Essay Writing Tips

by Lexa Pennington / Mar 17, 2014 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

Essay writing is considered to be one of the most challenging assignments received by students at colleges and universities. Many students aren’t prepared for this level of academic rigor – texting, social media, and a busy life lead to short bursts of thought (thank you, twitter), which in turn don’t lend themselves to creating a powerful, moving, well-received essay. Worried? Don’t be – follow these steps to writing a successful essay.

 

Essay Writing Tips

 

How do you write a successful essay?

 

Pick a topic (make sure it fits in your professor’s guidelines).

Do your research!

Dissect your research for flaws and strengths (these strengths will be the points you will make).

Mull it over (i.e., don’t start at the last minute. Give yourself time to think it through, both consciously and in your subconscious).

Choose your theme (which part of your research called to you the most? Focus on that).

Create an outline – some people like bullet points, while others write a few sentences for each section.

Write what moves you (you don’t need to write in order!).

Write clearly, making sure to address your points and stick to your theme.

Write beautifully and concisely (yes, those two can go together!).

Write a powerful conclusion that wraps up your theme and gives the reader a takeaway.

Now comes the hard part – editing, paring down, rewriting. This should take just as much time as all the previous steps put together!

 

Details:

Always, always, ALWAYS cite your sources.

Don’t plagiarize.

Follow the writing guides predominant in your field (APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard).

Make sure your verb tenses are consistent throughout.

Make sure you are using proper grammar.

Get rid of any extraneous writing that does not fit your theme. If you love something you wrote and can’t bear to part with it, copy it into another document for use in a different paper.

Read it out loud. See where you pause? You might put a comma in there. Make sure you’re your essay flows; reading aloud is a great way to achieve that.

Ask someone to read and proof your essay for you.

 

Some students may be interested in more focused essay writing tips and tricks. Besides practicing, you can also research writing guidelines and courses, and ask for help, by working with educational writing websites or hiring a writing coach.

 

Good luck! You can do it - just follow these guidelines, and be sure to give yourself enough time. Writing genius awaits you...