Formatting Your Common Application Essays 3

Formatting Your Common Application Essays

You’ve spent so  much time writing powerful application essays, we need to ensure your essays will look as good visually as they will read.

The Common Application now requires you to paste in your long essay and most supplementary essays, yet the basic formatting does not allow you to use paragraph breaks. BUT there is a solution. 

Here is what the Common Application recommends: “You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. If pasting your essay creates problems with formatting, try first transferring your essay into a text editor such as Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) before pasting into the application.”

I did just that with a client. It took patience but worked. So please follow these steps:

1. She finished her essay in Pages (Word is fine as well).


2. She made block paragraphs-no indenting of paragraphs and double “returns” between paragraphs.

3. Then she copied the entire piece into TextEdit (and only fixed the spacing between paragraphs so it remained double spaces between paragraphs).

4. She copied it from TextEdit into the Common Application.

5. She fixed spacing issues but made no text or formatting changes.

6. When she went to the Preview page, it was double spaced between paragraphs as she wanted.

It that didn’t work, you unintentionally made a change in TextEdit. Go back and follow these steps again.


About Rebecca

Dr. Rebecca Joseph is the developer of this unique integrated website and mobile application that provides all college application requirements for more than 750 major universities in the US and Canada. She has a PhD from UCLA and is a national expert on writing powerful college application essays.

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