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How to End a College Admissions Essay | 4 Winning Strategies

Published on October 16, 2021 by Meredith Testa . Revised on May 31, 2023.

The ending of your college essay should leave your reader with a sense of closure and a strong final impression.

Table of contents

Endings to avoid, option 1: return to the beginning, option 2: look forward, option 3: reveal your main point, option 4: end on an action, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

A bad conclusion can bring your whole essay down, so make sure to avoid these common mistakes.


Unlike an academic essay, an admissions essay shouldn’t restate your points. Avoid ending with a summary; there’s no need to repeat what you’ve already written.

Phrases like “in conclusion,” “overall,” or “to sum it up” signal that you have nothing to add to what you’ve already written, so an admissions officer may stop reading.

Stating the obvious

Instead of stating the obvious, let your work speak for itself and allow readers to draw their own conclusions. If your essay details various times that you worked tirelessly to go above and beyond, don’t finish it by stating “I’m hardworking.” Admissions officers are smart enough to figure that out on their own.

You should also avoid talking about how you hope to be accepted. Admissions officers know you want to be accepted—that’s why you applied! It’s okay to connect what you discuss in the essay to your potential future career or college experience, but don’t beg for admission. Stay focused on your essay’s core topic.

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Many successful essays follow a “sandwich,” or full-circle, structure , meaning that they start with some image or idea, veer away from it in the middle, and then return to it at the end.

This structure is clean, self-contained, and satisfying for readers, so it’s a great choice if it works with the topic you’ve chosen.

In the “sandwich” essay outlined below, a student discusses his passion for musical theater. Instead of simply stating that interest, his essay starts with a funny anecdote about a minor fire that erupted on set. At the end, it returns to this anecdote, creating a sense of closure.

  • Intro: I may be the world’s worst firefighter.
  • Flashback to working on the school musical
  • Demonstrate my passion for theatre
  • Detail the story of the theater set catching fire
  • Show how I made the most of the situation
  • Conclusion: I proved my value as a director, an actor, and a writer that week一even if I was a terrible firefighter.

Many successful essays end by looking forward to the future. These endings are generally hopeful and positive—always great qualities in an admissions essay—and often connect the student to the college or their academic goals.

Although these endings can be highly effective, it can be challenging to keep them from sounding cliché. Keep your ending specific to you, and don’t default to generalities, which can make your essay seem bland and unoriginal.

Below are a good and a bad example of how you could write a “looking forward” ending for the musical theater “firefighter” essay.

Sometimes, holding back your main point can be a good strategy. If your essay recounts several experiences, you could save your main message for the conclusion, only explaining what ties all the stories together at the very end.

When done well, this ending leaves the reader thinking about the main point you want them to take from your essay. It’s also a memorable structure that can stand out.

However, if you choose this approach, it can be challenging to keep the essay interesting enough that the reader pays attention throughout.

In the essay outlined below, a student gives us snapshots of her experience of gymnastics at different stages in her life. In the conclusion, she ties the stories together and shares the insight that they taught her about different aspects of her character and values.

  • Passionate, excited
  • Sister born that day—began to consider people beyond myself
  • Realizing that no matter how much I love gymnastics, there are more important things
  • I’d been working especially hard to qualify for that level
  • It came after many setbacks and failures
  • I had to give up time with friends, first homecoming dance of high school, and other activities, and I considered quitting
  • Conclusion: I’m still all of those selves: the passionate 7-year-old, the caring 11-year-old, and the determined 15-year-old. Gymnastics has been a constant throughout my life, but beyond the balance beam, it has also shown me how to change and grow.

Ending on an action can be a strong way to wrap up your essay. That might mean including a literal action, dialogue, or continuation of the story.

These endings leave the reader wanting more rather than wishing the essay had ended sooner. They’re interesting and can help you avoid boring your reader.

Here’s an example of how this ending could work for the gymnastics essay.

If you want to know more about academic writing , effective communication , or parts of speech , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Transition words
  • Passive voice
  • Paraphrasing


  • How to end an email
  • Ms, mrs, miss
  • How to start an email
  • I hope this email finds you well
  • Hope you are doing well

 Parts of speech

  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjunctions

There are a few strategies you can use for a memorable ending to your college essay :

  • Return to the beginning with a “full circle” structure
  • Reveal the main point or insight in your story
  • Look to the future
  • End on an action

The best technique will depend on your topic choice, essay outline, and writing style. You can write several endings using different techniques to see which works best.

Unlike a five-paragraph essay, your admissions essay should not end by summarizing the points you’ve already made. It’s better to be creative and aim for a strong final impression.

You should also avoid stating the obvious (for example, saying that you hope to be accepted).

There are no set rules for how to structure a college application essay , but these are two common structures that work:

  • A montage structure, a series of vignettes with a common theme.
  • A narrative structure, a single story that shows your personal growth or how you overcame a challenge.

Avoid the five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in high school.

When revising your college essay , first check for big-picture issues regarding message, flow, tone, style , and clarity. Then, focus on eliminating grammar and punctuation errors.

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How to End a College Essay – With Examples

June 16, 2023

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

Figuring out how to end a college essay can feel like the difference between success and failure. Common scenario: You’ve done the heavy lifting of brainstorming, developing, and revising your Common App essay, but now you sit and stare at the cursor pulsing on your screen, like a stress tick in your eye. What to say that you haven’t already said? How to tie it all together without sounding tired and stressed? It is true that your conclusion serves as a sort of benchmark for the strength of your overall essay. If your conclusion feels impossible to write after several attempts, this might be a sign that you need to go back and look over the strength or purpose of your essay overall.

The good news is, your final paragraph doesn’t need to be a graveyard of redundancy, clichés and tired summary! And even better, you have options about how to end a college essay. It doesn’t have to be formulaic or look like a friend’s conclusion. Amidst a dizzying array of “do’s and “don’ts,” here is a list of three straightforward options, along with examples, for how to successfully (and relatively painlessly) end your college essay.

Option 1: Save something for the end

It might be helpful to think of your essay like this: You are a tailor cutting a garment from a beautiful piece of fabric. You have plenty of fabric to work with because you are approaching your overall essay as a process: brainstorming, writing, revision, repeat. The writing process is cyclical. You begin with an idea, which leads you to another, and before you know it, you’re approaching your original idea from a different angle. In the midst of this process, you will unearth images, memories, meaningful moments, memorable things people in your life have said, and so on. When this happens, intentionally tuck away 1-2 of these items with the idea that you can use them to craft your final paragraph. Following are some examples of students who tried to save something for the end:

Strong Example:

Shortly before her death, my grandmother gave me a string of pearls. Whenever I look at these tiny treasures from the sea, I am reminded that despite our complex relationship, we made many meaningful memories together. Each pearl reminds me of an event, or place: Her 80th birthday party; deep sea diving in Florida; impromptu singing lessons around her piano. Along with the memories, the pearls are a symbol of her finest qualities—qualities she passed on to me: tenacity, loyalty, belief in the deep goodness of humanity—and a touchable reminder that I am in part who I am because of her.

This is a strong example  because the student chose a concrete image—an image that we can imagine seeing or touching—and uses it to deepen his reflection on his relationship with his grandmother. Images are memorable, so this reflection will echo longer in the reader’s mind; this is a classic example of showing AND telling.

How to End a College Essay (Continued)

Weak example:.

Travel is a great way to learn about the world and ourselves. My family would go on amazing trips together, and thinking back on those trips is a really good reminder of all the special memories I have made with them. One time we went to Columbia as a family, and it was very special to me. I tried so many different foods and met so many new people. I even got to use some of the Spanish I learned in school on this trip.  This trip really increased my passion for traveling. Having the opportunity to learn in a different setting while getting to experience new cultures is something I am really looking forward to during college.

This is a weak example  because it does feel as if the student ran out of gas at the end. Notice the use of general adjectives such as amazing and special , and the fact that while a specific place is mentioned—Columbia—nothing specific is said about the country, or the family’s experience there. What foods did the student try? What, besides getting to speak Spanish, made the trip special? There are golden opportunities in this example for where the writer could have invoked one of the five senses—taste, touch, smell, site, or sound—and did not.

Option 2: Leave the reader with a thought to keep the conversation going

You can choose to end your college essay by saying something about your story or topic that you did not feel you had the opportunity to say before.  Sometimes, at the end of an essay on a difficult or complex subject, you feel unable to just “wrap things up” like a pretty Christmas present. Is something still ambiguous for you? Does something still haunt you? Did you hold something back? Tell the reader about it. If it helps, imagine that you are having a conversation with a broader audience than an admissions counselor. If it helps, imagine that your audience is a friend, teacher, or family member.

The ideology behind color blindness doesn’t make you progressive, it makes you a coward. Talking about race should not be controversial. I shouldn’t be petrified to talk about racism to a group of white people . Petrified because I’ll most likely be shut down condescendingly like a parent scolding their child. I shouldn’t worry over the natural curls of my hair because it will seem ghetto and unprofessional.

Nor should I get excited when I see a movie that has at least one black person in a somewhat lead role. I should not have to read white literature, learn white history, and speak white English , but spend only one week learning about slavery. I shouldn’t have to read articles calling Edris Elba “too street” to play James Bond and Viola Davis “less classically beautiful.” So, why is it so hard to talk about racism? What about it make your spine tingle and the hairs on your skin raise?

This is a strong example because, wow! There is a lot of passion and specificity in this student’s reflection on race and racism. From her own curls, to literature and pop culture, this writer is not only giving her audience a piece of her mind, she is putting the ball in the reader’s court with that final question.

Also, think of it like this: What if this writer has hit upon the heart of her paper in her conclusion? What if, by “getting it all out,” she found a way to strengthen her thesis, and her overall purpose for her essay? In the lovely book on creative nonfiction called Tell it Slant , one writer describes the writing process this way: “The essayist attempts to surround a something—a subject, a mood, a problematic irritation, by coming at it from at all angles, wheeling and diving like a hawk, each seemingly digressive spiral actually taking us closer to the heart of the matter.” Trust your writing process, even if feels like you keep circling back to your starting point.

Speaking up for others is important. For example, after the death of George Floyd, Americans showed their support by protesting. Professional athletes have showed their support for the Black community by taking a knee during the national anthem, and regular people spread of awareness on social media. These are all crucial steps to the end of racial injustice in America. I learned that using your voice can make enormous impacts. In the future I’d really like to show my support in protests, by taking part in them, for these injustices.

This is a weak example because while it does mention several specifics, such as protests after the death of George Floyd, and professional athletes “taking the knee,” there isn’t enough of a connection between these examples and the writer. The details in this paragraph could really have been written by anyone (and those are the kind of conclusions you want to avoid writing at all costs!). In the sentence, for example, where the writer says, “I learned that using your voice can make enormous impacts,” s/he misses the opportunity to personalize this learning experience. Even if s/he did not have the opportunity to protest, etc., s/he could have delved deeper into his/her reactions and emotions to the events mentioned, or event discussed what they wished they’d have done to speak up.

Option 3: Don’t try to be fancy

Are you the kind of person who prefers facts and figures over emotions and descriptions? Do you dislike talking about yourself? Do you prefer taking apart machines to playing Wordle? Then this option is for you. When ending your college essay, being clear is better than being fancy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to write well. It just means that you can choose to focus more on being straightforward—describing a process, ending with a clear purpose for the future—than being colorful or edgy. The most important thing about the whole college essay writing process, after all, is about showing your authenticity.

It took time and patience, but by observing how various students worked and how I could best help them, I became an effective and efficient Homework Coach. Because I volunteered longer than anyone else, I became the lead Homework Coach. I passed on my hard-won knowledge about developing teaching strategies to the tutors in training so they too could be successful in teaching a variety of subjects. I enjoyed my time helping others and even received a community service award from the President of the United States. Going forward, I plan to continue using my skills as a tutor to help friends and classmates with their homework.

This is a strong example because the student clearly describes a learning experience, what he took from it, and what he hopes to do with it in the future. The writer is obviously proud of his accomplishments, but does not feel the need to “dress them up” by using fancy vocabulary, clichés or empty adjectives.

Which brings me to this point: You don’t need be the daughter of a professional clown, or have ridden an alpaca ten miles to school in order to have something worthwhile to say. Hard work speaks for itself, and often, being authentically you starts with acknowledging day-to-day life lessons and everyday accomplishments.

Weak Example

I started working as a lifeguard at my community pool as a skinny 16-year-old. I remember my first day like it was yesterday. It was 90 degrees, and my red Nike one-piece felt like a melting popsicle as I watched others having fun and cooling off in the water. I remember that there was a mom there with a set of twin toddlers, and I nervously kept an eye on them. Being a lifeguard is all about responsibility and teamwork. My lifeguard team has an outstanding record of keeping swimmers safe. As a student majoring in business, I know that having teamwork skills will be very important, especially because I will probably have to work with a team when I begin my career as well.

This is a weak example because the writer strays from her focus of being a lifeguard, and what she learned about responsibility and teamwork. The reflective, narrative details about the heat, the swimsuit, and the mom with twins, not to mention the cliché “I remember…like it was yesterday,” detract from her overall purpose. Don’t get me wrong: using narrative details to talk about life lessons is not a wrong approach; however, focus first on clarity and your overall purpose for writing.

How to End a College Essay – Final Thoughts

Remember, when ending your college essay, you have options! Consider trying each of these 3 approaches and see which you like best. And as you think about and brainstorm your essays, check out these links, too:

  • How to Write the Overcoming Challenges Essay + Example ;
  • 2023-2024 Common App Essay Prompts
  • Why this College Essay—7 Tips for Success
  • College Essay

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Charity Gingerich

With a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing, Charity has served as an English and creative writing lecturer at several universities. Charity has received many awards for her work, including the Russell MacDonald Creative Writing Award,  Tennessee Williams Scholarship in Poetry, and The Hopper Poetry Prize. Her writing has been featured in FIELD, The Kenyon Review, and Indiana Review, among others.

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conclusion sentence examples for college essays

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How to end a college essay - strategies, tips & examples.

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Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 11/14/23

Are you having trouble writing a conclusion for your college essay? Here’s how to end a college essay with expert tips and examples. 

Writing the perfect ending for your college essay is no easy feat; it can be just as challenging as starting your college essay . But don’t fear - we’ve got you covered! This complete guide, will discuss everything you need to know about how to end a college application essay. Follow along for tips, examples, and more.

Let’s get started!

How to End Your College Essay

After an energetic essay , it’s essential to end on a high note. Your conclusion should be clear, concise, and, most importantly - memorable. Since college admissions advisors read hundreds of essays, your conclusion will be the last bit they remember. 

No matter what approach you take to the concluding paragraph, you’ll want to focus on the lesson learned. Think of the end of a great movie; what was it that gave you the warmth and fuzzies before the credits rolled? The ending should be impactful, moving, and nod toward the future.

Your ending shouldn't summarize the essay, repeat points that have already been made or taper off into nothingness. You don’t want it to just fade out–you want it to go out with a bang! Keeping it interesting at this stage can be challenging, but it can make or break a good college essay. 

Person typing on computer

College Essay Endings Examples

Let’s go over some college application essay ending examples. Follow along to learn different powerful strategies you can use to end your college essay. If you want to explore even more essay examples, don't forget to check out our extensive College Essay Examples Database .

1. The Lesson Learned

One of the best things you can do in your college essay is demonstrate how you can get back up after getting knocked down. Showing the admissions committee how you’ve learned and grown from a challenging life event is an excellent way to present yourself as a strong candidate. 

Think of this method as the ending of a good novel about a complex character: they’re not perfect, but they try to be better, and that’s what counts. In your college essay, you’re the main character of your story. Don’t be afraid to talk about a mistake you’ve made as long as you demonstrate (in your conclusion) that you learned something valuable.

Here’s an example of a college essay ending from a Harvard student using the “Lesson Learned” technique:

"The best thing that I took away from this experience is that I can't always control what happens to me, especially as a minor, but I can control how I handle things. In full transparency: there were still bad days and bad grades, but by taking action and adding a couple of classes into my schedule that I felt passionate about, I started feeling connected to school again. From there, my overall experience with school – and life in general – improved 100%."

Why It Works 

This is a good example because it effectively demonstrates the "Lesson Learned" technique by showcasing personal growth and resilience. 

The conclusion reflects on the experiences and challenges faced by the applicant, emphasizing the valuable lesson learned and the positive changes made as a result. It shows maturity, self-awareness, and the ability to overcome obstacles, which can leave a positive impression on admissions committees.

2. The Action-Packed Ending

Like you see in the movies, ending your college essay in the action can leave an impactful impression on the admissions committee. In the UMichigan example below, the student ends their essay on an ambiguous, energetic note by saying, “I never saw it coming,” as the last line. 

You can also achieve this approach by ending your essay with dialogue or a description. For example, “Hi mom, I’m not coming home just yet,” or “I picked up my brother's phone, and dialed the number.” These are examples of endings that leave you “in the action”–dropping off the reader almost mid-story, leaving them intrigued. 

Here is an example of an “action-packed” college essay ending from a UMichigan student .

"No foreign exchange trip could outdo that. I am a member of many communities based on my geography, ethnicity, interests, and talents, but the most meaningful community is the one that I never thought I would be a part of…
On that first bus ride to the Nabe, I never saw it coming.”

The example from the UMichigan student provides a strong ending to the college essay by using an "action-packed" approach. It engages the reader with an unexpected twist, creating intrigue and leaving them wanting more. 

The phrase "I never saw it coming" adds a sense of anticipation and curiosity, making the conclusion memorable. This technique effectively leaves the reader with a lasting impression, showcasing the applicant's storytelling skills and ability to capture attention.

3. The Full Circle

As you may know, a “full circle” ending ties the story’s ending to the very beginning. Not to be confused with a summary, this method is an excellent way to leave a lasting impression on your reader. 

When using this technique, tie the very first sentence with the very last. Avoid over-explaining yourself, and end with a very simple recall of the beginning of the story. Keep in mind if you use this method, your “full circle” should be straightforward and seamless, regardless of the essay topic . 

Here is an example of a “Full Circle” college essay ending from a Duke student :

“So next time it rains, step outside. Close your eyes. Hear the symphony of millions of water droplets. And enjoy the moment.”

In response to the beginning: 

“The pitter patter of droplets, the sweet smell that permeates throughout the air, the dark grey clouds that fill the sky, shielding me from the otherwise intense gaze of the sun, create a landscape unparalleled by any natural beauty.”

This example of a "Full Circle" college essay ending is effective because it masterfully connects the ending to the beginning of the story. The essay begins with a vivid description of a rainy day, and the conclusion seamlessly brings the reader back to that initial scene. 

It emphasizes the importance of savoring the moment, creating a sense of reflection and unity in the narrative. This technique allows the reader to feel a sense of closure and reinforces the central theme of the essay, making it a strong and memorable conclusion.

4. The College Address 

Directly addressing your college is a popular method, as it recalls the main reason you want to attend the school. If you choose to address your school, it is imperative to do your research. You should know precisely what you find attractive about the school, what it offers, and why it speaks to you. 

Here is a college essay ending example using the “College Address” technique from a UMichigan Student:

"I want to join the University of Michigan’s legacy of innovators. I want to be part of the LSA community, studying economics and political science. I want to attend the Ford School and understand how policy in America and abroad has an effect on global poverty. I want to be involved with the Poverty Solutions Initiative, conducting groundbreaking research on the ways we can reform our financial system to better serve the lower and middle classes.”

This is a good example because it effectively utilizes the "College Address" technique. The student clearly articulates their specific intentions and aspirations related to the University of Michigan. 

They showcase a deep understanding of the university's offerings and how these align with their academic and career goals. This kind of conclusion demonstrates genuine interest and a strong connection to the school, which can leave a positive impression on admissions committees.

5. The Look To the Future

Admissions committees want to know how attending their school will help you on your journey. To use this method, highlight your future goals at the end of your essay. You can highlight what made you want to go to this school in the first place and what you hope to achieve moving forward. If done correctly, this can be highly impactful.

Here is a college essay ending example from a med student using the “Look To the Future” technique:

“I want to tell my peers that doctors like my grandfather are not only healers in biology but healers in the spirit by the way he made up heroic songs for the children and sang the fear out of their hearts. I want to show my peers that patients are unique individuals who have suffered and sacrificed to trust us with their health care, so we must honor their trust by providing quality treatment and empathy.
My formative experiences in pediatrics contributed to my globally conscious mindset, and I look forward to sharing these diverse insights in my medical career.”

This is a good example because it effectively ties the applicant's personal experiences and aspirations to their desire to attend the specific school. It showcases a clear passion for medicine and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on patients' lives. 

By highlighting the applicant's unique perspective gained from their experiences in pediatrics and emphasizing their commitment to providing quality care and empathy, it demonstrates a strong connection between their goals and the opportunities offered by the school. 

This kind of conclusion helps the admissions committee understand how the applicant will contribute to the school's community and align with their future ambitions.

6. Learn What Not to Do

Admissions committees are unimpressed by clichéd and generic conclusions that fail to demonstrate an applicant's individuality or genuine interest in the institution. Unfortunately, many students fall into the trap of providing vague recaps of their academic journey without adding any unique insights or future aspirations. 

Below is an example of such an unimpressive conclusion:

"In conclusion, I've learned a lot throughout my life, and I hope to continue learning in college. College will be a new chapter for me, and I'm excited to see where it takes me. I'm looking forward to the opportunities and experiences that lie ahead, and I can't wait to grow as a person. College is the next step in my journey, and I'm ready to embrace it with open arms."

Why It Doesn't Work

This is a bad example because it's overly generic and doesn't offer any specific insights or compelling reasons why the applicant is interested in the college. It simply states the obvious without adding any depth or uniqueness to the conclusion. Admissions committees are looking for applicants to stand out and showcase their genuine enthusiasm for the institution, which this conclusion fails to do. So, make sure to avoid essay topics that don’t genuinely excite you.

Female student writing essay

College Essay Endings to Avoid

You want your essay to have an impactful ending - but these methods may have the opposite impact. Now that you know some effective ways to end your college essay, let’s go over some methods to avoid. 

1. The Summary

Remember that you’re writing a college essay, not a high school assignment you need to scrape through. Avoid simply summarizing the points you made during your essay. This method can come off as lazy and ultimately leave a negative impression on the admissions committee–or no impression at all. Instead, end the essay on a high note, with a point of action, or with your future goals. 

2. The Famous Quote

Some students start their college essay with one, and some end it with one. Neither is a good idea. Avoid using a famous quote anywhere in your essay, as it can give the impression that you don’t know what to write. The admissions committee wants to get to know you –they already know the famous quotes.

Unless you’ve done a thorough research and are quoting someone affiliated with the school, you should avoid quotes altogether in your college essay.

3. The Needy Student

In your college essay conclusion, avoid begging for admission. You don’t want to come off desperate in your essay. Saying things like “Please consider me” or “I really want to attend” doesn’t say anything about you and doesn’t read smoothly. Instead, demonstrate who you are and how you’ve learned and grown in your life. Focus on you, not them!

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Tips and Strategies on How to Approach Essay’s Conclusion

When it comes to nailing your college essay's conclusion, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Sum It Up : Start by summarizing the main points you've discussed in your essay. You don't need to rehash everything, but provide a brief recap to remind the reader of your journey.
  • Avoid Repetition : While summarizing is essential, avoid repeating verbatim what you've already said. Instead, aim to offer a fresh perspective or a new angle on your experiences.
  • Look to the Future : Connect your past experiences with your future aspirations. Explain how attending this particular college aligns with your goals and ambitions. Admissions committees appreciate candidates who have a clear vision.
  • Get Specific : Be as specific as possible. Use anecdotes and personal details to make your conclusion vivid and memorable. Show, don't just tell.
  • Reflect on Personal Growth : Offer insights into how your experiences have shaped you as an individual. Highlight the lessons you've learned and the personal growth you've achieved.
  • Show Your Enthusiasm : Let your passion for the college shine through. Convey why this institution is the right fit for you, emphasizing unique aspects that resonate with your goals and interests.
  • End with Impact : Finish strong with a closing sentence that leaves a lasting impression. It could be a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a memorable quote. Make sure it lingers in the reader's mind.

Your college essay's conclusion is your chance to make a final pitch. It should reinforce your suitability for the college and leave a strong, positive impression on the admissions committee. So, take your time and craft it carefully—it's worth the effort.

FAQs: How to End a College Essay

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about how to end a college application essay.

1. How Do You Conclude a College Essay?

The end of your college essay should be strong, clear, and impactful. You can talk about your future goals, end in a moment of action, talk about what you’ve learned, or go full circle. Whatever method you choose, make sure to avoid summarizing your essay.

2. What Is a Good Closing Sentence?

A good closing sentence on your college essay is impactful, meaningful, and makes the reader think. You’ll want to ensure the reader remembers your essay, so conclude with something unique that ends your story with a bang.

3. What Words Can You Use to End an Essay?

Avoid saying “to conclude,” “to summarize,” or “finally.” Your essay should end on a high note, like the ending of a movie. Think of moving sentences such as “I never saw it coming,” “I’ll always remember what happened,” or “I’ve learned so much since then.”

Final Thoughts

By following our tips, you should be on track to write a stellar college essay with an impactful ending. Think of what you’ve learned, what you’ll do in the future, and where you can end the story that would leave a lasting impression. 

If you’re still having a hard time ending your college essay, you can always contact an admissions expert or tutor to help guide you through the process. 

Good luck with your essay!

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In Summary: 10 Examples of Essay Conclusions


The conclusion of an essay may be the toughest section to write. Think about it; you're really tired at this point. It's probably the night before your paper is due and you just want to be done . So, the temptation is there to simply rush through it, and hope that your teacher is exhausted once she gets to your paper and doesn't bother to read it fully.

But the conclusion is probably the most important part of the paper. It ties everything together up nicely in the end. Not writing a good conclusion would be like if we never found out if Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy got together or if we never knew what that monster was in the Upside Down in "Stranger Things." Though not every ending has to be 100% conclusive (in fact, most endings never are— think the movie Inception ), it does have to have a well-thought out conclusion.

How To Write a Concluding Paragraph

So, how do you write a good conclusion? What are the key components of a solid conclusion? What does a thorough and effective conclusion look like?

Read on for more information about our conclusion on conclusions.

What are the key components of a good conclusion?

Remember that thesis statement which you wrote in the first or second paragraph of your essay? You know, the one where you stated a claim about something? You argued something about a topic and you used the body paragraphs to prove your thesis statement through all of the research that you've performed.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

Now that you've fully explained the research and the support for your thesis statement throughout the body of the paper, it's time to come back to that original idea in the conclusion. The conclusion basically asks us to do a few things:

  • Restate the main idea of the paper (why you wrote this entire long piece to begin with).
  • Summarize all the key points you made throughout the body of the paper (things that proved your thesis statement).
  • Write about why this paper and topic are important, and leave the reader with ideas for additional research or maybe some questions that didn't get answered. The idea is that you want to leave the reader with a long-lasting impression. This is your opportunity to really drive your point home and to use some really interesting language.

Okay, so now that we have a game plan of how we need to write a good conclusion and what components consists of, let's look at a few examples of some sample essay conclusions.

Essay conclusion 1 — Why Ross didn't deserve Rachel on "Friends"

Although viewers always expected Ross and Rachel to reunite at the end of the series, the fact remains that Ross didn't deserve Rachel as a partner. As we saw in the beginning of the series, Ross was unfaithful to Rachel when they had been dating for over a year, and he didn't want to admit his wrongdoing when they tried to get back together after their initial breakup. Additionally, Ross was an extremely jealous and demanding partner, yelling at Rachel in front of all of their friends on several occasions. Finally, and most egregiously, Ross had a terrible reaction when Rachel told Ross she was pregnant after Monica and Chandler's wedding, making him an undesirable romantic partner for her, or any other character on the show for that matter. This conclusion is especially apparent after viewing the show more than 10 years after the final episode aired and having a collectively better understanding of women's rights and domestic abuse in relationships.

Essay conclusion 2 — Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary school?

In conclusion, although it's easy to see why allowing an elementary school child to have a cell phone would be convenient for after-school pickups or arranging playdates with friends, there is too much evidence to show that it's generally not a good idea. Children already have a lot of access to media (on average over seven hours per day) and it is the parent's responsibility to monitor their media access, which is more difficult if the child has exclusive cell phone access. Cyber bullying, which is increasingly becoming a problem, is also going to be a risk when your child has unlimited access to a smart phone. Clearly, elementary school-aged children are not emotionally mature enough to handle the responsibility of a smart phone, and the borrowing of a parent's cell phone should be highly monitored to ensure safe and healthful usage.

Essay conclusion 3 — Should sexual education be taught in public schools?

It's clear that sexual education is completely vital to the public-school curriculum. Not only does this lead to a better understanding of human development and human sexuality, but awareness and sex education also reduce the rates of teen pregnancy. Studies have shown that comprehensive sexual education increases the age of when teens have sex for the first time. Learning about contraception and how to use contraception correctly ultimately leads to lower rates of STDs. Lastly, comprehensive sex education also teaches students about consensual sex, and will hopefully lead to healthier sexual relationships and lower rates of sexual assault in the future. Not only should sex education be taught in public schools, but it should be mandatory for all public-school systems.

Essay conclusion 4 — What are the biggest challenges for women in the workplace?

Women have outnumbered men on the payroll in nonfarm jobs since 2010, but even with a majority of females in the office, there are still huge challenges for them at work. One of the biggest issues, which has been widely covered and debated on, is the fact that women still earn less of a wage for the same job as their male counterparts. Now that women are the breadwinners of many families, this is stunting economic growth and opportunity for their children. Additionally, women are less likely to be in charge at work. With less than 6% of Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO, women have a steeper hill to climb at the very top echelon of jobs. With a more level playing field, women's opportunities will increase and the workforce will ultimately be more inviting for all.

Essay conclusion 5 — You're having dinner with your favorite author. What happens? Describe the scene.

Harper Lee puts down her cup of coffee on the table, quietly scanning the room for an exit.

I'm nervous, wondering what to say to end this surreal evening.

"Thank you so much for meeting with me. I know that you're a very private person, and I can't tell you how much this means to me."

She smiles slightly at me and waves at the waiter for the check, which he brings promptly.

Essay conclusion 6 — Should music with curse words be allowed at school dances?

Language can be powerful and sometimes even harmful, but censorship of language is one of the worst things we can do as a society. I believe that the content of the song is more important than a few curse words. If a song's content is designed to provoke, intimidate, or make someone feel inferior, then I believe that is more harmful than a few impolite words in a chorus.

Essay conclusion 7 — What is something that should be taught in school that isn't?

Financial literacy is one of the most important things a person needs to understand as a fully functional adult. It's crucial for someone to be able to know how to purchase a car, open a bank account, invest in a 401k plan, and pay back his or her student debt all while being able to balance paying rent and saving money. Financial literacy should be taught to students while they are still in high school so that they can feel prepared to go out on their own and make a positive contribution to society.

Essay conclusion 8 — Is an increased dependence on technology good for society?

Technology surely isn't going anywhere. If anything, we will become more and more dependent on the capabilities of our smartphones and other devices in the future. However, we have to make sure that this dependence on technology isn't making us lazier or less curious about the world around us. With more knowledge available than ever before with today's technology, people are less discerning about what kind of materials they read and whether or not those materials are factual. People are also less likely to make a personal connection with someone while they're out in the world, which can increase levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Ultimately, we have to learn how to co-exist with technology in a way that is both healthful and constructive.

Essay conclusion 9 — Should schools start later in the morning?

There are some clear benefits to starting school later in the morning for K-12 students such as better academic performance and improved sleeping schedules. Although it might take a bit of rearranging schedules for parents to take their kids to school later on in the day, it's more important that students perform better academically than for the drop-off to be convenient for the parents on their way to work. To combat this, increased bus routes and crossing guards should be implemented so that parents who have to get to work at a certain time can be assured that their kids are making it to school safely.

Essay conclusion 10 — How do video games affect children and teenagers?

Video games have been an integral part of childhood and adolescence for a few decades now, but the effects on aggression levels and exposure to violence may make us take pause on how much exposure parents should let their kids have to these games. The video game industry is growing exponentially, and as the technology and video quality increase so does the ability to separate virtual reality from reality. Games with violent content are known to cause aggressive and sometimes even violent behavior in teens. Many video games, first-person shooter games in particular, have violent content. When the player is rewarded for violent behavior in the game, it reinforces the subtle idea that violence is acceptable and can be used in real life. With busy schedules and easy access to so much media, it's difficult for parents to be able to oversee everything that their children are exposed to. Video game designers should be held accountable for the violent content in their games, and a push should be made for more parental oversight and rules on video game usage.

In conclusion of conclusions

Conclusions are really just about wrapping things up. You want to be as succinct as possible, you want to reiterate the points you've already made throughout the essay, and you want to be compelling. With a little bit of practice and revision, you should be able to get the process down in no time. And if you need help with revising your conclusion or any other part of your paper, be sure to seek out the advice of a trusted teacher or a writing center, or hire one of our professional editors to give you a second opinion on your paper.

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17 Essay Conclusion Examples (Copy and Paste)

essay conclusion examples and definition, explained below

Essay conclusions are not just extra filler. They are important because they tie together your arguments, then give you the chance to forcefully drive your point home.

In an argumentative essay, it’s important to restate the thesis statement and key for and against arguments. For a descriptive essay, restate your key points to demonstrate your depth of knowledge and understanding, and capacity to deeply analyze a topic.

Below are a range of copy-and-paste essay conclusions with gaps for you to fill-in your topic and key arguments. Browse through for one you like (there are 17 for argumentative, expository, compare and contrast, and critical essays). Once you’ve found one you like, copy it and add-in the key points to make it your own.

P.S If you don’t know the difference between the types of essays, start with my article on the differences between argumentative and expository essays .

Video: How to Write a Conclusion

I’ve previously produced this video (below) on how to write a conclusion. It follows the 5 C’s method ( you can read about it in this post ), which doesn’t perfectly match each of the below copy-and-paste conclusion examples, but the principles are similar, and can help you to write your own strong conclusion:

Essay Conclusion Examples

1. argumentative essay conclusions.

The arguments presented in this essay demonstrate the significant importance of _____________. While there are some strong counterarguments, such as ____________, it remains clear that the benefits/merits of _____________ far outweigh the potential downsides. The evidence presented throughout the essay strongly support _____________. In the coming years, _____________ will be increasingly important. Therefore, continual advocacy for the position presented in this essay will be necessary, especially due to its significant implications for _____________.

Version 1 Filled-In

The arguments presented in this essay demonstrate the significant importance of fighting climate change. While there are some strong counterarguments, such as the claim that it is too late to stop catastrophic change, it remains clear that the merits of taking drastic action far outweigh the potential downsides. The evidence presented throughout the essay strongly support the claim that we can at least mitigate the worst effects. In the coming years, intergovernmental worldwide agreements will be increasingly important. Therefore, continual advocacy for the position presented in this essay will be necessary, especially due to its significant implications for humankind.


As this essay has shown, it is clear that the debate surrounding _____________ is multifaceted and highly complex. While there are strong arguments opposing the position that _____________, there remains overwhelming evidence to support the claim that _____________. A careful analysis of the empirical evidence suggests that _____________ not only leads to ____________, but it may also be a necessity for _____________. Moving forward, _____________ should be a priority for all stakeholders involved, as it promises a better future for _____________. The focus should now shift towards how best to integrate _____________ more effectively into society.

Version 2 Filled-In

As this essay has shown, it is clear that the debate surrounding climate change is multifaceted and highly complex. While there are strong arguments opposing the position that we should fight climate change, there remains overwhelming evidence to support the claim that action can mitigate the worst effects. A careful analysis of the empirical evidence suggests that strong action not only leads to better economic outcomes in the long term, but it may also be a necessity for preventing climate-related deaths. Moving forward, carbon emission mitigation should be a priority for all stakeholders involved, as it promises a better future for all. The focus should now shift towards how best to integrate smart climate policies more effectively into society.

Based upon the preponderance of evidence, it is evident that _____________ holds the potential to significantly alter/improve _____________. The counterarguments, while noteworthy, fail to diminish the compelling case for _____________. Following an examination of both sides of the argument, it has become clear that _____________ presents the most effective solution/approach to _____________. Consequently, it is imperative that society acknowledge the value of _____________ for developing a better  _____________. Failing to address this topic could lead to negative outcomes, including _____________.

Version 3 Filled-In

Based upon the preponderance of evidence, it is evident that addressing climate change holds the potential to significantly improve the future of society. The counterarguments, while noteworthy, fail to diminish the compelling case for immediate climate action. Following an examination of both sides of the argument, it has become clear that widespread and urgent social action presents the most effective solution to this pressing problem. Consequently, it is imperative that society acknowledge the value of taking immediate action for developing a better environment for future generations. Failing to address this topic could lead to negative outcomes, including more extreme climate events and greater economic externalities.

See Also: Examples of Counterarguments

On the balance of evidence, there is an overwhelming case for _____________. While the counterarguments offer valid points that are worth examining, they do not outweigh or overcome the argument that _____________. An evaluation of both perspectives on this topic concludes that _____________ is the most sufficient option for  _____________. The implications of embracing _____________ do not only have immediate benefits, but they also pave the way for a more _____________. Therefore, the solution of _____________ should be actively pursued by _____________.

Version 4 Filled-In

On the balance of evidence, there is an overwhelming case for immediate tax-based action to mitigate the effects of climate change. While the counterarguments offer valid points that are worth examining, they do not outweigh or overcome the argument that action is urgently necessary. An evaluation of both perspectives on this topic concludes that taking societal-wide action is the most sufficient option for  achieving the best results. The implications of embracing a society-wide approach like a carbon tax do not only have immediate benefits, but they also pave the way for a more healthy future. Therefore, the solution of a carbon tax or equivalent policy should be actively pursued by governments.

2. Expository Essay Conclusions

Overall, it is evident that _____________ plays a crucial role in _____________. The analysis presented in this essay demonstrates the clear impact of _____________ on _____________. By understanding the key facts about _____________, practitioners/society are better equipped to navigate _____________. Moving forward, further exploration of _____________ will yield additional insights and information about _____________. As such, _____________ should remain a focal point for further discussions and studies on _____________.

Overall, it is evident that social media plays a crucial role in harming teenagers’ mental health. The analysis presented in this essay demonstrates the clear impact of social media on young people. By understanding the key facts about the ways social media cause young people to experience body dysmorphia, teachers and parents are better equipped to help young people navigate online spaces. Moving forward, further exploration of the ways social media cause harm will yield additional insights and information about how it can be more sufficiently regulated. As such, the effects of social media on youth should remain a focal point for further discussions and studies on youth mental health.

To conclude, this essay has explored the multi-faceted aspects of _____________. Through a careful examination of _____________, this essay has illuminated its significant influence on _____________. This understanding allows society to appreciate the idea that _____________. As research continues to emerge, the importance of _____________ will only continue to grow. Therefore, an understanding of _____________ is not merely desirable, but imperative for _____________.

To conclude, this essay has explored the multi-faceted aspects of globalization. Through a careful examination of globalization, this essay has illuminated its significant influence on the economy, cultures, and society. This understanding allows society to appreciate the idea that globalization has both positive and negative effects. As research continues to emerge, the importance of studying globalization will only continue to grow. Therefore, an understanding of globalization’s effects is not merely desirable, but imperative for judging whether it is good or bad.

Reflecting on the discussion, it is clear that _____________ serves a pivotal role in _____________. By delving into the intricacies of _____________, we have gained valuable insights into its impact and significance. This knowledge will undoubtedly serve as a guiding principle in _____________. Moving forward, it is paramount to remain open to further explorations and studies on _____________. In this way, our understanding and appreciation of _____________ can only deepen and expand.

Reflecting on the discussion, it is clear that mass media serves a pivotal role in shaping public opinion. By delving into the intricacies of mass media, we have gained valuable insights into its impact and significance. This knowledge will undoubtedly serve as a guiding principle in shaping the media landscape. Moving forward, it is paramount to remain open to further explorations and studies on how mass media impacts society. In this way, our understanding and appreciation of mass media’s impacts can only deepen and expand.

In conclusion, this essay has shed light on the importance of _____________ in the context of _____________. The evidence and analysis provided underscore the profound effect _____________ has on _____________. The knowledge gained from exploring _____________ will undoubtedly contribute to more informed and effective decisions in _____________. As we continue to progress, the significance of understanding _____________ will remain paramount. Hence, we should strive to deepen our knowledge of _____________ to better navigate and influence _____________.

In conclusion, this essay has shed light on the importance of bedside manner in the context of nursing. The evidence and analysis provided underscore the profound effect compassionate bedside manner has on patient outcome. The knowledge gained from exploring nurses’ bedside manner will undoubtedly contribute to more informed and effective decisions in nursing practice. As we continue to progress, the significance of understanding nurses’ bedside manner will remain paramount. Hence, we should strive to deepen our knowledge of this topic to better navigate and influence patient outcomes.

3. Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

While both _____________ and _____________ have similarities such as _____________, they also have some very important differences in areas like _____________. Through this comparative analysis, a broader understanding of _____________ and _____________ has been attained. The choice between the two will largely depend on _____________. For example, as highlighted in the essay, ____________. Despite their differences, both _____________ and _____________ have value in different situations.

While both macrosociology and microsociology have similarities such as their foci on how society is structured, they also have some very important differences in areas like their differing approaches to research methodologies. Through this comparative analysis, a broader understanding of macrosociology and microsociology has been attained. The choice between the two will largely depend on the researcher’s perspective on how society works. For example, as highlighted in the essay, microsociology is much more concerned with individuals’ experiences while macrosociology is more concerned with social structures. Despite their differences, both macrosociology and microsociology have value in different situations.

It is clear that _____________ and _____________, while seeming to be different, have shared characteristics in _____________. On the other hand, their contrasts in _____________ shed light on their unique features. The analysis provides a more nuanced comprehension of these subjects. In choosing between the two, consideration should be given to _____________. Despite their disparities, it’s crucial to acknowledge the importance of both when it comes to _____________.

It is clear that behaviorism and consructivism, while seeming to be different, have shared characteristics in their foci on knowledge acquisition over time. On the other hand, their contrasts in ideas about the role of experience in learning shed light on their unique features. The analysis provides a more nuanced comprehension of these subjects. In choosing between the two, consideration should be given to which approach works best in which situation. Despite their disparities, it’s crucial to acknowledge the importance of both when it comes to student education.

Reflecting on the points discussed, it’s evident that _____________ and _____________ share similarities such as _____________, while also demonstrating unique differences, particularly in _____________. The preference for one over the other would typically depend on factors such as _____________. Yet, regardless of their distinctions, both _____________ and _____________ play integral roles in their respective areas, significantly contributing to _____________.

Reflecting on the points discussed, it’s evident that red and orange share similarities such as the fact they are both ‘hot colors’, while also demonstrating unique differences, particularly in their social meaning (red meaning danger and orange warmth). The preference for one over the other would typically depend on factors such as personal taste. Yet, regardless of their distinctions, both red and orange play integral roles in their respective areas, significantly contributing to color theory.

Ultimately, the comparison and contrast of _____________ and _____________ have revealed intriguing similarities and notable differences. Differences such as _____________ give deeper insights into their unique and shared qualities. When it comes to choosing between them, _____________ will likely be a deciding factor. Despite these differences, it is important to remember that both _____________ and _____________ hold significant value within the context of _____________, and each contributes to _____________ in its own unique way.

Ultimately, the comparison and contrast of driving and flying have revealed intriguing similarities and notable differences. Differences such as their differing speed to destination give deeper insights into their unique and shared qualities. When it comes to choosing between them, urgency to arrive at the destination will likely be a deciding factor. Despite these differences, it is important to remember that both driving and flying hold significant value within the context of air transit, and each contributes to facilitating movement in its own unique way.

See Here for More Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

4. Critical Essay Conclusion

In conclusion, the analysis of _____________ has unveiled critical aspects related to _____________. While there are strengths in _____________, its limitations are equally telling. This critique provides a more informed perspective on _____________, revealing that there is much more beneath the surface. Moving forward, the understanding of _____________ should evolve, considering both its merits and flaws.

In conclusion, the analysis of flow theory has unveiled critical aspects related to motivation and focus. While there are strengths in achieving a flow state, its limitations are equally telling. This critique provides a more informed perspective on how humans achieve motivation, revealing that there is much more beneath the surface. Moving forward, the understanding of flow theory of motivation should evolve, considering both its merits and flaws.

To conclude, this critical examination of _____________ sheds light on its multi-dimensional nature. While _____________ presents notable advantages, it is not without its drawbacks. This in-depth critique offers a comprehensive understanding of _____________. Therefore, future engagements with _____________ should involve a balanced consideration of its strengths and weaknesses.

To conclude, this critical examination of postmodern art sheds light on its multi-dimensional nature. While postmodernism presents notable advantages, it is not without its drawbacks. This in-depth critique offers a comprehensive understanding of how it has contributed to the arts over the past 50 years. Therefore, future engagements with postmodern art should involve a balanced consideration of its strengths and weaknesses.

Upon reflection, the critique of _____________ uncovers profound insights into its underlying intricacies. Despite its positive aspects such as ________, it’s impossible to overlook its shortcomings. This analysis provides a nuanced understanding of _____________, highlighting the necessity for a balanced approach in future interactions. Indeed, both the strengths and weaknesses of _____________ should be taken into account when considering ____________.

Upon reflection, the critique of marxism uncovers profound insights into its underlying intricacies. Despite its positive aspects such as its ability to critique exploitation of labor, it’s impossible to overlook its shortcomings. This analysis provides a nuanced understanding of marxism’s harmful effects when used as an economic theory, highlighting the necessity for a balanced approach in future interactions. Indeed, both the strengths and weaknesses of marxism should be taken into account when considering the use of its ideas in real life.

Ultimately, this critique of _____________ offers a detailed look into its advantages and disadvantages. The strengths of _____________ such as __________ are significant, yet its limitations such as _________ are not insignificant. This balanced analysis not only offers a deeper understanding of _____________ but also underscores the importance of critical evaluation. Hence, it’s crucial that future discussions around _____________ continue to embrace this balanced approach.

Ultimately, this critique of artificial intelligence offers a detailed look into its advantages and disadvantages. The strengths of artificial intelligence, such as its ability to improve productivity are significant, yet its limitations such as the possibility of mass job losses are not insignificant. This balanced analysis not only offers a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence but also underscores the importance of critical evaluation. Hence, it’s crucial that future discussions around the regulation of artificial intelligence continue to embrace this balanced approach.

This article promised 17 essay conclusions, and this one you are reading now is the twenty-first. This last conclusion demonstrates that the very best essay conclusions are written uniquely, from scratch, in order to perfectly cater the conclusion to the topic. A good conclusion will tie together all the key points you made in your essay and forcefully drive home the importance or relevance of your argument, thesis statement, or simply your topic so the reader is left with one strong final point to ponder.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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The Admissions Strategist

How to write the best conclusion for your college essay.

Finding a conclusion for your college essay is one of the most challenging parts of writing it.

Once you have written the introduction and the body paragraphs of the essay, you might feel like you’ve said everything you intended to say . You might wonder what else is left.

There is risk in not concluding your essay well .

Your conclusion is likely the last thing an admissions officer is going to read.

It’s your final handshake with the reader.

It’s your exit through the door. The impression you leave in the final sentences of your essay will remain with your reader.

A great conclusion can be more powerful than anything featured on your transcript because it can  set you apart from everyone else .

Here are tips for what to avoid, and what to do, in order to write the best conclusion for your  college essay .

TIP 1: Avoid a Summary

Admissions officers read thousands of college essays every year that end with a summarizing statement. Applicants will say what they learned or discuss the moment they realized something very important.

Avoid the following phrases:

  • This was the moment when I realized…
  • The point of this essay is…
  • The most important thing is…

On the surface, your impulse to say “this was the moment I realized…” makes sense.

You want to show your reader that you are a person who understands your own experience. But when you summarize an important moment, it loses value and power.

College Essay Conclusion: How to Write One

Click above to watch a video about how to write a College Essay Conclusion.

  • Formulaic statements like these convince few readers, even if the message is honest.
  • Respect your reader’s intelligence, and let her draw her own conclusions. 

If your writing is clear and direct, the reader will understand the depth of your personal statement without having to be told.

  • In storytelling, writing, and moviemaking, lessons that are evident but not directly stated are more powerful than lessons that are over-the-top and found too conveniently.

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of admissions officers.

They are smart people. Chances are that they’ll understand the lessons from a story that is told well.   

Write your story effectively by letting the conclusion begin and end naturally — don’t force a summarizing statement into your writing.

TIP 2: Avoid Stock Phrases

Like a summary, stock phrases are formulas that writers use when they can’t think of what else to say.

Some common transitional and concluding phrases are:

  • In conclusion
  • To conclude

If it’s your last paragraph, your reader can already see that it’s the conclusion. Sophisticated personal writing will always avoid these phrases. You’re writing a college essay, not a professional memo.

Stock phrases demonstrate a lack of creativity.

For those of you who are not creative, don’t worry. If you’re not pursuing a creative writing major in college, you won’t run into more assignments like the college essay.

So, what should you do if you can’t help but write a stock phrase?

  • Write the entire conclusion with the stock phrase.
  • When you’re done, go to the stock phrase and delete the entire sentence.
  • Then, begin the paragraph with the remaining introductory sentence.
  • Begin rewriting and editing from there.

TIP 3: Avoid Concluding Quotes. The Conclusion Should Focus On You.

Your college essay is about you , no matter what.

When you quote from other sources, you take away from your own voice.

Usually, we choose quotes from famous or historical figures because they link our personal experiences to something more universal.

Other writers use quotes because they think it makes them appear more interesting or educated.

There’s nothing wrong with using a quote in your essay. But if you end with someone else’s words, you leave your reader thinking about that person, not about you.

  • Consider this ending: “When I think about my experience, I always remember Ben Franklin’s wise words: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  

When a reader is finished with this essay, she may be thinking about how clever or profound Ben Franklin is. But that reader is no longer thinking about you.

This is especially important if you’re reaching the word limit. Quotes take up valuable space in the conclusion.

For this reason, ending with anything but your own words is a bad idea.

Now that you know what not to do, let’s consider what works in college essay conclusions.

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Tip 4: revisit your introduction.

You may have spent a long time crafting your introduction. The impression you give, from your first few sentences, can grab your reader.

It’s a good idea to take the same approach to your conclusion.

  • Many introductions begin with a story or an anecdote to illustrate the larger point made in the essay . If this has been your strategy, revisit that story.

Your subject can be anything. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing about the first time you flew on a plane or the best piece of advice your grandmother gave you.

Revisiting the scene of your introduction brings harmony and coherence to your ideas.

Let’s look at an example.

Here is an introduction that begins: “As the plane accelerated on the runway, I gripped my seat for dear life. Anything could go wrong. It was my first time flying and I had no idea how I’d make it out alive.”

This student has set up a central conflict in the introduction: fear of flying, and having no other option but to face that fear. Importantly, this writer puts his reader directly on the plane too. Because the scene begins with action, it can end that way too.

Here is a conclusion that revisits the scene in the introduction:

“As the plane deployed its wheels and touched down on the runway, I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d made it. As I walked down the narrow cabin aisle, I nodded to the flight attendant. ‘Thanks,’ I said, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’ I slung my bag over my shoulder and walked through the door.”

This essay revisits the introduction in order to resolve the conflict it sets up. The landing plane creates a parallel with the opening, when it was taking off.

More importantly, this author resolves the internal conflict. She is now confident and relieved.

Her conclusion also hints at a deeper theme: knowing when to ask for help and rely on others.

Notice that this student doesn’t explicitly say what she learned, or what the lesson of her essay is.

But any college admissions officer, looking at this conclusion, will understand what has changed from beginning to end.

TIP 5: Understand Your Theme

Knowing what your college essay is about can greatly improve your conclusion. Common themes of personal statements include:

  • Overcoming a fear
  • Facing a challenge successfully
  • Growing from a setback
  • Finding strength in a hardship
  • Learning something new
  • Making a meaningful connection

Understanding the theme of your essay can help you write an excellent conclusion.

Many successful essays work backward from information presented in the statements above.

They begin with the fear and end with how they overcame it. Or they begin with the hardship and end with how they found strength.

TIP 6: End on a Positive Note

Even if you don’t have a conflict in your college essay, it’s always a good idea to end positively .

Remember that your essay needs to show that you would be a valuable asset to a college community.

Try this: imagine yourself at the place you’re applying to, and ask these questions:

  • What will my first year at college look like?
  • How can I make a positive impact through my involvement in the community?
  • What challenges might I face and how can I overcome them?
  • How does my theme, story, or personal anecdote relate to my future?
  • How will I continue to grow as a person in college?

Your answers to these questions can help you figure out how to find the right ending.

Many college essays discuss a past event for the writer, so it makes sense to conclude by looking toward the future.

Conclusion: Your College Essay Conclusion

Writing your college essay is not easy, and finding the best way to end it is even harder. Start by knowing what to avoid.

Even if you fall into those traps on the first draft, make sure they are corrected by the time you’re ready to submit your essay. Next, focus on the solutions.

While there is no single right answer to finding the best conclusion, there are certainly better and proven options.

Your final words to a reader of your college essay should leave a great impression, so make them memorable.

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conclusion sentence examples for college essays

How to End Your College Essay: 5 Strategies

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What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of your college essay conclusion, cliche college endings to avoid, strategies for ending your college essay, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Finishing up your college essay is a daunting task. You want to tie everything together, but you’re nervous about being redundant. You want to be clear, but you don’t want to be didactic. You want to tell your story, but you are afraid of sounding too self-centered.

To get over some of these nerves, you may want to dive into conclusion writing with a specific strategy (strategies that have worked time and time again!). Read along to hear about 5 effective strategies for wrapping up a college essay.

The primary purpose of your college essay conclusion is to compel the admissions counselor to reflect on the narrative that you wrote about and see its importance. It is the final impression that they will have of you and your writing (which is often even more important than a first impression!), so you want to leave them satisfied and you want your argument unambiguous.

The ending of a college essay is also often the place where students take their essays to the next level. Through a variety of creative strategies, you have the opportunity to provide unique insight regarding the narrative you described and help readers to understand what you were getting at with your story. Your conclusion should help readers to connect your story to you. Be sure to apply a forward-thinking approach to the ending of your essay, telling the reader how your anecdote or story has an impact. 


The main issues with summary endings are that 1) if your essay is well-written, your summary will be redundant and 2) your summarizing phrase will divert a reader’s focus away from the thoughts, emotions, and images that you are working with so hard to evoke in them.

The purpose of a compelling essay will always be self-evident. If your essay ends with a summary, you should attempt to rewrite your conclusion, but you may also want to reevaluate your essay as a whole. Make sure that you are saying what you are trying to say without explicitly stating your purpose or identifying a “moral of the story.”

Some generally unconvincing (and thus, superfluous) summarizing statements include:

  • That was when I realized that…
  • The most important lesson I learned…
  • The catch point was when…
  • My aha moment was…

When you use these phrases, you sabotage your argument by interrupting your argument. You will lose the attention of your reader. Additionally, by summarizing, you assume that your reader is not intelligent when in reality your reader will be able to draw their own conclusions if your writing convincingly promotes your message.

When you ensure that your essay speaks for itself and avoid these summarizing statements, you will open your essay up for more creative, unique, and engaging endings!

Using Trite Transitions

Stock phrases are unnecessary and overused in college essay conclusions. Colleges are looking for students who can write well and articulate their thoughts creatively. Quite frankly, when an admissions officer (who has extensive experience writing at the college level) reads a trite transition, they will likely be irritated and that irritation will not work in your favor during the admissions process.

Trite transitions include:

  • “In conclusion”
  • “To conclude”
  • “In summary”
  • “To sum up”
  • “In essence”
  • “All in all”
  • “All things considered”
  • “In the end”

If you’re struggling to write your conclusion without the crutch of one of these transitions, you may consider moving forward with your transition, then going back after you have finished your first draft and deleting the transition and the sentence that follows it . Often, the sentence after your transition will also be redundant and unnecessary, and the second sentence of your conclusion will suffice on its own.

Mentioning Your Hopes of Acceptance

The admissions committee knows that the intention of your essay is to help you get accepted into the college or university that they are representing. This means that you should not mention your hopes of being accepted . You have a limited number of words for your essays, so don’t use them to state the obvious! Mentioning your acceptance can also come off as naive or lacking creativity.

There are many effective ways to conclude a college essay, and different ways work for different applicants and different topics. Knowing the theme of your essay will be immensely valuable when figuring out how to wrap things up.

Student essay themes often include:

  • Making the most of a hardship (during the hardship)
  • Growing from adversity (after the fact)
  • Overcoming a fear
  • Figuring out one’s values
  • Learning an important lesson
  • Building a valuable relationship/connection

Students often find that their theme lends itself to a particular essay-ending strategy. For example, a student exploring the theme of growing from adversity may benefit from the “Image of the Future” technique as they can preview the effects of their growth. A student exploring the theme of figuring out one’s values might use the “Reflection” technique to name their values and explore their implications.

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

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Here are 5 of CollegeVine’s strategies for ending your college essay:

Full Circle

The Full Circle strategy (also called bookending) involves seamlessly connecting your conclusion to your introduction. This can involve reintroducing a word, phrase, person, or object from the start of your essay. 

Bookending makes your essay feel complete, unified and settled. By reminding the admissions committee where your essay started, you remind them of the journey they went on while reading your essay and of everything they learned about you. When executed successfully, bookending feels unforced and will leave readers satisfied with all that you articulated.

Prompt #2 Example #2 on our Common App Examples is a great example of a Full Circle ending. The narrative begins with the simple word “Fire!” then the student explores their insecurity due to not being able to start a fire on a camping trip. Ultimately, the narrative resolves itself as the narrator describes how interests can change and how their former love of all things outdoors had transitioned into a love of all things writing. The narrator ends with “When the night grew cold and the embers died, my words still smoked—my hands burned from all that scrawling—and even when I fell asleep, the ideas kept sparking—I was on fire, always on fire.”

Image of the Future

The primary purpose of a college essay is to convince admissions officers that you should be admitted to their college or university. To do this, you may want to show how you would be a valuable addition to a college or university. The “Image of the Future” strategy involves concluding your essay with an image of how the lesson you learned, the growth you experienced, or the fear you conquered will help you later on.

Some examples of this strategy could include:

  • If your essay focuses on the importance that mock trial had in forming your identity in high school, you could describe a future situation and show how the values you gained from mock trial apply there.
  • If you write about gaining interpersonal skills through a complicated relationship, you could describe a hypothetical situation where your interpersonal skills are tested more severely and you still come out on top.
  • If you focus on your former insecurity when making new friends, you can explore a hypothetical situation where you actively facilitate a friendship for someone nervous in a social situation.
  • If you write about how classical music changed the way you viewed the world, you could create an image of you performing classical music much later in life and still recognizing its important (and evolving) role in your identity formation.

These examples, and this strategy more generally, give readers a sense of potential and opportunity. They have a romantic feel as they invite readers to see the connection between a past hardship or adversity and future success or growth. They also often involve an explorative, enlivened, and promising tone.

This ending strategy is particularly compelling for essays about significant hardships and challenges because readers get a before-and-after of the student (and thus, see their growth clearly). Admissions officers will see a chance to help someone realize their full potential, which can prove very appealing. 

I used the “Image of the Future” strategy when wrapping up my Common App essay:

“I envision myself sitting in my dorm room in a few years. I begin scribbling numbers on a sheet of paper. Fatigue consumes me, yet thoughts continue to race through my mind—thoughts that need to be acted upon. What if I go to bed and the next thing I was going to study is on the test tomorrow? What if staying up another hour gains me a better grade? I run a cost-benefit analysis of sleep versus grades. But then, the idea that happiness is more important than perfection wanders in the back of my mind—an idea from my eighteenth summer spent in Punalu’u. And what do I do? I choose happiness.”

If you are struggling to weave personal information about yourself into your essay, you may want to use your conclusion as a time to reflect on your experiences. When using this strategy, be careful not to resort to summarizing! Summarizing is restating your previous ideas or drawing obvious conclusions for your reader. Reflecting takes summarizing a step further by exploring the personal implications of your narrative.

Throughout your essay, you will describe different subjects and themes. A reflective ending is a place to explore how those subjects and themes inform your beliefs and values. Ending with an exploration of yourself and your identity will show admissions officers that you value self-reflection (and can effectively do it!). They also subtly tell admissions officers why you would be beneficial at their institution.

You may not want to use a reflective ending if you are a writer who reflects consistently throughout your writing. Doing so could leave you with a repetitive essay. Only use the Reflection strategy if you have not discussed your beliefs and values earlier in your essay.

Example from Prompt #5 Example #1 on our Common App Essays :

My mother remains a guiding force in my life, but the feeling of empowerment I discovered within myself is the ultimate form of my independence. Though I thought the summer before my freshman year would be a transition from middle school to high school, it was a transformation from childhood to adulthood.

Same, but Different

This strategy is similar to the Full Circle strategy but goes a bit deeper. Rather than simply tying your story up by repeating a symbol, image, or phrase, your goal is to cause readers to reflect on a change that occurred throughout your essay and to create a wider view of your narrative.

The “Same, but Different” strategy can be applied to objects, settings, and even people and can be achieved through dialogue, description, or reflection. Some examples include:

  • After focusing on how your perseverance led to improvements in your complex relationship with your father, you could end your essay with dialogue that shows the progress that has occurred in your relationship.
  • If your essay describes how you underappreciated your former pet, it could be effective to end your essay with a description of a new opportunity with a pet and your intentions to do things differently.
  • Following a discussion of your anxiety about a research article you are having to write, you could conclude with yourself at the same desk, approaching the same task, but with a different attitude.

This technique finds its basis in the idea that your reader will view the image differently than they previously had because of your writing.

Example from Prompt #4 Example #1 on our Common App Examples :

“Now, as I arrive at a tournament with my students, I close my eyes and remember the past. I visualize the frantic search for a coach and the chaos amongst my teammates as we competed with one another to find coaches before the staging calls for our respective divisions. I open my eyes to the exact opposite scene. Lacking a coach hurt my ability to compete, but I am proud to know that no member of my dojang will have to face that problem again.”

Different, but the Same

While the “Same, but Different” strategy focuses on what has changed, the “Different, but the Same” strategy focuses on what has stayed the same and emphasizes that this too is important . 

This strategy is valuable if, instead of focusing on hardship, your essay focuses on a fundamental aspect of your personality that has historically helped you. This type of ending can also be helpful when describing the importance of your fundamental values.

Examples of essay endings that highlight a consistent element of a narrative include:

  • Using an image of your father cooking after work to describe how, while your location has changed through a cross-country move, you still find comfort in the fact that you are surrounded by a family who loves you.
  • After a narrative where a student makes a difficult decision to attend a new camp after 5 summers at an old camp, providing an image of the same joy around a campfire.

Like with the “Full Circle” strategy, you may want to include specific words, phrases, or ideas from your introduction in this ending to tie things up. That being said, this strategy also should involve growth and understanding. Since they began reading your essay, readers should have gained a clearer understanding of the importance of the previously stated value, belief, character trait, an important object, important person, etc. 

The ultimate goal of this ending is to have admissions officers excited for you—excited that you learned to use your already great traits or that you were able to further explore something you have always appreciated or valued.

Example from Prompt #3 Example #1 on our Common App Examples :

“I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity – me. Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion. I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind – and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together.”

An excellent conclusion involves more than just good content. You must effectively pair your content with an appropriate tone. Experts at the Harvard Writing Center describe how concluding essays with sentences composed of mainly one-syllable words can create understated drama. They also say that parallel sentence structure can lead to a sense of balance at the end of your essay. If you want to shift your tone with your conclusion, you may also want to consider changing the rhythm of your final sentences.

While nuanced tips and tricks are helpful when writing, it’s often not that simple. Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your college essay edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your conclusion is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of admission.

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

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conclusion sentence examples for college essays

How to End a College Essay: 10 Tactics & Strategies

How to End a College Essay: 10 Tactics & Strategies

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

How you end your college application essay can have an important impact on how your reader experiences your essay: while we’ve seen essays that are really solid even without an incredible ending (meaning: please don’t panic and add stress to an already stressful process), we’ve also seen college essays whose endings took the essay up another level.

And we think that there are clear techniques and strategies that virtually any writer can use to uplevel the conclusion section of their college application essay.

So below, we’ll offer 10 specific approaches to endings—split into 5 that you can do with little to no planning and 5 that require some planning ahead and/or rewriting—that you can use to strengthen your personal statement.

In this post, We'll cover:

How to think about college essay endings, 3 college essay endings to avoid.

  • The Two Essential Qualities of An Outstanding Ending
  • 10 tactics, strategies, and techniques for making your ending stand out

A. Tactics (small changes that requires less planning ahead)

  • 1. Connect to your values
  • 2. The bookend or callback
  • 3. The road forward
  • 4. Save your thesis (or your whole intro) for the end
  • 5. Connect to your career

B. Strategies (may require big changes, or more planning ahead)

  • 6. The “why us?” set-up
  • 7. Back to the beginning, but something’s changed
  • 8. The twist/reveal
  • 9. The “theater of the oppressed” ending
  • 10. The ellipsis ...

Okay, so think of a movie you’ve seen that you really enjoyed for most of the way through… and then the kinda boring or cliche ending lost you. Do you want to invite that movie to hang out at your college for the next few years? Probably not.

Three mistakes we see students make when it comes to ending their personal statement include thinking that you:

Should just restate the thesis (because English class)

Have to have a great ending in mind before you start

Shouldn’t worry much because the ending isn’t all that important

But we’re here to tell you that:

Yeah, probably don’t restate your thesis—in fact, many great personal statements don’t even have an explicit thesis.

You can write a great ending even after you’ve written the rest of your essay.

A great conclusion can be an essay-maker. It can take your personal statement from “pretty good” to “outstanding”

This post will show you how.

So let’s. Talk. Endings.

By the way: I’m using the term “we” instead of “I” here because I co-wrote this piece with my long-time friend, Andy Simpson. He has 15+ years experience guiding students on essays and, like me, geeks out on this stuff.

A great personal statement ending answers the question “So what?” or “Why does this matter?”

But how do you do it?

First, how not to do it.

Don’t just repeat or restate your thesis . We know, your teacher told you to (ours did too). And it might not be a bad idea for the conclusion to your AP US History or AP English Lang/Lit paper (although even there, maybe change the phrasing a little). But probably don’t do this on your personal statement. It can feel repetitive, or basic. And you are not basic.

Don’t end with a cheesy quote or something that anyone else could have written . We’re talking about quotes like, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” or phrases like, “I learned that everything happens for a reason,” or “I learned that I too can make a difference.” And if you’ve written a draft already, take a quick look at your last lines. Could someone else have written them? If so, a) we’re glad you’re here, and b) delete them and keep reading.

Be careful not to refer to things that you haven’t really shown earlier in the essay. Sometimes we’ll read essays that end with something like, “I’m grateful for all the lessons these experiences have taught me…”  but we don’t really know what those lessons are because the author didn’t tell us in the essay. If you refer to all the hard work you’re proud you did, for example, show us the hard work earlier in the essay.

What goes into a great ending?

The Two Essential Qualities of an Outstanding Ending

A great ending often has two qualities: surprise and inevitability . H/T Aristotle

Think about a great film ending—usually you feel some combination of “Whoah, I totally didn’t see that coming,” and “Ah, right, it probably had to end like that.”

We’re talking about The Sixth Sense , Inception , or Titanic . And totally j/k re: Titanic because that was a TERRIBLE ending—both Jack and Rose could’ve totally fit on that door. The boat sinking was a shocker, though, right? Does every great movie have both those qualities? No. And must you have both those qualities to get into a great college? No. But these are two good qualities to keep in mind as you read this post and write your essay.


We’ll split this list into three categories:

Tactics: Things you can do once you’re pretty much done, or if you aren’t willing to rewrite your essay much.

Strategies: Things that, to make work, you kinda’ either have to have planned out ahead of time or be willing to rewrite some stuff.

Techniques : Small things you can do or apply to the tactics and strategies.

Important note: Not every personal statement ending will fit into these categories; they are just some ideas you can try based on some approaches we’ve seen work well for other students.

1. Connect to Your Values

This one is one of the easiest. It basically works like this: Look back through your essay and ask yourself, “What values am I showing?” 

Then don’t name those values too much in the body of your essay, but do name them explicitly in your conclusion. 

Here’s an example (note the values in bold ): 

Upon reflection, I found that my answer didn’t exist in books or research, but somewhere very close from the beginning—my intuition. In other words, I didn’t need an elaborate and intricate reason to prove to myself that health is an inalienable right for every human being—I needed self-reflection. So I ask again, “Does every life matter?” Yes. “Do I have solid, written proof?” No. Paul Farmer once said, “The thing about rights is that in the end you can’t prove what is a right.” To me, global health is not merely a study. It’s an attitude—a lens I use to look at the world—and it’s a statement about my commitment to health as a fundamental quality of liberty and equity .

To read the entire Does Every Life Matter essay, click here. 

Why This Ending Works

If you read the entire essay (at link above), you’ll see the author touches on a few different themes in his essay—heritage, community, moral behavior, etc.—but he doesn’t make them super explicit until the end. Once he names them at the end, we (as readers) go, “Ah, that’s what we thought you were talking about.” 

Ending with values is also a pretty good idea because a) it shows your ability to self-reflect, and b) highlights some qualities that, oh, by the way, will be useful in college and beyond. 

Heads-up that this doesn’t work quite as well if you’ve already clearly named the values earlier in the essay—in fact, it can feel repetitive. So, if you’re trying this approach, a) make sure you didn’t already explicitly name the values earlier and, if you did, b) delete or rephrase those parts of your essay so that when you name the values at the end, it won’t feel as repetitive. 

And by the way—did you notice how the whole paragraph above felt repetitive? That’s because, if you were reading carefully, we already wrote before the example, “Then don’t name those values too much in the body of your essay, but do name them explicitly in your conclusion.” So, to edit, we should cut that sentence (and that’s what we’d have you do in your essay).

You’ll find another example of this type of ending in the Makeup essay (check out the mentions of “scientific inquiry,” “voice,” “connect me with others,” and more in those last lines).

2. The Bookend or Callback

Bookending involves referring to something you’ve set up earlier in the essay. It’s something comedians do a lot and refer to as a “callback.” For a few examples, check out How Dave Chappelle Delivers a Callback starting at 1:05. (Trigger warning: There’s some adult language in that video. If you prefer, here’s the Wikipedia link explaining the same concept.)

Here’s an example of a callback in a personal statement: 

The essay begins ... 

“I have been pooped on many times. I mean this in the most literal sense possible. I have been pooped on by pigeons and possums, house finches and hawks, egrets and eastern grays. “

And the essay ends ... 

“The upshot is that I simply cannot walk away from injustice, however uncomfortable it is to confront it. I choose to act, taking a stand and exposing the truth in the most effective manner that I think is possible. And while I’m sure I will be dumped on many times, both literally and metaphorically, I won’t do the same to others.”

To read the entire “Poop, Animals, and the Environment” essay, click here.

What We Like about This Ending/Why It Works

This one is great because, on the one hand, the ending catches the reader by surprise (we didn’t see that coming!). But it also feels inevitable (because she’s calling back to something she set up at the start). That’s that surprise + inevitability we mentioned a minute ago. (Thanks, Aristotle.)

One thing that’s cool about this tactic is that you can do this once the rest of your essay is already written. And, if you do it well, it’ll feel like you planned it all along. 

If you’d like one more example, check out the Endodontics essay, whose author was pretty much done but still felt like the ending was missing something. So he went back, added the detail about “mineral white or diamond white” near the beginning, then wrote a last line that linked back to it. And yet when you read it you get the sense he’d planned his ending from the beginning.

Quick note: While you shouldn’t feel like you have to use humor, the cleverness in the endings of both the “Poop” and “Endodontics” essays mentioned above do leave a nice last impression.

3. The Road Forward


There’s something beautiful and inspiring about an open road. The sense of potential and possibility it offers. The invitation it makes.

So it can be nice to end an essay with language that feels like an open road—that ends with a sense of exploration and, maybe, a little excitement.

Here’s an example from a personal statement:

“I see a reflection of myself in the divide at the 38th parallel because I see one part isolating itself in defense to outside threats, and another part coming out to face the world as one of the fastest-developing nations. Just as my shy persona before debate and extroverted character after debate are both part of who I am, the Korean civilization is also one. And just as my parents expect much from me, the first of my family to attend college, I have grand expectations for this field of study.”

To read the entire “With Debate” essay, click here.

This conclusion opens with a nice metaphor, demonstrating both the author’s ability to think creatively and generate insight. It also reminds us of the growth we’ve seen the author go through over the course of the essay. Finally, this conclusion leaves us with a nice combo of purpose and potential—and in my experience, when an admission reader senses they may be able to help someone realize their potential, they’re usually pretty excited to do that.

Who This Might Work Well for: Students Who Have Faced Challenges

If you’ve worked through significant challenges in your life, this ending might work especially well for you. Here’s an example: 

“I know I’m not like many students my age, but I'm happy with who I am. I am the student who works on the weekends scrubbing restrooms, carrying trash bags and mopping kitchen floors. I am the student who won't give a second thought to missing a party to help my parents babysit my sisters or accompany them to a new job. I know that one day I will not take my family to a bowling alley to clean it but to enjoy it. And who knows maybe one day I will learn to bowl.”

To read the entire “Bowling” essay, click here.

This author answers “so what” by sharing how her experiences have shaped her values and sense of self. The details here, in conjunction with those in the body, give us a sense of the strong character she’s developed. And the hope and vulnerability of the final lines make us as readers hope for the same things for her.

But this is important: Please don’t think you need to force this—don’t build a hopeful tone at the end simply because you think that’s what your reader wants. Do so if it reflects your experience.

  • Adrian’s Personal Statement
  • The Little Porch and a Dog

4. Save Your Thesis (or Your Whole Intro) for the End

“But wait,” I hear you say, “I thought you were not supposed to put a thesis in your personal statement.”

Actually, I said don’t just repeat or restate your thesis. If you don’t state the main point of your essay in your body paragraphs, you might decide to include it at the end. 

There are two ways you can do this, and we’ll discuss them one by one:

Variation A: The “Put Your Thesis at the End” Approach

Putting your thesis at the beginning can sometimes lead to a personal statement that feels a bit too much like one of those essays in which an author builds an argument and supports it with evidence. And although it could be argued that you’re building an “argument” in your personal statement—an argument demonstrating that you’ll bring a lot of value to a college campus—this method isn’t quite the same. We’ve found that by explicitly naming their thesis at the start, then supporting it with bits of evidence, some students create a slightly less interesting story simply because the ending often isn’t all that surprising.

One way to avoid this is by delaying the thesis ‘til the end.

In the “ Hiking ” essay, for example, the author describes a few positive experiences he’s had with Boy Scouts. But he waits until the very end to share an insight that ties all the experiences together.

Check out the “Hiking” essay here.

Heads-up: The next thing we’re about to share won’t really make sense unless you read the “Hiking” essay. 

What’s neat about this personal statement is that the author touches on a few different values/sides of himself in the body paragraphs … but it’s not until the final paragraph that he claims these different sides of himself as identities. Check out that final line again: “When I'm hiking, I'm not merely a hiker ; I'm a historian , a conservationist , and a teacher all in one” (bold emphasis mine).

This ending works because, earlier in the essay, the author describes (i.e., shows us) these parts of himself through specific examples and details, then he names them (i.e., tells us) explicitly at the end of the essay. Note that if the author instead had decided to open his essay with that line, it kinda’ would’ve spoiled the ending of the movie (or, in this case, essay). The reader might’ve thought something like, “Okay, cool, guess I don’t really need to read the rest—thanks for saving me some time.” Ending with this sentence, however, creates a sense of both inevitability (since the final line pulls together the essences of the separate paragraphs, and surprise (because we didn’t think to name these different sides of him in quite this way—as identities he claims/roles he plays).

Note: To make this surprising, it was important for the author to not name these identities along the way, instead saving them for the end. 

Variation B: The “Put Your Thesis at the End” Approach

Here’s an example from a student who chose to put not just one sentence in her conclusion, but her entire intro paragraph: 

“My home is a dynamic and eclectic entity. Although I've lived in the same house in Cary, North Carolina for 10 years, I have found and carved homes and communities that are filled with and enriched by tradition, artists, researchers, and intellectuals. While I may not always live within a 5 mile radius of a Bojangle's or in close proximity to Lab 304, learning to become a more perceptive daughter and sister, to share the beauty of my heritage, and to take risks and redefine scientific and personal expectations will continue to impact my sense of home.”

To read the entire “Home” essay, click here.

Like the author of the “Hiking” essay above, this student does a nice job of pulling together the examples by zooming back to a wider frame of reference (but doing so with specific phrasing and language). Note that the author could have opened her essay with this paragraph, but doing so would have yielded a much more predictable (read: boring) essay. 

Instead, she shows images and experiences in the body paragraphs so we get to “watch the movie” of her life before she tells us what they mean to her. 

Note: In order to make this work, the author had to make sure the central topic of the essay (in this case, “home”) was super clear. She does this by repeating the word “home” at the ends of the first, second, and fourth paragraph, and in the middle of the third paragraph (she chose not to mention the word in the same place each time just to offer some variety). So if you try this one, make sure the topic/theme of your essay is clear.

5. Connect to Your Career

Quick PSA: College is not just a career conveyor belt (and colleges generally don’t see themselves that way). It’s a place where you can learn a lot about yourself and the world while, hopefully, meeting some awesome people. 

Having said that, describing in your conclusion how your experiences relate to your career can be effective for a couple reasons: 

It can be similar in effect to The Road Forward—we as readers like imagining the exploration ahead for the writer, and we may even want to help them on their journey.

Mentioning a future potential career can also set you up for one of the most common supplemental essays, the “Why us?” essay. If you take this approach, you can even think of your personal statement and the “Why us?” as effectively two parts of the same essay, where Part I (the personal statement) tells the story or stories of how you’ve arrived at your career path, while Part II (the “Why us?”) describes how you’ll make use of the specific opportunities at whatever college(s) you’re applying to. Some students structure their whole application like this, btw.

Here’s a quick example of a student who mentions his career at the end of his personal statement, which explores his long-held love of mazes and games:

“A few years ago I grew tired of working within the constraints of most internet games and I wanted to program my own, so I decided to learn the language of Scratch. With it, I created several computer games, incorporating such unordinary aspects of gameplay as the avoidance of time-travel paradoxes, and the control of "jounce," the fourth derivative of position with respect to time. Eventually, I came to realize that Scratch was too limited to implement some of my ideas, so I learned C#, and my potential expanded exponentially. I continue to study programming knowing that the more I learn, the more tools I have to express my creativity. To me, studying computer science is the next step of an evolution of boundary breaking that has been underway since my first maze.”

To read the entire “Mazes” essay, click here.

This conclusion has a few nice elements to it: It functions to bookend the essay (see above); it provides a wider frame/context for the specific details and experiences shared in the body paragraphs; and as mentioned above, it sets the author up for any “Why us?” essay he’ll write.

The “ Endodontics ” essay also ends this way, but where the “Mazes” author added the career connection near the end of his writing process, the “Endodontics” author actually planned his entire essay around the career that he mentions in his conclusion. 

Which brings us to our next point: There’s a deeper way of writing about your career ...

6. The “Why Us?” Set-Up

What it is: A conclusion that sets up nicely for a (separate) “Why us?” essay. In some cases, the personal statement is even planned around a specific program that will be discussed in a “Why us?” essay. This can work especially well if, while researching colleges, you found The Perfect Program for you—like one that basically checks all your boxes.

The key to making this strategy work is to write your personal statement in a way that does not simply replicate the content you’ll share in your “Why us?” essay. Instead, think of your personal statement as kinda’ like sharing your “origin story” (yeah, like in a comic book or Marvel movie). 

For an example of an essay that shares a budding activist’s origin story, check out the personal statement, “ The Instagram Post .” The ending reads: 

“My role model Ruth Bader Ginsburg says, “dissent[ers] speak to a future age... they are writing not for today but for tomorrow.” Retrospectively, I realize that The Post was my voice of dissent―through it, I initiated a campus-wide discussion and openly challenged the majority opinion of my school for the first time. As I aspire to become a civil rights attorney and the first Asian woman on the Supreme Court (I hope it doesn’t take that long!), I am confident that I will continue to write and speak out for justice ―for tomorrow.”

To read the entire “The Instagram Post” essay, click here.

If you read the whole personal statement, you may find the ending somewhat surprising (in that you perhaps didn’t expect at the start of the essay that the author would eventually say she wanted to become a civil rights attorney) and inevitable (because this path makes sense given the trajectory she has been on since her Instagram post).

But this is really just Part 1 of her journey. The next chapter (i.e., Part 2) is essentially what she maps out in her “Why us?” essay. 

You can read her “Why us?” essay for Michigan at this link . 

Note how the first line of her “Why us?” essay not only references the end of her personal statement, but also expands on other interests—all of which she’ll explore in the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) concentration at Michigan. 

This works particularly well because she isn’t repeating too much from her personal statement; she’s expanding on it. Look at this sentence from her “Why us?” essay in particular: 

“The interdisciplinary nature of PPE perfectly suits my desire to understand human beings through different lenses. I strongly believe that social and geopolitical issues must be approached in a multidimensional context--complex relationships between individuals and communities demand equally sophisticated analyses.” 

These sentences help us understand her “why” and connects back to some of the themes and values of her personal statement, but here we get some more elevated language. Later in her “Why us?” essay, she names specific opportunities and classes in the PPE program that will help her achieve the goals she’s named.  

For another example of this type of ending, check out “ The ‘Not Black Enough’ East-Asian Influenced Bibliophile ,” which is a bit more open-ended, but still works well. To see that student’s “Why us?” essay, click here .

7. Back to the Beginning, but Something’s Changed

What it is: You link back to the person you were at the beginning of the essay and reflect on how you’ve changed. This is similar in approach and effect to bookending, but (as you’ll see if you read the full essay linked below) it takes a lot more planning ahead (whereas bookending can often be the last thing you think of). This kind of ending will inherently show growth and reflection, two nice qualities to demonstrate in your writing. 

Here’s the start of an essay that uses this strategy ...

“It was Easter and we should’ve been celebrating with our family, but my father had locked us in the house. If he wasn’t going out, neither were my mother and I.”

And here’s the ending:

“My Easter will drastically differ from past years. Rather than being locked at home, my mother and I will celebrate outdoors our rebirth and renewal.”

To read the entire “Easter” essay, click here.

By mirroring some language from the opening, you can achieve the same kind of closure that basic bookending does. But here, there’s an added element of growth, development, understanding—we see how the author has more fully stepped into themselves through the course of the narrative. There’s also a similar effect to a few of the other approaches we’ve discussed in that when we see this growth, we cheer for the writer.

8. The Twist/Reveal

What it is: You set up an expectation in the reader through the structure and focus of your essay, then pivot against that expectation in your ending. This is effective for the same reason that movies with (good) twist endings are effective—we enjoy the surprise, the revelation, the way the ending requires us to recalculate all that we’ve just seen. It also indicates a certain degree of skill and understanding as a writer, since setting up a twist that we don’t see coming isn’t easy.

Note that this is similar in effect to The Twist opening described here .

Check out the ending of this essay:

“The more I scratch off from my goals list, the more it brings me back to those days handling spatulas. Anew, I ask myself, “Is this how I want to spend the rest of my life?” I want a life driven by my passions, rather than the impositions of labor. I want to explore new paths and grow within my community to eradicate the prejudicial barriers on Latinos. So yes, this IS how I want to spend the rest of my life.” 

T o read the entire “¡Ya levantate!” essay, click here.  

When the writer ends the first third of his essay with “This was the scene that ignited the question in my head: ‘Is this how I want to spend the rest of my life?’ The answer was no. So I started…,” we’re expecting the rest of the essay to explore how their life has led them to an understanding of how they do want to spend the rest of their life. And they do. Sorta :). But the recall at the end and the twist in a new direction offer a satisfying reveal and require a re-evaluation of what has come before.

Note that this example also shares elements with the “Back to the Beginning, but Something’s Changed” approach.

The “Theater of the Oppressed” Ending

What it is: You put the ending of the essay in the reader’s hands. You don’t resolve it.

Check out the ending to this essay: 

“Living in a low-income immigrant household has taught me to appreciate all I’ve been given.  Testifying in court helped me grow as a person, has made me more open-minded and aware of the problems facing my community. And my involvement in the urban farm has led me to consider a career as a nutritionist. Though neither of my parents attended college, they understand that college is a key factor to a bright future and therefore have been very supportive. And though we don't yet have the house with the small porch and the dog, we're still holding out hope. I believe college can help.”

This one hits hard each time we read it. Those last lines are powerful, the culmination of a moving story. And the author leaves what happens next in the reader’s hands.

This technique is similar to a technique used by Theater of the Oppressed (hence the name), where actors onstage play out a conflict and then, instead of resolving it, pause to seek out input and ideas from the audience members. In the case of the personal statement, the “audience” is the college admission officer and the author says, in effect, “It’s up to you to help finish this story.”

Note that this kind of ending only works with certain kinds of challenges/circumstances. For another example of this strategy, check out the “ Growing Up in Lebanon ” essay: “And I look forward to becoming the first man in my family to finish college.” We know this is somewhat similar to the example above, but we imagine this strategy could work with other endings—and if you’ve seen one or written one, feel free to share it with us by emailing [email protected]. We’d love to see it.

10. The Ellipsis ...

What it is: Leave something unanswered, like an ellipsis. What’s an ellipsis? It’s the dot dot dot at the end of a sentence that looks like this: ...

You’ll find one example in the “Dead Bird” essay at this link . You’ll find another example in the “I Shot My Brother” essay at this link . 

We’re not going to post a super in-depth analysis of these two essays simply because it’ll ruin the ending of these two (very good) pieces of writing. 

But we do want to say a few things about this type of ending:  

For this type of ending to work, a) the author must create a sense of suspense so that the reader wonders—and actually cares about—what will happen next, but then stops before revealing what happens next, and b) there must be a limited set of possible paths for the reader to imagine. In other words, it can’t be completely open-ended (i.e., “anything is possible”). 

In the “Dead Bird” essay, for example, we sense that either a) she has come to a deeper understanding of the trauma she experienced, or b) she hasn’t. 

In the “I Shot My Brother” essay—and we’re going to keep it a little vague here so we don’t ruin the ending—we sense that the author’s brother is about to reveal a) good news, or b) bad news. We also sense that the author will share with his brother the essay and it will either a) turn out well, or b) turn out poorly. 

In each of these cases, though, we think we can guess how it’s going to go … and it also doesn’t really matter what happens next because already the author has gone through a major change (who they are at the end is very different from where they started).

This type of ending is really hard to pull off. We’d recommend you not obsess over using this type of ending at the expense of writing an essay that demonstrates all the skills, qualities, values, and interests that you’ll bring with you to college. 

We’re actually not sure that these two essays are necessarily the best personal statement examples because, while the authors do exhibit great sensitivity and writing ability, we’re not sure these personal statements show... the skills, qualities, values, and interests that the authors will bring with them to college as well as they might. 

Check out the “ If Ink Were Ants ” essay for a personal statement example that we believe does more clearly show great qualities…and ends with an actual ellipsis. Now, you don’t have to end yours with an actual dot dot dot, but you’ll see how the author does a nice job of setting up where she might go in the future without spelling it out explicitly. 

In short, if you use this method, we’d recommend making your ending somewhat but not completely open-ended.

A Final Word on Endings

Having said all this … do you have to write an awesome ending to get into a great college? Not necessarily. Great students get into great schools with personal statement endings that are just so-so. The “ Arab Spring in Bahrain ” essay ending, for example, is arguably just okay, and that student still got into a Very Famous School That You Have Heard of. (We don’t like to name schools, as it can lead to copycatting.

But a great ending can leave a great last impression, as you’ll see in the examples above.

So pick one and get crackin’!


Action Item: Choose one (or more) of these ending techniques and try it out. If it doesn’t work, try another.

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

Andrew Simpson, CEG’s Editorial Director, has worked as an educator, consultant, and curriculum writer for the past 15 years, and earned degrees from Stanford in Political Science and Drama. He feels most at home on mountain tops and in oceans.

Top Values:  Insight/Growth | Truth | Integrity

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

Ethan Sawyer (he/him) is the founder of College Essay Guy which means he has been eating/sleeping/breathing college essays for most of his waking hours since 2003. Each year he and his team reach more than one million students and counselors through the College Essay Guy blog, online pay-what-you-can courses, workshops, books, and one-on-one work.

Through his work he has supported, advised and counseled thousands of students through the complicated college search and application process, all while staying true to his core values of providing ease, purpose and joy in the process.

Top Values: humor, connection, family 

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

How to Write a Conclusion for a College Application Essay

Discover the dos and don'ts of writing a conclusion for your college application essays and get tips for making your essay shine.

Posted November 27, 2023

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

A college essay is a personal statement that is submitted as part of the application required to gain admission to a university. Colleges use essays to evaluate a student's abilities, achievements, and potential.

Most essays are written in response to a prompt or question posed by the institution. The prompt may ask the student to describe a significant experience, discuss a personal interest or passion, or explain why they are interested in attending that specific university.

Its purpose is to give the admissions committee a sense of the student's personality, interests, and motivations. It’s also an opportunity for the student to share their unique perspective, and demonstrate their writing skills and ability to think critically.

A well-written college application essay can be a powerful tool in helping a student stand out from the competition and improve their chances of being accepted to a top-tier college university.

How to Write the Conclusion

Though each part of the essay can be difficult to write, typically the conclusion is one part that students really struggle with. It’s hard to succinctly, yet powerfully, summarize your main thoughts and make a final case for admission.

The conclusion is also important because it is the last thing that the admissions committee member who is reviewing your application will read. In other words, it’s your last opportunity to make a good impression and leave the reader with a clear and lasting conviction of your potential and your fit.

When writing a conclusion for a college application essay, there are a few key steps to follow.

Summarize your thesis.

In your introduction, you should have stated your thesis, which is the main argument or point that you are trying to make in your essay. In college essays, this may also be a theme. For example, is your story that you are an underdog who life continuously tried to beat down but at each step, you persisted? Or maybe it’s that you had a family member who had health struggles and you have made it your life mission to get an education that would allow you to help solve these medical mysteries. The angle that you decide to take will be entirely dependent on your unique story and strengths; take time to figure out the overall story that you want to tell. What picture of yourself are you trying to paint?

In your conclusion, restate this thesis, purpose, theme, or argument in a new and interesting way, so that the reader is reminded of what your essay was about and why it was important.

Synthesize your main points.

In your essay, you should have made several key points that support your thesis. In your conclusion, synthesize these points briefly so that the reader has a clear understanding of what you have argued and why. Don’t just repeat what you have already written; show how the different parts of your essay work together. You don’t need to go too in-depth here, one or two sentences are usually enough to remind the reader of what they have just read.

Explain why your essay is important.

In your conclusion, you should also explain why your essay is important and why the reader should care about your argument. This can be done by connecting your thesis to a larger issue or problem, or by discussing the implications of your argument. For college essays, this usually means connecting the argument to your future.

Remember: when admissions committees are deciding whether to admit students, they’re basically betting on their future potential. It’s your job to demonstrate this potential in your essays. You can also think of this part as answering the “so what?” question.

End with a strong statement.

Finally, end your conclusion with a strong statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Generally, we recommend avoiding quotes unless it’s extremely relevant. It’s usually a lot more effective to use your own words. Also, in almost every case, your conclusion should not leave the reader wanting more; in other words, they should feel like it ended and walk away with a sense of closure.

When you’re getting ready to write your conclusion, think about each of these questions and write down a few bullet points for each.

  • What is my argument (in one sentence or a few words)?
  • What impressions or feelings do I want the admissions committee member to walk away from this essay with?
  • How do I want the reader to feel while reading this essay?
  • What tone do I want to convey? Formal, informal, friendly, assertive, humorous, convincing, etc.?

What Not To Do

As you write your conclusion, here are a few things that we recommend you do not do.

Use a cliche closing phrase: Usually, it’s better to develop your conclusion naturally without the inclusion of “in conclusion,” “in closing,” “in summary,” or a similar phrase.

Introduce topics that you haven’t included earlier in the essay: Your conclusion is not about opening up the door to further topics. Rather, it’s about tying everything together and putting a bow on it, so to speak. Don’t introduce a new idea or try to stuff something in that should’ve been included in the body.

Change the tone/argument style: This goes for both tone and argument style. For example, if your argument is primarily a logical one, don’t switch to an emotional one in the conclusion. If you employ a formal tone in the body of the essay, don’t switch to a casual tone in the end.

Summarize the essay: The conclusion should not just repeat what you have already written. Not only is this a waste of the already-limited space, it’s also dull and unconvincing to read.

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College Application Essays Tips

Writing a college admissions essay can be daunting, but it is also a significant opportunity to share your perspective and experiences with the admissions committee. Now that we’ve covered the conclusion, here are a few general tips that will help you write a compelling essay body.

  • Start early: Begin writing your essay as early as possible, so that you have plenty of time to revise and edit. This will also help you avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
  • Be yourself: Your essay is an opportunity to share your unique background and stories with the admissions committee. Be honest and genuine in your writing, and avoid trying to be someone you are not. Lean into what makes you different because that is what will help you stand out from the many other applicants.
  • Follow the prompt: You may think this point is obvious, but it’s something many students struggle with. Make sure to carefully read and understand the essay prompt, and respond to it directly. Avoid going off on tangents or writing about unrelated topics. Because of the word limit, every part of the essay should be immediately relevant to the broader story you’re trying to tell.
  • Show, don't tell: Instead of simply telling the admissions committee about your accomplishments or experiences, show them through specific examples and anecdotes. This will make your essay more engaging and compelling. With every statement you make, include stories that support the claim.
  • Proofread and read it out loud: Make sure to carefully proofread and edit your essay for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It can also be helpful to have someone else read your essay and provide feedback. Once you have a solid draft, we also recommend reading your essay out loud . This will give you an idea of how the essay will sound to the adcom member.

We know that writing your college application essays is an arduous process, especially if you have to do it alone. The best way to nail your application essays is to work one-on-one with a coach who can provide personalized feedback and revisions. Below are a few of our top Leland college admissions coaches who specialize in essays; browse all of them here .

As you put together your college applications, here are a few other resources you may find helpful:

  • How to Pick the Best College for You
  • Top Questions to Ask a College Admissions Officer
  • 3 Expert Tips for Applying to College

4 Tips to Elevate Your College Essay

  • What Really Matters When Preparing for College
  • How to Build the Best Extracurriculars for College
  • What Looks Good on College Applications? 6 Tips to Make Your Application Stand Out
  • Top Free Resources for the SAT/ACT

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How to end a college essay

How to end your college application essay (with examples).

Bonus Material: PrepMaven’s 30 College Essays That Worked

We’ve all been there: you’ve just about finished creating a brilliant, gripping piece of writing. All that’s left is to wrap it up with the perfect ending…but how do you give your essay the kind of ending that sticks with the reader, that wraps everything up neatly?

With college application essays, the stakes are even higher: the right ending can ensure you stand out from the thousands of other applicants and wow admissions officers. 

At PrepMaven, we’ve helped thousands of students do just that: create compelling, memorable admissions essays that land them acceptances at top-tier universities. 

In this post, we’ll specifically break down how to put those finishing touches on your Common App essay (or any other personal essay), providing examples so you can see exactly how each technique works. 

You can also feel free to hit the button below to download a free collection of 30 successful essays that worked, many of which provide great examples of these very strategies. 

Download 30 College Essays That Worked

Jump to section: Necessary elements of a college essay ending Reflect Connect to your narrative Look ahead to college 3 specific ways to end your college essay (with examples!)   The full-circle callback   The return with a difference   The statement of purpose Next Steps

Necessary elements of a college essay ending

In this section of the post, we’ll cover the beats that every college essay ending should hit to be maximally successful. Later, we’ll show you specific tricks for ending the essay–structures that you can easily integrate into your own writing. If you’d like to jump there, click here: specific ways to end your college essay .

Regardless of which specific technique you use to wrap up your essay, though, it should still help you accomplish the key things we list below. The fact is, college admissions counselors are really looking for pretty specific things in these essays. 

Whatever the structure, tone, or style of your admissions essay, you should be sure that the conclusion does all of the following:

Connect to your narrative

Look ahead to college.

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

If you’ve read our other posts on how to structure your application essay or how to start it , you probably already know a big part of your personal statement should involve a story. 

But it can’t be just a story: just as important is an element of reflection, which is best developed at the conclusion of your essay. 

What do we mean by reflection? Simply put, you need to think through the story you’ve laid out throughout the entire essay and articulate what it says about you, why it matters. In essence, the reflection is your answer to the question, “So what?”

For example, if you write an essay about giving up professional dance, your reflection might be about how that choice led you to view dance differently, perhaps as something that you can value independently regardless of whether you pursue it as a career. You might then expand that reflection to other elements of your life: did that changed viewpoint also apply to how you view academics, the arts, or other extracurriculars? 

Or say you wrote an essay about overcoming an obstacle to your education. Your reflection might then touch on how this process shaped your thinking, altered how you view challenges, or led you to develop a particular approach to academics and schoolwork. 

The key here is that you really show us the process of you thinking through the important changes/lessons/etc. at play in your essay. It’s not enough to just say, “This is important because X.” Admissions committees want to see you actually think through this. Real realizations don’t usually happen in an instant: you should question and consider, laying your thoughts out on paper. 

Rhetorical questions are often a great way to do this, as is narrating the thought process you underwent while overcoming the obstacle, learning the lesson, or whatever your story might be. 

A suggestion we often give our students is to read over the story you’ve written, and ask yourself what it means to you, what lessons you can take from it. As you ask and answer those questions, put those onto the page and work through them in writing. You can always clean it up and make it more presentable later. 

Below, we’ve selected the conclusion from Essay 2 in our collection of   30 Essays that Worked . In that essay, the writer spends most of the intro and body discussing their love for hot sauce and all things spicy, as well as how they’ve pursued that passion. Take a look at how they end their essay:

I’m not sure what it is about spiciness that intrigues me. Maybe my fungiform papillae are mapped out in a geography uniquely designed to appreciate bold seasonings. Maybe these taste buds are especially receptive to the intricacies of the savors and zests that they observe. Or maybe it’s simply my burning sense of curiosity. My desire to challenge myself, to stimulate my mind, to experience the fullness of life in all of its varieties and flavors.

In that example, the student doesn’t just tell us “the lesson.” Instead, we get to see them actively working through what the story they’ve told means and why it matters by offering potential ways it’s shaped them. Notice that it’s perfectly okay for the student not to have one clear “answer;” it actually works even better, in this case, that the student is wondering, thinking, still figuring things out. 

That’s reflection, and every good college application essay does it in one form or another. 

Who, on paper, are you? We know–it’s a brutal question to try to answer. That’s what these essays are all about, though, and these college essay conclusions are the perfect place to tie everything together. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you should try to cram elements of your resume or transcript into the end of your essay–please don’t! When we say the conclusion should “connect to your narrative,” we mean that you should write it while bearing in mind the other aspects of your application the admissions committee will be looking at. 

So, the conclusion of your college essay should work to connect the story and reflection you’ve developed with the broader picture of you as a college applicant. In a way, this goes hand in hand with reflection: you want your conclusion to tie all these threads together, explaining why this all matters in the context of college applications. 

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

You might, as in the above “hot sauce” essay example, allude to an element of your personality/mentality that your personal statement exemplifies. In that example, we can clearly see the writer showing off some scientific knowledge (“fungiform papillae”) while also highlighting their “curiosity” and desire to challenge themselves. 

This helps the reader see what this whole story is meant to tell us about the applicant, connecting to who they are and what they’re looking for. 

Or, you might connect this reflection to your academic goals. Or else you could connect elements of your story and reflection to some passion evident in the rest of your application. Often, the best essays involve a mix of all of these connections, but there’s no “right” or “wrong” connection to make, so long as it develops convincingly from the story you’ve told. 

There are numerous ways to go here, and it doesn’t have to be super heavy-handed or to take up much real estate. Simply bear in mind that these essays gain an additional sense of balance when they resonate with other elements of your broader high school narrative. 

Though it’s true these college essays are, in part, ways to demonstrate your writing skills and ability to respond concisely to a complicated essay prompt, their primary purpose is to show a college admissions counselor why you’re a good fit for their college. 

So, a strong college essay ending should draw strong connections to your future as (hopefully) a college student. As with the previous point, this is one that you don’t need to go over the top with! Don’t take away from your story by suddenly telling us how smart you are and what great grades you’ll get. 

Instead, you might want to suggest how the experiences you write about have prepared you for college–or, even better, how they’ve shaped what you hope to get out of the next four years. 

Generally, this is a small and subtle part of your conclusion: it might be a sentence, or it might even be the kind of thing that you imply without stating directly. The idea is that a college admissions officer reading your essay will walk away with some idea of why you’d be a good fit for college in general. 

In the example we quoted above, the essay does this fairly subtly: by describing their desire to challenge themselves and stimulate their mind, the writer is clearly alluding to the exact kinds of things college is for, even if they don’t come right out and say it. 

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

A successful college conclusion will contain all three of these elements. You can find thirty fantastic examples of such conclusions in the sample college essays below.

Read on for 3 specific techniques to end your college admissions essay. 

3 Specific ways to end your college essay (with examples!)

Each of the essay endings we cover below is designed to help your essay develop a sense of closure while simultaneously accomplishing all of those tricky things it needs to do to wow admissions officers. 

While all of these endings have been proven to work countless times, how you incorporate them and which you choose matters–a lot!

Because every student’s essay is (or at least should be) unique, we recommend getting a trusted advisor to offer guidance on how to wrap up your essay. You can get paired up with one of our expert tutors quickly by contacting us here . 

Now, for the techniques. 

The full-circle callback

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

This is probably the most classic ending structure for college essays, and with good reasons. The premise is simple: your essay’s conclusion will return to the image, story, or idea that your essay began with. 

Take a look at the below example, which includes just the first and last paragraphs of Essay 12 from our collection of 30 essays that worked . In this essay, the writer uses a discussion of food to explore their integration into American society as a Russian immigrant. 

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.” – Franz Kafka […] So, Kafka, I hope that next time a memorable quote comes to mind, you think before you speak. Because when peanut butter cleaves to the roof of my mouth, I think about what it means “to cleave:” both to adhere closely to and to divide, as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural weakness. And I think about my dual identity, how the Russian side and American side simultaneously force each other apart and bring each other together. I think about my past, feeling a little ashamed, and about my present and future, asking how I can create harmony between these two sides of me. That, Kafka, does not sound like solved questions to me. This student started with a quote from Kafka (a risky move, but check out our post on “ How to start your college essay ” to see why it was a good choice in this case). After spending the majority of the essay exploring how American and Russian foods can serve as a shorthand for their relationship to their Russian-American identity, this author ends with a final paragraph that returns to the Kafka quote and continues to work through it. 

Why does it work?

In part, people just love a full-circle ending, the idea that something ends up back where it began. 

Specifically, this ending helps the student tick off all three of our boxes for what a conclusion must do: 

  • They reflect (by thinking further about the quote and even the specific word “cleave”)
  • They connect to their narrative (by bringing it back to their own identity)
  • They look ahead (by highlighting their desire to create harmony in the future)

Check, check, check–plus, they come up with a clever enough one-liner at the end, slamming poor Kafka for a perhaps hyperbolic quote. 

The Return with a difference

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

This one is quite similar to the full-circle callback, but shouldn’t be confused with it. With this ending technique, you do indeed return to whatever you began your personal statement with. The emphasis, however, is on some significant change or perspective shift. The below example, once again taken from Essay 18 in our collection of 30 college essays that worked, makes what we mean more clear: 

I first encountered Naruto Uzumaki when I was seven and was immediately captivated by his story. An orphan navigating the world alone, without guidance or love, Naruto was misunderstood and often despised, deemed a threat by his village. Although my loving and supportive family was intact, I sympathized with Naruto. Even more, I appreciated his grit and audacity, thrilled by the way he managed to rewrite his own narrative, forging a new path and transforming himself into a hero.    […] Today, I am the protagonist of my own story. Hard work, baby steps, large leaps, occasional setbacks, countless revisions and refinements- all are essential to my journey of discovery. Ranging from unraveling the mystery of dark gravity, to writing a handful of papers that scrape a few flakes off the mountain of the unknown, my narrative is evolving; I am a work in progress and a champion of insight, advancement, and positive change. 

This essay starts by describing the appeal of Naruto’s story to the writer. When the writer concludes by saying that “I am the protagonist of my own story,” it’s clearly a reference to that initial introduction. 

The focus, however, is on the difference or shift: the author is no longer primarily captivated by Naruto’s story; instead, they’re excited to be carving out their own. It’s a return, but with a (big) difference, and that difference is precisely what allows this conclusion to succeed in hitting each of those key elements: 

  • It reflects (highlighting the theme of discovery and the hard work that it took to get to this point)
  • It connects to the broader narrative (making reference to this student’s interests in science and research)
  • It looks ahead to college (emphasizing the continued growth this student looks forward to)

It isn’t a coincidence that essays using the four techniques we’re outlining here succeed so well in capturing the key elements of an application essay conclusion. While these techniques can’t guarantee success, they certainly set you up for it: the structure of each of these methods makes it much easier to give college admissions counselors exactly what they’re looking for. 

The Direct Appeal

conclusion sentence examples for college essays

Compared to the previous techniques, this one is a lot more direct. It involves finishing your essay by directly addressing how the story you’ve been telling has shaped your future desires, often by articulating some goal you plan to accomplish or by highlighting the importance of college. 

You might think of it as leaning much more heavily on the “look forward to college” element of the conclusion. This ending technique can be risky, and really depends on how effectively you’ve been able to convey your story up to this point. 

Whereas the other ending techniques we’ve mentioned can, in general, only help the overall quality of your essay, this one can backfire. It tends to work best for essays that highlight some particular struggle you’ve overcome, or some injustice you plan to address. 

Take a look at an excerpt from Essay 29, which discusses the writer’s experiences as lower-income student attending an expensive private school, for a good use of the direct appeal: 30 college essays that worked : 

    Today, the drug-ravaged apartments of Southern Trace are transformed. Gentrified shortly after we moved, they boast a different crowd—Lisa and Linda have since been priced out of their homes and evicted. Heroin-addicts are replaced by “prettier” middle-class families; police rarely need visit their homes. Though dysfunctional, my childhood neighborhood was a community—people wrought with problems but filled with compassion, with beauty. But where was their voice when developers began to renovate? Who was there to listen? This community is an intrinsic part of me: I want to be their voice. And, with my understanding of the socioeconomic palette, maybe I can provide the canvas to blend the world of my childhood with the privileged society of Cincinnati Hills.  

Although this essay actually combines a few of our ending techniques (returning to something discussed in the introduction), it’s a great example of when a direct appeal works. This student shows a nuanced understanding of a complex socioeconomic issue that hits close to home. Their “pitch” at the end of this essay is simple: “I want to be their voice.” 

In this particular essay, the direct appeal works because it feels honest, like it comes from a real place (though you’ll have to read the entire essay to really see that). In terms of our 3 criteria, it easily fits the bill: 

  • It reflects on this student’s “dysfunctional” neighborhood and how those issues shaped the student’s viewpoint. 
  • It connects to their broader narrative, both by highlighting their own identity and their “understanding of the socioeconomic palate.”
  • It looks ahead to college, clearly articulating how the student’s long term goal–fighting for economically marginal communities–is an outcome of this story and a motivation for them to attend college. 

This is a perfect example of the direct appeal in action. In another, weaker essay, however, simply saying something like “I want to be their voice” might not work at all. If the actual story were weaker, if the student’s background were less carefully explained, it might have simply come off as preachy or presumptuous. 

The techniques we’ve outlined here will take you far. But, as always when the stakes are this high, we really recommend getting a professional opinion on your college essays. Our college essay tutors aren’t just fantastic writers: they’re expert editors who can ensure that you don’t miss anything in your own essays. Get paired with one quickly by reaching out to us here . 

In the meantime, click the link below and check out our collection of 30 sample essays, which include the full text of all the examples used above. 


Mike is a PhD candidate studying English literature at Duke University. Mike is an expert test prep tutor (SAT/ACT/LSAT) and college essay consultant. Nearly all of Mike’s SAT/ACT students score in the top 5% of test takers; many even score above 1500 on the SAT. His college essay students routinely earn admission into their top-choice schools, including Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth. And his LSAT students have been accepted In into the top law schools in the country, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Law.

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