How to conclude your college essay

You’ve come up with a solid topic, written the opening and body and you’re confident your college application essay is good.

So why can’t you finish it?

Reaching a powerful conclusion to a 650 word essay is difficult. Space is short and you have to write efficiently and succinctly.

Think deeply and unconventionally to advance your thoughts.

My students often have trouble with this.

I tell them to put the essay aside for a day and don’t think about it. Then return to it and read what you’ve written so far. Sometimes, an ending will pop into your head and you know you’ve nailed it. Other times, you’ll have a vague idea of how to conclude but you’ll find yourself writing several drafts to reach a precise ending.

Allowing an idea to percolate is almost always the best approach. Your subconscious mind works while you’re busy living your life. Give it a chance to do what it does best. Leave yourself enough time to read and revise your essay.

If you’re really committed, read thoughtful articles like those found in the New Yorker magazine or borrow a book of essays from your library.

The best advice I can offer? Don’t force your ending. A stilted ending will be immediately obvious to an admissions officer because it will lack logic or feel superficial.

There is no substitute for thinking deeply and being inventive.

If you need help concluding and fine-tuning your college essay, email me at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *