While most students huff and puff when asked to write an essay, they often neglect to see the whole picture. Yes, it’s quite a nuisance sometimes, especially when you’re forced to write about something you’re not quite fond of.
However, when you hone down on your writing skills and improve them, you’ll understand the importance behind them. One reason you need to develop your writing is that it’s integrated into every subject in college. Moreover, as you might have to write a research paper at some point, practicing throughout your life will reward you in times of need.
Here is a complete guide to writing essays. You’ll also learn what to expect and how to master the skills to become a great writer. Learn about the various articles, multiple formats, and how to carve out your skills to produce the perfect pieces.
What is an Essay and What is its Purpose?
AN essay can be interpreted in various ways. For once, it could signify an article or a blog post. On the other hand, your college professor might want you to write a research paper, but coin it the word “essay.” However, there is one universal consensus on a single aspect: it’s a short, formal piece of writing.
Generally speaking, the essay you’re writing will circulate one specific topic. That can be one you choose or a subject your professor asks you to read up on. Either way, whether your piece is creative or otherwise, some research is often entailed.
Moreover, every piece of writing includes all three:
- Introduction: This is simply the beginning of your article. It’s a paragraph, often composed of 3-5 sentences, in which you provide a basic summary of what your topic is about. Moreover, it usually includes a “thesis statement .” That’s a one-liner that offers a brief overview of the main issue you’re tackling.
- Body/Middle: while this section is often referred to as the body of the essay, some call it the middle section. Either way, your introduction consists of more than 2 paragraphs providing evidence supporting your thesis statement.
- Conclusion:quite often, the easiest part to write, this section establishes the summary of the whole essay. It includes findings and any results you have come to during your research and writing.
Your purpose would be different depending on the specific article you’re writing. For instance, if you’re writing a descriptive essay, you’re expected to thoroughly and vividly provide descriptions of your subject. On the other hand, an argumentative essay asks for your own perspective on the topic.
What are the Different Types of Essay?
As this article is mainly a guide to writing college essays, we’ll focus on the most common types in college curriculums. Here are the 4 most common types of essays in college:
- Persuasive essay: your article focuses on convincing your reader or influencing them. Hence, you’re expected to take a stance on a topic and argue for or against it.
- Narrative essay: more often than not, you’re going to write about a personal issue or experience. Unlike most types of pieces, the narrative aspect allows you to broaden your perspective and be creative.
- Expository essay: based on facts, no matter the scope of the topic.
- Descriptive essay: an immersive experience. As the phrase entails, a descriptive essay is a vivid and imaginative piece in which the writer describes someone or something.
However, keep in mind that writing a research paper differs completely. For instance, a research paper is often much longer than a standard essay. Also, you’re expected to do your own work, project, or research for an extended period to produce a research paper.
What are the Components of a Good Essay?
To learn how to write essays correctly, you must fully comprehend the various components of a good essay. Now, the fundamentals are an introduction, body, and conclusion. However, that’s barely enough information and guidance to get someone to write an incredible piece.
Hence, we have broken down the components of a good essay intro 4 different parts:
We’re positive some questions, and confusing ideas are simmering in your brain before you put pen to paper. The only way to avoid any further confusion is by composing your outline. While many people neglect to do this part, it’s always encouraged to write one.
Not only does an outline provide you with a good summary of points you need to address, but it aids in the connecting process once you need to make your essay sound more fluent. The bottom line is to never skip the outline-writing part. Here are some pointers as to what you should include in your outline:
- Thesis Statement: your whole piece will revolve around this specific sentence. Hence, make sure you clarify what you will be addressing to your reader.
- Points in the Body: As the essay’s body involves providing proof and arguments, start by writing them down as bullet points. That makes it much more comfortable for you when you want to flow.
- Find a Connection:you cannot write about a trivial matter without finding some emotional connection to the real world. Hence, ensure you provide some view in which you explain the vitality of the topic you’re discussing.
- Summary:as part of your outline, write a few lines of what you want in your recap. This is where everything wraps up, and you provide the final conclusion to your reader.
The introduction itself has some elements that strengthen your writing. These include:
- Hook Sentence: this is the very first sentence you write. It’s the first line in your introduction, in which your aim should be to grab your readers’ attention. Some examples include quotes, rhetorical questions, and statistics.
- Explain Keywords: if there are any keywords people wouldn’t be familiar with, here is the place to establish their definitions. Moreover, aim to briefly explain the keyword in your title to provide some insight.
- Thesis Statement: as mentioned earlier, your thesis statement summarizes your essay and comments on which side you would be arguing for.
The main body is composed of various proves and arguments. Hence, if you’re working on any piece that doesn’t involve mere creativity, aka a personal essay, ensure the ideas you’re using are supportive. You cannot create fake data or argue according to your own opinion.
The last part, the conclusion, consists of a few sentences. It includes:
- Summary: summarize all the key points from the middle section. Make sure you relate them to each other and find a conclusion or result for your research.
- Restate:remember the thesis statement you wrote in the introduction? Well, mention it here again. However, don’t use the exact words. Instead, connect all your arguments and prove how you’re arguing for the right side.
- Final Sentence:always leave the reader wanting more. What that indicates is that your research never fully covers the whole topic. Hence, ensure that your article is interesting enough to leave your reader wanting to learn more about it.
High School vs. College Essays: What’s the Difference?
We all know that transitioning between high school and college can be tricky. Still, it extends beyond the emotional and physical. The whole curriculum flips down, exposing you to components you’ve never encountered. That includes essays, and here are the 3 significant differences.
- Essay Length: during college, you might be asked to write a paper that’s more than 10 pages. However, that’s a rare occasion in high school. You’re often asked to write 1,00 words during high school, which isn’t common in college.
- Types of Essays: if you’re applying to one of the top universities, you probably heard about the supplemental essay. It’s often an additional piece of writing the college asks for during your application, and it’s completely different from your personal statement. If you’re wondering whether supplemental essays are essential and want to learn how to write them, read more about them in our article.
On the other hand, high schools often ask for DBQs, which stands for Document Based Question. It is often involved in history courses and is an essay you write for AP History. However, seeing a DBQ in college is an unusual occasion. However, as a high school student, we recommend you read how to write a DBQ essay.
- Conclusion: it makes sense that high school essays want to emphasize honing your summarization and conclusion skills. Hence, you’ll find that you’re encouraged to restate your thesis in conclusion.
However, more students use that extra space in college to improve the essay’s flow and consistency. That could mean that students use the conclusion to further emphasize their points and evidence.
How to Write Essay in Different Formats?
According to the discipline, you’re studying, you’ll be obliged to use different styles. That includes MLA, APA, and Chicago, the most common academic writing styles.
However, each has its unique elements, and these include:
- The font
- Spacing between paragraphs and lines
- The format of the first page (does it include the title or not?)
- Where the heading is placed
- The specifications of the margins
- How to number the pages
- Indentation requires
- The type of alignment asked for
- Citation style
Check out this reference to further learn about adequately citing sources in an essay.
Moreover, each type of essay requires a different format. Below, find the guide to writing academic essays. While these are pointers, you’ll further find links to our more detailed directions.
How to Write Persuasive Essays?
Persuasive and argumentative essays are often synonymous. Hence, most people use them interchangeably. However, for the sake of this article, we’ll refer to them as persuasive essays.
This piece requires you to take a stance on the topic you have on hand. Hence, you have to argue for or against something. The whole point, and the most important, is to convince the reader that you have a valid point of view. Your aim is to convince the reader of your justifications.
While your professor might specify which side you should argue for, it’s often left for you to decide. Hence, find three main arguments to support your thesis once you choose a side. Avoid using phrases such as “I believe” or “in my opinion” as they weaken your stance on the subject.
We have already compiled an extensive piece on how to write persuasive essays, which you can check out here.
How to Write Descriptive Essays?
Do you want to exercise your creative side and provide vivid imagery? Well, then descriptive essays are the way to go. It’s considered one of the most innovative types of academic writing, as it gives you the freedom to color your subject in whatever way you want.
While you’re often asked to describe a tangible object or person, sometimes descriptive essays can be about experiences and emotions. Hence, you can provide quite a unique insight into something according to how you perceive it.
Moreover, you’re expected to emphasize the sensation of what you’re describing. That includes using senses. Furthermore, you’re free to use figurative language. That includes metaphors and personifications, which are frowned upon in other types of essays.
Read our complete guide to learn how to write descriptive essays.
How to Write Expository Essays?
Expository essays demand you to further elaborate on a topic and explain the subject at hand. However, you’re expected to provide a balanced view of the subject without taking sides. Hence, you won’t worry much about arguing for a specific cause.
Instead, expository essays intend to test your understanding of the topic and whether you’re capable of doing your own research. Simply put, you should explain your topic and provide evidence to support your statement. More often than not, you’ll use the third person point of view to write this.
Learn how to write your expository essay by reading our guide.
How to Write Narrative Essays?
Here is where your personal experience shines through. You can add your own elements, characters, and details, as more often than not, you’re asked about discussing a unique familiarity of some sort.
Narrative essays span both fiction and nonfiction. It can include novels, anecdotes, and even poetry. However, each has its unique take, and there is no specific guideline for writing a general narrative essay.
However, that’s why we have compiled a separate article on how to write narrative essays.
5 Tips for Writing Great Essays
There are numerous tips for writing great essays. However, we provide you with the best, unconventional tips to guide you through the process.
Keep a Notepad
While this might seem like a waste of time, keeping some sort of journal, which can be on your phone, allows you to write down ideas whenever they come to you. Moreover, having a solid opening line always captures the readers’ attention. Those ideas can come fleetingly; don’t rely on your memory to keep them stored.
Reading it aloud helps. Read it once to yourself and once in front of someone else. While you might feel like it’s flowing perfectly, the verbal flow will allow you to sense whether it’s all intact and consistent.
Record Your Thoughts
Record your voice when you have writer’s block or simply when your ideas seem to be flowing away from the piece of paper. Not only does that allow your words to flow, but it’s easier to think while talking than writing.
Get the Opposite Perspective
While you’re writing a persuasive article, for instance, don’t limit your research to your side of the argument. Listening to the opposition will not only help you craft counterattacks but might also inspire you to write more.
Leave Them On Their Toes
Yes, your professor told you to be very clear and straightforward. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot spice things up. Make sure that the arguments and evidence you’re using have the power to keep your reader interested.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Essays
There are numerous mistakes to avoid when writing an essay. A few include:
- Repeating your thesis statement as is in both the introduction and the conclusion. Instead, rephrase it.
- Don’t overdo it with the complex sentences and the hard-to-read words. Not only will the reader find it confusing, but it often leads them to disengage from the topic altogether.
- Neglecting the format of your essay is one of the worst mistakes you can commit. Hence, ensure what your course requires and stick to it.
- Plagiarism is not only frowned upon; it could lead to devastating consequences. That might include suspension or even expulsion in some situations.
- Avoid addressing various topics. Instead, once you have your subject, hone down on one specific angle and stick to it.
If you’re still looking for tips to improve your essay and mistakes to avoid, check this resource to get you started.
Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways from Writing Great Essays
Achieving the ability to write the perfect essay comes from consistency and practice. However, the guide above provides the essential starters you need to hone your skills. While it might be frustrating and draining at first, you eventually get into the motion of things. Hence, rest assured that it becomes easier over time.
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