What is College Essay Format?


If you are a writer or have a passion for writing and your dream is to become one, you should know everything about what college essay format to use. Each essay should include a specific format in which it should be written. It is often the case that many students and writers have issues and concerns about it. Like any printed or written document, its formatting can have a crucial role in your application. Essays often determine the difference between the applicants and the way how you write it can decide your future. Now, let’s see what college essay formats exist and what are the best ones to use.

What My Essay Should Include?

When we write our thoughts on paper or just typing it, we can get confused sometimes. It is a completely normal thing. In the beginning is mostly the hardest to understand and get everything right about writing essays, especially if you are a student without much experience in it. Formatting texts is something inevitable when it comes to essay writing and it is one of the most important things to know. It is not a rarity for the students to have typical questions about essay writing reviews and essay formatting. 

What is the number of paragraphs I should include in the essay? Whose examples should I follow? What should be the length of my essay? How to make people notice my essay?

Those are some of the standard questions that are wandering through students’ heads all the time. Hopefully, this article of ours will give you some answers and provide you a relief about that. So, let’s see what parts you would have to pay attention to when writing your essay.

  1. Proper Use Of Paragraphs – Many students have problems with this particular theme. They are often unsure of how many paragraphs they should include in the essay. It is not rare that students are disturbed about this question and without proper guidance, they often get over the line. The first thing you should know is that you have to pay attention to the length of the paragraphs and their number. Well, the truth is that it only depends on you, and only you. There is no specified number of paragraphs you should use in the essay. Usually, people’s personal statements are different. So, there is not much useful advice about this. Just write the number of paragraphs you think will be enough to convince the judges of approving your essay. Just focus on that you don’t make it too long because sometimes they will prefer efficiency rather than quantity.
  2. The Length Of The Essay – While writing an essay, students frequently forget about what college application essay format to use and how long should it be. Naturally, you should not be bothered too much about this either. It is almost the same as about paragraphs. Paying attention to the details and efficiency will provide you better results than just blindly accumulating the words. However, some application systems can give you the limit of the words you can use. For example, “Common Application” will provide you a limit of 650 words. Nevertheless, if you have what to write about and your skill range is large, don’t hesitate to fulfill all the space available.
  3. Examples To Follow – Everything in life requires us to have some examples which we must follow in order to make our talent and effort paid off. Whether it is a sport, economy, medicine, or any other area. Of course, the same is with essay writing. If you have struggled with motivation and proper style, you should follow some examples that will help you grow as a writer and can increase the quality of your content later on. So, is there any college essay format template you can use? Actually, the answer is negative. There are no specific college essay format examples online that you should follow but you can learn from some examples that are available online. Don’t let this depress you as it is truly a good thing for you. Do you know why? Because it will make you think more, with more effort, passion, and determination. On the other hand, if you possess an idol, or have a person who can guide you, use it to your advantage and learn from him/her. 

How Should I Format My Essay?

Something that constantly produces some of the most painful headaches to the students across the globe is what format of a college essay should they be using. First and foremost, if you want to solve this problem once and for all, try to clarify your intention in your mind and make your idea as clean as possible. The most important thing is to declare whether your application will be in a text box form or it will be attached as a formatted document.

As the development of technology is on a high-level today, most of the schools will prefer to get an online application, rather than written on paper. If you don’t have other choices, send your paper form, it is not forbidden or inappropriate, of course. But if you can make an online one, it is highly recommendable to use it. Your form of an essay will not truly affect your chances of getting an admission, but if you follow the college preferences it will be a wise choice.

Also, you shouldn’t be hesitating on using some word processor or grammar checker before sending the application, especially if you are a non-native English speaker. It will have a significant impact on your application and will boost the quality by far. Anyway, there are a few more things you need to know about formatting your essay. We can provide you some advice on what you should pay attention to according to the type of your application.

If you want to use it as a text box, be aware of this:

  • Check everything multiple times before sending
  • Pay attention to the words count as it can become messed up by your shaky formatting
  • Make sure to get the right spaces between paragraphs as they can get mixed up 
  • Declare the font of the words you would like to use and apply to a whole text (the most popular one is Times New Roman with a font of 12)

If you want to use an attached document, make sure to set up the margins firstly, and spacing second. Besides, you should be aware of those things:

  • Try to use margins that are 1 inch, it is the most typical ones that have been using
  • Don’t forget to use the tab when delineating the paragraphs
  • Use fonts that are not hard to read such as Arial, Cambria, or Times New Roman
  • Avoid using symbols and emojis, and hashtags as they are often unacceptable 

At the end of your application, don’t forget to use an appropriate file format. There are cases when only specific file formats can be accepted. So, don’t be lazy and save your application in the format that will be approved.

Using Of Narrative Structure

Writing a college essay format usually requires some skills and abilities from the person who created it. Like the movies, writing an essay can be much more effective if you are familiar with narration and how you should use a narrative structure.

When it comes to essay writing, there is one particular form of narration that is being used. It is called “straightaway narration”. What does it mean?

Well, this also known as “in-the-moment” narration is the action of sharing different moments as they arrive. When someone narrates events that happened in the past but using the present time, he uses this narration. Today, it is commonly used in historical chronicles. You probably wonder how this has any impact on essay writing, right? Here lies the answer.

When you, as a reader, experience some event from the past by just reading the text about it, you get affected by this narration. It is very useful when writers have the knowledge and capability of using it in the right way. The same is with the students who would like to make an impression with their essay by using it. This form of structure is beneficial if you are about to mention a specific experience that includes hard emotions, or some dialogues for example.

But if you are considering using this structure, you must be controlled in expressing your thoughts and feelings as many get over the line with it. Try to be as explicit as possible and be the one who will not overuse this structure as it can have the quite opposite effect.

Formatting An MLA Style Of College Essay

Throughout your academic career, you will probably be tempted to work on multiple essays. Some of the most used styles of formatting are MLA and APA. If someone asks you: “How do you format a college essay?”, you can try using this style to show him that. MLA college essay format is proved as one of the most effective ones too. So, what is so special about it?

Using the MLA style is referred to as the style that is recommended by a Modern Language Association. It consists of many different mechanics of writing like quotation and punctuation. It is fair to mention that this style is often used by USA scholars, academic presses, and journals.

When you speak about MLA style, something that always goes with it is the works cited page. 

Every work cited entry includes specific elements that are required from the MLA to be used and have a specific order:

  • Author
  • Title Of Source
  • Title Of Container
  • Other Contributors (if there are any)
  • The Version Of A Work
  • The Number Of A Source
  • The Name Of A Publisher
  • Date Of Publication
  • Your Location

This is often used along with the citations that could be found in the text. Those are like a finger and a nail, you cannot have one without the other. 

When you use the MLA format for college essays, you would probably be utilizing page numbers and headers. You can see your last name subsequently to the page numbers. It will be placed in the right corner, usually the upper one. However, you must be aware that this format doesn’t use cover pages. Students oftentimes make a mistake and mix the personal information with the title. Make sure to get your title centered and beneath your personal information data. Put them in the header and separate them from the title. 

Standard & Apa Format Of Essay

Besides MLA, the simplest format of essay that is being used continuously is a standard college essay format. When you write articles or essays, you should know the basics of it. And this format is “a must” to know if you consider even trying to work as a writer or you simply need an essay to do for your college. 

The standard format of an essay includes 3 different parts that you need to follow and write in the exact order. The first is an introduction. The second, and the most important part is the body, and in the end, you should write some conclusion to the text you have provided. Each of these parts has its own purpose. So, don’t take it for granted and try to maximize your efforts in all of these parts.

If you are still wondering what is the proper college essay format you should use, perhaps you should try college essay format APA. After MLA, this is secondly the most used style of writing in the world. It is commonly used in academic documents like journal articles or some books related to scholarly journalism in general. 

When using APA, the header will most likely appear on every single page. Something that makes the difference between this style and MLA is that the title should be emphasized with all capital letters. You will just have to make sure that you flush the title with the left margin. In contrast to  the MLA style, APA does require cover pages. You should write some data on the cover page like full name, essay’s title, and name of the college you go to. Be sure to place it centered and double-spaced.

When it comes to font size, spacing, and margins, APA has distinct demands that should be followed. Use margins of 1 inch and place on all sides. The font size that has to be used is 12 and in Times New Roman.

What About College Admission Essay Format?

Sometimes students find it hard to express themselves in the best way. And we shouldn’t criticize them because of it. People should be aware that we are not all good at expressing our feelings and thoughts. For a person who is not good at it, it can represent a huge amount of pressure. But for every illness, there is a cure. So, if you speak of formatting an essay, it is almost impossible not to mention the college admission essay format. 

This format of an essay usually refers to personal expressions and personal statements. It often consists of some purpose too. In every country, rules and requirements about writing admission essays can be a little bit different. In the USA, it will be offered to you to choose between 6 essays. And that possibility of making a choice is making it to be unlike others. The things you should attach importance to are your true wishes, goals, and hopes. Also, your expectations are something that is appreciated on your application for an admission essay.


The best advice you can get on how to format college essays is to trust in yourself and follow the instructions that have been given to you. Remember that dozens of students didn’t even get an opportunity to use someone’s guidance in the first place. There are a lot of essay formats that can be used in the right manner with the right purpose. If you are not sure which one to utilize, hopefully, we managed to help you to sort it out!