chicago.

For each, we’ll do a high-level overview of what your essay’s structure and references should look like, then we include a comparison chart with nitty-gritty details for each style, such as which font you should use for each and whether they’re a proponent of the Oxford comma. We also include information on why essay formatting is important and what you should do if you’re not sure which style to use.

Why Is Your Essay Format Important?

Does it really matter which font size you use or exactly how you cite a source in your paper? It can! Style formats were developed as a way to standardize how pieces of writing and their works cited lists should look. 

Why is this necessary? Imagine you’re a teacher, researcher, or publisher who reviews dozens of papers a week. If the papers didn’t follow the same formatting rules, you could waste a lot of time trying to figure out which sources were used, if certain information is a direct quote or paraphrased, even who the paper’s author is. Having essay formatting rules to follow makes things easier for everyone involved. Writers can follow a set of guidelines without trying to decide for themselves which formatting choices are best, and readers don’t need to go hunting for the information they’re trying to find.

Next, we’ll discuss the three most common style formats for essays.

MLA Essay Format

MLA style was designed by the Modern Language Association, and it has become the most popular college essay format for students writing papers for class. It was originally developed for students and researchers in the literature and language fields to have a standardized way of formatting their papers, but it is now used by people in all disciplines, particularly humanities. MLA is often the style teachers prefer their students to use because it has simple, clear rules to follow without extraneous inclusions often not needed for school papers. For example, unlike APA or Chicago styles, MLA doesn’t require a title page for a paper, only a header in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

MLA style doesn’t have any specific requirements for how to write your essay, but an MLA format essay will typically follow the standard essay format of an introduction (ending with a thesis statement), several body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

One of the nice things about creating your works cited for MLA is that all references are structured the same way, regardless of whether they’re a book, newspaper, etc. It’s the only essay format style that makes citing references this easy! Here is a guide on how to cite any source in MLA format. When typing up your works cited, here are a few MLA format essay rules to keep in mind:

  • The works cited page should be the last paper of your paper.
  • This page should still be double-spaced and include the running header of your last name and page number.
  • It should begin with “Works Cited” at the top of the page, centered.
  • Your works cited should be organized in alphabetical order, based on the first word of the citation.

APA Essay Format

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. This format type is most often used for research papers, specifically those in behavioral sciences (such as psychology and neuroscience) and social sciences (ranging from archeology to economics). Because APA is often used for more research-focused papers, they have a more specific format to follow compared to, say, MLA style.

All APA style papers begin with a title page, which contains the title of the paper (in capital letters), your name, and your institutional affiliation (if you’re a student, then this is simply the name of the school you attend). The APA recommends the title of your paper not be longer than 12 words.

After your title page, your paper begins with an abstract. The abstract is a single paragraph, typically between 150 to 250 words, that sums up your research. It should include the topic you’re researching, research questions, methods, results, analysis, and a conclusion that touches on the significance of the research. Many people find it easier to write the abstract last, after completing the paper.

After the abstract comes the paper itself. APA essay format recommends papers be short, direct, and make their point clearly and concisely. This isn’t the time to use flowery language or extraneous descriptions. Your paper should include all the sections mentioned in the abstract, each expanded upon.

Following the paper is the list of references used. Unlike MLA style, in APA essay format, every source type is referenced differently. So the rules for referencing a book are different from those for referencing a journal article are different from those referencing an interview. Here’s a guide for how to reference different source types in APA format . Your references should begin on a new page that says “REFERENCES” at the top, centered. The references should be listed in alphabetical order.

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Chicago Essay Format

Chicago style (sometimes referred to as “Turabian style”) was developed by the University of Chicago Press and is typically the least-used by students of the three major essay style formats. The Chicago Manual of Style (currently on its 17th edition) contains within its 1000+ pages every rule you need to know for this style. This is a very comprehensive style, with a rule for everything. It’s most often used in history-related fields, although many people refer to The Chicago Manual of Style for help with a tricky citation or essay format question. Many book authors use this style as well.

Like APA, Chicago style begins with a title page, and it has very specific format rules for doing this which are laid out in the chart below. After the title page may come an abstract, depending on whether you’re writing a research paper or not. Then comes the essay itself. The essay can either follow the introduction → body → conclusion format of MLA or the different sections included in the APA section. Again, this depends on whether you’re writing a paper on research you conducted or not.

Unlike MLA or APA, Chicago style typically uses footnotes or endnotes instead of in-text or parenthetical citations. You’ll place the superscript number at the end of the sentence (for a footnote) or end of the page (for an endnote), then have an abbreviated source reference at the bottom of the page. The sources will then be fully referenced at the end of the paper, in the order of their footnote/endnote numbers. The reference page should be titled “Bibliography” if you used footnotes/endnotes or “References” if you used parenthetical author/date in-text citations.

Comparison Chart

Below is a chart comparing different formatting rules for APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.

How Should You Format Your Essay If Your Teacher Hasn’t Specified a Format?

What if your teacher hasn’t specified which essay format they want you to use? The easiest way to solve this problem is simply to ask your teacher which essay format they prefer. However, if you can’t get ahold of them or they don’t have a preference, we recommend following MLA format. It’s the most commonly-used essay style for students writing papers that aren’t based on their own research, and its formatting rules are general enough that a teacher of any subject shouldn’t have a problem with an MLA format essay. The fact that this style has one of the simplest sets of rules for citing sources is an added bonus!

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What's Next?

Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

Compound sentences are an importance sentence type to know. Read our guide on compound sentences for everything you need to know about compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

Need ideas for a research paper topic? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides explicit, specific recommendations for the margins and spacing of academic papers. (See: Document Format .) But their advice on font selection is less precise: “Always choose an easily readable typeface (e.g. Times New Roman) in which the regular style contrasts clearly with the italic, and set it to a standard size (e.g. 12 point)” ( MLA Handbook , 7th ed., §4.2).

So which fonts are “easily readable” and have “clearly” contrasting italics? And what exactly is a “standard” size?

For academic papers, an “easily readable typeface” means a serif font, and a “standard” type size is between 10 and 12 point.

Use A Serif Font

Serifs are the tiny strokes at the end of a letter’s main strokes. Serif fonts have these extra strokes; sans serif fonts do not. ( Sans is French for “without.”) Serif fonts also vary the thickness of the letter strokes more than sans serifs, which have more uniform lines.

what font should a college essay be in

Books, newspapers, and magazines typically set their main text in a serif font because they make paragraphs and long stretches of text easier to read. Sans serifs (Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Gill Sans, Verdana, and so on) work well for single lines of text, like headings or titles, but they rarely make a good choice for body text.

Moreover, most sans serifs don’t have a true italic style. Their “italics” are really just “obliques,” where the letters slant slightly to the right but keep the same shape and spacing. Most serifs, on the other hand, do have a true italic style, with distinctive letter forms and more compact spacing.

what font should a college essay be in

Since they’re more readable for long passages and have sharper contrast in their italics, you should always use a serif font for the text of an academic paper.

Use A Readable Type Size

The standard unit for measuring type size is the point . A point is 1 / 72 of an inch, roughly one pixel on a computer screen. The point size of a font tells you the size of the “em square” in which your computer displays each letter of the typeface. How tall or wide any given letter is depends on how the type designer drew it within the em square, thus a font’s height and width can vary greatly depending on the design of the typeface. That’s why if you set two fonts at the same point size, one usually looks bigger than the other.

Compare the following paragraphs, both set at 12 point but in different fonts:

what font should a college essay be in

For body text in academic papers, type sizes below 10 point are usually too small to read easily, while type sizes above 12 point tend to look oversized and bulky. So keep the text of your paper between 10 and 12 point .

Some teachers may require you to set your whole text at 12 point. Yet virtually every book, magazine, or newspaper ever printed for visually unimpaired grown-ups sets its body type smaller than 12 point. Newspapers use even smaller type sizes. The New York Times , for example, sets its body text in a perfectly legible 8.7 point font. So with proper spacing and margins, type sizes of 11 or 10 point can be quite comfortable to read.

Font Recommendations

I usually ask my students to use Century Schoolbook or Palatino for their papers. If your teacher requires you to submit your papers in a particular font, do so. (Unless they require you to use Arial , in which case drop the class.)

One thing to consider when choosing a font is how you submit your essay. When you submit a hard copy or a PDF, your reader will see the text in whatever typeface you use. Most electronic submission formats, on the other hand, can only use the fonts available on the reader’s computer. So if you submit the paper electronically, be sure to use a font your instructor has.

What follows is a list of some widely available, highly legible serif fonts well-suited for academic papers. I’ve divided them into four categories: Microsoft Word Fonts, Mac OS Fonts, Google Fonts, and Universal Fonts.

Microsoft Word Fonts

Microsoft Word comes with lots of fonts of varying quality. If your teacher asks you to submit your paper in Word format, you can safely assume they have Word and all the fonts that go with it.

what font should a college essay be in

Morris Fuller Benton designed Century Schoolbook in 1923 for elementary-school textbooks, so it’s a highly readable font. It’s one of the best fonts available with Microsoft Word. Because it’s so legible, U. S. Supreme Court Rule 33.1.b madates that all legal documents submitted to the Court be set in Century Schoolbook or a similar Century-style font.

what font should a college essay be in

Hermann Zapf designed Palatino in 1948 for titles and headings, but its elegant proportions make it a good font for body text. Named for Renaissance calligrapher Giambattista Palatino, this font has the beauty, harmony, and grace of fine handwriting. Palatino Linotype is the name of the font included with Microsoft Word; Mac OS includes a version of the same typeface called simply Palatino.

Microsoft Word includes several other fonts that can work well for academic essays: Bell MT , Californian FB , Calisto MT , Cambria , Garamond , and Goudy Old Style .

Mac OS Fonts

Apple has a well-deserved reputation for design excellence which extends to its font library. But you can’t count on any of these Mac OS fonts being on a computer that runs Windows.

what font should a college essay be in

Finding his inspiration in the typography of Pierre Simon Fournier, Matthew Carter designed Charter in 1987 to look good even on crappy mid-80s fax machines and printers. Its ability to hold up even in low resolution makes Charter work superbly well on screen. Bitstream released Charter under an open license, so you can add it to your font arsenal for free. You can download Charter here .

what font should a college essay be in

In 1991 Apple commissioned Jonathan Hoefler to design a font that could show off the Mac’s ability to handle complex typography. The result was Hoefler Text , included with every Mac since then. The bold weight of Hoefler Text on the Mac is excessively heavy, but otherwise it’s a remarkable font: compact without being cramped, formal without being stuffy, and distinctive without being obtrusive. If you have a Mac, start using it.

Other Mac OS fonts you might consider are Baskerville and Palatino .

Google Fonts

When you submit a paper using Google Docs, you can access Google’s vast library of free fonts knowing that anyone who opens it in Google Docs will have those same fonts. Unfortunately, most of those free fonts are worth exactly what you paid for them, so choose wisely.

what font should a college essay be in

IBM Plex is a super-family of typefaces designed by Mike Abbink and the Bold Monday type foundry for — you guessed it — IBM. Plex serif is a solid, legible font that borrows features from Janson and Bodoni in its design. Plex is, not surprisingly, a thoroughly corporate font that aims for and achieves a bland neutrality suitable for most research papers.

what font should a college essay be in

John Baskerville originally designed this typeface in the 1850s, employing new techniques to make sharper contrasts between thin and thick strokes in the letter forms. The crisp, elegant design has inspired dozens of subsequent versions. Libre Baskerville is based on the American Type Founder’s 1941 version, modified to make it better for on-screen reading.

Unfortunately. Google Fonts has few really good serif fonts. Some others you might consider are Crimson Pro and Spectral .

Universal Fonts

Anyone you send your document to will have these fonts because they’re built in to both Windows and Mac OS.

what font should a college essay be in

Matthew Carter designed Georgia in 1993 for maximum legibility on computer screens. Georgia looks very nice on web sites, but in print it can look a bit clunky, especially when set at 12 point. Like Times New Roman, it’s on every computer and is quite easy to read. The name “Georgia” comes from a tabloid headline: “Alien Heads Found in Georgia.”

what font should a college essay be in

Times New Roman is, for better or worse, the standard font for academic manuscripts. Many teachers require it because it’s a solid, legible, and universally available font. Stanley Morison designed it in 1931 for The Times newspaper of London, so it’s a very efficient font and legible even at very small sizes. Times New Roman is always a safe choice. But unless your instructor requires it, you should probably use something a bit less overworked.

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What format should I use for my college essay?

Read the prompt and essay instructions thoroughly to learn how to start off a college essay. Some colleges provide guidance about formatting. If not, the best course of action is to stick with a college standard like the MLA format.

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what font should a college essay be in

7 Best Fonts For University Essays

7 Best Fonts For University Essays

When it comes to writing essays for university, the type of font you use can be just as important as the content itself. Different fonts can help set the tone and create a specific mood or atmosphere. Today, we’ll discuss seven of the best fonts to use for your college essays. These fonts are professional yet easy to read, so they’ll help you produce a high-quality paper that will definitely impress your professor!

What are the best fonts for academic essays?

When it comes to university essays, there are a few things that are more important than the font. The content, of course, is the essential part. But the font can also be important, as it can help to set the tone of the essay and make it more visually appealing. As you might already know, some fonts are better suited for academic works than others.

For example, Times New Roman is a classic choice that conveys seriousness and sophistication; but if you want to add a little personality to your essay, you could try a handwriting font like Comic Sans. Anyway, the best font for your school essay is the one that makes your work look its best. So experiment with different fonts until you find the perfect match. And if you’re still not sure what font to use, contact an essay help professional and ask them for advice. Sometimes getting the help we need can easily solve the issue we’re experiencing.

Why is font selection important when writing an essay?

Just as a well-tailored suit can make you look more professional, the right font can make your writing appear more polished. Of course, there’s more to font selection than simply finding something that looks good on the page. For instance, a playful script font might be appropriate for a casual invitation, but it would look out of place in a formal business letter. Likewise, a serious serif font would be inappropriate for a child’s homework assignment.

What are some of the most common types of fonts used in academic papers?

There’s no need to get too fancy when it comes to fonts for academic papers. In most cases, simple is best. Here are seven of the most common types used in academic writings:

  • Times New Roman: This classic serif font is a go-to for many writers. It’s easy to read and has a timeless look.
  • Arial: A popular sans serif font, Arial is also easy to read and works well for long paragraphs of text.
  • Calibri: Another sans serif font, Calibri is slightly more modern than Arial and is a good choice for papers that need to make a strong visual impact.
  • Courier: Courier is a classic monospaced font that works well for lengthy blocks of text, such as code or large tables.
  • Helvetica: Helvetica is another popular sans serif font that exudes professionalism and simplicity.
  • Georgia: Georgia is a beautiful serif font with a slightly more playful feel than Times New Roman. It’s perfect for papers that need a touch of personality.
  • Comic Sans : Comic Sans might not be appropriate for all academic papers, but it can be used sparingly to add visual interest or levity to an otherwise dry subject matter. Just use caution with this one – too much Comic Sans can be overwhelming!

How can you choose the right font for your paper’s tone and style?

The font you choose should be legible and appropriate for the tone of your paper. For instance, a formal research paper would benefit from a more serious font, while a lighthearted personal essay could be written in a playful script. In the end, the best way to choose the right font is to experiment with different options until you find one that feels right for your project, as explained above.

What should you avoid when selecting a font for your essay?

While there are a few general guidelines you can follow, ultimately it comes down to personal preference (and the whims of your teacher). That being said, there are a few things you should avoid when selecting a font for your essay.

  • Steer clear of any fancy script fonts – they may look nice, but they’re hard to read and will likely decrease your chances of getting a good grade.
  • Avoid using excessively small or large fonts; stick to something that’s easy on the eyes and won’t annoy your reader.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit – try out different fonts and see which one works best for you.

Choosing the right font for your university essay is important. The type you choose should be legible, appropriate for the tone of your paper, and easy on the eyes. When in doubt, experiment with different fonts until you find the perfect match.

What are some of your favorite fonts? Let us know in the comments below!

Frequently asked questions

What font and font size is used in apa format.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

  • Times New Roman (12pt.)
  • Arial (11pt.)
  • Calibri (11pt.)
  • Georgia (11pt.)

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

Frequently asked questions: APA Style

APA footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in numerical order. You can place footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, or on a separate footnotes page at the end:

  • For footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes .
  • For footnotes at the end of the text in APA, place them on a separate page entitled “Footnotes,” after the r eference page . Indent the first line of each footnote, and double-space them.

For both approaches, place a space between the superscript number and the footnote text.

APA Style requires you to use APA in-text citations , not footnotes, to cite sources .

However, you can use APA footnotes sparingly for two purposes:

  • Giving additional information
  • Providing copyright attribution

Yes, APA language guidelines state that you should always use the serial comma (aka Oxford comma ) in your writing.

This means including a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list of three or more items: “spelling, grammar, and punctuation.” Doing this consistently tends to make your lists less ambiguous.

Yes, it’s perfectly valid to write sentences in the passive voice . The APA language guidelines do caution against overusing the passive voice, because it can obscure your meaning or be needlessly long-winded. For this reason, default to the active voice in most cases.

The passive voice is most useful when the point of the sentence is just to state what was done, not to emphasize who did it. For example, “The projector was mounted on the wall” is better than “James and I mounted the projector on the wall” if it’s not particularly important who mounted the projector.

Yes, APA language guidelines encourage you to use the first-person pronouns “I” or “we” when referring to yourself or a group including yourself in your writing.

In APA Style, you should not refer to yourself in the third person. For example, do not refer to yourself as “the researcher” or “the author” but simply as “I” or “me.” Referring to yourself in the third person is still common practice in some academic fields, but APA Style rejects this convention.

If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.

If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).

To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and  the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .

According to the APA guidelines, you should report enough detail on inferential statistics so that your readers understand your analyses.

Report the following for each hypothesis test:

  • the test statistic value
  • the degrees of freedom
  • the exact p value (unless it is less than 0.001)
  • the magnitude and direction of the effect

You should also present confidence intervals and estimates of effect sizes where relevant.

The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.

Use one decimal place for:

  • Standard deviations
  • Descriptive statistics based on discrete data

Use two decimal places for:

  • Correlation coefficients
  • Proportions
  • Inferential test statistics such as t values, F values, and chi-squares.

No, including a URL is optional in APA Style reference entries for legal sources (e.g. court cases , laws ). It can be useful to do so to aid the reader in retrieving the source, but it’s not required, since the other information included should be enough to locate it.

Generally, you should identify a law in an APA reference entry by its location in the United States Code (U.S.C.).

But if the law is either spread across various sections of the code or not featured in the code at all, include the public law number in addition to information on the source you accessed the law in, e.g.:

You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.

In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.

  • Describe all relevant participant or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures used and the sample size and power .
  • Define all primary and secondary measures and discuss the quality of measurements.
  • Specify the data collection methods, the research design and data analysis strategy, including any steps taken to transform the data and statistical analyses.

With APA legal citations, it’s recommended to cite all the reporters (publications reporting cases) in which a court case appears. To cite multiple reporters, just separate them with commas in your reference entry . This is called parallel citation .

Don’t repeat the name of the case, court, or year; just list the volume, reporter, and page number for each citation. For example:

In APA Style , when you’re citing a recent court case that has not yet been reported in print and thus doesn’t have a specific page number, include a series of three underscores (___) where the page number would usually appear:

In APA style, statistics can be presented in the main text or as tables or figures . To decide how to present numbers, you can follow APA guidelines:

  • To present three or fewer numbers, try a sentence,
  • To present between 4 and 20 numbers, try a table,
  • To present more than 20 numbers, try a figure.

Since these are general guidelines, use your own judgment and feedback from others for effective presentation of numbers.

In an APA results section , you should generally report the following:

  • Participant flow and recruitment period.
  • Missing data and any adverse events.
  • Descriptive statistics about your samples.
  • Inferential statistics , including confidence intervals and effect sizes.
  • Results of any subgroup or exploratory analyses, if applicable.

When citing a podcast episode in APA Style , the podcast’s host is listed as author , accompanied by a label identifying their role, e.g. Glass, I. (Host).

When citing a whole podcast series, if different episodes have different hosts, list the executive producer(s) instead. Again, include a label identifying their role, e.g. Lechtenberg, S. (Producer).

Like most style guides , APA recommends listing the book of the Bible you’re citing in your APA in-text citation , in combination with chapter and verse numbers. For example:

Books of the Bible may be abbreviated to save space; a list of standard abbreviations can be found here . Page numbers are not used in Bible citations.

Yes, in the 7th edition of APA Style , versions of the Bible are treated much like other books ; you should include the edition you used in your reference list .

Previously, in the 6th edition of the APA manual, it was recommended to just use APA 6 in-text citations to refer to the Bible, and omit it from the reference list.

To make it easy for the reader to find the YouTube video , list the person or organization who uploaded the video as the author in your reference entry and APA in-text citation .

If this isn’t the same person responsible for the content of the video, you might want to make this clear in the text. For example:

When you need to highlight a specific moment in a video or audio source, use a timestamp in your APA in-text citation . Just include the timestamp from the start of the part you’re citing. For example:

To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:

  • Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
  • Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
  • The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.

Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.

If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.

If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also include copyright information in the note for the table or figure, and include an APA in-text citation when you refer to it.

Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.

An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.

  • The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .

In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).

Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…

On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).

Popular word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs can order lists in alphabetical order, but they don’t follow the APA Style alphabetization guidelines .

If you use Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator to create citations, references are ordered automatically based on the APA guidelines, taking into account all the exceptions.

Order numerals as though they were spelled out:

  • “20 tips to relax” is ordered on the “T” of “Twenty”.
  • “100 cities you should visit” is ordered on the “O” of “One hundred”.

Read more about alphabetizing the APA reference page .

If the author of a work is unknown, order the reference by its title. Disregard the words “A”, “An”, and “The” at the beginning of the title.

  • The privacy concerns around social media
  • Teens, social media, and privacy

Yes, if relevant you can and should include APA in-text citations in your appendices . Use author-date citations as you do in the main text.

Any sources cited in your appendices should appear in your reference list . Do not create a separate reference list for your appendices.

When you include more than one appendix in an APA Style paper , they should be labeled “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” and so on.

When you only include a single appendix, it is simply called “Appendix” and referred to as such in the main text.

Appendices in an APA Style paper appear right at the end, after the reference list and after your tables and figures if you’ve also included these at the end.

An appendix contains information that supplements the reader’s understanding of your research but is not essential to it. For example:

  • Interview transcripts
  • Questionnaires
  • Detailed descriptions of equipment

Something is only worth including as an appendix if you refer to information from it at some point in the text (e.g. quoting from an interview transcript). If you don’t, it should probably be removed.

If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents , and are presented in a similar way.

In an APA Style paper , use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.

Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:

  • Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
  • Is it important to your arguments?
  • Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?

If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix ). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.

In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).

An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.

In APA Style , all sources that are not retrievable for the reader are cited as personal communications . In other words, if your source is private or inaccessible to the audience of your paper , it’s a personal communication.

Common examples include conversations, emails, messages, letters, and unrecorded interviews or performances.

Interviews you conducted yourself are not included in your reference list , but instead cited in the text as personal communications .

Published or recorded interviews are included in the reference list. Cite them in the usual format of the source type (for example, a newspaper article , website or YouTube video ).

To cite a public post from social media , use the first 20 words of the post as a title, include the date it was posted and a URL, and mention the author’s username if they have one:

Dorsey, J. [@jack]. (2018, March 1). We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616

To cite content from social media that is not publicly accessible (e.g. direct messages, posts from private groups or user profiles), cite it as a personal communication in the text, but do not include it in the reference list :

When contacted online, the minister stated that the project was proceeding “according to plan” (R. James, Twitter direct message, March 25, 2017).

When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:

(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).

Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.

If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.

However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html

The 7th edition APA Manual , published in October 2019, is the most current edition. However, the 6th edition, published in 2009, is still used by many universities and journals.

The APA Manual 7th edition can be purchased at Amazon as a hardcover, paperback or spiral-bound version. You can also buy an ebook version at RedShelf .

The American Psychological Association anticipates that most people will start using the 7th edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter.

It’s best to ask your supervisor or check the website of the journal you want to publish in to see which APA guidelines you should follow.

If you’re citing from an edition other than the first (e.g. a 2nd edition or revised edition), the edition appears in the reference, abbreviated in parentheses after the book’s title (e.g. 2nd ed. or Rev. ed.).

In the 7th edition of the APA manual, no location information is required for publishers. The 6th edition previously required you to include the city and state where the publisher was located, but this is no longer the case.

In an APA reference list , journal article citations include only the year of publication, not the exact date, month, or season.

The inclusion of volume and issue numbers makes a more specific date unnecessary.

In an APA journal citation , if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it.

If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.

If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a website other than a database (for example, the journal’s own website), include a URL linking to the article.

You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry .

When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:

Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).

Include the DOI at the very end of the APA reference entry . If you’re using the 6th edition APA guidelines, the DOI is preceded by the label “doi:”. In the 7th edition , the DOI is preceded by ‘https://doi.org/’.

  • 6th edition: doi: 10.1177/0894439316660340
  • 7th edition: https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0894439316660340

APA citation example (7th edition)

Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2016). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review , 35 (5), 576–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439316660340

When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).

If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:

  • Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
  • Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
  • Abbreviated heading:  ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)

Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.

If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.

Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.

No publication date

If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).

The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:

Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

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Writing A College Application Essay

College Application Essay Format

Cathy A.

College Application Essay Format - A Comprehensive Guide with Examples

11 min read

Published on: Feb 22, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 22, 2023

College Application Essay Format

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Are you struggling to write a college admission essay that stands out from the rest? Do you find it challenging to format your essay correctly and worry about whether your essay topic is compelling enough?

You're not alone! 

Many students face the same challenges when it comes to crafting an impressive college application essay . The fear of making a mistake in formatting or choosing the wrong topic can be overwhelming.

But fear not!

In this blog post, we'll provide you with expert guidance and practical tips to overcome these challenges. You'll learn how to format your essay that captures the attention of admissions officers and increases your chances of receiving that coveted acceptance letter.

We'll cover everything you need to know, from the essential elements of a successful college admission essay to the nitty-gritty details of formatting. 

Let's get started on your journey to college acceptance!

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What is a College Application Essay Format? 

A college application essay format isn't just a set of rules; it is the blueprint for presenting your unique story and qualifications to admissions committees. 

It holds a crucial role as it's often the initial impression committee officers get from your application.

Let’s say you're instructed to use a specific format, such as MLA or APA, but you pay no attention to these guidelines. This sends a message that you might struggle with basic instructions, potentially leading the examiner to bypass your personal statement .

Conversely, when you precisely adhere to the essay format, it accomplishes two crucial things. 

  • Firstly, it showcases your ability to comprehend and follow requirements, leaving a positive impression on the admissions team.
  • Secondly, it sets the stage for a well-structured narrative about your identity, aspirations, and how you can contribute to the college community.

How To Format A College Application Essay?

Formatting can feel overwhelming for many high school students when they're writing a college application essay. It's because they often don't know how to structure it properly.

To make this less daunting, we've gathered some essential steps for you. 

1. The Standard Writing Format

A college essay typically follows a simple format consisting of three main sections:

  • College Application Essay Introduction

Begin your essay by introducing yourself and the specific college application essay prompt you're addressing.

Don't forget to include a thesis statement that highlights the main idea of your essay.

Choosing an impressive topic and outlining your thoughts is essential, but remember that the admission essay is all about showcasing who you are as a person.

  • College Application Essay Body

The body of your college essay is where you delve into the details, and it requires time and effort.

Connect your chosen topic seamlessly to the main theme of the essay to make it easy for the reader to follow.

Support your ideas with relevant facts, evidence, and examples to lend credibility to your essay.

College Application Essay Conclusion

Your essay's conclusion is your final opportunity to demonstrate why you're the most deserving candidate for admission.

These three sections work together to create a compelling college essay that tells your unique story and makes a strong case for your admission.

Have a look at the below examples to understand the essay writing format properly.

College Admission Essay Format

College Application Essay Paragraph Format

2. Font Size/Style, Margins, and Line Spacing

When it comes to formatting your college application essay, simplicity is key. Here are some important formatting tips to follow for different types of college essay formats:

Font Size and Style:

  • Stick with a clean and easy-to-read font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.
  • Use a 12-point font size, as it's the standard for college essays.

Word Count:

  • Typically, the Common Application suggests a word count between 250 and 650 words. 
  • Ensure that your essay falls within this range to meet the application requirements.
  • Leave a one-inch margin on all sides of each page. This provides a neat and organized appearance to your essay.

Line Spacing:

  • Opt for either 1.5 or double spacing. This makes your essay easier to read and allows space for comments if needed.
  • Use a tab at the beginning of each paragraph for proper indentation.

Alignment :

  • Keep your text left-aligned for a clean and consistent look in your college application essay.

By adhering to these formatting guidelines, you'll ensure that your essay looks professional and is easy for admissions officers to read and evaluate.

3. Page Headings 

Most institutions follow a standard format for the application process. Here's how you should format your essay heading:

  • Name: Your name should appear on the first line.
  • Course Instructor/Supervisor: The second line should contain the name of your course instructor or supervisor.
  • Title and Course Code: The third line should include the title of your essay, along with the course code.
  • Submission Date: The last line should indicate the submission date.

Here's an example of how it should look:

4. College Application Essay Title

Your college application paper titles should be centered and positioned below the headings. After typing the title, press the "Enter" key twice to start the paragraphs.

Keep in mind that a well-structured heading is an essential component of your college essay. It provides a professional appearance and helps organize your essay effectively.

Refer to the below example to get a comprehensive idea of the concept.

College Admissions Essay Format Heading Example

5. Citation Style

Admission essays require specific citation styles, and the most commonly used and instructed styles include MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard. It's essential to follow these guidelines accurately to ensure your paper is properly cited and meets the required standards.

 Here, we have mentioned a complete college essay template for you.

College Admission Essay Format Template

Check out this informative video to learn more about perfecting your college essays!

College Application Essay Format Examples

Here are some common app college essay format examples for you to get a better idea.

College Application Essay Format Sample

College Application Essay Format Example

MLA Format For College Application Essay

College Format Common App Essay

College Essay Format APA

In case you need some more samples, check out our college application essay examples blog.

College Application Essay Formatting Tips

When it comes to crafting your college application essay, consider these expert tips for a successful and well-structured essay:

  • Use Simple Sentences: Keep your sentences short and straightforward to make your essay easy to read and understand.
  • Active Voice: Use an active voice to convey your ideas and engage your reader effectively.
  • Understand the Prompt: Thoroughly grasp the essay prompt before you start writing to ensure you address it correctly.
  • No Prompt at the Top: Avoid writing the prompt at the top of your essay; instead, dive right into your response.
  • Stay on Topic: Keep your essay title and subtitle in mind to maintain a clear connection to the main topic.
  • Structured Essay: Ensure your essay follows a clear structure. It's helpful to create a college application essay outline before you begin writing.
  • Strong Title: Choose a captivating essay title that encapsulates the essence of your work and its main idea.
  • Conclusion Matters: Pay close attention to your essay's conclusion; it should effectively summarize the entire content.
  • Word Count Check: Double-check the specified word count required by the admissions counselors, typically ranging from 250 to 650 words.

To sum up, formatting your college application essay correctly is crucial. It's not just about your experiences and achievements; it's about how you present them. 

A well-structured and properly formatted essay can make a significant difference in your application's success.

If you need help perfecting it, reach out to us. Our custom essay writing service can assist you with your admission essay. We help you make a strong impression on the admissions committee. 

Contact our college admission essay writing service today to secure your academic future!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do college essays need titles.

A college essay's title is its most important part. It tells readers what the paper will be about and hints at how creative it can have been in writing style. 

What should you not say in a college essay?

Ten things students write in a college essay that should be avoided:

  • Never write on a 'subject.'
  • Never give in to your thoughts.
  • Never begin with a prologue.
  • Never, ever finish a story with the words ‘happily ever after.’
  • Never repeat your academic and extracurricular activities.
  • Never, ever pontificate.
  • Never be afraid to express yourself.
  • Never, ever offer TMI.
  • Never expose your writing to an excessive number of individuals.
  • Never, ever over-edit your essay.

Does a college application essay have to be 5 paragraphs?

No, a college application essay does not have to be 5 paragraphs. While the traditional 5-paragraph essay structure can be used, it's not a strict requirement.

What is the structure of the common app essay?

The Common App essay is flexible, with a word count of 250-650 words, and students choose from various prompts to structure their essays.

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What are the best fonts for college essays?

One choice that students will have to make when completing college essays is the font. Now, this may not appear like an important factor, however it can make a substantial difference to the presentation of your essay. Some college essay tasks will have a style guide, whereas others will allow students to choose the font. No matter what subject you are doing the essay for or what year of college you are in, the font should always be taken seriously. In this article, we will show you what are the best fonts for college essays.

Times New Roman

The first font that you should be aware of is Times New Roman. This is the default font for many college essays, and it is also one that is considered the standard in APA, MLA, Chicago, and other referencing styles. This is the most commonly used font, and it is considered fairly formal.

It is a serif typeface font that is hugely popular even outside of academia. It has a fantastic reputation, and it is known as a font that is both professional and easy on the eye. If you are unsure of which font to use, then Times New Roman is always a reliable option. This is true especially if the essay will be printed out, since the font looks excellent on paper.

Another well known font is Arial. In contrast to Times New Roman, it is a sans-serif typeface. This is a clean font that is both professional and neutral. It is easy to read which makes it an appealing font choice for college essays. It is also a font which immediately grabs the attention of the reader which makes it a solid choice if you want to impress your professor.

what font should a college essay be in

For a combination of modern and classic, Calibri is the font to choose. Calibri has become the new default font for many word processing software. This is because it looks easy on the eye when it is on a computer. If your essay will be submitted online, then this can be a perfect choice of font. It is a clear font that is both straightforward and easy to read.

Another traditional font that is well worth considering, is Georgia. This is another font that looks fantastic on screen, but not so amazing on paper. This font has a classic feel, and was designed to be used on the screen. You can consider using it to make your essays seem more professional and presentable.

Closing Thoughts

Presentation is just as important as the content. Firstly, it is vital to read the instructions of your college essay. Make sure that you fully understand the requirements, and follow the font guidelines if they are given. If there is a choice to be made, you will have a better idea of the best fonts for college essays. These fonts will allow your work to be easily readable, and they will make the best impression.

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How To Format a College Essay? A Comprehensive Guide

EssayEdge > Blog > How To Format a College Essay? A Comprehensive Guide

Applicants often forget about formatting a college essay, believing that only the content does matter. But what if we say that inappropriate college application essay format often becomes the main reason for a big failure? A college essay editor can help you create your document because they understand how the college paper format affects the entire text.

EssayEdge experts have analyzed various types of college essay formats to choose the best for your admission process.

Table of Contents:

College Paper Formatting Tip Number One: Define Your Topic

Choosing a topic is the first task to start formatting your essay. The topic is provided by your choice of college or university. The way you describe your story will considerably affect how the commission responds to you. To impress them, you need to choose the format that can best reveal you as a person.

It’s probably easiest to ask friends and family what idea they have of you. By collecting opinions, you can form an adequate opinion about yourself. Your loved ones can certainly tell you about your character because they spend a lot of time with you. This way, you may even get ideas for a story when a friend mentions a bright moment together, long lost in your memory.

The important thing is that you should not choose some pompous event, the best of the best. You can describe ordinary days, and dialogues with people. In general, the format is unlimited. Often unusual essays attract much more attention than the usual ones. But do not forget that your mission is to show your uniqueness.

Outline Your Work

At first, your format of work is to structure ideas, selecting the best ones. It is most profitable to start writing in advance, with the opportunity to choose another option.

College Essay Word Limit

Often there is a word limit on your college essay. Sometimes this is not indicated in the assignment. However, experts in the selection committee recommend sticking to about 500-650 words. Nevertheless, many tasks may still give you a different word limit. In this case, you should follow the instructions without violating the minimum or maximum word limits.

College Essay Structure Format

The truth is that, as we said earlier, you can choose the format of the structure yourself. Yet, it’s often best to lean on something familiar by resorting to the standard format, which consists of:

  • Introduction

Also, you better think about how to come up with a title. The headline should be catchy and be a kind of hook, but do not overdo it. Stick to the topic of your essay.

It doesn’t matter what your story is. Almost all of them have a beginning, development, and end. You can indeed manipulate all these parts however you like. But remember to stick to the limit.

Your essay must be an independent text, without understatement. Also, don’t make the writing too confusing. The commission is unlikely to puzzle over the essay, trying to decipher it.

How to Format Headings?

Usually, it depends on the formatting style. But if no formatting style is required, then you need to include such information:

  • Name of the instructor/supervisor
  • Course/Academic Program
  • Date of submission

Should I Use College Essay Templates?

College essay templates can be found online. This template contains instructions on how to format a college application essay and what to write in each paragraph. We strongly recommend that you do not use templates. Your essay will look trite and boring. You have to think of many ideas on your own.

However, instead of using templates for your college essay, we encourage you to conduct research. You can find applicants’ blogs or read many sample essays to grow your imagination and experience.

How Should a College Application Essay Be Formatted

First of all, ensure that your document corresponds to the rudimentary college format essay requirements. Here are the main things to check:

  • The margins are usually 1 inch;
  • Line spacing can be single or double-spaced;
  • As for the paragraphs, make an indentation for the first line in each paragraph (use a tab);
  • Fonts should be standard (Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial are among the frequently used ones);
  • The font size 12 is the best choice to make the text readable;
  • The text should be left-aligned (instead of the title, which is centered).

Should I Use a Paper Format?

Many colleges and universities allow candidates to submit their essays by mail. But the truth is that many schools prefer to receive writings by email. It significantly simplifies their work. In addition, it is still better to choose the preferred method of delivering the essay.

In addition, by sending your essay by email, you deprive yourself of the fear that the delivery will fail. Of course, it happens that emails are accidentally lost or may arrive at a different address. However, such incidents are much less than problems with mail. Digitalization has considerably simplified the process of filing documents and essays.

How to format text if…

If i will be copy-and-pasting into a text box:.

Copying and pasting an essay can mess up the spacing between paragraphs. So make sure all paragraphs are separated by tabs or line breaks if tabs don’t work.

The font will probably be standardized, but if not, choose a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial (choices may be limited) and choose a normal size (12 pt).

Formatting such as bold and italics may be lost when copying and pasting. Bold and italics also may not work in text fields and are not recommended.

It is also worth mentioning that when transferring an essay, your text may lose many characters. Unfortunately, they may even be replaced. Therefore, it is worth checking the finished text again.

Need help? Check out EssayEdge editing services:

If I use Microsoft Word (.DOC) format

Luckily, you can open Word in almost any text program. If you send your essay as a download, you will most likely submit a .doc or .docx file. The downside is that MS Word files are editable. Also, conflicts can occur between different versions of MS Word (2010, 2016, and Office 365).

If I use PDF format

It is worth using the PDF format to leave the essay view intact. It allows you to preserve all characters. Moreover, no one can edit your text. It is a great tactic, but it is worth making sure you are legally allowed to deliver the document this way. Some schools may not be ready to receive PDF essays.

If I write MLA

It is also possible to choose MLA or APA college application essay format if you send it as a file. Here are the main characteristics of the MLA style:

  • There should be an identification header (Your full name, Professor’s name, Course, Date)
  • Add the surname and a page number in the upper right corner of the document
  • The title should be centered and in title case, but not bolded, underlined, italicized, and so on
  • Indent the first line in the paragraph by using «Tab»
  • To format a college essay correctly, use a double space
  • Make 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Do not forget to add one space after the punctuation marks

MLA Formatting: Main Features to Consider

If I write APA

  • No running head is needed according to the new 7th edition
  • The page number is right-aligned
  • Margins, spacing, and indentation are the same as in MLA formatting college essay style;
  • The title should be centered, bolded, and in title case, but not in caps, italicized, or underlined

APA Formatting Guide

Title of the Essay Format

Add the title page that contains several items (all are centered):

  • The title of the essay is placed 3-4 lines below the margin
  • 1-2 blank lines
  • Student’s name
  • Affiliation
  • Professor’s name

Additional College Essay Formatting Tips:

Do not include the title if it is the same as the essay prompt. This way, you will waste your word count;

Do not write a wall of text. It makes your essay format college paper look like a mess. Divide the main body into several paragraphs.

Avoid writing sentence by sentence without transitions. Add linkage between the sentences and paragraphs.

Find someone you trust to read your essay and give you constructive feedback. It could be a trusted teacher, parent, school counselor, or college student. It is best to choose someone familiar with the purpose of the college essay.

Don’t let anyone else write this essay for you. No one will tell about you the way you tell yourself. In addition, you will not be able to answer later during the interview. Instead, you can turn to EssayEdge for help editing your college essay.

Use a real example. Add events and vivid details from your life. It will add color and persuasiveness to your personal statement. Your example shows that you embody the traits valued by the university.

Bottom Line

Essay writing is a skill that is easy to learn but hard to master. While not a very exciting part of the applicant’s experience, it is best not to skip it. Formatting improves readability and makes the essay easier to understand. When citation style, heading format, or other factors are constantly changing, it draws extra attention, and the reader’s concentration on the text is reduced. Therefore, to avoid such problems, applicants should start practicing in advance, and find a professional editor if necessary.

Robin W. - professional essay editor and proofreader

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ENG 1002 Writing Resources | R. Rambo Home Page

English Composition 2

The proper format for essays.

Below are guidelines for the formatting of essays based on recommendations from the MLA (the Modern Language Association).

  • Fonts : Your essay should be word processed in 12-point Times New Roman fonts.
  • Double space : Your entire essay should be double spaced, with no single spacing anywhere and no extra spacing anywhere. There should not be extra spaces between paragraphs.
  • Heading : In the upper left corner of the first page of your essay, you should type your name, the instructor's name, your class, and the date, as follows: Your Name Mr. Rambo ENG 1002-100 24 February 2017
  • Margins : According to the MLA, your essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right. However, for this course, just keep the default margins in Word.
  • Page Numbers : Your last name and the page number should appear in the upper right corner of each page of your essay, including the first page, as in Jones 3 . Insert your name and the page number as a "header." Do not type this information where the text of your essay should be.
  • Title : Your essay should include a title. The title should be centered and should appear under the heading information on the first page and above the first line of your essay. The title should be in the same fonts as the rest of your essay, with no quotation marks, no underlining, no italics, and no bold.
  • Indentation : The first line of each paragraph should be indented. According to the MLA, this indentation should be 1/2 inch or five spaces, but pressing [Tab] once should give you the correct indentation.

Putting all of the above together, you should have a first page that looks like the following:

Copyright Randy Rambo , 2019.

Essay writing: Formatting

  • Introductions
  • Conclusions
  • Analysing questions
  • Planning & drafting
  • Revising & editing
  • Proofreading
  • Essay writing videos

Jump to content on this page:

Essays are formal documents and should look professional Advice from the Skills Team

Whilst there are no hard rules about how you format essays, there are some conventions and common practices that are best to follow. If you use the settings on this page, you will produce an acceptably formatted essay.

Document layout

Visual display of the information on this page.

Margins - between 2 cm and 2.54 cm (1 inch) all around.

Line spacing - either 1.5 or double-line spacing.

Paragraph spacing - either 1 clear line between or at least 8 pt space after each paragraph (more if double-line spaced)

Alignment - left aligned (fully justified with a straight right-edge is not recommended as this reduces readability and accessibility). Some longer essays may require subheadings which should also be left-aligned.

Indents - no indents on first lines of paragraphs are needed.

It is also good practice to put your student number and module number in the header of the document and a page number at the bottom of the page.

Text formatting

Font - the default font that comes with MS Word (currently Calibri) is fine for academic work. You may see persistent advice in handbooks that suggests you should use Times New Roman or Arial. If you prefer these, you can change it - but this is no longer a requirement.

Font size - fonts should be 11 or 12 point.

Font style - headings and subheadings, if they are required (most essays will not use them), are usually formatted in bold and should be at least 2 point sizes larger than the standard text. Underlining should be avoided as this is seen as rather dated. Some text can be formatted in italics - see our page  Italics, when to use them , for guidance.

Shorter quotations in the text do not need to be italicised and should have double-quotations marks "like this" to indicate they are direct quotations. Longer quotations (what counts as this differs depending on your referencing style) should be created in their own paragraph, single spaced and indented by 1cm from both left and right margins:

For example:

Graduate attributes for employability are described as:

a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. (Yorke, 2006)

The main change in this definition compared to the earlier definition of graduate attributes from Bowden (2000) is that that the attributes are no longer ...

UoH Harvard/APA

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by author surname) and single line spaced. There should be a clear line space (or at least 6 pt space) between each reference. All references should be left-aligned with no indentation. For information about how to format individual references, see the Harvard Hull Referencing Guide.

UoH Footnotes

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by first author surname) and single line spaced.  All references should be left-aligned and have a hanging indent (all but the first line are indented by approx. 1cm). For information about how to format individual references, see the  Footnotes Hull Referencing Guide.

Other referencing styles

Please see your individual departmental guidance.

We provide here a Microsoft Word template that can be used for your essays. It has the correct layout and formatting, including useful styles.

  • Essay template

Download this template to somewhere you can access easily. When you click to open it, it will open a new document based on the template , leaving the original intact.

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The Study Blog : Tips

What is the best font for a college essay.

By Evans May 23, 2020

The best font for a college essay is Times New Romans, Font 12

The font you use when writing academic papers should have two main properties: it should be readable and it should have clearly contrasting italics. Taking these into account, this is my recommendation:

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Use a Serif Font

Serifs are the tiny strokes that extend on letters. Using this definition, serif fonts have the tiny strokes extending on their letters while sans serif fonts don’t have them.

You may also like: The little secret why your friends are earning better grades

Examples of sans serif fonts are Ariel, Calibri, Verdana, and Helvetica, among others. These fonts don’t have true italics. Rather, their letters in italics are just slightly slanted to the right. For this reason, they don’t make for good body text. However, they are recommended for headings and single-line texts.

On the other hand, serif fonts have clearly defined italics with a sharper contract and are more readable for longer passages. For this reasons, they are recommended for use in the writing of academic papers. Examples of serif fonts are Times New Roman, Courier, Palatino and New Century Schoolbook. The best font for a college essay is Times New Roman.

The Type Size Should Be Readable

This is basically saying that the size of the font you choose should be big enough for you to read it comfortably without straining. This size is measured using the “point”. The point is basically the percentage of the screen that the letter(s) are occupying. One point is equivalent to approximately one pixel on a computer screen.

When writing academic papers, the recommended font size is between 10 to 12 points. These sizes make your text easy to read without necessarily looking bulky and oversized.

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what font should a college essay be in

Margins and Paragraphs

Your margins’ minimum size should be 2.5cm while the maximum should be 3cm. This can be edited from the “Page Layout” tool.

On the other hand, the choice of using an indent is dependent on the type of academic paper you are writing. If required, use the tab tool, to make your indent. This is equivalent to approximately 1.27cm.

Your paragraphs should have a Double or a 1.5 spacing. This spacing ensures that your words are neither too cramped together nor are they too spaced out. They are therefore easily readable.

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What’s the right scholarship essay format and structure?

Many scholarships require you to submit at least one essay–and maybe you’ve already got that covered . But now you’re wondering: how should your essay be formatted? Should it be double-spaced or single-spaced? Should you include a title? Should you include the prompt? What does a typical scholarship essay format look like?

Although you don’t have to worry about essay formatting at Going Merry ( we’ll structure and submit your application for you , with our pre-filled forms!), maybe you’re also applying to some other scholarships too. So we’re here to help you understand how to format your scholarship essay.

Where do I start? 

Does a scholarship essay need a title , how should a scholarship essay be formatted what font should i use , how should a scholarship essay be structured can i get a template or outline, scholarship essay format at a glance, should scholarship essays be double-spaced , start writing.

Scholarship essay format research

You’ll need to dive into a personal experience or tell your story of an accomplishment, a hobby, an interest to the scholarship provider, showing them your experience with a structured and descriptive essay. Create an outline of your essay (this can be old school, with pen and paper!), write it out, and then ensure you’re formatting it professionally and properly.  (Need more scholarship essay tips? Try these.)

This depends on the essay submission format.

If there is a text box entry, you can just copy and paste the body of your essay, without a title. This is the case, for example, when applying for scholarships through Going Merry .

If you’re attaching an essay as a Word or PDF document, you can optionally include a title, but this is usually unnecessary unless there are special scholarship essay format instructions to do so. (One popular reason you might need to do this is if the prompt is to write about any topic of your choice, or to choose your own prompt. In this case, to give the reader more context before you begin your essay, a title may be helpful.)

If you are required to create a title, we recommend doing one of two things:

  • Think of a title early on. Write down that title, write your essay, and then circle back to the title to tweak it as needed. -OR-
  • Write your essay and then come up with a title . Your creativity might be fresher once you’ve answered the prompt and included the meat and potatoes of the scholarship essay, which might help you come up with a suitable title at the end.

Also, don’t stress! While a clever title can improve your essay, it’s hardly a make-or-break. A very descriptive title that summarizes the prompt would work fine, as long as your essay is strong. 

Relatedly, you don’t need to include the essay question or prompt at the top of your essay. The scholarship committee will know what the topic or prompt is!

(Want inspiration from winners? Check out these winning scholarship essays .)

Scholarship essay format tips

If you’re writing your essay in a document to upload to your Going Merry profile , or to submit to a scholarship application on a provider’s website , and the scholarship provider doesn’t have explicit guidelines, it’s best to just follow a standard professional style and format. That means using 1-inch page margins, 12-point font size double-spaced (or 1.5 spaced), and a “standard” font like Times New Roman in classic (default) black. Don’t get creative with fonts or colors here. You want the content of your essay to be what stands out, rather than your unorthodox formatting.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how to best structure a good scholarship essay. In fact, you can see how wide-ranging these winning essays are. In fact, how to best answer and structure your essay depends partially on the essay and partially on your personal writing style. 

However, one pretty common way of structuring your scholarship essay is how Going Merry winner John Flowers Jr did it . Here’s the template/outline:

  • Introduction (1-2 paragraphs) : Draw the audience in with an attention-grabbing opening sentence related to the prompt. Introduce your main points that you’ll be sharing later in your essay.
  • Example of an opening sentence from a Going Merry scholarship winner: “My parents were never given a shot at having an education beyond high school.” This tells us about the student’s parents and how it might have influenced the student’s decision to apply to college, setting the tone for the essay.
  • Introductory paragraph: “My parents were never given a shot at having an education beyond high school. They were never given a shot to show their full potential and make a difference in the world. They had to start life at an early age. I want to succeed in college for them and for me. I want them to be proud of me for doing a task that they weren’t able to do.” – This expresses John’s understanding of what his parents had to do, and that they did not get a chance to attend college. John also expresses his determination, and his drive to attend college to do something for his parents.
  • Body (1-3 paragraphs) – Expand on your main points. Back up your information with evidence, examples, and facts. This is where you’re encouraged to share details of how you got to where you are today, what inspired your hobbies, interests, or drive to attend college, and how the scholarship will help you achieve your academic and/or personal goals. Remember to use specifics rather than make general statements!
  • Conclusion (1 paragraph): Explain how winning this scholarship would help support your goals (and maybe also have wider community impact) 
  • An excerpt from John’s conclusion: “Winning this scholarship will make a difference to me because it will allow me to cover college financial issues that may hold me back from reaching my career. Being less stressed about worrying about college fees will allow me to focus more of my attention in class to earn the credits, and not worry about how I’m going to pay for the class.” – John explains how valuable this scholarship is for him, not just monetarily, but also how it will help him achieve his goals.

Student formatting his scholarship essay

  • Read the scholarship essay format guidelines carefully, to check if the scholarship includes instructions
  • If you’re submitting your scholarship essay outside of the Going Merry platform, set up your document with a 1-inch margin
  • Aim for a 12-point font
  • The best font to use is Times New Roman. Other good options include Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, and Verdana
  • Always get a second opinion on the scholarship essay format for grammar, punctuation, spelling, structure, etc.
  • Online form
  • Going Merry scholarship platform (apply to thousands of scholarships and upload your scholarship essay)

You’re probably used to double-spacing your high school papers and essays. Since adding line spacing can make essays more readable, using 1.5-spacing or double-spacing is a good idea if you’re attaching an essay as a Word doc or PDF. But again, unless the scholarship provider has specified this information, it’s not mandatory.

More important is to not leave your essay as one block of text. Instead, we recommend separating paragraphs when you’re starting a new thought or idea.

For scholarship essays on Going Merry, you won’t have to worry about formatting because we will do this for you whenever you submit applications through our platform.

We know you’re going to rock your essay with these scholarship essay format guidelines, so get to it! It’s best to start writing your essay as early as possible to give yourself time to review the essay, ask someone (like a parent, guidance counselor, or friend) to proofread your essay, and then make sure to submit it on time. (On Going Merry , we’ll send you deadline reminders on your favorited scholarships and draft applications, so you won’t miss them!)

When you’re ready to apply for scholarships, sign up for Going Merry ! You’ll create a free student profile, enter your information once, and then we’ll match you with thousands of scholarships that you can apply to with just the click of a button. Don’t worry about entering your information twice – we’ll pre-fill this for you!

If you need additional resources to accompany this scholarship essay format guide, check out these related blog posts for more writing tips:

  • How to answer “Why do you deserve this scholarship?”
  • How to Write the Best Personal Statement
  • 10 Tips for Writing An Essay About Yourself
  • How to Write a Career Goals Essay
  • 6 Tips for Writing Scholarship Essays About Academic Goals
  • College Essay Guy: How to write a scholarship essay
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what font should a college essay be in

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What’s the Best Scholarship Essay Format?

what font should a college essay be in

Many scholarships require students to write an essay as part of their application. These writing and essay scholarships want to learn about your experiences, interests, or background as a student through your essay. But once you have finished writing, you may wonder: What is the best way to format my scholarship essay?

Should you include a title? What about spacing, page numbers, or citations? These are important questions and should be essential parts of your editing and revising process. Keep on reading to make sure that your essay is formatted properly!

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Getting started with essay formatting

The first rule of the scholarship essay format is following all of the rules that the scholarship application states. Whether that is spacing, citations, or font size, you should always follow the directions. There isn’t a faster way to get a scholarship committee member to say “nah” than ignoring the directions.

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Essay titles.

Should you begin your essay with a title? In my experience reading essays of all types, a title is very optional. If it is an especially clever or necessary title, then sure, go for it!

Otherwise, I would recommend saving your valuable word count and put it towards the actual essay. If you write your essay and are feeling stuck on a title, let it go and don’t worry about it. Prepare for your scholarship writing endeavors  by reading our short essay guides for 250 word essays , as well as 500 word essays !

Related: How to write an essay about yourself

Font size & style

The MLA recommends using size 12 font, and that’s what we’d recommend using. As far as the style of the font, you should stick to something that is legible and easy to read. Times New Roman or Arial are both going to be good bets. The scholarship essay is not the best place to get creative with a funky, hard-to-read font.

Should I single or double space the essay?

We know that most of your essays for school are probably double spaced. This is usually a good call for scholarship essays as well, because it makes the essay easier to read. In addition to spacing, you want to make sure that your scholarship essay is broken down into paragraphs and is not one single block of text.

Are page numbers required?

On many school papers, you may have to put a page number on each page. This is not necessary for your scholarship essays unless it is a clearly stated requirement.

Does proper scholarship essay formatting require citations?

If you are citing other sources, it is a good idea to use citations. It does not matter whether you are using MLA, Chicago, or some other type of citation (unless it is specifically required). Instead, it is important to simply be consistent in how you cite your sources. Most essays probably will not require outside sources or research, but if you are applying to certain research-based or STEM scholarships you may want to brush up on your citations.

Do’s and don’ts for scholarship essay formatting 

Final thoughts.

Writing can be a very stressful process for students, both in the scholarship process and the college admissions process. One of the best things that you can do is give yourself plenty of time to write and refine your essays. Ideally, you will also have a trusted outside reader serve as an editor for all of your essays.

The major rules of scholarship essay formatting are to follow the application instructions and make sure that your formatting is not distracting. Ultimately, you will want to ensure that the essay reader can easily and clearly read your essay and not distract them with sloppy or unconventional formatting.

Additional resources for writing essays

Here at Scholarships360, we have nearly every resource to help you write your best scholarship essay and to help you through the college admission process. Learn how to write winning scholarship essays , including how to start a scholarship essay and how to end a scholarship essay as well! Maybe you are writing a “Why this college” essay ? We can help with that too! Also, be sure to check out our individualized supplemental essay guides for schools that require them. 

Key Takeaways

  • First and foremost, always carefully read the instructions of what format is required 
  • Unless otherwise specified, double space your essay and break it down into easily digestible paragraphs
  • If not stated, use easy to read fonts like Times New Roman or Ariel
  • Never use information without citing, and if you do need to cite, be consistent with citation style (such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
  • Always. always double check that your essay is not only formatted correctly, but thoroughly proofread for grammar and spelling

Frequently asked questions about scholarship essay formatting  

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Home » Georgetown University » What Font Should College Essays Be In?

What Font Should College Essays Be In?

Table of Contents

Times New Roman. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial to avoid distracting the reader from your college essay’s content.

What is the best font for an essay college?

For this reasons, they are recommended for use in the writing of academic papers. Examples of serif fonts are Times New Roman , Courier, Palatino and New Century Schoolbook. The best font for a college essay is Times New Roman.

What format should college essays be in?

A college essay format and general rules are pretty standard. Typically, your admission paper should follow a basic 5-paragraph format . This means you will need to include one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Can you use Arial for a college paper?

A variety of fonts are permitted in APA Style papers . Font options include the following: sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode.

Do college essays need to be double spaced?

Your essay should always be double-spaced throughout . Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the margin. Use only one space after all end punctuation.

Do you use MLA format for college essays?

Usually, font size 12, and Times New Roman are acceptable everywhere, thus, making it one of the easiest tasks to do. Sometimes, the formatting rules for college application essays are specific. For example, a student may be required to use a given academic writing style such as MLA, APA, Chicago, or Harvard.

What is MLA format for an essay?

How to format an MLA-style paper

  • One inch margins on sides, top and bottom.
  • Use Times or Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Double-space the text of the paper.
  • Use left-justified text, which will have a ragged right edge.
  • Indent the first word of each paragraph 1/2″.
  • Indent block quotes 1″.

Do college essays need titles?

You don’t need one . In the vast majority of cases, students we work with don’t use titles. The handful of times they have, they’ve done so because the title allows for a subtle play on words or reframing of the essay as a whole. So don’t feel any pressure to include one—they’re purely optional.

Is Calibri OK for MLA?

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable.

What fonts are OK for MLA?

Your paper should be typed using a legible font that allows a clear distinction between regular and italic type. Times New Roman is a good choice. Unless otherwise specified, your font size should be 12 pt. and your document should have 1 inch margins on all sides.

Is Arial 12 a MLA font?

Below are the basic rules for MLA formatting: 12 point font • Times New Roman or Arial font • Double spaced • 1 inch margins • Leave one space after punctuation (this is the default in modern Microsoft Word programs). These are all fairly simple to set up, once you know where to find everything in Microsoft Word.

How do you format a college admissions essay?

General College Essay Format Rules

  • Pay attention to word count.
  • Do not write a wall of text: use paragraphs.
  • Do not include an essay title.
  • Never use overly casual, colloquial, or text message-based formatting like this:
  • Save and upload your college essay in the proper format.
  • College Admission Essay Example 1.

What should you not do in a college essay?

Many essays included things that you should not do in your college admissions essay including:

  • Never rehash your academic and extracurricular accomplishments.
  • Never write about a “topic”
  • Never start with a preamble.
  • Never end with a “happily ever after” conclusion.
  • Never pontificate.
  • Never retreat into your thoughts.

How long should my college essay be?

The primary essay for your college application, often called a personal statement, is typically around 400-600 words . The Common App personal statement — which is used as the primary application essay by more than 800 colleges — must be 250-650 words.

Do Colleges Use MLA or APA?

Colleges use both MLA and APA styles . MLA is used for humanities and literature papers. APA is used for science and technical papers. However, both are used through college courses.

What is APA standard format?

APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is commonly used to cite sources in psychology, education, and the social sciences . The APA style originated in a 1929 article published in Psychological Bulletin that laid out the basic guidelines.

Should a college essay have paragraphs?

But a general guideline for the paragraphs in your college essays is that they should be about 1/3 to 1/2 of a page . Any longer, and chances are good that you have more than one main idea. In which case, you need to find the other secondary main ideas and give them their own paragraphs.

What is APA format for an essay?

Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″), with 1″ margins on all sides. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font .

Is MLA format double spaced?

MLA Essay Format Type Rules Everything in the essay, including long quotes and the Works Cited list, should be double spaced .

What is an essay format?

An essay format is a series of guidelines that determine how your paper should be arranged . It covers the title page, basic essay structure, essay outline, conclusion, citations, etc.

Can I swear in my college essay?

Avoid swearing in a college essay , since admissions officers’ opinions of profanity will vary. In some cases, it might be okay to use a vulgar word, such as in dialogue or quotes that make an important point in your essay. However, it’s safest to try to make the same point without swearing.

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  1. Be Prepared to Answer THIS College Interview Question

COMMENTS

  1. How to Format a College Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

    Again, we'd recommend sticking with standard fonts and sizes—Times New Roman, 12-point is a standard workhorse. You can probably go with 1.5 or double spacing. Standard margins. Basically, show them you're ready to write in college by using the formatting you'll normally use in college.

  2. How to Format A College Essay: 15 Expert Tips

    College Essays When you're applying to college, even small decisions can feel high-stakes. This is especially true for the college essay, which often feels like the most personal part of the application. You may agonize over your college application essay format: the font, the margins, even the file format.

  3. What font should I use for a college essay?

    Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial to avoid distracting the reader from your college essay's content. Frequently asked questions: College admissions essays Which Common App essay prompt should I choose? What is the Common Application essay? How do I write about myself in a college essay? How do I revise my college essay?

  4. A step-by-step guide for creating and formatting APA Style student papers

    The default font of your word-processing program is acceptable. Many sans serif and serif fonts can be used in APA Style, including 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia. You can also use other fonts described on the font page of the website. Line spacing

  5. Font

    Home Style and Grammar Guidelines Paper Format Font A variety of fonts are permitted in APA Style papers. Font options include the following: sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode

  6. How to Format and Structure Your College Essay

    Use a standard font and size like Times New Roman, 12 point Make your lines 1.5-spaced or double-spaced Use 1-inch margins Save as a PDF since it can't be edited. This also prevents any formatting issues that come with Microsoft Word, since older versions are sometimes incompatible with the newer formatting

  7. College Application Essay Format Rules

    The college application essay has become the most important part of applying to college. In this article, we will go over the best college essay format for getting into top schools, including how to structure the elements of a college admissions essay: margins, font, paragraphs, spacing, headers, and organization.. We will focus on commonly asked questions about the best college essay structure.

  8. The 3 Popular Essay Formats: Which Should You Use?

    For each, we'll do a high-level overview of what your essay's structure and references should look like, then we include a comparison chart with nitty-gritty details for each style, such as which font you should use for each and whether they're a proponent of the Oxford comma.

  9. What Font Should I Use?

    For academic papers, an "easily readable typeface" means a serif font, and a "standard" type size is between 10 and 12 point. Use A Serif Font Serifs are the tiny strokes at the end of a letter's main strokes. Serif fonts have these extra strokes; sans serif fonts do not. ( Sans is French for "without.")

  10. What format should I use for my college essay?

    How to Write a College Application Essay. Read the prompt and essay instructions thoroughly to learn how to start off a college essay. Some colleges provide guidance about formatting. If not, the best course of action is to stick with a college standard like the MLA format.

  11. 7 Best Fonts For University Essays

    Courier: Courier is a classic monospaced font that works well for lengthy blocks of text, such as code or large tables. Helvetica: Helvetica is another popular sans serif font that exudes professionalism and simplicity. Georgia: Georgia is a beautiful serif font with a slightly more playful feel than Times New Roman.

  12. What font and font size is used in APA format?

    APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example: Times New Roman (12pt.) Arial (11pt.) Calibri (11pt.) Georgia (11pt.) The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head, page numbers, headings, and the reference page. Text in footnotes and figure images may be ...

  13. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    When you write an essay for a course you are taking, you are being asked not only to create a product (the essay) but, more importantly, to go through a process of thinking more deeply about a question or problem related to the course. By writing about a source or collection of sources, you will have the chance to wrestle with some of the

  14. College Application Essay Format

    Here are some important formatting tips to follow for different types of college essay formats: Font Size and Style: Stick with a clean and easy-to-read font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Use a 12-point font size, as it's the standard for college essays. ... Ten things students write in a college essay that should be avoided:

  15. What are the best fonts for college essays?

    For a combination of modern and classic, Calibri is the font to choose. Calibri has become the new default font for many word processing software. This is because it looks easy on the eye when it is on a computer. If your essay will be submitted online, then this can be a perfect choice of font.

  16. How To Format a College Essay? A Comprehensive Guide

    Add the surname and a page number in the upper right corner of the document. The title should be centered and in title case, but not bolded, underlined, italicized, and so on. Indent the first line in the paragraph by using «Tab». To format a college essay correctly, use a double space. Make 1-inch margins on all sides.

  17. ENG 1002 Online: The Proper Format for Essays

    Heading: In the upper left corner of the first page of your essay, you should type your name, the instructor's name, your class, and the date, as follows: Your Name. Mr. Rambo. ENG 1002-100. 24 February 2017. Margins: According to the MLA, your essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right.

  18. Formatting

    Font size - fonts should be 11 or 12 point. Font style - headings and subheadings, if they are required (most essays will not use them), are usually formatted in bold and should be at least 2 point sizes larger than the standard text. Underlining should be avoided as this is seen as rather dated.

  19. What is The Best Font For A College Essay?

    The best font for a college essay is Times New Romans, Font 12 The font you use when writing academic papers should have two main properties: it should be readable and it should have clearly contrasting italics. Taking these into account, this is my recommendation:

  20. Common App Essay Formatting, Grammar & Style Guide

    Common App Essay Formatting & Style Guide + Common Grammar Mistakes. This guide to how to format the Common App essay and other college essays is dedicated to helping you take some of the guesswork out of punctuation, style, grammar. We'll also share some common college essay grammar mistakes students make and show you how to fix them.

  21. Scholarship Essay Format: Guidelines, Structure and Examples

    Scholarship essay format at a glance. Read the scholarship essay format guidelines carefully, to check if the scholarship includes instructions. If you're submitting your scholarship essay outside of the Going Merry platform, set up your document with a 1-inch margin. Aim for a 12-point font. The best font to use is Times New Roman.

  22. What's the Best Scholarship Essay Format?

    Related: How to write an essay about yourself. Font size & style. The MLA recommends using size 12 font, and that's what we'd recommend using. As far as the style of the font, you should stick to something that is legible and easy to read. Times New Roman or Arial are both going to be good bets.

  23. For Georgetown applicants: What font & font size are you using ...

    It sounds like your post is related to essays — please check the A2C Wiki Page on Essays for a list of resources related to essay topics, tips & tricks, and editing advice. Please be cautious of possible plagarism if you do decide to share your essay with other users. tl;dr: A2C Essay Wiki. I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically.

  24. What Font Should College Essays Be In?

    The best font for a college essay is Times New Roman. What format should college essays be in? A college essay format and general rules are pretty standard. Typically, your admission paper should follow a basic 5-paragraph format. This means you will need to include one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.