How to End a College Essay ─ Tips for Crafting a Memorable Conclusion

The conclusion of a college essay wraps up your thoughts and ideas, brings closure to the reader, and leaves a final impression. An impactful conclusion should be concise yet memorable, reinforce your central message, and end on a high note.

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Before diving into specific conclusion writing tips, it’s helpful to understand why the ending matters so much. Admissions officers pore through thousands of essays annually, seeking students who not only have stellar achievements but also express compelling stories aligned with institutional values.

A strong finale sticks in their memory when making acceptance decisions between similarly qualified candidates. While less flashy than other essay parts, the conclusion has an outsized influence that should not be underestimated when vying for limited spots. So take the time to refine your final paragraph.

Use The Final Paragraph To Summarize Key Ideas

The concluding section should remind readers of the essay’s main points without outright repeating them verbatim. Succinctly summarize the key ideas, arguments, insights, and takeaways you conveyed throughout the essay. This reinforces the central message and reminds the reader what your piece was fundamentally about at its core. Survey the terrain you covered earlier at a high level without rehashing every detail.

Practical Tip: A brief yet strong summarization of main takeaways brings fresh clarity to your central thesis.

Echo The Introduction


Strategically harken back to the introduction by employing similar wording, imagery, metaphors or motifs. This creates an innate sense of cohesion between the beginning and ending chapters of your essay. For example, if you began with an impactful anecdote, refer back to that illustrative story or include a relevant detail from it. Or if your intro originally posed an intriguing question, answer it directly in the conclusion.

Practical Tip: Ending your essay by intentionally circling back to the opening section ties up previous loose ends for the reader.

Leave The Reader With A Memorable Final Thought

The last 1-2 sentences should stick in the reader’s mind, conveying an impactful, meaningful, or poignant message. This final takeaway should organically relate to the essay’s main idea or your personal growth and define your qualities. Share an inspirational insight into your worldview, a pivotal realization that shifted your perspective, or a deeply meaningful lesson you extracted from your experiences.

Practical Tip: A highly specific yet universally relatable final sentence carries significant staying power in a reader’s mind.

Keep It Short

College essay word limits are notoriously strict, so don’t squander precious space with an excessively long or wordy conclusion. Tie up previous loose ends and reinforce your ideas in just 1-2 tight paragraphs. Aim for around 100-150 highly polished words. Being ruthlessly concise displays admirable discipline in conveying your message effectively and efficiently without losing impact.

Practical Tip: Carefully honed succinctness and brevity give your finale a more resonant punch.

Connect To the College’s Values


Expanding your ideas outwards to universal themes gives your essay wider significance and relevance. Discuss how the experiences, attributes, and lessons you conveyed relate to the specific values and communities of the college you are applying to.

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Practical Tip: Strategic links between your essay’s themes and the college’s ideals significantly boost relevance.

Close With Excitement For the Next Steps

Rally the reader to explore your candidacy further by openly inviting the next steps. For example, warmly state you welcome any chance to elaborate on ideas in person if accepted for an interview. This forward-leaning language gets admissions officers excited to advance you through the process. It shows your enthusiasm.

Practical Tip: A call to action creates forward momentum and ongoing excitement about your candidacy.

Stand Out From Other Applicants

There are likely many qualified candidates applying to this college with impressive achievements. However, adcoms have limited time and resources to evaluate applications. Following these essay conclusion tips help you stand out by making your essay more memorable, impactful, and relevant to that specific college. This boosts your chances of advancement compared to those who did not focus on crafting an exceptional finale.

Practical Tip: An exemplary conclusion can be the difference-maker that puts your candidacy atop the accepted applicant pile.

Sample Conclusion Paragraph


Here is a sample concluding paragraph tying together the main themes from this article:

“An impactful college essay conclusion should summarize key points without outright repetition, create cohesion by referring back to the introduction, end with a memorable final thought, be ruthlessly concise, connect experiences to college values, and rally excitement for next steps. Employing these strategies crafts a powerful essay finale that resonates with admissions staff, leaving a positive lasting impression that advances your candidacy. With these tips, your conclusion will be remembered for all the right reasons.”

In summary, the conclusion of your admission essay is crucial for reinforcing your message, demonstrating discipline through concise writing, linking your values to the college ethos, and motivating the next phase of your candidacy exploration. Putting extra effort into the ending sets your essay apart. Follow these expert tips when wrapping up your essay story.

While this article focused specifically on concluding your admission essay, the principles apply more broadly to wrapping up other college application components. For example, your supplemental essays, short answer responses, and written segments of arts supplements should also end memorably, relate to central themes, and leave the reader excited to advance you. Applying these tips across all writing elements creates a holistic impact.

College essay writing advice rightfully spotlights crafting a compelling personal narrative and showcasing your qualifications. However, telling your authentic story with finesse has lifelong relevance beyond just gaining admission. The ability to express ideas clearly, make emotional connections, and convince audiences serves you in academic papers, professional communications, reasoned debates, and more. Hone these tangible skills now through thoughtful, introspective writing. Then carry them forward through the journey ahead.