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How to Write a College Essay?

How to Write a College Essay

Write a decent essay while studying in college can be quite problematic, especially if you do not feel inspired or can not collect your thoughts. But do not worry – a little planning, research and hard work – and you can easily write any paper for college. The essay should begin with an introduction, in which you need to identify key theses to attract the reader, these are the points of view that you will consider in the main part. If you want to learn how to write an essay for college, follow these recommendations.

Prepare to Essay Writing

Clarify for yourself the essence of the task. Despite the fact that you might want to plunge into writing, you need to know exactly what you want before you create a blank document in Word. Read carefully the assignment and determine which work is required of you, what is the volume of the text and how many studies will need to be carried out. Here are a few things that you need to figure out before you go directly to writing:

  • Number of words. If your essay should consist of only 500 words, then it will be very different from an essay of 2000 words. Take into account the requirements for the volume. You do not want to irritate the teacher with too long or too short a composition.
  • The amount of research that needs to be done. To write an essay on some subjects, you may need to study some problem or phenomenon seriously. At the core of others will be the materials of the training course, such as stories, workbooks, by which it will be necessary to draw their conclusions. One way or another, to write a good work you need to conduct a thorough research of the issue to which it is devoted.
  • If you have any questions, talk with the teacher a few days before handing the essay to clarify the issues that worry you.

Study the classification of works. There are many types of essays that you will have to write in college, with the rules of writing which you should read to understand what will be required of you. Here are the main types of essays that you should pay attention to:

  1. Reflective essay. The primary purpose of writing is to get the reader to accept your point of view on some issue. For example, if the essay gives reasons why a ban on carrying firearms should be introduced, then this will be a composition-reflection.
  2. Composition-analysis. This species is widely distributed in literary circles and subjects devoted to the study of literary works. To write, you need to read the work and analyze its content, the central theme, the characters, based on your vision, supplementing it with “criticism” from the course program on this topic.
  3. Overview. The basic idea is that you need to describe the process or situation in detail, for example, the daily life of students.
  4. Scientific analysis. For writing, you need to study the topic more deeply to tell the readers the history, methods of application and attitude.
  5. Comparative analysis. Two themes or phenomena are compared to illustrate their similarity or differences. For example, it could be a comparative analysis of the standard of living in San Francisco and New York.

Reach the target audience. Do you write for a professor, classmates, experts in this field or for beginners? If you write for specialists, you do not need to disclose the meaning of the basic concepts and you can use more complex terminology. But if you write for people who are “not in the subject”, for example, if you write a film review for those who have not yet seen it, it is necessary to include more general information in the essay.

If you write a study on an unknown topic to the reader, you need to describe your discoveries in the smallest detail.

Set the purpose of essay writing. Do you want to convey to people some information, adjust to a certain way, compare, analyze some phenomena or facts, share a story or just entertain? It is essential to determine the purpose of writing to find the right arguments and reach out to the readers. For example, if your goal is to set up readers against a phenomenon, you must pick up the arguments in a logical sequence to convince them of their right:

  • If you are aiming to analyze a poem or a production, you need to find a quote that illustrates your position.
  • If you write a comparative analysis, you should be well aware of the differences and similarities of things that will be discussed in the text.
  • If your primary goal is to write a short message on a topic, you should master it well to be able to cover it for readers.

Chose the style of essay writing. The style of writing is vital for writing an excellent essay. In most cases, it will be publicistic: neutral, informative and concise. If you use too expressive vocabulary in an attempt to convince everyone of the correctness of your research, it will not be used as an authority. If you descend before using slang expressions or speaking, your research will not look professional. But if you write memoirs, you can use more informal vocabulary:

  • The style of the letter expresses your attitude to the subject of research. It can be sceptical, enthusiastic, a bit cynical, suspicious or neutral. But regardless of what kind of emotions the object of research attracts you, the style of writing should be appropriate for writing the essay.
  • If you write an essay on stem cell research, you should be objective in your assessments and choose a neutral style of presentation, and do not give any estimates. If this is a reflection on the topic of online dating, the can be more freestyle.

Formulate the Theses for College Essay

Do research. Despite the fact that you may want to start writing the essay, without a bright idea of what exactly you should tell, it is better to prepare the ground for your reflections. Get the materials you need, take notes, and then reread them to get the topic and get enough information to write an essay or at least decide on the argument:

  • Make sure that the information is obtained from a reliable source and comes from specialists in this field. Do not rely on Wikipedia articles.
  • Take notes to forget nothing.
  • Study the rules of citation design so that you can include them in your essay.

After the research, it is necessary to sketch out the plan of the essay, to identify the main ideas around which the discussion will be built, or the points of view on which you want to focus attention in the text. This is necessary so that you can understand what exactly you want to convey to the reader through the text, as well as to structure your thoughts logically. For example, the thesis may look like this: “The standard of living in New York is higher than in San Francisco due to the climate, the more developed infrastructure and the availability of a wider range of opportunities for self-realization.” And already from this position you can further on the text to disclose your idea, describing and comparing these cities by specified indicators. In general, theses must meet some requirements, such as:

  • Clarity;
  • Definition;
  • Controversy;
  • Possibility of further specification;
  • Thought should be stated from the third person.

Write a thesis expressing and clearly thought that could be used as a contested argument. You can not write a thesis about how unicorns live, because you can not back it up with facts, just like you do not write about the dangers of smoking, just because it’s hard to argue with. Instead, try to find an exciting argument on your subject, to which you can also bring counterarguments. Here are examples of abstracts for different types of compositions:

  1. Thesis for composition-analysis: “The three main themes that permeate The Great Gatsby movie are loneliness, the power of wealth over man and the loss of true love.”
  2. The thesis for the essay is reflections: “Admission to college should not be based on an average ball because grades are not an indicator of intelligence, but rather a kind of socioeconomic factor.”
  3. Thesis for review: “Most students spend their free time doing homework, walking with friends and visiting different sections.”

Consider the structure of the essay. After you have sketched out the theses, think over the canvas, which will become a guide to the composition and help you get your thoughts into a heap and break them into paragraphs. This will make the work well thought out and logical and will allow you not to deviate from the topic and not change your opinion in the middle of the text. The plan of the composition includes an introductory part, the main part and the conclusion. Here is an example of a plan for writing on the topic: “London is the best city for young professionals thanks to its sights, the climate and the labor market”:

  1. Introduction: 1) headline and introductory part 2) three main ideas 3) thesis;
  2. Paragraph one: sights: 1) restaurants 2) clubs and pubs 3) museums;
  3. Paragraph two: the weather: 1) beautiful snowy winters 2) warm spring 3) May thunderstorms;
  4. Paragraph three: the labor market 1) the opportunities for doing business 2) the opportunities for realizing oneself in creativity 3) the sphere of IT specialists;
  5. Conclusion: 1) conclusions 2) repetition of key provisions.

Writing an Introduction for College Essay

Draw the attention of readers. The introductory part consists of three parts: “bait”, a summary of key points of view and abstracts. The first part contains a bait that attracts readers’ attention and makes them read the whole main text of the work. The bait should be related to your points of view on the topic and attract interest from potential readers:

  • A rhetorical question. Ask a question that will help the reader to delve into the essence of your thinking and catch on to it. For example, an essay on same-sex marriages can begin with the phrase: “Can not a man marry the one he loves?”
  • Shocking statement or statistics. If you start with a shocking statement or statistics on a topic, this can attract the attention of readers. For example, if you write an essay about depression among students in college, you can start with something like: “More than ten percent of students suffer from prolonged depression.”
  • Joke. Start with a short anecdote on the topic. However, remember that this will not always be appropriate. If you write an essay about the difficulties of single mothers, you should not say something like: “Emma barely made ends meet, trying to look after her son Robert.”

Outline the main points of view on the problems of your work. After you have attracted the attention of readers, it’s worth writing a few lines about the content of the essay so readers can know what to expect from it. For example, if you started an essay with the phrase: “The three main themes that permeate The Great Gatsby novel are loneliness, the power of wealth over man and the loss of true love”. It is worth giving several suggestions to the theme of loneliness in the novel, then about how wealth spoils a person, and how painful and difficult it is to lose true love.

Outline the theses. Attention was attracted, a brief annotation was made, it’s time to move on to the arguments. They will most likely look at the end of the introduction, but in some cases, they can be mentioned in the text and earlier, if the composition benefits from this. The introductory part and the theses serve as a kind of bridge connecting the remaining parts of the text. So, in the opening part of a good essay should be:

  • “Lure” to attract the attention of readers;
  • A summary of the main thoughts that will be covered in the main part of the work;
  • Abstract.

The Main Part and Conclusion

Write the central part in 3-5 paragraphs. After you have sketched yourself the theses and the introductory section, most of the work on writing has already been done. It’s time to move on to writing the main part of the essay, in which it is necessary to develop the basic thoughts reflected in the theses, to convey the information to readers or to force them to accept your arguments in the discussion. Depending on the size of the essay, you will need to write 3-5 or more paragraphs, in which there should be:

  • The subtitle, which allows the reader to understand what will be discussed in this paragraph.
  • Auxiliary details, eyewitness accounts, statistics or facts that illustrate your point of view.
  • The final sentence, which sums up and is the “bridge” between the paragraphs.

Write a conclusion. After the introductory part and three paragraphs in the central part, go to the conclusion, in which it is necessary to summarize and draw conclusions. Finally, “Restate your thesis”:

  • To some extent, summarize the theses and conclude them.
  • Remind the reader of their main ideas
  • Return to the jokes, statistics or facts stated in the introductory part of the composition (optional).
  • Leave the reader with food for thought.

Remember that the essay should be written from a third person. This is very important for writing good quality work. You do not need to use expressions like “I believe …”, “In my opinion,” because your arguments will look subjective. Instead: “I believe that there is no need to introduce a legislative ban on abortion”, say: “The conduct of abortion must remain lawful.” So your argument will look more convincing.

Avoid statements from the first or second person. Do not need to address the reader to “you”, speak in an impersonal form, using the substitution pronouns “he, she, they.” Instead of writing in the essay: “You need to spend at least 3-5 hours a week on self-study to successfully study in college” – say: “University students need to spend at least three to five hours a week in self-study if they want to achieve high results.”

Test your work. After you have finished the draft version of the work, you need to return to it and reread it, checking whether it contains logical inconsistencies, unsupported or weak arguments. You can also detect differences or repetitions in the text, or feel the need to correct the theses a little – it’s quite natural.

After the essay is ready, you can check it for grammatical and punctuation errors.

If you want to write an excellent essay, you need to work it out very carefully, make a plan, make a lot of notes, and only in this case, you will get the highest score. You must express your thoughts in a logical sequence. Remember that the main purpose of writing an essay is to draw the attention of the reader. This means that the last word should be yours.

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Olivia Stephens
I wrote for periodicals last few years and I believe that now this experience continually helps me. Experience in the media gave me many other advantages. I know how to look for information not only on the Internet. I know how to use archives, how to get the right information from people, how to conduct real investigations. Thanks to the studying at the university, I efficiently collect unique material for my papers.