As a college or university student, it is likely that you are going to be assigned with the tasks to accomplish essays on a regular basis. A college essay includes a central idea and makes an overall argument on a chosen topic or viewpoint. If writing an academic essay is new to you, it is a great skill to cultivate since writing in a precise and clear manner is useful for both higher education and your future career.
To help you learn to craft the best quality essays, we have created a step-by-step guide with tips and tricks on how to write a good college essay. The recommendations given below will help you deal with all kinds of essays, such as argumentative, cause and effect, scholarship, and so on.
Understand the Essay Prompt
How do you start your college essay? Regardless of the type of essay that you’re working on, the first step of the process is to understand the key question. If you make sure to know it, you will have a clear goal for the essay body that should provide answers to the prompts.
The reality is that even if you’re a talented writer, missing the point may result in low scores. So in order to stay on topic, make sure to break down the question into the following parts:
1. What is it that the prompt is asking directly?
- What is the topic of the essay?
- How long should your project be?
- What kind of background info and research do you need to perform in order to 100% understand the topic?
2. What is it that the prompt is asking indirectly?
- Is the prompt asking for your point of view, the viewpoint of credible facts, or scholarly sources?
- In what way can you relate this topic to what you have discussed in class?
When the essay question is clear to you, begin to brainstorm for your project. In the process, you’re going to have loads of great ideas. Ensure they are related to the task at hand. What is more, it is important to understand the word count, the format (MLA, APA, etc.), style directions, and deadline.
Create an Essay Outline
Before you write your essay, make sure to create a strong outline for it. Working from your thesis statement in the introduction, plan out how you’re going to write your essay and what details you’re going to include.
If you do so, the process of writing will get less challenging. In a perfect essay, you should provide the introductory paragraph (the beginning), the body (middle) section, and the concluding segment (the end) for your project.
Start with the body section (not the introductory paragraph!). Never start your work with the introduction. The introductory segment is the part of the essay where most college and university students tend to struggle the most.
That is why, in order to stay away from the illogical flow of ideas, ensure to create your intro later. Thus, you will be able to fully form your thoughts and arguments, as well as get back to them later to integrate each into the body section of the essay.
Begin every paragraph with a topic sentence. Start every paragraph with a clear topic sentence. Use the latter to express the key ideas of the main part of the project. Every paragraph should include contextual information or quotes needed to defend the thesis statement and the topic sentence given at the beginning of the paragraph.
Get Rid of “I Believe”/”I Think”
All the qualifying phrases like “I believe” and “I think” should be eliminated from your essay. The point here is that these phrases tend to convey a lack of conviction. In general, it is important to project a more assertive and confident voice in your written work.
Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
Reviewing and editing your essay is key to crafting a top-notch piece of writing. Many college professors do not even finish reading students’ papers if their works are full of grammar, punctuation, or any other mistakes. Here are some methods to make your papers of better quality and academically acceptable in general.
Take out the conjunctions like couldn’t, don’t, isn’t to make your essay longer and your text more appropriate for college writing.
- Print out your essay, read it several times to highlight all the mistakes that you have made in the process of writing. If you put your essay aside for a while, you will notice more mistakes when you get back to reading it.
- Approach your fellow students or family members and ask them to check your piece. The second set of eyes will catch all the errors that you have missed.
- Read your essay out loud. This will help you detect all of the grammar mistakes throughout the text. If anything sounds wrong, make sure to fix it.
How Long Should the Essay Be?
When it comes to the word count, there are no strict rules on how many words your college essay should include. However, in most college and university projects, students tend to include nearly 700 words.
The reality is that if you provide an overly wordy piece of writing, you will find it difficult to hold your readers’ attention from A to Z.
Writing a top-notch essay includes a lot of work. First of all, you have to choose the most suitable topic. Second, you need many hours to get just a single personal statement polished up, and it’s just before you even begin to actually write your project.
In order to ensure that you have a lot of time needed to brainstorm, research, write, and proofread your work, it is highly recommended to start your work at least a week before the deadline.
The last thing you want is to submit a poor-quality essay that your professor won’t be impressed with simply because you had no time to accomplish your work properly and submitted something unfinished. If you don’t feel like you can get the job done within the deadline, make sure to approach a professional online writing service where you can pay for essay writing assistance round the clock.