Tutorial Four: Finishing Your Essay
Never underestimate the importance of how to write a conclusion for an essay. If you recall earlier in our tutorial, we stressed the critical role the opening paragraph plays and we defined it as one of the two most important parts of your essay. The second being the conclusion. The essay conclusion is your last chance to persuade the admission officer and leave a lasting impression.
The Essay Conclusion Provides Closure
You shouldn’t use the essay conclusion to introduce brand new ideas that are going generate questions or require additional explanation. Instead, use this final paragraph of your essay to provide closure, while sticking with your original essay theme and maintaining the same tone and voice you’ve had throughout the entire paper.
Avoid using stock words or phrases such as: In summary… Therefore… In conclusion… In short…. etc. etc. These type of leading phrases are for formal writing. They’re not really going to help your admission essay. As you approach the essay conclusion, consider using one of these 3 following techniques:
1) Positive Note
End your essay on a POSITIVE note. Whether you chose to write a soul-wrenching essay on dealing with the loss of a loved one, or a more light-hearted entertaining essay on a frustrating trip to Disneyland, end it with a positive outlook. Show the sunny side of things. Remember, the admissions staff wants to see how you make lemonade from “life’s lemons.”
2) Broader Implications
Expand on the broader aspects of your discussion. In other words, look at the larger picture. If your subject or discussion hints at having a broader implication or a more widespread appeal, make sure to work it into your essay, and particularly in the conclusion. For example: “As I was called for dinner, I couldn’t believe two hours had gone by. I was so immersed in the book I completely lost track of time. I found myself gulping my dinner down, just so I could get back and read some more on the fascinating customs of these New Guinea aborigines. The book made me realize that while different cultures have very different conceptions of right and wrong, we’re all still people and have the same problems all over the world.”
3) Full Circle
Come full circle with your essay. Think of your essay as a story within two “bookends.” The opening paragraph is one bookend, the closing paragraph is the other. For instance, remember our earlier example of this opening paragraph? “Roses need a lot of water, but they make a wonderful addition to my grandmother’s garden. Sometimes I feel like a rose, soaking up the world around me and eager to flourish and bloom.” The writer might now consider for her last paragraph making some sort of connection – even if subtle – to her opening statement: “……and I hope someday to make a positive impact in this world, just like the beautiful roses in my grandmother’s garden.” It’s now time to review and check your essay from start to finish.
DOs and DON’Ts for Your Essay Conclusion
DO use the final sentences to wrap up and end any suspense or answer any question that you might have posed earlier in the essay.
DON’T address the admissions officer or ask them to admit you
DO use short, forceful sentences to end your essay.
DON’T repeat or sum up your essay in any way. This is not a speech.
DO provide closure to your essay. Use one of the methods explained above.
DON’T end your essay with a quotation.