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How to End a College Essay

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Using a laptop for Common app essay.

How to End a College Essay

How does one end a college essay? The art of essay writing is crucial in the college application process, and one of the most significant aspects of it is the conclusion. The conclusion of your college essay is your final chance to leave a lasting impression on the admissions officer. A strong ending should succinctly wrap up your main points, provide a sense of closure, and possibly offer thoughtful insight or future aspirations.

Male student looking at his laptop intently.

How you end your essay can be as important as how you begin it. An effective conclusion can tie together the threads of your narrative, reinforce your primary message, and leave a profound impression. In this guide, we’ll explore techniques and strategies to conclude your essay in a way that resonates with readers and distinguishes your application from the rest.

The Conclusion of Your College Essay: Why is it so Important?

Think back to a moment when you excelled at something. You journeyed through the entire process, from start to finish, ultimately achieving an exceptional result. The exhilaration upon realizing your accomplishment is immense. This sentiment parallels the feelings surrounding the conclusion of your college essay.

When you reach the conclusion, there’s a natural inclination to let out a sigh of relief, knowing you’re nearing the finish line. But this isn’t the time to become complacent. Starting a task is often easier than completing it, so it’s crucial to invest effort in crafting a memorable concluding section.

The conclusion is vital because it encapsulates your overall self-perception. By the end, the reader should have a clear understanding of who you are and what you aim to achieve. Crafting a meaningful conclusion increases your chances of resonating with the reader and influencing their perception of you. After reading your essay’s conclusion, the admissions counselor will decide on their subsequent actions. Unlike the main body, which narrates your story, the conclusion is where you wrap up your thoughts and leave an indelible impression.

How Do You Successfully Conclude a College Admissions Essay?

Ending a college admissions essay can feel like trying to land an airplane: you’ve taken the reader on a journey, and now you need to safely and effectively bring them back to the ground, leaving them with a lasting impression. Here’s a detailed guide on how to craft an impactful conclusion, along with some helpful hints and advice:

Reiterate Your Main Points Without Repetition

    • Summarize the primary points or arguments you’ve made in the essay.
    • Avoid simply restating what’s been said before; instead, try to show growth or a progression in your thinking that culminated in your final insights.

Connect Back to Your Introduction

    • If you start with a story, anecdote, or quote, referring back to it can create a full-circle moment and a sense of cohesion.

Offer Insight or Reflection

    • Discuss what you’ve learned or how you’ve changed due to the experiences or ideas you’ve shared.
    • Reflect on why these lessons or insights are essential for both your future and the college to which you’re applying.

Show Enthusiasm for the Future

    • Talk about what you hope to achieve in college and beyond. Highlighting your aspirations can show ambition and forward thinking.

Avoid New Information

    • The conclusion is not the place to introduce a new topic or story. Everything you mention should connect to the content you’ve already presented.

End with a Strong Final Sentence

    • Your last sentence can be a thought-provoking statement, a call to action, or a powerful image that encapsulates the theme of your essay. Aim to leave the reader pondering.

Be Genuine

    • Authenticity is key. Admissions officers read countless essays, and they can spot insincerity. Ensure your conclusion reflects your true beliefs and feelings.

Revise and Refine

    • Once you’ve written your conclusion, take a step back. Review it a day or two later with fresh eyes. This can help you identify any redundancy, vagueness, or missed opportunities.

Seek Feedback

    • Have someone you trust read the essay, especially focusing on the conclusion. Sometimes, an external perspective can pinpoint areas of improvement you might’ve missed.

Less is More

    • While it’s essential to be thorough, avoid over-explaining or rehashing points in the conclusion. Aim for clarity and conciseness.

Ending your college admissions essay is your opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the admissions officer. It’s your final pitch, your closing argument, and the last memory they’ll have of your essay. By adhering to the above strategies, you’ll not only craft a conclusion that resonates but also elevate the overall quality of your essay, boosting your chances of making a memorable impression.

How Do You End a ‘Why Us?’ College Essay?

When sitting down to write, understand that every prompt college gives you holds significance. Imagine being a college admissions officer, sifting through countless essays to select the ideal class. Every question they ask is intentional, and they truly value each response.

Young man typing an essay in his laptop.

When you conclude a ‘Why Us?’ essay, you’re aiming for two primary outcomes.

First, based on your response, the admissions team wants to gauge if you genuinely appreciate and understand their institution. Secondly, articulating your reasons for applying gives you a moment of introspection. It’s a chance to think about your college goals and see if the institutions you’re eyeing align with those aspirations.

Crafting the Perfect ‘Why This College?’ Essay

No matter how the question is posed, the objective of this essay is to discuss what both you and the college can offer each other. Your challenge is to hone in on your main points swiftly, ensuring your tone is sincere, excited, and genuine. Achieve this by being precise and detailed in your description.

Young woman using a laptop while working on a laptop.

How can you emphasize the benefits this school offers you and the unique qualities you bring as a student? Considering the brevity of the ‘Why This College’ essay, often just one to two paragraphs, it’s crucial to be concise. Let’s explore a systematic approach to this topic. We’ll start with essential preparatory work.

Next, we’ll explore how to brainstorm engaging topics (and also touch on those to steer clear of). We’ll guide you through crafting your essay using the research and ideas you’ve amassed. Lastly, I’ll break down an actual ‘Why Us’ essay to showcase its structure and the thought process behind it.

Step 1: Investigate the Institution

Before you can effectively write about a school, you need to understand the distinct features that differentiate it from others and align with both your interests and aspirations. But where should you begin your search? And how can you identify the specifics that truly resonate with you? Delve deeper into a school’s offerings and values by considering some of the following strategies.

Typing on a laptop in a table.

Step 2: Crafting a List of Essay Topics from Your Research

Once you’ve conducted extensive research, the next step is to identify the ways you connect with your desired school. These connections should be the focus of your ‘Why this college’ essay. Let’s delve into refining your approach:

Unearthing Key Insights from Your Research

With a plethora of information at your fingertips, from personal campus experiences to online discoveries, now is the time to distill three to five pivotal takeaways. Use these insights to envision how you’ll fit into the school’s culture and ethos.

These takeaways will guide your essay, whether it leans more towards “why us” or “why you.” But what should these points entail?

Using a laptop in a table.

Assessing the Significance of Your Findings

When evaluating your “gems,” ensure each is unique to the target school from your perspective. Don’t just offer generic praise. Instead, detail the specific benefits the school offers you personally. The aspect you focus on should resonate both with the school’s ethos and your personal interests, without being superficial.

From Insights to Essay Topics

Every “why this college” essay will juggle both “why us” and “why you.” Depending on the school’s specific question, you’ll need to decide which aspect to emphasize more.

Potential “Why Us?” Topics:

      • Specific courses, internships, or connections that align with your career aspirations.
      • A unique academic approach matching your interests.
      • The institution’s financial aid policies and what they mean for you.
      • Personal stories of how you became interested in the school.
      • Any significant positive interactions with the school’s community.
      • The university’s historical or societal significance, if personally relevant.

Potential “Why You?” Topics:

      • Continuing a project or initiative you began in high school.
      • Engaging with a community service project prevalent on campus.
      • Integrating your high school passions with campus opportunities.
      • Potential involvement in an internship, international study, or research project.
      • New programs or activities you plan to introduce or join.

For Schools Not at the Top of Your List:

Highlight the tangible benefits the degree offers your future. Alternatively, resonate with the school’s values, community initiatives, or commitment to diversity.

Topics to Avoid:

      • Generic aspects like location or student count.
      • Being a mere sports enthusiast without a deeper connection.
      • Simply paraphrasing the college’s promotional materials.
      • Choosing a school solely based on its ranking.
      • Superficially discussing a potential major.
      • Over-emphasizing the campus’s beauty without deeper connections.

Step 3: Get the Execution Just Right

After gathering all the concepts for your response to the “why us” question, it’s time to craft an essay that leaves a lasting impression. Here are some pointers to guide you:

Dive Right In

Given the essay’s brevity, there’s no need for an extended introduction or conclusion. Dedicate the first paragraph to delving into one or two of your strongest reasons for applying. In the second paragraph, discuss reasons 2 (or 3) through 5 in slightly less detail.

Stay True to Yourself

Write in your genuine voice and remain authentic in your sentiments. Trust that readers can discern between sincerity and empty rhetoric.

It’s All in the Details

Show the institution your dedication by highlighting your research. Are there specific courses, professors, clubs, or activities at the school that caught your attention? Be as detailed as possible.

Affirm Your Intent

If you’re genuinely set on attending the institution if admitted, mention it. Colleges value their yield, which is the percentage of accepted students who enroll. But only make this assertion if you truly mean it.

Avoid the Copy-Paste Trap

Never use the exact same essay for multiple applications. At some point, you might overlook changing the school’s name or another telltale detail. Avoid generalities or formulaic reasoning that can render your argument bland and forgettable.

In conclusion, the ending of a college essay is a pivotal moment that can leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee. An effective ending should encapsulate the essence of the essay, resonating with the core message and evoking an emotional response from the reader. Whether it’s a powerful statement, a thought-provoking question, or a call to reflection, the conclusion must authentically capture the applicant’s voice and aspirations. It’s more than just a wrap-up; it’s the final opportunity to resonate with the reader and solidify one’s place in their memory as a candidate of distinction.

Are you looking for guidance to best prepare you for entry into one of the country’s elite universities? We’ve got you covered! At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

We can assist you in preparing your admission requirements. AdmissionSight will support you throughout the entire admissions process to enhance your chances of gaining entry into an Ivy League institution.

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