How do I format text for "short answer" questions?

Rod Vizcarra -

Formatting Short Answer Questions

Please follow the instructions on the application page for short answer questions (text boxes).

Formatting Tips

  • Short answer text boxes only accept simple text formatting.
  • You may not enter formatting such as underlines, italics, bold, bullets, or tabs.
  • You can simulate indentions by using 5 or 7 spaces.
  • You can simulate bullets by using asterisks and spaces.

Save Your Work. We recommend saving your work often. Additionally, you can compose your short answers in a separate word processor so you won't lose the text if you are logged out of the application (for security, our applications automatically log you out after 40 minutes on the same page). If you copy and paste your short answer from a word processor, you may have to modify some of the spacing and the word wrapping so that it appears correctly on the PDF preview page.

No Returns. If you type the answer directly in the field, make sure you let the sentences "wrap" by themselves. In other words, when your text gets to the end of the line, let it drop down the next line by itself. Using the Return or Enter keys (a "hard" return) may create unnecessary gaps or cut off your data in the PDF preview.

No Scrolling. It is important that you follow the instructions above for each short answer text box. If the directions say to limit the short answer to a certain number of lines, please do so. Otherwise you will lose any extra text. Do not allow the window to begin scrolling to allow additional text. We optimize each text box so that it will fit the correct amount of data for the preview page. However, differences in browsers and screen resolutions may allow you to enter more text than will be viewable on the application. It is important to follow the written directions.

Reviewing. We advise that you review your pages in PDF form (using the "Preview" buttons on each page) to see exactly how our system is interpreting your data, and to determine if you need to make adjustments to your data. Be sure you are satisfied with how your application looks; this is how the school will see your application after you submit.

Common Troubleshooting

Using the Manual Text Entry Field

Although we ask to save information frequently within the application, the manual text entry field for uploading essays is not the section to do this.  It is highly recommended that your answers are composed outside of the online application.  It is best to use a word processing application such as Microsoft Word, then copy and paste the text into the manual text entry field.  This helps minimize grammar and spelling errors. 

Once a user presses the “Save” button at the essay upload page, while the manual text was incomplete, it will save what has been inputted and not allow editing to the response.  If you would like further information on a work around of this, please click here.


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