The conclusion to your college essay should not be grand, nor should it wow the audience. It’s the end of your story, and it should make sense in the context of the story. The goal is not to leave them hanging or in suspense, nor is it to tie it all back to your “thesis” in a neat, lovely bow. Your conclusion ends your story and speaks to the reason why you decided to tell this specific story. It brings it all together in such a way that leaves the reader feeling like they know an unexpected anecdote about you. In turn, your story speaks to a part of you that wasn’t obvious after at first glance of your application. The conclusion is the last part of this specific story.
Oftentimes our students go in ready to tackle their essay similarly to how they would tackle an English essay. We always tell them to please stop. Get out of the headspace that your essay should resemble anything remotely related to a 5-paragraph essay. We’re not tying the whole thing back to a central argument because there is no thesis to begin with. It’s a story, not an analytical book report exploring ~the meaning of the green light~ in The Great Gatsby.
Similar to your approach to your introduction, and the essay in general, don’t try to do too much or include too much information in the conclusion. It’s good to avoid revelatory conclusions and larger statements about things bigger than your story. The goal of the conclusion is for the final few sentences to be reminiscent of the larger message that the story is telling without spelling that message out for the reader verbatim. Your essay will already be filled with lovely nuances and a well-weaved story, so finish it off with a conclusion that wraps up your story in a satisfying way.
We always warn our students against using cliched and reminiscent language through their essays and supplements, and this goes for the conclusion of your essay as well. As tempting as it may be, please please please avoid these words and phrases at all costs:
- In conclusion (cue *face screaming in fear* emoji)
- As a result
- In the end
- After all
Don’t do it. Your admissions reader will hit snooze and come back to your essay at a later date (or not) if you use these words. OK, we can’t predict the future but we can speak to what we personally find boring and what we’ve observed over the last few years, so trust us. Don’t be a CC: a conclusion cliche. Read through some of our better conclusions. Ask questions. Need help? Call us. That’s why we’re here. We want to help you make your essays the absolute best that they can be.