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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.
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.
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
Frequently asked questions about ending a college admission essay
What is a good last sentence for a paragraph?
What is a good way to start a concluding paragraph?
How many words should my conclusion be?