Important Update to the Popular Common Application Essay Formats: Paragraphs permitted! The “Select Your Topic” essay has been replaced by the “Paragraph-Based essay”. Students will now be held to a strict word count of 650 words per essay. However, the good news is that many of the current essay formats will still allow the student to choose their own topic.
Before I explain why this change in the application essay format is important, let’s look at what the existing format entails. The standard format used for most AP Exam writing is four paragraphs that begin with an introduction paragraph and end with a conclusion. This format works well if students know how to follow the guidelines, but what happens when students don’t follow the guidelines?
Most students use the “select your topic” format when they write their application essay. However, the main problem with this format is that the student can freely move throughout the essay as they please. In other words, you have your introduction paragraph, then your paragraph one which serves as the body of the essay, and then your conclusion paragraph. Most students skip this section and move directly into their conclusion paragraph. This problem is solved by the addition of a paragraph to the “selected your topic” format that allows students to write down their argument, or some kind of supporting evidence for their conclusion.
Students who don’t follow the guidelines of the “selected your topic” format are usually allowed a single paragraph to go into their argument. The only problem with this format is that it may be difficult for students to convince themselves why they should support their conclusion. This is where “paragraph-based” essays become more helpful. They take all of the power out of the selection process by requiring the student to provide actual supporting evidence before writing down their argument.
Now, what do these paragraph-based essays entail? The structure is similar to that of the “selected your topic” format, except the first paragraph is used to present a brief overview of the main idea of the essay. Then, in the second paragraph the argument or evidence is presented. At the end of the essay, the last paragraph contains a short conclusion which provides a summary of the main points that have been made in the argument. and a conclusion stating that supports or ends the entire argument.
As an introduction, I encourage all students to begin by discussing the advantages of using the “paragraph-based” format and then describe the benefits of using a “paragraph based” format in a Common Application essay. The next article in the series will show the benefits of using a “paragraph based” format for any other type of essay.
Please consider all this and think on it for a moment. I hope that the discussion of the benefits of using a “paragraph based” format in the next article helps to increase your awareness of the change in the application essay format to help you make the best possible essay.
If you have not used the application essay format before, please consider using the “paragraph based” format and I am certain that you will find that your essay will become more successful as time goes on. Good luck! Consider all this and think on it as you write your essay.
The first benefit of using a “paragraph based” format in the Common Application essay is that you will find that it makes your essay easier to read. Many students are intimidated when it comes to writing and the majority of writing students are intimidated by the formatting that they find difficult to read. When your essay has the proper formatting, there is less room for errors and your essay is much easier to read. than a “selected your topic” format.
The second benefit of using a “paragraph based” format in the Common Application essay is that you will find that it provides more space for your essay to show off your ideas. This means that your essay will become more interesting and you can show off all of the good stuff that you are doing. in your essay.
The third benefit of using a “paragraph based” format is that your essay is more exciting. If your essay is hard to read, it will be boring. If your essay is easy to read, then you will get very little from it. Therefore, if your essay is difficult to read, then you may not want to submit it in your Common Application.