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I have some questions about essay etiquette.



QUESTION: I have just finished typing my personal statement for my admission applications and scholarships. I want to know if I should double space or single space it? Do I address it to "Sir/Madam" like a letter, or should I label it "Personal Statement" or just start with the text of the statement? Also, do I sign it? I have the statement done; I just need help with the details of it. Signed, Essay Etiquette

Dear Essay Etiquette: Rejoice that the most difficult part of your essay-writing is over. With your masterpiece in hand, it now becomes time to figure out how to present your work.

As you are formatting your essay, remember that you are trying to make it as easy as possible for the admission officers and scholarship judges to read it. Using double spacing and a type font and size that are easy to read helps. Don't go crazy with the colors. While it stands out less, standard black ink is more legible than hot pink ink.

There is other information that you should include in case your essay gets detached from your application. Remember that admission offices and scholarship organizations receive mountains of paper. Type your name and phone number at the top of each page, and if the college requests it, your social security or personal identification number.

Because the essay is not a letter, it should not be addressed like a letter and should have its title at the top.

Ultimately, don't worry too much about the presentation of your essay. As long as it is clean and legible, what counts more than what it looks like is what it contains.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.