Essay Writer’s Guide: 8 tips to Writing Essays for College Students
College students are expected to write essays and dissertations almost every semester, and some even have to do it more often, depending on their majors. Writing an essay can be challenging and time-consuming for many people, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right strategies and enough practice, you can become an essay-writing pro in no time. In fact, these 8 simple tips will help you write essays like a professional essay writer even if this is your first time working on an academic paper!
1) Keep an organized file system
Whether you’re writing an essay, report or piece of fiction, you’ll be glad to have a system in place that will help keep your thoughts organized. Create folders on your computer or physical folders and store everything in it—notes, research materials, drafts and previous copies. Label your files clearly so you can find them easily and use post-it notes to mark important pages within each folder. If you’re working on a paper for school or work, include due dates so you won’t miss any deadlines!
2) Understand your audience and purpose
It is important that your writing is relatable, clear and concise. Don’t beat around the bush with flowery language or long-winded explanations when you don’t need to. This can be difficult because it requires a lot of practice and a certain amount of honesty as you try different ways of saying things, but it is necessary. Good essay writing doesn’t have to mean complex sentences and words, there are other ways of achieving that memorable piece without making it appear like an essay exam! Get inspired by reading more quality work in your subject area – look at how they approach their essays and try doing something similar but with your own spin on it.
3) Choose a compelling topic
There are as many reasons to write an essay as there are essays written. Even if you haven’t been assigned one, there’s still a good chance you’ll need to write an essay at some point in your college career. A persuasive paper, personal narrative, comparison/contrast essay—essays come in all shapes and sizes. Before starting an essay, it is important that you decide what kind of paper will suit your needs best (as well as your audience). Do research: Once you’ve decided on a topic, do research about it until you know everything about it (or feel confident about knowing enough). This will show not only your enthusiasm for the topic but also that you take writing seriously enough to put some time into preparation.
4) Read other essays on your topic
One of your first steps should be reading other essays on your topic. That way, you know what kinds of ideas have already been tackled. Then look at the assignment guidelines. It will tell you everything you need to know about length, tone, organization and more. If there are any specific directions, take note and keep them in mind as you write your essay.
5) Start early and put in lots of time
As college students, we understand that you’re busy and may not have a lot of time to write an essay. The biggest tip we can give you is start early! There’s nothing worse than waking up on a Saturday morning with your essay due in two days. Time management is key here, whether that means sitting down every night after dinner and writing for an hour or scheduling blocks of time in your day just for writing essays. In addition, take advantage of all opportunities available like being part of a study group or joining one club or another. There are plenty of great resources out there if you don’t feel like you are getting enough help at school—online tutors, free materials and more!
6) Write your introduction last
The introduction is arguably one of the most important parts of your essay, because it’s what allows you to grab your reader’s attention and introduce your argument. That being said, you should leave it until last (after a good deal of research has been done). You need to know exactly what type of paper you’re writing in order to craft an appropriate introductory paragraph that will hook your reader and guide them through your paper. Once you know what kind of paper you’re writing—essay, report, etc.—you can think about how to start your paper. In some cases, you may want to write a narrative hook or state a provocative claim that will pique your reader’s interest in reading more.
7) Organize your ideas with outlines and diagrams
It’s easy to jump in and start writing an essay when you’re assigned a topic, but there’s great value in taking some time planning your ideas first. First of all, it’s important to understand that any creative endeavor is rarely linear: Your thoughts won’t always come together cleanly. Brainstorming with an outline or diagram can help you organize your thoughts so they’re ready when you sit down to write. Plus, outlines can be helpful if you don’t know what direction your paper should take. It gives you room not only to organize how you plan on beginning your essay, but also how its conclusion should look like as well.
8) Have multiple people proofread your work
When you write a paper, it’s important that someone else proofreads it for you. This is not just someone who makes sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Your work needs to make sense to someone who has never seen it before. If it doesn’t, there’s a problem with your research or argument that needs to be fixed before you submit. You also want someone who will catch any errors in fact-checking or attribution of source material. One piece of advice: don’t let your professor proofread your paper if they have been involved in its creation! The more eyes on something, the better – especially when so much is at stake! Remember, no one wants a half-baked essay!
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