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    How to End a College Admissions Essay

    By Cait Williams

    Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: June 3rd, 2024
    How to End a College Admissions Essay

    Maybe you thought starting your college essay would be the hardest part, but now that you’ve reached the end, you’re once again surprised to find yourself stuck. If you’re wondering how to end an admissions essay, you’re in the right place. Let’s jump into it together! 

    Having a powerful conclusion  

    Whether you’re applying through the Common App or directly through a college, having a powerful conclusion stems from first and foremost knowing what it is you are trying to accomplish and how. This means the end of your essay is something you want to have in mind from the start. Don’t write to find your conclusion, rather, write to get to the conclusion you already have. That might seem confusing, but it’s really pretty simple. Let’s ask two questions to get started! 

    1. What are you trying to accomplish? 

    The answer should be that you are trying to gain admittance to the college you are applying to. That is every student’s main goal when submitting a college application. It’s that simple.  

    2. How are you going to accomplish that goal?  

    This question varies depending on who you are and the essay prompt you are given. Are you going to tell a story? Are you going to talk about why you’re choosing that college? Are you going to talk about your future goals and the major you plan to pursue? Is there something you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of and you think illustrates well who you are?  

    There isn’t a right or wrong choice, the point is to choose what you believe will help accomplish your goal. Once you can answer these two questions, you can start writing your essay.  

    The do’s and the don’ts  

    Below are a mix of general tips and things that you should and shouldn’t do. Because different colleges use different prompts, there isn’t exactly one formula for ending your admissions essay. Some essay prompts may require you to speak about something specific and personal, while others might ask you to focus on more broad lessons you’ve learned throughout your life.  

    Remember, you should know the goal of your essay and what you’re trying to convey before you start writing. This means while your whole essay is trying to convey that message, your conclusion’s goal is to drive that message home one more time.  

    Do: Go full circle 

    This is an important rule that you can use for pretty much any college or scholarship essay regardless of the prompt you are given. Going full circle means revisiting what you initially said at the start of your article in a way that doesn’t just summarize it but represents the information in a slightly different way. If you told a story, maybe you’re mentioning it again and now drawing the connection between your career goals and that story. 

    Related: Insider’s guide to what goes on in an admissions office

    Don’t: Restate everything you just said 

    Okay, as we mentioned just a second ago, avoid the typical conclusion paragraph. You’ll want to avoid it for a few reasons. First, you usually have a very limited room between 250 words and 500 words. Don’t waste your time or the admissions officers by restating information. 

    Second, it’s just not interesting. Your college admissions officer just read everything you said and haven’t already forgotten what your essay is about. Revisiting a theme or a specific detail is okay, but there’s no need to spend 100 words recapping the whole essay.  

    Do: Leave them wanting more 

    By this we don’t mean that you should leave them mid story with a cliffhanger. What we mean here is that you want to leave them wanting to see more of what you can do. A better way to say this might be that you want to leave college admissions officers curious. Curious to see the great things you’ll accomplish and how you will add to the college you attend.  

    Colleges want students who are going to take their time at college to become well rounded, educated individuals that go out into the world and use what they’ve learned. Leave your admissions officer curious to see you become a student at their school! 

    Don’t: Tell them what they already know 

    We’ve already said this in a way, but it can’t be over said: don’t restate information in admissions essays, and also do not state the obvious. If something doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. Let your essay speak for itself, as well as the rest of your application.  

    If you choose to share a story about how you started a club at school, while simultaneously keeping a 4.0 GPA and working a job, you don’t need to say that you have good time management skills or that you’re hardworking. Those things shine through. What is more important to state is how those experiences are relevant to your admission to the school you’re applying to.  

    Video responses

    If your college allows you to apply through a video option, you can still use all of the tips above to create your video. Though you won’t be submitting an essay, you’ll still be writing one. Only instead of it being something that’s read, you’ll use it like a script of sorts. You’ll still want to formulate some sort of conclusion for your video, so keep the things above in mind! 

    Related: Top video scholarships

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • Before you start writing, make sure that you know what message you want to convey and how you are going to convey that message in order to accomplish your goal 
    • While your essay is an important way for a college to hear your voice, the rest of your application will also speak volumes about you, which means your essay should focus on something that rest of your application doesn’t 
    • Engage your reader with your essay by sharing what you want to accomplish and how you hope to do that
    • Don’t waste time in your essay by stating the obvious or restating what has already been said

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    Frequently asked questions about ending a college admission essay

    What is a good last sentence for a paragraph?

    There isn’t one magic sentence to end a conclusion paragraph with. Your last sentence should be based on the impression you want to leave. Do you want to end on a line of dialogue to drive your point home? Are you going to end with a statement of action? As long as your last sentence drives home your point, it won’t be wrong.

    What is a good way to start a concluding paragraph?

    The last paragraph of your college admissions essay won’t be a full conclusion paragraph. You should only need a sentence or two to conclude. So, try not to focus a whole paragraph on your conclusion, instead, focus on furthering your point and driving it home!

    How many words should my conclusion be?

    Again, there is no magic number. How long you spend wrapping up your essay will vary based on how much space you have for the whole essay. If you only have 250 words, then you won’t have the luxury of using 100 words, but if you have a 500-word essay, you might!

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