How to write an essay for college?

By | August 10, 2017

College essay writing guideline

Being a student means writing dozens of essays starting from the admission. You will face this task no matter what course you’re taking and the college you’re studying at. So you have to be ready for it and you should know how to accept this challenge and win the battle. In this article, we’ll tell you the tips on how to write an essay for college that you won’t see on other sites. You can read them all or pick up only the ones you need.

Understand the assignment

The first thing that you will do after receiving a new assignment is reading it. Are you sure you understand what every single word of it means? Let’s take a look at the words that are used in the most of the essays. If you see the word “Discuss”, you’re likely to think of a conversation between people. But it’s a broad strong argument that you have to provide in the thesis and the evidence that can support it in the essay. One more word is “Analyze”. It’s not about the routine of scientists or mathematicians. It’s deciphering the message of a novel or anything else.
There are a lot of other words, but misunderstanding a true context of the assignment will not be good for you. We advise you to take a dictionary and check the meaning of every word there. Or you can ask your tutor to explain the task of writing in details. Don’t believe the first thoughts that come to your mind after reading the assignment. If you think it’s too easy and you can do it in a few hours before the deadline, you didn’t get the context.

Narrow the topic

Once you get the assignment, you should focus on one or several aspects of the topic. For example, if you have to write about the harmful influence of alcohol on kids, you can choose a specific age or period of time. Don’t focus on narrow things as you won’t be able to provide strong arguments and find reliable evidence. If you sound too obvious, your essay will be very weak. Don’t write about the things that everyone knows. If you choose the topic, ask yourself why it should be interesting for the readers and if it’s valuable for them.

A narrow topic will help you be as precise as possible. An essay for college is not very long, so you will have to put a lot of information into a little text. You can choose one character of a novel, a negative impact of radiation on cats, a new approach to treating measles and so on. It’s absolutely ok if you change the topic after you analyse the resources. Choose something that hasn’t been analysed or discussed before to make readers like your story and evaluate it the right way.

Find reliable sources

What are reliable sources? If you are ill, you visit the doctor and this person is a reliable source of information for you. If you get sick and you call you friend to ask for advice, you’re using the unreliable source of information. The same works with the college essays. You cannot use FB posts of your friends to prove your arguments. But you can use scientific articles that were printed in journals, books, online magazines and so on. The author of the text should be an expert in the field. If you don’t know how to distinguish such sources online, go to the local library.

How many resources do you need? We advise you to focus on three to five of them. If you take more, you will spend a lot of time and it will be hard to put a big piece of information into a five-paragraph text. You can read them with a pencil highlighting the most striking places or you can take photos of the most significant pages. Mark the phrases that you want to use as quotes and write them down in a notebook not to forget to use them. Write down the author of the book and the number of the page as well.

Make strong arguments

Let’s try to differentiate weak and strong arguments that you can use in your essay. A weak argument is an opinion that most of the people share. Writing the phrase that “drinking alcohol is harmful” will make the readers angry with you because they already know about it. Never write obvious things. Your readers are not so silly to consider such arguments as good ones. A strong argument can surprise the readers and make them argue with the statement. Try to find a new point of view on the problem. For example, you can write that “change your morning coffee to a glass of beer” and provide a great impression on the reader.

However, you have to prove such statements by the quotes or paraphrasing the words from the primary and secondary sources. You can present your arguments in a logical order. Provide the basic facts about the current situation, an argument and then you will finish with the evidence. You can change the structure, but make sure your text doesn’t look like randomly generated sentences. A strong argument can convince the readers in anything even if they had another opinion before reading the essay.

Prove the significance

Why is your essay worth reading? What can make the readers like your story? What value do you provide for the readers? Answer these questions before, while and after writing the college essays. Your essay should be interesting and valuable not only for you personally but also for other people. Otherwise, there’s no sense in writing it. Don’t make the readers guess about the significance of your essay. Include a sentence or two about why they need to read the text until the end.

You can describe the situations where the readers will be able to use the results of your research. You can also tell them that you have discovered a new vision of the situation or problem. Use your fantasy as there can be thousands of variants depending on the course you’re taking. If you write a simple story or describe some facts or events, you will fail. Do your best to find something really significant for you and for the people that will read the essay.

Find the counterarguments

Most of the students develop a thesis and write arguments that support it. If you want to surprise the readers, try providing the counterarguments that will be opposite to the thesis. You will have the chance to convince the most sceptical readers that your arguments and thesis are the right ones. But don’t overdo it. Use one or two counterarguments in one college essay. If you use more, you’re likely to fail to find enough supporting evidence for each of them and it will be difficult to remain the logical structure of the text.

Providing counterarguments will show your skills to look at the question or the problem from different angles. You will also present your skills to find reliable sources that can support every your thought. If you doubt if to use this technique or not, just ask your fellows what they think about this or that argument to see how people react to them. Don’t turn the text into a battlefield for arguments and their opposites, just show that one problem can be discussed with different approaches.

Use transitions

A transition is a logical chain that starts with your first word and finishes with the last one. Using transitions mean that every sentence is connected logically with the pervious and the following sentences. The same works with the paragraphs and sections of the essay. Don’t skip from one topic to another. Use logical succession of actions or a chronological order. We don’t advise you to use plague words as they have little value despite the fact they can be used as transitions. You can take one plague word for the whole essay and it will be enough.

To connect the paragraphs and make them look as the parts of one story, finish the paragraph with the hint at what’s going to be in the next paragraph. Start the next paragraphs with a few words about the previous one. If you see that you have written the text but the paragraphs seem to be from different planets, you did something wrong when writing. You should start writing from scratch again and never repeat the previous approach to doing the research and developing the arguments.

Make your first draft

And the second and the tenth one. You know the theory. It’s time for practicing your knowledge. Start writing the text and don’t think about formatting. You will do it later. Your goal is to put your thoughts, ideas, arguments and conclusion into words and organize a kind of a compelling story with them. Don’t worry if you come with a terrible story that has no logical structure. You will have to rewrite the first draft at least three times. Don’t be afraid of this and don’t be lazy to do this. You build up a new and better structure by rewriting the text. The more you do it the more weak sides of the text you correct.

You can spend a lot of time on doing the research, focusing on the arguments and the thesis, but if you make lots of grammar and spelling mistakes, you will fail in any case. Make sure you have not only created a super logical structure of the essay but you have also corrected all the errors. Finish working on the essay by reading it and evaluate its true significance for you and for the readers.

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