You’d agree with me that essays are the most common forms of academic writing in any learning institution. Did you know that the word ‘essay’ derives from the Latin word ‘exagium‘ that means ‘the presentation of a case? Can you trace the number of essays you’ve written so far? I guess not. It is, therefore, important to understand how to write, edit and format college essays and other academic papers?
Basically, an essay refers to a piece of writing that introduces and supports a particular thesis or proposition. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, in the 1590s, an essay was defined as “trial, attempt, endeavor,” also “short, discursive literary composition.”
By the end of this article, you will have understood the tricks in Writing Exceptional essays. The article explains the importance of selecting an appropriate topic while writing papers for college. These tips will help you write essays fast and boost your grades. You will understand the best things to write university essays on – and become an outstanding writer.
Before we discuss the writing tips, you might want to check out the 5 Interesting Facts You Need to Know about the History of Academic Writing and the 9 Basic Essay Categories.
Great Ideas on How to Write Outstanding College Essays
On social media and in online discussion forums, students are fond of asking quizzes like – how long should a college essay be, how to format an essay, how to write better papers in school, how to improve my essay grades, and tips to writing university application essays- among others.
The question is – how do you write perfect essays? Or, how do you know if a topic is good for your essay or not? If you are still puzzled by such, worry no more, this guide have you covered.
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Let’s first understand how to select an appropriate topic for a college essay or research paper…
Finding an Appropriate Essay Topic
Do you understand the meaning of an essay topic? It refers to the main idea or subject that an essay is based on. An example of an essay topic is – Causes and Effects of Environment Pollution and How to Mitigate Them. It is the central point of a paper. For example, in this case, your entire paper should focus on environmental pollution – do not go off-topic.
At the early education stage – let’s say high school – you probably would be assigned an essay topic by your teacher or the professor. Or maybe, you would be required to select a topic from a particular list. At higher education levels, however, tables are turned. Here, you have the discretion of selecting your own essay topic.
Before selecting an essay topic, it is imperative to know the type of paper your professor expects. For instance, it’d be inappropriate to select a topic like “meaning of honesty” while writing a critical analytical essay. Why? Well, analytical essays delve much into offering arguments rather than simply narrating.
Furthermore, before selecting a topic, you should understand whether you are expected to write a general paper or a specific one. If you have an opportunity to select your own topic, I would advise you first to identify the essay’s ultimate goal. Is it to inform, convince, or critique?
More importantly, does it seek to clarify something? Your topic must support the purpose of your essay. Otherwise, you would write irrelevant content, which is likely to cost you some grades.
Alternatively, if you are given a particular topic, conduct background research to examine the most appropriate essay category you are expected to write, if not stated. Correct topic selection and interpretation are key to writing exceptional essays.
To select an appropriate topic to write your college essays on;
- It would be best if you brainstormed, of course, after understanding the purpose of the essay.
- List down some topics that you would consider writing about.
- Compare the topics, bearing in mind the purpose of the essay and your interest.
- Eliminate those topics that are not relevant to the required type of essay.
- Eliminate topics that you are not interested in or are too complex to handle.
- Ultimately, you will have a few topics from which you can make the final choice.
Understanding the general structure of an essay will boost your ability to write and format essays perfectly.
The General Structure – Write & Format College Essays
Knowing how to structure an essay correctly is among the basic tips for writing excellent essays. So, how do you correctly structure your essays? A basic essay has three major sections; introduction, body, and conclusion.
You need to be organized and consistent to write quality essays. Following this format – and knowing what to write in every section- will ensure your essay looks professional, not some random notes, and it’s readable.
Therefore, to write outstanding essays for your university application, you should understand how to format your paper appropriately.
The following section illustrates how to write the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs of your essays.
I. How to Write an Introduction Paragraph for your College Essays
Have you understood the basis of selecting an appropriate topic for your essay? If yes, let’s learn how to write a killer introduction paragraph. So, do you know how to introduce your essay? Have you heard of the “general to specific” essay structure? It simply means that while writing your introduction, you should first introduce the topic or the problem to which your essay seeks to respond and then narrow down your argument to the main thesis.
A perfect introduction paragraph, other than containing some background information about the topic, should have a thesis statement. It is a mini-outline that informs the reader what the essay will be about. A thesis statement introduces the reader to the main context of your college essay. It should be simple and clear.
The last sentence of your essay should contain a transitional “hook” that switches the reader from the introduction paragraph to the first paragraph of the paper’s body. It prepares the reader to comprehend the context of the first body paragraph. Do you now have some ideas on How to Write College Essays?
Now that you have the Introduction paragraph, it’s time to write the body of the essay, with the topic and thesis statement in mind.
II. The Body of an Essay
This is where you’re expected to table your arguments and defend them–with facts, of course–on the topic you have chosen. A basic essay has three to four body paragraphs; and each should have a different idea, which must relate to the topic and the thesis statement.
The first body paragraph should present the strongest argument in support of the thesis statement, and defend it. State the main argument in the first sentence. The additional sentences should explain the first sentence. The last sentence should conclude the paragraph, and prepare the reader for the second body paragraph.
You should follow the same format in the other body paragraphs. The second paragraph should present the second strongest argument, and so on. Ensure each paragraph have a topic sentence, follow-up sentences, and the conclusion sentence. Support all your paragraphs with relevant facts and figures, and cite correctly.
Bonus tip – you should write your body paragraphs of your college essays with the thesis statement in mind. The topic sentences and their corresponding sentences should defend the thesis.
Now: Lets discuss the Conclusion Paragraph.
III. Conclusion Paragraph
Learning how to write a conclusion paragraph is another tip that could boost your ability to write exceptional essays. Did you know that you could lose marks by simply copy-pasting information in other paragraphs into the conclusion paragraph?
It’s true; you ought to restate the thesis – but using different wording. The concluding paragraph should also summarize the main arguments throughout the paper, and not just the introduction paragraph.
You should prove that you are confident that you have proven your point.
- Learn how to format your Table of Contents
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The above tricks are relevant to writing exceptional essays. I hope you now understand How to Write College Essays. They are applicable even in other types of academic papers, like research, dissertation, bibliographies, etc., although the format may differ.
Essays are the most common types of academic writings in institutions. Therefore, one needs to understand how to write, edit, and format essays in college to secure higher grades. In summary, the following are the basic essays writing tips that every college student should understand:
- Know the type of essay you want to write – descriptive, analytical, argumentative…
- Select an appropriate topic to write your university paper on
- Understand the general format of an essay – introduction, body, and conclusion
- Learn how to write a perfect introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs
- Understand how to format your essays in APA, MLA, Harvard, or your school formatting style
Thus, by internalizing the aforementioned format, you will write quality essays, enjoy good grades, and become an exceptional writer.