Skip to content

College Admission Essay Header Format Mla

Examples of Successful Statements

Below are samples of personal statements. You may also select "Sample Statement" in the Media Box above for a PDF sample.

Statement #1

My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering.

When I began my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of engineering courses, all of which tended to reinforce and solidify my intense interest in engineering. I've also had the opportunity to study a number of subjects in the humanities and they have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with a new and different perspective on the world in which we live.

In the realm of engineering, I have developed a special interest in the field of laser technology and have even been taking a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 or so students in the course, I am the sole undergraduate. Another particular interest of mine is electromagnetics, and last summer, when I was a technical assistant at a world-famous local lab, I learned about its many practical applications, especially in relation to microstrip and antenna design. Management at this lab was sufficiently impressed with my work to ask that I return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my master's in science. After I earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Later I would like to work in the area of research and development for private industry. It is in R & D that I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity as a scientist.

I am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. I know that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will give me the privilege of continuing my studies at your fine institution.

(Stelzer pp. 38-39)

Statement #2

Having majored in literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.

I am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women's literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relationship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison's other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.

In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should I attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.

Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what I read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistant ship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.

(Stelzer pp. 40-41)

How To Format A College Admission Essay

The college admission essay should be a brief about who you are and intentions at the academic institution you are choosing. The essay should be strong and personal yet focused and structured. Many college applications do not provide guidelines for the formatting of personal essays but it should be well written and easy to read. Single or double-spacing is usually fine unless specifically noted in instructions. Here is the ideal way to format your admission essay to make it the most effective.

Focused, General Idea

The essay should not be a novel. It must be focused and succinct. Five paragraphs should be adequate for completion. Introduce the purpose and state a thesis, support your argument, and then summarize the content and restate the purpose to conclude. Be sure to stay on topic and not drain the interest of the reader.

Page Mechanics

The essay page should have 1-inch margins along the top, bottom, and sides. Each paragraph should have the standard indentation and (five spaces or hitting the “tab” button once). Standard type and font should also be used (Times New Roman, sized 12 is the universally accepted font for formal papers).


The essay can and should be written in first person. First-person is the accepted perspective because you are writing about and your goals. Be sure to check your paper for use of second person perspective because it is rarely acceptable and you don’t want to make a poor impression. Review your paper for use of active vs. passive verbs. Active speaks firmly about who you are while passive leaves some doubt because of its lack of strength.


Pay attention to grammar and spelling, and do not rely solely on spell-check for the perfect essay. Have someone else proofread your work for content and errors. Also, read the essay from start to finish to catch any spelling errors. Consult forms of grammar help for rules on punctuation usage, especially if you are not sure about something.


Be focused and concise in what you say. Your essay is a glimpse into your personality and interests. The paper should be set up with 1-inch margins and have paragraphs properly indented. Use correct perspective and voice, and most importantly correct grammar. The last thing you need is your words and ideas drowning in difficulties of mechanics and style. Follow these suggestions and have fun and you can write an effective college admission essay.