College Essay


When writing a college essay do you indent each paragraph?

asked Oct 01 '12 at 10:19 Angela New member

2 answers


You should generally indent each new paragraph within a section except the first. The logic behind this principle is that the first paragraph of a section – whether it be chapter, heading or sub-heading – is already distinguished as new. Subsequent paragraphs, on the other hand, should not be distinguished in any other way in academic writing than by first-line indentation.


You should also refer to the style manual recommended by your particular educational institution for your particular course. (Some styles even require a specific amount of indentation.)

link comment edited Oct 01 '12 at 13:50 Peter Guess Expert

If this is a college application essay, you will need to do a little research.


First, the school you are applying to may have its own requirements. For nearly every United States college, these application instructions are found online. Read the school's application requirements carefully. If you can, print a hardcopy. Read them again. Ask somebody else -- a friend, parent, teacher -- to read them. Compare notes. You want to understand exactly what is required, and you want to follow all of the instructions.


The college application requirements may tell you how to format your essay, but many schools leave this to you. (In this case, they are looking to see what you decide do and are evaluating you on that basis.) At other schools, the University of California system for instance, the essay is submitted electronically. This process has very different formatting requirements, and the University's system controls the final appearance.


Second, if you are submitting a paper essay and the school does not specify a format, you should ask you guidance counselor for advice. Perhaps she can provide guidance appropriate to your intended school. Listen to what your counselor has to say.


Third, if the above fails to guide you, pick a style -- either the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Pyschological Association (APA) are good choices -- and follow it.


In summary: Pay attention to detail. Read and reread the instructions. Seek advice. Listen. Relax. Write, wait, read, rewrite, reread, and edit. Give yourself plenty of time. Don't wait until the last minute.

link comment answered Oct 01 '12 at 15:40 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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