by Sophie Herron of Story to College
Last Friday we worked on how to identify your Pivot, the key moment or climax of your college essay, as the first step to make sure your essay meets the three requirements of the form: that your college essay needs to be short and energetic, and reveal your character.
Today, we’re going to jump right into the next step of revising your essay: The End. We’ll look at the most important dos and don’ts, and 5 techniques you can use in your own essay.
We’re working on the end today because:
1. It’s harder to get right than the beginning. Sorry. It just is.
2. Having a good, clear ending helps you write & revise the rest of your story.
3. It’s the last thing an admissions officer will read, so it’s especially important.
All right, enough chatter. On to the good stuff.
The Most Important Do and Don’t of College Essay Endings
DO: End in the action.
End right after your pivot, or key moment. I constantly tell students to end earlier–end right next to your success! (Whatever “success” means, in your particular essay.) Think of the “fade-to-black” in a movie–you want us to end on the high, glowy feeling. End with the robot’s arm lifting, or your call home to celebrate, or your grandma thanking you. Then stop. Leave your reader wanting more! Keep the admissions officer thinking about you.
In fact, that’s why we call successful endings Glows here at Story To College, because that’s exactly how you want your admissions officer to feel. Glowy. Impressed. Moved. Inspired. Don’t ruin the moment.End earlier.
Here’s your challenge: don’t ever say the point of your essay. Cut every single “that’s when I realized” and “I learned” and “the most important thing was…” Every single one. They’re boring, unconvincing, and doing you no favors.
When you tell the reader what to feel, or think, you stop telling a story. And then the reader stops connecting with you. And then they stop caring. Don’t let this happen. Don’t summarize.
But if you don’t–how do you end?
5 Ways to Powerfully End Your College Essay
Did someone tell you good job, or thank you, or congratulate you? Did you finally speak up, or get something done? Put it in dialogue. It’s a powerful way to end. In fact, it’s an easy revision of those “I learned…” sentences earlier. So you learned to never give up?
“Hey mom,” I said into my phone. “Yeah, I’m not coming home right away–I’ve got practice.”
BOOM. Look at that.
Here’s a simple example:
I pushed open the door, and stepped inside.
Even without context, you can tell this student took a risk and committed to something. It’s all in the actions.
Maybe you want to end in a mood, or by creating a wider view of things, or by focusing in on a certain important object.
The whole robot shuddered as it creaked to life and rolled across the concrete floor. It’s silver arm gently grasped the upturned box, and then, lifted it.
There’s some combination here with action, but that’s perfectly fine.
4. Go full circle.
Did you talk to someone at the beginning? You might end by talking to them again. Or if you described a certain object, you might mention it again. There are lots of ways to end where you began, and it’s often a really satisfying technique.
5. Directly address the college.
Tell them what you’re going to do there, or what you’re excited about. I did this, actually in mine–something like:
And that’s why I’m so excited about the Core Curriculum: I’m going to study everything.
This technique breaks the “don’t tell them what your essay is about” rule–but only a little. Be sure to still sound like yourself, and to be very confident in your plans.
That’s all! Be sure to check out “Success Stories” (again, here) if you haven’t yet for more examples of each of these techniques.
Next, we’ll look at beginnings!
In the meantime, check out these great resources:
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Sophie Herron taught high school English in Houston, Texas, at KIPP Houston High School through Teach For America. Since then, she received her MFA in Poetry from New York University, where she was a Goldwater Fellow, instructor of Creative Writing, and Managing Editor of Washington Square Review, the graduate literary journal. She continues to teach as an instructor at Story To College and as a teaching artist with the Community-Word Project. She is a poet and podcaster.
Teamwork and Inclusivity
Essays on cultural diversities inform the readers on ideas concerning inclusivity, team building or teamwork. Therefore, these topics are based on opinions which the writer does not necessarily support. However, they are excellently presented to persuade the reader through a definite and defendable thesis statement. At the body section, the writer discusses the points that support the topic in different paragraphs about the stated thesis statement with evidence and examples for support. The author uses actuating elements such as being authoritative and firm, repetition and agitation.
How to start
The writer starts with a hook to attract the reader. It should be in the form of a quote, dialogue, or a story. The introductory statement is connected to the thesis statement which appears at the last part of the introduction.
Example of introduction for a cultural diversity essay:
“Have you benefited from teamwork? Or how do you understand inclusivity? Perhaps, it is better to understand cultural diversity through the elaboration of the different aspects of people from diverse backgrounds especially their beliefs, customs, norms and ways of life about the teamwork, team building or inclusivity. People currently experience changes in the different fields of education, businesses, health care systems, personal relations, gender roles, social classes. On the other hand, such changes are observed in the form of discrimination, oppression, equality, and equity among teams. Thus, teamwork and inclusivity which enhance cohesion, improvement of skills, interpersonal relationship, an increase of professional opportunities, team building and reduction of conflicts.”
How to write the body
The essay entails an explanation, description or arguments regarding a particular aspect of cultural diversity. Writers usually present advantages of the cultural diversity topic such as cohesion, team building, teamwork, and inclusivity in unique ways. However, these points are focusing on the thesis statement with evidence, and examples support the topic.
Example of body paragraphs for a cultural diversity essay:
“Teamwork and inclusivity enhance awareness of different cultures and tolerance among people. In diverse cultural setups such as workplaces, schools, and other institutions, people from all walks of lives meet and conform to one another and form teams. These people become aware of their cultural backgrounds as well as learn a lot from others’ cultures. Thus, they appreciate their cultural differences, history, heritage, and perceptions. This solves issues regarding racism, discrimination, and prejudice among others hence promoting peaceful coexistence.
Secondly, teamwork and inclusivity support communication among staff. People of diverse cultural backgrounds interact when information is provided to the teams. It creates a platform for interaction since they have the most efficient way of passing information to their colleagues based on their awareness of the cultural norms. Besides, these people are in a position to develop schedules and can show when they have restrictions hence they tend to create plans of work which promote peace and cooperation in the workplace.
Thirdly, teamwork and inclusivity enhance team building in the offices that improve active participation as well as sharing of views hence people feel part of the organization and work under one umbrella. It can be achieved through bridging of gaps that exist due to prejudice and prejudgment. People from culturally diverse backgrounds confront prejudgments based on gender, sexuality, duties among others through the formation of well-developed work ethics that promote coexistence and respect.
On a separate note, teamwork is responsible for creativity among people or students. Students from different cultural backgrounds when grouped bring their unique qualifications, experiences and skills hence they can develop an innovation or idea or a positive solution to a given problem. It is coupled with increased inspiration of all the students or employees to work hard and reach their highest potentials.
Lastly, inclusion and teamwork result in understanding which leads to improved quality in different sectors such as businesses. This has been exhibited in global markets where advertisements are translated into different languages for consumers to have the relevant information concerning the given product. This enhances market specific knowledge through improved employment of workforce that exists within a specific local market.”
How to conclude
When concluding cultural diversity essays, writers summarize their main ideas as well as providing an elaboration of the last perspectives of the topic. These conclusions are brief and are mainly reviews of the most important points with reinforcement of thesis statements. The conclusion is coined in a way that it stresses on the thesis statement with a final statement that brings the essay to closure.
Example of conclusion for a cultural diversity essay:
“In conclusion, embracing teamwork and inclusion bring about the diverse pool of people together. These people can embrace tolerance, awareness of different cultural backgrounds, enhance communication, understanding, creativity and team building. This is essential for cohesion, solving conflicts as well as improving professional opportunities for all. Thus, an environment or entity that embraces cultural diversity is abundant in almost all aspects.”