Tips on how to write an essay in college

By Swindon Link - 25 May 2022

College & Higher Education

Writing an essay in college is a stressful process that may take hours, even days to complete depending on the deadline. It can be difficult to write the first draft of an essay if you have never written one before, or if it has been a while since you’ve written one, but it can also be easy if you use this handy guide on how to write an essay in college.

The following steps will help get your ideas out of your head and onto paper where they can really make an impact on your grade with or without an essay writer!

1) Research

You’re going to have a much easier time if you know exactly what your teacher is looking for. What kind of paper are you being asked to write? Which sources are appropriate, and which aren’t? Are there any particular approaches or arguments that would be more effective than others? In order to answer these questions, research as much as possible about your topic. Do some background reading on it, see what scholars have said about it, etc. You don’t necessarily need to start with a firm stance of your own—in fact, having one might actually hurt you when writing at times—but knowing where everyone else stands can be incredibly useful when crafting your argument.


2) Finding a good topic

The best essays are always deeply personal, and that’s especially true in college. In a high-pressure academic environment, it can be difficult for students to speak up about personal matters; however, most professors and students will tell you that there is no better way to learn than through sharing your thoughts. If you have something you want or need to say, whether that’s Men suck! or I want a new roommate now!, you should go ahead and say it! Just be sure to take some time to write out your thoughts before starting your essay.


3) Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a great way to kick off your essay writing, whether you're brainstorming for a paper or for an exam. Try free-writing before you try making outlines. Free-writing is where you just write out everything that comes into your head, even if it seems irrelevant. Often, when we stop thinking of our ideas as being organized and begin looking at them more like a stream of consciousness we are able to get past writer's block and see things differently. It's also easier to keep track of all of your ideas when they're not confined by traditional structures; by simply writing down whatever pops into your head you'll be creating a jumping-off point for future ideas and will be better prepared when it comes time to create an outline later on.


4) Outlining

It’s a good idea to sit down and brainstorm some ideas before you actually start writing. Jot down anything and everything you might want your essay to cover. When you’re done, go back through those notes, circle your favourites, and organize them into a list. This will help make sure that you don’t forget about any of your good ideas as you get into writing. In general, it also helps solidify what point each section of your essay is trying to make (because when sections are unorganized or random-seeming, readers can lose focus). Don’t just stop at one outline either—start working on a second outline once you start getting really detailed in one.


6) Use vocabulary and grammar checkers, but don’t rely solely on them

There are now numerous websites that will check your grammar and spelling for free, and many of them are pretty good. However, keep in mind that these websites can’t tell you if your work is communicating clearly or effectively—for that, you need a human. No matter how amazing Google is, it can’t provide you with critical feedback or suggestions on sentence structure or phrasing, nor can it give you helpful ways to rephrase vague or confusing ideas. For those reasons and more, don’t rely solely on online spellcheckers—make sure you ask someone else (preferably a professional) to proofread your work before submission as well.


7) Beware of creating run-on sentences and never use fragments.

Research shows that using two or more sentences connected by just a comma or a semicolon can be confusing. When you use run-on sentences, you make it hard for your reader to follow your train of thought and difficult for them to get any meaning from what you’re trying to communicate. Do yourself and your reader a favor and simply join two complete thoughts into one sentence. And never use fragments. (For example, don’t start a sentence with I think... or I believe...) Use transitional words: A transitional word is used to clarify relationships between ideas and coherence in writing structure. The most common transitional words are, therefore, furthermore, additionally, furthermore, moreover, as well as and finally.


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