essay formats

Essay Formats – Comprehensive Guide for College Students

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There are different styles of formatting that are used worldwide. From a broader perspective, writers consider three types of formatting styles. It includes APA, MLA and CMS. The APA style is commonly used for college essay writing. Let’s discuss how essay formats work for college essays.

Steps to Write Effective College Essay

Select a Topic

Everything in a college essay depends on the topic of discussion. First of all, search for a topic on which you have to write. You cannot select any topic randomly, but you have to consider many factors for topic selection. It is better to research different topics. Come up with four to five topics. Now you have to see if there is any specified topic or not. If yes, then cancel that topic. When you go for some specified topic, there are strong chances that you will not be able to write much on it. So, select one general and effective topic.

Research on Selected Topic of Essay

When you are done with topic selection, you have to do detailed research on your topic. For this, you can use books and journals of some credible authors. Research does not mean collecting relevant data only, but you have to remain very conscious about its credibility. If your data is not credible, you are just wasting your time and efforts. Also, you need to address data that address your objective of college essay writing.

Title Page

After detailed research, you have to actually start writing a college essay. Start it from the title page. On the title page, make sure you added the following information,

  • Title of your essay
  • Date of submission
  • Name of subject
  • Name of advisor
  • Writer’s name
  • Name of institute
  • Affiliation of institute

You can exclude or add something based on your teacher’s instructions and essay formats. Make sure whatever you add, should shows an attractive image. Try not to exceed 15 words counts in the title of the essay.


The abstract requirement also varies for different essay formats. As per APA style, it is not necessary to add an abstract. It is up to you if you want to add it or not. If you are bound to follow some word count for your college essay, then you can skip it. This way, you will get a chance to write more about different aspects of the essay. If you have a choice to write as per your choice for word count, then you can add an abstract. And when you decide to add an abstract, then try your level best to make it a summary of your essay. You can write an abstract at the start or end of your writing.

On the other hand, MLA and CMS do not require abstracts in college essays.

Explaining Body 

In essay formats: APA, MLA and CMS style, you have to follow a specified structure of writing. Your essay has three main parts. The first part is for the introduction. In the introduction, add background information and briefly explain your topic and objective. The second part is of explanation. This part addresses all the concerns and critically analyses your essay to solve the designed problem. The last part is of conclusion. Based on the whole discussion, conclude your topic in an effective way.

You can work on college essay formatting side by side, or you can do formatting of the whole document at the end of writing. All the text should be in ”Times New Roman” in APA formatting. The font size is always 12 for the whole document, including the title of the essay. You need to go to the top right corner of the page for the page number and ensure a one-inch margin from all sides of the page. It includes the page’s top, bottom, left and right sides. Also, make sure that your entire college essay is double-spaced. Apart from all that, the APA style demands for running head.

Other essay formats are MLA and CMS. MLA use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman, with 1-inch page margins and double line spacing. Also, it includes a four-line MLA heading on the first page, the centre paper’s title and an indent of ½ inch for the new paragraph.

CMS need margins of 1″ on each side with no page number on the title page and the same font size as APA and MLA. Also, in the CMS centre, your title is a third of the way down on the first page.


In all college essay formats, it is necessary to add references. In the APA bibliography, you have to arrange all references alphabetically by the last name of every author. Just like other text in your essay, make sure your references are also double-spaced.

MLA prefer the works cited page as well as the works consulted page, which includes the author, book and publisher name in a row, including the publication date. At the same time, CMS need the title & subtitle of the book, and the place of publication, including the publisher’s name and publication date. Then it is followed by the author’s last and first name.

First Draft

You can take your first draft as a rough one. Do not worry about spelling or formatting mistakes. In the first draft, it is better to work on the content of the college essay. Whatever you have done till now, compile it in a single document. Now you must take a break from writing. This way, you can refresh your body. Do whatever can relax your body. You can enjoy some seasons, series or shows. Also, you can eat during this break or sleep.

Proofread and Edit

After taking a rest, you need to proofread and edit your essay formats. See if the content in your essay is according to your outlines or not. Also, see if you have achieved your writing objective or not. If you have mistakes in the first draft of a college essay, it is not a big deal. Furthermore, you need to see all spelling and formatting mistakes. Once you are done with proofreading, now edit your document. You have to ensure that there are no more mistakes in your college essay.

For a college essay that is free from all grammatical and content errors, you can take it as a final draft. For assistance, you can go for an essay writing service

Concluding Lines

All essay formats have different requirements. Ask your teacher for the required format and follow the guidelines for the best end results.

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