Personal Statement

Writing Your Essay (Part 4)


The Conclusion
Just as you don't necessarily need a formal introduction for your essay, you may also not need a formal conclusion. The final sentence or two of your essay can be enough for a conclusion, especially if you're running low on space. The important thing is to make sure you bring your thoughts to their logical end and create a positive, memorable image in the reader's mind. Endings are the last experience the admissions committee will have with your essay, so you must make them count. 

While you may use your conclusion to reiterate your main points, remember that it should not be a summary of your essay. A successful conclusion should justify your arguments to the reader while simultaneously describing the consequences of those arguments (i.e. telling the reader why your arguments are important).  You may consider leaving the reader with a provocative idea that stems naturally from the rest of your essay. If you introduced a clever or unusual thought in the first paragraph, try to refer back to it in your conclusion to bring your essay full circle. Regardless for how you structure your conclusion, your aim should always be to have the admissions committee leave your essay thinking that it was a satisfying read and wishing that there was more.  

Many writers struggle with the conclusion because they think they must make profound insights or sweeping observations in order to make themselves seem introspective, mature, and impressive to the admissions committee. Don't be one of these writers because you'll likely come across as trying too hard and your conclusion will seem forced and impersonal. Let your conclusion flow naturally from the rest of the essay.


Paragraphs and Topic Sentences

Paragraphs uphold the organization and structure of your essay. Each one that you write should express a single thought and contain a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. 

When you write your paragraphs, make sure each one has a strong topic sentence that clearly conveys the main point of the paragraph and furthers the overall thesis of your essay. Generally, the topic sentence is the first or second sentence of your paragraph, but it doesn't have to be. Topic sentences will help to focus and target your paragraphs. 

Once you establish your topic sentence, you must then make sure to support it with concrete evidence and then interpret that evidence in light of your thesis. 

To conclude your paragraph, you should include a closing observation that provides a final idea that leads to the next step in your argument rather than just a simple summary of what you said in the paragraph.


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