How To End A College Essay For Admission: 12 Tactics & Tips

Ending your college essay with a strong conclusion is crucial for making a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

In this guide, we’ll explore 12 effective tactics and tips to help you craft memorable and impactful endings. From connecting to your core values to employing the twist/reveal technique, these strategies will ensure your personal statement stands out.

Whether you’re looking to evoke emotion or highlight future aspirations, these tips will provide the perfect way to conclude your college essay and enhance your admission prospects.

How To End A College Essay For Admission

Ways to EndDescription
Connect to Your ValuesReflect on and name the values shown throughout your essay.
The Bookend or CallbackRefer to something set up earlier in the essay to create a sense of closure.
The Road ForwardHighlight your future potential and readiness for exploration.
Save Your Thesis for the EndBuild your narrative and reveal the main point at the end for a surprising conclusion.
Connect to Your CareerTie your experiences to your future career aspirations.
The “Why Us?” Set-UpShow how your experiences align with the college’s offerings.
Back to the Beginning, but Something’s ChangedReflect on how you’ve changed since the beginning of the essay.
The Twist/RevealSet up an expectation and then pivot against it for a surprising reveal.
The “Theater of the Oppressed” EndingLeave the conclusion unresolved, putting the power in the reader’s hands.
The EllipsisCreate an open-ended conclusion that leaves some questions unanswered.
Address the College DirectlyExplain how the college fits into your future plans and why you’re excited to attend.
End on an ActionFinish with a decisive action or dialogue that keeps the reader engaged.

Why Your College Application Essay Ending Is Important?

We all know the reason why you write your college application essay – to convince the university of your choice to admit you. One part that may make the difference and help you stand out is the ending.

Your college application essay ending is crucial for several reasons. It’s your final chance to impress the admissions officer and leave a lasting impression. 

Encapsulates Your Personal Growth

One reason your college essay conclusion is important is that it encapsulates your personal growth. Instead of merely summarising the points you made, use this part of your essay to reflect on how you’ve evolved.

If you’ve written about overcoming a challenge, conclude by highlighting what you’ve learned and how it’s shaped who you are today. This gives your essay a sense of closure and shows maturity.

Creates A ‘Full Circle’ Effect

Another reason is that a strong ending can bring your essay full circle. If you started with a compelling anecdote or a vivid image, refer back to it at the end.

This technique creates a cohesive narrative and helps to underscore the main point of your essay.

You can write about your memory of your first science fair, and then ends it by connecting that experience to your aspirations in scientific research. This not only wraps up the essay neatly but also reinforces your passion and goals.

Creates Positive Perceptions

The way you end a college essay can significantly impact the admissions committee’s perception of you. Admissions officers read countless essays, so an ending that stands out can make your application memorable.

Avoid clichés and general statements. Instead, use your conclusion to leave the reader with a powerful thought or question. This strategy not only makes your essay unique but also showcases your creativity and critical thinking skills.

How To End A College Essay For Impact – 12 Ways

Connect to Your Values

Connecting to your values is an effective way to end your college application essay. Reflect on the values shown throughout your essay and name them explicitly in your conclusion.

This technique can leave a lasting impression on the admissions officer by highlighting your core beliefs.

If your essay describes various community service activities, you might conclude by stating:

“Through these experiences, I learned the importance of empathy, commitment, and leadership.

These values will continue to guide me as I pursue my college education and beyond.”

This approach not only wraps up your essay neatly but also reinforces the main point of your personal statement. It gives a sense of closure and shows your ability to self-reflect, which is something admissions committees appreciate.

Avoid simply summarising what you’ve already said. Instead, emphasise the key values that have driven your journey, making your essay ending resonate more deeply. 

The Bookend or Callback

The Bookend or Callback technique is a powerful way to end your college application essay. By referring to something you set up earlier in the essay, you create a sense of closure that leaves a lasting impression on the admissions officer.

If you started your essay with a story about a childhood experience, you could conclude by linking back to that moment. Here’s an example:

“I began my journey with a simple question from my younger self, ‘Why do the stars shine?’

Now, as I pursue a degree in astrophysics, I find that same curiosity driving me to explore the universe’s mysteries.”

This technique allows you to restate the main point of your essay in a way that feels cohesive and complete. It’s an effective way to end a college essay because it brings your narrative full circle, making the essay feel well-structured and thoughtful.

Avoid common essay endings to ensure your conclusion reflects the essence of your personal statement, leaving the reader with a strong and memorable final impression.

The Road Forward

Ending your college application essay with “The Road Forward” technique can create a hopeful and positive outlook, showcasing your future potential. 

Use this strategy to leave the admissions officer with a lasting impression of your ambition and readiness for exploration.

Say after discussing your passion for environmental science and the projects you’ve undertaken, you might end your essay like this:

“As I look to the future, I see myself at the forefront of innovative solutions to combat climate change. I am excited to join a community that fosters impactful research.

The journey ahead is filled with opportunities to learn, grow, and make a significant difference in the world.”

This type of ending not only summarises the main point of your essay but also gives a glimpse into your aspirations.

It helps to wrap up your essay by emphasising your readiness to embrace new challenges and your commitment to your chosen field. 

Save Your Thesis for the End

Saving your thesis for the end of your college application essay can create a powerful and surprising conclusion.

This technique allows you to build your narrative and then reveal the main point, leaving a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

If your essay details various volunteer experiences, you could end with a statement that ties them all together. Here’s an example:

“After years of organising community clean-ups, and tutoring underprivileged kids, I realised that my true passion lies in public service.

I am committed to creating impactful change, driven by the belief that small acts of kindness can transform lives.”

This method works because it keeps the reader engaged, wondering how all the pieces fit together. When you reveal your thesis at the end, it brings the essay full circle and provides a satisfying conclusion. 

Connect to Your Career

Connecting to your career is a way to end your college application essay. Here, you tie your experiences to your future aspirations. Here’s an example: 

“Working as a camp counsellor taught me leadership, patience, and convinced me to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

I am eager to bring the same dedication and compassion to medical school, knowing that I am prepared to make a difference in children’s lives.”

This method shows your clear vision and ambition. It demonstrates how your past experiences have shaped your career goals, providing a sense of purpose and direction.

This approach can make your essay memorable and showcase your readiness for the challenges ahead.

The “Why Us?” Set-Up

Using The “Why Us?” Set-Up to end your college admission essay can effectively bridge your personal story with the specific offerings of your chosen college. Highlight how your experiences align with the school’s:

  • programs,
  • values, or
  • opportunities.

Here’s an example:

“My passion for environmental science grew through community clean-ups and research projects. I’m excited to bring this dedication to the University of X’s Environmental Sciences program, where I can work with leading researchers.

The interdisciplinary approach and community focus at Michigan align perfectly with my goals of creating sustainable solutions and driving impactful change.”

This type of ending not only wraps up your essay but also sets the stage for a compelling “Why Us?” essay. It shows the admissions committee that you’ve done your research and see a clear fit between your aspirations and what the college offers.

Back to the Beginning, but Something’s Changed

You can consider to end your college admission essay by reflecting on how you’ve changed since the beginning.

Start by mirroring language from your opening to create a full circle effect. Here’s an example:

“I began my essay describing the fear I felt when I first stepped into the debate room, unsure of my voice and place. Now, after countless debates and finding strength in my convictions, I realize that fear was the catalyst for my growth.

I’ve learned that my voice can inspire change and foster understanding. This journey has not only shaped my confidence but has also ignited my passion for law and advocacy.”

This way to end your college essay showcases personal growth and highlights your journey. It provides a sense of closure and demonstrates to the admissions committee your ability to reflect and evolve. 

The Twist/Reveal

Using The Twist/Reveal to end your college admission essay can create a memorable and impactful conclusion.

Set up an expectation throughout your essay and then pivot against it for a surprising reveal. 

Here’s an example:

“Throughout my essay, you’ve seen my dedication to becoming a doctor, shadowing physicians, and volunteering at hospitals. You might think my path is set in stone. But the truth is, these experiences taught me that my true calling lies in medical research.

I realized this while working in a lab, where I found a passion for discovering new treatments and understanding diseases at a molecular level. This pivot from patient care to research was unexpected, but it’s where my heart truly lies.”

This technique engages the reader by setting up a narrative and then revealing a surprising conclusion, showcasing your ability to reflect deeply and adapt. 

The “Theater of the Oppressed” Ending

Using The “Theater of the Oppressed” Ending can make your college admission essay stand out by leaving the conclusion unresolved, putting the power in the reader’s hands.

This technique engages the admissions officer, making them a participant in your narrative. Here’s an example:

“As I stood before the judge, testifying for my community, I felt a surge of hope and fear. Would my words make a difference?

My journey, filled with moments of advocacy and learning, leads me to wonder: What impact can one voice truly have? The next chapter of this story isn’t written yet, and perhaps you, the reader, will be part of its unfolding.”

This method prompts the reader to think deeply about your story and its potential outcomes.

To me, this is  a powerful way to end your college application essay. It leaves a lasting impression by highlighting your unresolved questions and inviting the admissions committee to envision your future potential.

This approach emphasises your engagement with complex issues and your commitment to ongoing growth and change.

The Ellipsis

Ending your college admission essay with an ellipsis can leave a lasting impression by creating an open-ended conclusion that leaves some questions unanswered.

This technique invites the reader to ponder your future and the potential paths you might take. Here’s an example:

“After years of exploring the world of robotics, from building my first simple machine to leading a team in a national competition, I stand on the brink of new discoveries.

Will I create the next groundbreaking technology? Only time will tell…”

This approach draws the admissions officer into your journey, leaving them curious about what comes next. It’s an effective way to end your college essay, highlighting your sense of potential and unfinished business.

The ellipsis suggests that your story is still unfolding, emphasising your readiness for growth and exploration.

This type of ending not only keeps the reader engaged but also underscores your ambition and drive, making your personal statement memorable.

Address the College Directly

Ending your college admission essay by addressing the college directly may sound simple. But there’s power in simplicity and being explicit about things.

Conclude by explaining how the college aligns with your future plans and why you’re excited to attend. Here’s an example:

“The interdisciplinary approach at Stanford, with its unique blend of engineering and environmental studies, perfectly fits my goal of developing sustainable technologies.

I am thrilled at the prospect of working with Dr. Smith, whose research on renewable energy sources has inspired my own projects. Joining Stanford means collaborating with like-minded individuals who share my passion for innovation and sustainability.”

This approach shows the admissions officer that you’ve done your homework and understand how the college’s offerings align with your goals. It demonstrates genuine enthusiasm and a clear vision for your future.

By addressing the college directly, you create a strong, personalised ending to your essay that leaves a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

This technique effectively wraps up your personal statement, highlighting your commitment and readiness to contribute to the college community.

End on an Action

Ending your college admission essay with a decisive action or dialogue can leave a strong impression on the admission committee.  

This approach adds a dynamic conclusion that showcases your initiative and forward-thinking attitude. Here’s an example:

“As I stood on the edge of the stage, ready to present my research on renewable energy, I felt a surge of confidence.

“Let’s change the world together,” I began, looking directly at the audience, knowing this moment marked the start of my journey in environmental science.”

This method not only wraps up your essay with a vivid scene but also highlights your readiness to take action. It avoids common essay endings to ensure your personal statement stands out to the admissions committee.

By concluding with a specific action or piece of dialogue, you demonstrate your proactive nature and commitment, leaving a lasting impression on the admission committee.

4 Types Of College Essay Endings To Avoid

While you are certainly free to end your college essay in any way you want, here are three very common ones that may not only looks lazy, but could be detrimental to your application:

Writing A General Summary

Ending your essay with a summary of what you’ve already said can feel redundant and uninspired.

Admissions officers read countless essays, and a summarising conclusion doesn’t add any new value or insight. Here’s an example of a summary ending to avoid:

“To summarize, my experiences have made me hardworking, dedicated, and eager to learn.”

This approach merely restates what you’ve already shared without offering a fresh perspective. Instead, aim for a conclusion that provides a sense of closure and reflects on your journey or aspirations.

Dropping General Quote(s)

Using a famous quote to wrap up your essay might seem like a good idea, but it often comes across as cliché and impersonal. The admissions committee wants to hear your voice, not someone else’s.

Ending with a quote like “Be the change you wish to see in the world” doesn’t tell the reader anything unique about you.

Instead, use your own words to express your thoughts and reflections. Make sure your essay ending is original and showcases your personal growth or vision.

Show Your Neediness

Avoid ending your essay by begging for admission or excessively expressing your desire to attend the college.

Phrases that sound desperate are like these:  

  • “Please accept me”,
  • “I really want to go to your school”, or
  • “Can I join your school”

Instead, demonstrate why you are a good fit for the college through your experiences and aspirations.

Show, don’t tell, why you belong there by highlighting how the college aligns with your goals and how you can contribute to its community.

Show You Have Options

While ending your college admission essay by being needy can be a turn off to admissions committee, going the opposite can also backfire significantly.

In this case, we are talking about showing you have options. This means you mention that you plan to apply to multiple schools and universities, and know you will receive multiple offers to go to several universities. 

Some may think writing this way shows their value, and how many universities want them. But in general, this approach may more likely to achieve the opposite, instead of the intended effect.

Writing in this manner shows disrespect, which can be a turn-off to admissions committee. It also shows you do not take your applications seriously, which can be a reflection of poor personal character.

Your essay, and application may likely be discarded right away by the admission committee.

Instead, focus on how you and the university are aligned in values, and how you can contribute to the university or school’s overall aims and objectives.

End Your College Essay In Style – And Get Admission

Crafting a strong ending for your college essay can leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee. By employing one of the 12 tactics and tips, such as connecting to your values or ending on a decisive action, you can ensure your personal statement stands out.

These strategies not only provide a sense of closure but also highlight your unique qualities and aspirations, making your essay memorable and impactful. 

Use these tips to effectively wrap up your essay and make a compelling case for your admission.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.