How NOT to Format Your Essay

This is part III in a three-part series on how to format a personal statement or application essay.

How Not To End Your Personal Statement Essay

Endings can often be as difficult to write as beginnings of essays.  Many students feel they need to end their personal statement essay with a standard conclusion, some sort of summary to their story.  Still others feel they need to overcompensate for a poorly written essay by using some dramatic last paragraph or sentence.  On the flip side, writers can actually give up at the end and the essay sort of collapses.  My favorite, or least favorite I should say, are the essays that end with a catchy zinger—because the writer thinks the reader will remember him/her more if the ending is funny or cliché.

 

Here are some examples of how NOT to end your essay:

 

  1. And that is why I feel that tigers should not be kept in zoos.  Don’t you agree?
  2. The Fijian people are a very happy people and no one should change that.
  3. It was the simple act of a kid’s smile that gave me a life lesson that I will never forget and constantly keep in the back of my mind.
  4. This attitude change has led me to success in the last few years.
  5. Contributing to the greater good of the community has been one of the best things I have learned in my life and I know that I could bring this quality and passion to the University of _______.
  6. Now it’s time to take the next logical step much like a math problem – college.
  7. This was truly the most amazing day I’ve ever had in my life. Ever.
  8. That is why I feel I will never have a boring moment at your school and my time in college will
    leave a lasting imprint on my life.
  9. All of these factors will enable me to complete an education full of my goals and passions.

These endings are a complete turn off to the reader.  If anything, they’ve left the reader with a worse taste in his/her mouth than when the essay started. They all have the common problem of TELLING the reader instead of SHOWING the reader what happened to them.

Personal Statement Formatting Part III last edited by Danielle Bianchi Golod on