“I like a good story well told. That’s the reason I am sometimes tempted to tell it myself.” Mark Twain.
Students always have good stories to tell but they don’t tell them the right way. They have the right content but the placement of ideas is all over the place.
Essay writing involves a format and an outline that is well-structured to organize the ideas you’ve researched in a good manner.
When you’re given an essay assignment to write, the main instruction is to follow a certain format when writing it. The 3 main formatting styles in all institutions are: APA, MLA and Chicago.
These formatting styles present information in a more structured manner.
In this blog, we will discuss the different essay formats, how to write essays using the essay formats, and provide essay format templates to follow every time you need to write an essay.
Don’t worry if you’re in high school or college because these essay format templates can be applied in any level of education.
This is a set of guidelines that shows you how to arrange the various elements (cover page, paragraphs, page numbers of your paper).
These guidelines include: basic outline, cover page, citations and the overall essay outline.
Essay formatting styles mainly focus on title page, in-text citations, reference page and the overall structure of the essay.
Before we break down the guidelines of formatting essays and essay outlines, let’s first go through some of the questions you might have concerning formatting an essay:
COLLEGE ESSAY FORMAT GUIDELINES:
Is it necessary to title my essay?
No! In most cases, you don’t need an essay title. This is because you want your essay to be open-ended and not specifically focused so that you can have more room for critical thinking.
How long should my essay be?
This is also not a question to worry about since most institution’s professors and instructors will give you a maximum number of words not to surpass when writing your essay.
For example, your main personal statements required by the coalition application or the common application are supposed to be 650 words total. If the institution doesn’t provide the maximum number of words, be sure to email them and ask instead of just guessing, and I am sure they’ll reply in due time.
So, you’re required to write a personal statement with a maximum word limit of 650 words and you ask yourself, ‘should I use up all this space?’. Well, we suggest that you do because this is an opportunity to fully express yourself and convince the board that you’re fit for the space. Don’t miss the opportunity just because you’re afraid to express yourself.
Remember, you don’t have to fill up the space if what you will write is not relevant to your story. Always maintain relevance in your essays.
How many paragraphs should I write?
In reason, how many paragraphs you should include in your college essay is upon you to decide. Of course, personal statements will not require as many paragraphs as an argumentative essay.
Feel free to write as many paragraphs as you want to as long as the content is relevant.
Should I use paragraph breaks or indent paragraphs in my college essay?
Use either as long as your writing is consistent. Don’t indent one section the use paragraph breaks on the other. Choose one and apply it throughout the paper.
Of course different study fields have different writing standards so make sure you follow set style guides i.e APA, MLA and Chicago to format your essay according to the paper instructions.
When should I use italics or bold in my essay?
If you’re making some kind of emphasis when writing your college essay, it’s okay to use bold or italics for the reader to take note of the important writings.
However, using phrases and sentence structure to make emphasis instead of bolds and italics will improve your writing skills.
Which font type, size and color should I use?
Keep it simple and standard. Most colleges require you to use font types easier to read such as Times New Roman or Arial. 11-12 size (double spaced) is fine and the standard color should be black.
Don’t use weird font types and colors no matter how artistic you are. It will turn off the reader and result in a poor grade.
If you want to stand out, do indepth research instead and impress the reader with your writing skills instead of font, size and color.
Is there a college essay template I can use?
It depends. If you’re asking for college essay formatting, the above explanation will work fine. However, a structural college essay template doesn’t necessarily exist.
You have to follow your instructor’s instructions on whether to use MLA, APA or Chicago and come right back to this article to see different essay format templates showcased below.
What is an Essay Format?
These are a set of guidelines that shows you how to arrange different essay elements namely: Paragraphs, in-text citations, works cited pages and the entire outlook of the essay.
Pay attention to these crucial things when you are formatting an essay: essay structure, title page, in text citations and works cited page a.k.a reference page.
Read this article to understand in-depth on how to write an essay outline. However, we will go through the basics of an essay outline below in case you don’t have the time to leave this page.
Basic Essay Outline
In order to include all key information in an essay, you need an introduction, body and conclusion. All types of research papers and essays follow the following outline.
Let us describe each section briefly.
In this section, you will start your essay by providing some background information about your topic and a brief introduction. In order to emphasize the argument of the paper, you should end the introduction with a strong thesis statement.
This is where you’ll write to support the thesis statement mentioned in the introduction. Each paragraph of the body section should have a topic sentence to guide the supporting arguments.
This is the last paragraph of your essay where you summarize the points raised in the body paragraph in support of your argument supporting the thesis statement. Make sure you restate the thesis statement as you conclude.
Essay Format Guidelines
To make it easy for you to follow, we’re going to list below the standard essay format guidelines.
Come here and follow these everytime you want to format your essay.
- One inch margin on all sides of a page in all pages.
- Double line spacing unless instructed otherwise by your professor.
- Times New Roman font style and 12pt size unless instructed otherwise by your professor.
- Include page headers that contain the author’s last name or shortened title.
- Heading and subheading based on the specific formatting style.
- Include page numbers in the page headers
- Half an inch indentation
Essay Format Template
Click below to access an essay format template that you can refer to everytime you need to write an essay or a research paper.
MLA Style Essay Format
If you’re a humanities major, then this is for you because MLA style essay format is the most common in this field of study. Follow the basic guidelines below to write and format a paper in MLA style.
- Times New Roman, 12pt font style.
- Double spacing across the paper and avoid extra spacing between paragraphs.
- All sides of the paper should be one inch margin wide.
- Every page should have a header with page number and author’s last name.
- Write your name, instructor’s name, class and date in the upper left hand corner.
- Center the title of the essay.
- Press tab to indent at the beginning of each paragraph.
- Have a page for works cited and list down all the sources you’ve used.
MLA Format Essay Example
MLA style essay format guidelines but you will understand better when you see an example of a paper written in MLA.
Below is a free example written by a professional at topscholars that you can use to follow while writing your MLA style essay.
APA Style Essay Format
APA stands for American Psychological Association hence used when writing scientific papers. If you’re a behavioral or social science student then this is the formatting style for you.
Below are guidelines for writing essays in APA style format.
- Just like MLA, style should be Times New Roman, 12pt.
- Double spacing.
- Margin should be one inch.
- Every page should have a header that includes a shortened title at the top left and a page number at the top right.
- Include the name of the instructor, author, institution and the date in the title page.
- Have a works cited page and list all citations there.
APA Format Essay Example
Below is an APA format essay example written by one of our experts that will help you nail your next APA style essay assignment.
Chicago Style Essay Format
There are a set of comprehensive guidelines that are used when formatting an essay using the chicago style. The chicago style essay format focuses on precise citations and footnotes.
Follow the guidelines below to format your paper in chicago style.
- All sides of the paper should be one inch margin wide.
- Writing should be double spaced across the board.
- Times New Roman 12pt text style.
- Every page should have a header that includes the author’s last name and page number
- All quoted and paraphrased passages should include footnotes.
- Title the works cited page ‘Bibliography’ and use the alphabetical order to list the references. Bibliography format is similar to that of MLA style essay format.
Chicago Format Essay Example
Check out the example below from our expert on how to write an essay using the chicago format.
We hope that you have understood how to format different types of essays using this guide. You can always come back to this article whenever you need to refresh your mind, and access essay format templates and different college essay format examples.
Get Professional Help in Formatting your Paper
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- Expository essay format
- Descriptive essay format
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- Scholarship essay format
- Compare and contrast essay format
- Narrative essay format
- Common app essay format
- Graduate essay format
- College essay format
- Argumentative essay format
- Chicago essay format
- APA essay format
- MLA essay format
- 5 paragraph essay format
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