College Application Essay Guide

College Application Essay Guide

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There can never be any other better way of telling it but through stories. Our minds are appreciative of good stories told and will always remember them. Think of a very nice tale you were once told by your grandmother, the heroes, legends and even the villains. You will realize that each time you think about it, it is as fresh as being narrated again. There is indeed a great similarity between a college application and a great story. Students should, therefore, put themselves in the narrator’s position and try to tell a compelling story that will forever remain in the mind of the reader. Remember that the college application essay format isn’t sufficient especially where good stories are not told. This is not to overlook the importance of a good format but just to emphasize the impact of good stories told in the best format.

Tips for College Essay

  • Think and rethink of the best topic possible that will make a great headline for your essay. You can also involve your peers through brainstorming to come up with one. Remember, the topic should be personalized as much as possible, and it should also be realistic.

  • Gain sufficient knowledge on the structuring of the essay: ideally, this should include writing about the challenges through the application of the narrative structures and the various parts of the writer’s life are presented via the usage of a montage structure.

  • Settle on a workable structure.

  • Embark on the writing process of the college application essay without forgetting to draw some valuable lessons from college application essay format example in addition to providing more details and coloration.

  • Testing and revising the paper is critical, and it is as much important just as the other tips provided.

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Brainstorming for a Topic: The First Step

Good writings have good topics. It is unimaginable to present an application of whichever nature to any college without a topic. Basically, the college application essay format must address a topic. You cannot talk of a format without a well thought of the topic.

Tips for Topic Choice

  • Elasticity: the subject to be addressed or the topic must be flexible enough to allow you to be more creative and tell your story in the best way possible. Elasticity also implies that you should be comfortable with the topic that will go into the college application essay format template.

  • Narrowness: great topics are more focused and not broad. Settling on a topic that is narrow will help the writer to stay the course and steer away from providing unwanted information.

  • Comparable and contrastable features: the topic should provide an opportunity to compare and contrast some critical features because it is a story about oneself even though it is an application for admission. Being able to compare some features means you have good knowledge about what is happening around you and you have sufficient general information.

Having factored the above tips and come up with a good topic, it is time to begin the writing process. College application essay format template is supposed to deeply address the defining moments in one’s life in addition to events that changed that particular student’s life. It can also widely discuss various elements that make up the story of the life of a student. This depth is best presented through narration whereas the width is presented via the structure that is a montage.

Learning about the Different College Essay Formats: The Second Step

The second step is to study various structures and formats so that you can be able to apply the most appropriate one for your essay. There are two types of styles or structures that can be used, i.e., Narrative and Montage

The Narrative

  • In the United States of America, this is probably one of the most common structures that students use when applying for college admission. It has not only been used for so long but has gain popularity among the filmmakers for its reliability. Basically, this format has the following elements:

  • The existing state of affairs

  • Provocative Events/ The existing state of affairs

  • Transformation

  • Elevation of the bar

  • The truthful moments

  • Result/ New state of affairs

Basically, we learn from the challenges we face in life, and that is the basis of a college essay format.

The existing state of affairs is basically the start of the narrative purposed to venture into your environment and all therein.

Provocative Events. The existing state of affairs address the incidents that have happened all over sudden to warrant a shift, for example, relocation to a new federal state which essentially will alter the student’s life greatly.

Elevation of the bar is introducing a twist to the transformation, for example, narrating how an accident in your new state has affected you and how you are now facing financial difficulties. If for example your provider has been permanently maimed, the reader will wonder how your family will deal with that life-altering situation.

The truthful moments is the peak of the narrative whereby the readers are left wondering if there is a chance of getting out of the trying moments or not. For example, people would love to know whether or not the proposal sent will be funded. If you are facing hazing, are you going to solve that particular problem or not.

Result/ New state of affairs is all about addressing the so what question your story warrants. This is more of a proposition of your capabilities in terms of your gifts and your strengths that will see you through the difficulties. The student’s ability to address this issue forms a very strong foundation for college application essay format example to be emulated.

The Montage

With the desire to put forth widely the information without providing deeper details, this is the perfect structure for focusing on specialties in terms of the skills and values one possess. Essentially this technique is time saving given that it brings together various important aspects of a student giving highlights of the bigger whole. The special talents and abilities form the paragraphs.

Stories, in this case, stories are told via a few concepts and fragmentations that are part of one’s life.

Tips for Good Focal Points in Montage Approach

Creating the visual image on the mind of the reader so that they can connect the picture pained and the story is the essence of this format. It is important to have it very clear and not to make a mistake of misrepresenting what is in your mind to the audiences. Telling a story is very difficult especially when you are unable to paint a picture of where you want the readers to end up after reading the story.

Familiar content and sample is the key to telling it as it supposed to be told. The usage of concepts and talents that you are well vast with will put out the ideas in the best manner possible.

Identifying focal points providing a wider approach rather than those that are narrow is another tip that will tilt the scales to your favor. Many aspects that the writer has can only be best discussed via knowledge of their width.

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Picking a College Essay Format: The Third Step

Having understood the two structures and what they entail in terms of their appropriateness and application for example where the narrative gives the connection causally, and the montage thematically provides a connection of the story, it is time to settle on one and apply it to the core. You can be creative enough and combine the two to convincingly get admission into the college you are applying.

Testing to Establish the Workability of the College Essay Format or Structure: The Fourth Step

This is a critical stage in establishing the effectiveness of the article and if it meets the requirement of demonstrating that the writer is capable of making a substantial contribution to the college, the peers and the society. Basically, this part is whereby the following components are discussed:

  1. Provision of the important and critical beliefs held by an individual. This is also where all the relevant information is provided. You should be able to bring out the key values held dearly.

  2. Attract response and emotive feelings. Basically, the college application essay format template should tell a story and expect a response or attract some form of emotional reactions. The reader after having read the article should be in a position to learn one or two new things about the writer that they were not privy to initially.

  3. Creation of awareness on the pertinent skills and measures to deal with your situation should also be brought through in this step.

  4. Expertise/: how vast are you with the content of each paragraph and are they brought out in the clearest way possible? This is the areas whereby sentences and words used should be at your fingertips. Check and countercheck if the words used and the sentences are needed in the first place.

Remember, how to format a college application essay varies greatly. The steps provided above may require using the available templates by copy-pasting the information or just attaching an original document.

When using a template and copy-pasting, the following tips are important to guide you:

  • Check and countercheck that the contents of the whole article have been cut and pasted because it is easier to place the cursor in a wrong position and leave out some critical information need in the essay format.

  • Some institutions require that the college application essay format template be of a certain number of words. It is therefore important not to forget to check if the correct word count is met.

  • The styles and font sizes and types are bound to be lost while copy pasting and for that reason, it is important to check that that it doesn’t happen.

  • The spaces between the texts and the paragraphs easily get messed up when copy-pasting therefore it is important to ensure that the requirements in terms of the spacing are well addressed before submitting the entire document with errors.

  • Make sure that the requirements by the college are met both in terms of the font, the margins, and the general format because all these can change while copy pasting. Check and check again to ensure that you have a document that you intended to produce.

After checking on the above, the document can now be submitted of course with consideration of the file format requested. This can either be pdf or word doc with extensions such as .doc or .pfd.

College Application Essay Example: An Accident that Took All From Me

The doctor walked in, looked straight at me and walked away; I knew all was fine and that I had a very difficult situation to deal with. After a short while, a nurse walked in. this time with a file on her hand and she told me to come in with her. She handed in the file to another doctor who without wasting time told me that my father will not walk again because his spine was completely shuttered. I felt as if the world had come to an end for me given that I had lost my mother to an accident and as fate would have it, it was again happening to my only parent. With no one to look up to and having nothing in terms of assets or finances to rely on, all was crumbling before my face. I resisted the thought that all would be well which the doctor kept on telling me. How would I even think of seeing my father on a wheelchair for the rest of his life, what would happen to me and how would I survive the cold moments without my icon, my father.

The beginning statement of the paragraph is provoking because it plants a desire on the mind of the reader to want to know more about how the writer will deal with the situation.

The first accident took away my mother when I was barely 7 years old. I knew nothing about death or even its pangs; I knew nothing about accidents and the situation it leaves people in. My father rarely spoke of it; he did not want me to ask about the whereabouts of my mother and how the accident actually took place. I was their only child and my father could not imagine the trauma this would cause me. Painfully, this time it was him in an accident, I was now the one to tell a story and not him. In as much as he did not die, he was rendered helpless and maimed

The above paragraph takes the readers back to the life of the writer and experience he went through as a child. The role of the paragraph is to help the readers to understand how the mother’s death occasioned by the accident affected the family and how he has been struck by another tragedy.


The above college application essay format example provided in two opening paragraphs give an idea about how to how to format a college application essay. Basically, it is an interesting process that requires writers to have a compelling story to tell. Although the example is not complete, it provides introductory sentences that lead to other areas that the readers want to know about.