common app essay formatting

<p>Hey guys. I've been having some trouble trying to get my personal statement and my supplemental essays to get formatted correctly on the pdf. First of all, it seems like I'm not able to indent the first paragraph because whenever I click off of the text box, the first indent automatically lines to the left. Second of all, my spacing between the paragraphs is very erratic. Some are double spaced whil others are triple spaced. Anyone else having trouble formatting their essays so that it looks nice on the pdf?</p>

<p>I just went through this yesterday helping my son fill out his commonapp (Hey, I was just helping him get his completed essay into that box!). It is a pain! If you indent the software automatically skips a line. So if you start a new paragraph with an indent you will get a skipped line. If you get more than one skipped line you might have some hidden formatting symbols in your original document. The directions recommend that you copy and paste your essay into Notepad software first, then copy and paste it into the commonapp. I think this will eliminate a lot of invisible formatting symbols that you cannot see in a Word document, but scews up the formatting in the commonapp software. My son started his essay with a 4 line poem, which he center justified in his original document. This was nearly impossible to duplicate on the commonapp. I ended up starting each line with a period (.). Otherwise the software skipped lines like crazy. </p>

<p>Finally, when we printed off the PDF version, which presumably is what the college prints off and reviews, we noticed that the font for the short answer and essay is extremely small and hard to read. We are mailing hard copy versions of the essays 1.5 spaced easy to read font to all the colleges.</p>

<p>I've been wondering about these online application problems. I'm curious to know if adcoms read the essay (or the whole app for that mattter) while it is displayed on a computer screen, or do they just print out a hard to read single-spaced non-formatted pdf document. Anyone on this site ever worked in an admissions office during the online application era?? I heard that more and more admissions staff are already routinely inputting paper application data into the computer these days, and I wouldn't be surprised if this whole applications process is almost paperless in 5 to 10 years. Hospitals are already atttempting to convert to a paperless environment. In the future, teacher recs will also likely be requested online. Most school transcripts are already uploaded to a central repository for colleges to electronically download.</p>

<p>So should I just give send hard copies of my essay to the schools? Any other suggestions?</p>

<p>If you are using windows, you can try this: hold down the <alt> key while pressing these numbers in sequence on the number pad: 0160. It's basically a space except it's treated as a letter. I don't know if it will work for what you are doing, but it might help for indenting.</alt></p>