How to Properly Format And Structure Your College Essay


When you ask students about the one thing that they absolutely dread about their college education, one of the most common answers you’ll probably get is writing essays. Although it can be daunting to write them on different topics, it doesn’t have to be like that, especially if they learn how to properly format and structure their papers.

If you found yourself in a situation where you need to write an essay, but have no idea how to properly do it, the article below could help you understand what you’ll need to do. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some tips on how to properly format and structure your college paper:

The Structure + Outline Are Quite Important


Before you learn how you can format different essay types, you need to understand the importance of having a structure and outline. The structure is important for your paper, mostly because it can ensure that it doesn’t look like your rambling about a specific topic, something that might cause the reader to be confused.

On the other hand, creating a suitable outline will help with a wide range of things. Besides allowing you to know what are the key points of your essay, it’ll ensure that your ideas are placed and connected in a logical way, and it will help you plan the order of the paragraphs.

All Essays Have Three Key Parts: The Introduction, Middle, And Ending

1. The Introduction


There are various openings that you could choose for your paper. For instance, you can open with an interesting anecdote or you could ask a question that’ll make the reader interested in what you have to say. No matter what you decide to open with, it’s important for you to add a thesis into the intro.

A thesis is one sentence that will summarize the main point of the essay and you should think of it as an answer to the topic you’ve been given. Hence, if the topic is about why you chose to get a degree for a particular field, the thesis should clearly state the reasons in one sentence.

2. The Middle

Throughout the middle part, you should write about the experiences, examples, as well as events that will support your opening thesis. Every paragraph should revolve around one topic and all the points must be connected in a logical way. As you work on the outline, you should ensure that there aren’t any gaps that’ll make the paragraphs appear random.

3. The Ending


You’ll also have to end your essay properly and to do so, it must include a conclusion to the events or experiences you’ve written about, your thoughts on the entire topic, and it should have a clear connection to the rest of the paper. The ending is thought to be the most difficult part to write, so, if you get stuck, you can get some help from companies such as

Different Essay Structures Will Require Different Writing

We already mentioned that all essays have three key parts – the introduction, middle, and ending. However, how you’ll format those parts will depend on the essay type you choose. The four most common types include:

1. The “Example” Format


This is one of the most common structures for all university essays, and it needs to include the opening with your thesis, three/four, or more examples that’ll support your claims, as well as a conclusion. It’s suitable for making strong points when you’re working on a shorter paper.

Let’s say that the topic is “Why You Chose This College”. For the opening, you’ll need to provide your reasons for choosing the university, three or more middle paragraphs where you’ll further explain the reasons you have, and an ending that’ll summarize the main points you made.

2. Comparing And Contrasting

There are 2 methods for structuring this type of essay – you could either categorize it point by point, and then compare one situation to the next, or you could cover all the points of one situation in the first half of the paper, and then compare them in the second part. Choose this type if you have to write about your development, mostly because it’ll allow you to easily compare the past and present.

If you, for example, need to write about the skills you developed during university, you can begin by describing what skills you currently have. Next, by using one of the methods above, you should talk about the skills you had in the past, and how you managed to improve them or gain new ones. Lastly, you should describe what these new or improved skills can help you with.

3. Cause And Effect


This type of paper is meant to explain how an event or experience changed you or had an impact on your life. If you opt for it, you should open it by telling a story of the experience and you’ll also need to talk about how it changed and impacted your life. It’s suitable for describing an experience that changed you and that helped with your career choice or personal growth.

For instance, you might want to write about a person that inspired you to choose history as your major. If so, you should begin by explaining why that person inspired you, and don’t forget to write a bit more about that individual’s background. For the rest of the paper, explain your experience with the field, and the career you’re planning on having once you’re done with college.

4. Chronological or Narrative

This is, perhaps, one of the most interesting essays to write, mostly because it’s filled with dialogue and details. If you opt for it, you should know that you must focus on one event/experience in your life, which basically means that you’ll tell a story. The opening should include the event you want to write about, and then, you should explain it in chronological order with a lot of details.

When writing the conclusion, you should reveal the ending of the story you told, and if possible, you might want to reflect on how that particular event changed you. It’s perfect for a longer paper, especially since you can easily adapt the structure to almost any topic that you could get.


In order for you to properly write an essay, you must ensure that the structure follows the type you opted for. And, if you choose to follow some or most of the tips we mentioned above, you can make the entire writing process easier, and more importantly, you can ensure that you produce a paper that is logical and easy to understand.

So, now that you know what you’ll have to do, you might not want to waste any more of your time. Instead, you might want to go through our article one more time, determine what might be the most suitable approach for you, and then start working on the outline of your essay.