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15 Tips to Help You Write a Stellar Essay
Essay-writing can be easier than you might think if you have a grasp of the basics and a willingness to engage with the subject matter. Here are 15 top tips for writing a stellar essay.
Do Your Research
This is one of the most important tips you’ll ever receive. Research thoroughly, even if it means you have too many notes. It’s better to have to leave stuff out than not have enough to write about.
Make an Outline
Without a properly structured outline (with an intro, a four- to five-point body and a conclusion), your essay may be hard to write and to follow.
While you might just be writing your essay for a teacher or professor that is paid to read it, it still pays to grab their attention. A “hook” like a quote or surprising statistic in your intro can make your reader want to read on.
Lay Out Your Thesis
The intro isn’t all about flair and grabbing attention. It’s also about laying out your thesis. Make your main argument clear in the first few sentences, setting up a question to answer or statement to prove.
Avoid Passive Voice
If you want your writing to be persuasive, passive voice should be avoided. (That sentence was full of it, by the way. For example, “You should avoid passive voice” is a more convincing way to say “passive voice should be avoided.”)
Avoid First-Person Voice
If you’re writing an academic essay, you should almost certainly avoid first-person voice. In other words, avoid saying “I” or “my.” Also restrict your use of the second-person voice (e.g., don’t use “you” unless it’s necessary).
Start With Your Strongest Point
In general, it’s a good idea to start with your strongest argument in your first body paragraph. This sets the scene nicely. However, this might not be appropriate if you are structuring your essay points chronologically.
Relate All Points Back to Your Thesis
Make it clear to your reader how each point you make relates back to your thesis (i.e., the question or statement in your introduction, and probably your title too). This helps them to follow your argument.
Contextualize Without Losing Focus
Add contextualizing information for a richer presentation of your topic. For example, it’s fine (or even desirable) to discuss the historical background for certain events. Just don’t get bogged down by irrelevant details.
Use Transition Phrases
Transition phrases, such as “furthermore,” “by contrast” and “on the other hand,” can also help your reader to follow your argument. But don’t overuse them at the cost of clarity. Read your essay aloud to gauge how it flows.
Conclude With a Return to Your Thesis
A conclusion can do many things, but it’s useful to think of it as an answer to the question or statement in your intro. It’s sensible to summarize your key points, but always relate back to your thesis.
Make Your Conclusion Seem Obvious
Restating your thesis in your conclusion (after having made all of your points and arguments in the body) can be persuasive. Aim to make your conclusion feel irrefutable (at least if it’s a persuasive essay).
If your spelling is sloppy, it’s natural for your reader to assume your approach to writing the essay was too. This could harm the strength of an otherwise persuasive essay.
Grammar is also important, for the same reason. It’s usually easy to pick up on dodgy grammar if you read your essay aloud. If you’re not a native English speaker, however, you might want to ask someone who is to check your essay.
To avoid harming your persuasiveness and authority, it’s fundamentally important to use the right words. Overly obscure language can detract from the clarity of your argument, but if you feel you have to use it, then you better know what it means.
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Academic Essay: A How-To Guide
Did you know that in a single academic semester, an average college student can write enough words to fill a 500-page novel? To put it in perspective, that's roughly 125,000 to 150,000 words of essays, research papers, and other written assignments. It's an astounding amount of content, and it underscores the significance of mastering the art of scholarly essay writing. Whether you're a seasoned scholar or just starting your academic journey, understanding the intricacies of composing a well-structured, well-researched essay is essential.
Delve into the intricate world of writing an academic essay with our all-encompassing guide. We'll take you on a journey through the various types of scholarly composition, demystify the essay writing process, and provide valuable insights into proper formatting. You'll also find practical examples to inspire your own work and step-by-step how-to guides to ensure your essays stand out. Whether you're a seasoned student or just starting your academic adventure, this resource will be your compass for success in the realm of scholarly endeavors.
What Is an Academic Essay
In a nutshell, an academic essay is a structured form of writing students face in school, college, and university as a part of their curricula. The most common purposes of such writing are to either present some new pieces of information or to use existing facts and knowledge to deliver specific ideas. This type of assignment allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and creativity and encourages them to develop their ideas to communicate a message.
Compared to other types of academic writing, essays are usually shorter in length and present the authors’ opinions to support their arguments. Here are some key features of an academic essay for you to keep in mind:
- Conciseness — as a rule, essays are short; the length of such papers range from 200 to 500 words.
- Topic — due to their short lengths, a perfect topic for an essay should be narrowed-down and not too broad.
- Well-structured text — although essays can be considered as one of the least formal types of writing, they still need to have a solid structure and follow the proper academic paper format.
- Clear central idea — every academic essay should deliver a specific point that should be clear and powerful (i.e. thesis statement).
- Personal motivation — unlike other types of writing, essays often imply that their authors are personally interested in the subjects they are discussing.
- Supporting facts, evidence, and examples — although essays may present an author’s personal beliefs and ideas, they should also provide arguments that support those ideas.
It helps to develop your academic writing skills early—as they are skills you will carry forward throughout your studies and lifetime. People who are good at writing academic essays also tend to be able to articulate themselves more clearly, and tend to have more confidence when speaking.
To fully understand how and when to use an academic essay, our will describe the main types of them for you.
Academic Essay Example
Here are the perfect academic essay examples from our research paper writer .
Academic Essay Topics
In our quest to engage and challenge the academic community, we've curated a list of unique essay topics. These topics are meticulously chosen to incite critical thinking, and reflect on the intertwining of traditional theories with modern realities. From exploring the ethical dimensions of AI in healthcare to delving into the socioeconomic aspects of upcycling trends, these topics are a gateway to insightful discussions and a profound understanding of the evolving world around us.
- The Dynamics of Human-AI Relationships: A Look into the Future.
- The Revival of Ancient Herbal Remedies in Modern Medicine.
- Bridging Historical Rifts: An Analysis of Modern Diplomacy Efforts.
- The Role of Urban Green Spaces in Promoting Mental Health.
- The Impact of Classical Literature on Modern Pop Culture.
- The Future of Cybersecurity: Preparing for Quantum Computing Threats.
- The Cultural Significance of Culinary Traditions in Nation Building.
- The Influence of Music on Cognitive Performance.
- The Changing Landscape of Privacy in the Digital Age.
- The Socioeconomic Factors Contributing to Vaccine Hesitancy.
- The Intersection of Modern Technology and Ancient Philosophies.
- Evolving Linguistic Norms: The Impact of Social Media on Language.
- The Psychological Effects of Color in Consumer Behavior.
- Ethical Implications of AI in Modern Healthcare.
- Urban Planning in Post-Pandemic World: Lessons and Preparations.
- The Role of Art Therapy in Managing Chronic Stress.
- The Influence of Space Exploration on Earth's Technological Advancements.
- The Future of Biodegradable Plastics: A Sustainable Alternative?
- A Socioeconomic Analysis of Upcycling Trends.
- The Ethical Dilemmas of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture.
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Types of Academic Writing
The process of writing an essay comes in various forms, each with its unique style and purpose. Understanding these types can be essential for tailoring your writing to suit the specific requirements of your assignments. Here, our essay writer service will explore some of the most common types of academic writing:
- Expository Writing : This type of writing is all about explaining and providing information. In expository essays, your goal is to inform your reader about a specific topic or concept. For example, if you were writing an expository essay about climate change, you would present facts and data to inform your reader about the issue's causes and effects.
- Persuasive Writing : Persuasive writing aims to convince the reader of a particular point of view or argument. In a persuasive essay, you would use logical reasoning, evidence, and well-structured arguments to persuade your audience. For instance, an essay advocating for stricter environmental regulations would be a persuasive piece.
- Descriptive Writing : In descriptive writing, your task is to create a vivid picture with words. You want the reader to feel like they are experiencing the subject firsthand. Imagine writing a descriptive essay about a picturesque countryside scene; you would use colorful language and sensory details to transport your reader there.
- Narrative Writing : Narrative essays are like storytelling. They often recount personal experiences, anecdotes, or narratives. For example, you might write a narrative essay about a life-changing event or your journey to a foreign country.
- Analytical Writing : Analytical writing involves breaking down complex ideas or issues into smaller components and then examining them critically. When analyzing a piece of literature in an essay, you would deconstruct the text, explore its themes, characters, and literary devices, and provide insights into the author's intentions.
- Research Papers : Research papers are a hallmark of academic writing. They require you to investigate a topic thoroughly, gather data, and present your findings. Whether it's a scientific research paper, a history paper, or a social science study, research papers demand rigorous research and precise citation of sources.
- Literature Reviews : These are common in humanities and social sciences. A literature review involves summarizing and critically evaluating existing research on a specific topic. It's an essential component of academic research, allowing you to place your work within the broader context of scholarly conversation.
Understanding the Essay Writing Process
The journey of understanding how to write an academic essay is characterized by distinct stages: preparation, writing, and revisions. The nature of this journey, however, is like a versatile chameleon, ever-adapting to the unique demands of each essay type.
Let's consider the scenario of a high school student tasked with writing a five-paragraph expository essay. In this case, the emphasis predominantly falls on the writing stage. Given the straightforward prompt, the student's primary focus lies in structuring and articulating their thoughts effectively within the constraints of these paragraphs. The goal is to convey information clearly, maintaining a well-organized and engaging narrative.
Now, imagine a college-level argumentative essay. Here, the bulk of your efforts shift to the preparation stage. Before a single word is written, a rigorous exploration of the essay topics is imperative. This involves extensive research, diving deep into scholarly articles, dissecting data, and developing a compelling argument. A strong thesis, underpinned by a wealth of evidence and nuanced insights, becomes the keystone of your essay.
The revising stage, a constant companion in this journey, maintains its significance across all essay types. It's during revision that you refine and perfect your work, harmonizing your arguments and ensuring the essay's overall cohesion. At this stage, you become the editor, refining grammar, enhancing clarity, and optimizing the essay's structure.
Setting the Stage for Essay Writing Success
The process of writing an academic essay typically unfolds in the following manner:
- Receiving the Assignment : Your essay journey commences when your instructor or professor hands out the assignment prompt. This prompt serves as your roadmap, detailing the essay's topic, length, and any specific requirements. It's crucial to read this prompt attentively, ensuring you comprehend the expectations.
- Understanding the Task : Once you have the assignment prompt in hand, take the time to understand it fully. Analyze the purpose of the essay. Is it meant to inform, persuade, analyze, or narrate? Determine the target audience, whether it's your instructor, peers, or a broader readership. This understanding will guide your approach to the essay.
- Research and Gathering Information : After grasping the assignment's main idea, it's time to research and collect information. Depending on the topic and type of essay, this might involve library research, online searches, or fieldwork. The quality and quantity of your research will influence the depth and credibility of your essay.
- Developing a Thesis : With the knowledge you've acquired, create a clear and concise thesis statement. This statement encapsulates the main argument or perspective you will present in your essay. It serves as the foundation upon which your essay will be built.
- Planning and Outlining : Before diving into the actual writing, it's essential to create your essay outline. This step helps you organize your thoughts and ideas, ensuring a logical and coherent structure. Consider the essay's introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, and decide on the points you will address in each section.
Academic Essay Format
The essay format is your framework for presenting ideas, but it doesn't have to stifle your creativity or individuality. Here's a practical look at the academic essay format example from a unique perspective:
- Introduction - Piquing Interest : Use your introduction as a tool to pique your reader's interest. Rather than simply stating your thesis, start with a surprising fact, a relevant question, or a brief story. Engaging your reader from the outset can make your essay more captivating.
- Body Paragraphs - Building a Logical Flow : Consider your body paragraphs as stepping stones in a logical progression. Each paragraph should naturally lead to the next, creating a seamless flow of ideas. Ensure that your points connect coherently, making your essay easy to follow.
- Evidence and Analysis - Supporting Your Claims : When including evidence, don't just drop quotes or data into your essay. Instead, think of them as puzzle pieces that need critical thinking skills for explanation and integration. Analyze how the evidence supports your argument, providing context and clarity for your reader.
- Transitions - Smooth Connections : Utilize transitional words and phrases to guide your reader through your essay. These simple elements, like 'Furthermore,' 'In contrast,' or 'Conversely,' can significantly enhance the readability and comprehension of your essay.
- Conclusion - Recap and Implication : Your conclusion should summarize your main points, restating your thesis. However, take it a step further by highlighting the broader implications of your argument. What do your findings suggest or inspire the reader to consider? This adds depth to your conclusion.
- Formatting - Clear and Consistent : Follow formatting guidelines diligently. Consistency in font, margins, and citation style reflects your attention to detail and respect for academic standards.
How to Write an Academic Essay: Steps and Techniques
Crafting a Captivating Essay Introduction
The introduction of your academic essay serves as the portal through which your reader enters the realm of your ideas. Let's understand how to write an essay introduction by considering these four dynamic elements:
Engage Your Reader
Start with a thought-provoking question that sparks curiosity. For instance, in an essay about climate change, you might begin with, 'What if I told you that a single-degree change in global temperature could alter the course of humanity's future?' When learning how to write a hook for an essay , questions can be powerful entry points because they create an immediate sense of intrigue. Readers are drawn into your essay in search of answers, setting the stage for exploration.
Offer Context for Your Topic
Rather than a mere factual backdrop, transport your reader to a historical moment or an evocative setting related to your topic. For example, when discussing the history of the Eiffel Tower in an architecture essay, you could begin with, 'Imagine strolling the cobblestone streets of 19th-century Paris, where a colossal iron structure was emerging from the ground, destined to become a global icon.' Whether you write an essay yourself or use the option to buy a dissertation , remember that introducing background information immerses your reader in the context, making them feel like they've stepped back in time or been transported to a specific place.
Introduce Your Thesis Statement
Present your thesis statement with an air of revelation, as if unveiling a well-kept secret. In an essay about the impact of technology on privacy, you might say, 'Hidden in the digital shadows, a critical truth emerges: our privacy is slipping away, pixel by pixel, keystroke by keystroke.' Make it sound like a literary discovery, something that's been hidden and is now about to be revealed. This imbues it with a sense of anticipation.
Outline Your Essay's Structure
Instead of merely outlining your essay's structure, craft it like a guidebook for an adventure. Imagine your essay as a journey through uncharted territory. Present your essay's sections or main points as thrilling destinations your reader is about to explore. For instance, if your essay is about the cultural impact of a famous novel, you could say, 'Our literary expedition will begin in the author's biographical world, then traverse the novel's plot twists, and finally, unravel the web of its influence on modern culture.'
Developing the Main Body
The main body is where your ideas take shape while understanding how to write an academic essay, and it's crucial to approach this section thoughtfully. Here's how to tackle two key elements:
Exploring the Body Text's Length
The length of your body text should align with the complexity of your topic and the depth of exploration required. For instance, consider a historical analysis essay on the causes of World War I. This topic is multifaceted, requiring in-depth coverage. In such a case, it's appropriate to dedicate several pages to thoroughly examine the various factors contributing to the war. On the other hand, in a concise argumentative essay about a specific policy issue, like healthcare reform, brevity can be the key to keeping your reader engaged. In this instance, you might aim for a clear, persuasive argument within a few pages. The key is to tailor the length to your topic, ensuring you provide sufficient evidence and analysis without unnecessary elaboration.
Crafting Effective Paragraphs
Each paragraph in the main body should be a self-contained unit that contributes to your overall argument. Consider, for example, an essay on climate change.
In a paragraph discussing the consequences of rising global temperatures, you could begin with a topic sentence like, 'Rising temperatures have far-reaching effects on ecosystems.' Next, present evidence in the form of data and examples, such as statistics on melting polar ice caps and the impact on polar bear populations. Follow this with analysis, explaining the significance of these consequences for the environment.
Ensure that your ideas flow logically from one paragraph to the next, creating a seamless and coherent narrative. Vary the length and structure of your paragraphs to add dynamic variation to your essay. For instance, in a literary analysis, a short, impactful paragraph may be used to emphasize a critical point, while longer paragraphs could delve into complex themes or explore multiple aspects of your argument. By thoughtfully exploring the body text's length and crafting effective paragraphs, you create a main body that is both engaging and informative, tailored to the unique requirements of your academic essay writing.
Concluding Your Essay
The conclusion of your essay serves as the grand finale, leaving a lasting impression on your reader. However, it's not just a place to restate your thesis; it's an opportunity to add depth and resonance to your essay. Here's how to approach it effectively:
- Summarize Your Main Points with a Twist : Summarize the key points you've made throughout your essay, but do it with a twist. Instead of merely restating what you've already said, provide a fresh perspective or a thought-provoking insight.
- Revisit Your Thesis Statement : Bring your essay full circle by revisiting your thesis statement. Remind your reader of the central argument, but do it in a way that emphasizes its significance.
- Provide a Sense of Closure : The conclusion should provide a sense of closure to your essay. Like the final chapter of a captivating story, it should leave your reader with a sense of completion. Avoid introducing new ideas or even new persuasive essay topics in this section; instead, focus on the culmination of your existing points.
- Inspire Thought or Action : Go beyond summarization and inspire thought or action. Invite your reader to reflect on the implications of your essay or consider its relevance in a broader context. This can make your essay more impactful and thought-provoking.
Refining Your Academic Essay Through Editing
Once you've penned your final words, the journey is far from over. Editing is a crucial step in the essay writing process, much like it is while learning how to write a descriptive essay . It's where you refine your work to its polished best. Here's how to approach it:
- Start by proofreading your essay for clarity and errors. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.
- Examine the overall structure of your essay. Is it organized logically? Are the paragraphs well-structured? Does the essay have a clear flow from the introduction to the conclusion?
- Ensure that you've cited your sources correctly and compiled your references or bibliography according to the required citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago.
- Trim unnecessary words and phrases to make your writing more concise. Check for wordiness and make sure your vocabulary is precise and appropriate for an academic audience.
In this comprehensive guide, we've covered the essential elements of crafting an academic essay, from honing your writing skills to capturing the reader's attention, from the essay's inception to achieving an A+ finish. Remember that mastering the art of essay writing is a valuable skill. It's a process that involves structure, style, and substance, and it serves as your gateway to sharing your ideas effectively. Regardless of your level of experience, this guide is designed to equip you with the tools you need to excel in your essay-writing endeavors!
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Academic Essay Examples and Samples
Being the most important writing task for college and university students, it is important to look through samples of essays to get a clear picture of how to write one on your own.
How to Write an Academic Essay: The Full Guide
Writing an academic essay, whether for a school assignment or a scholarly publication, requires a unique set of skills. Unlike casual writing or opinion pieces, an academic paper requires the author to present a clear and well-reasoned argument on a particular topic. The purpose of the essay could be to inform, persuade, or describe, but regardless of the type of academic essay, the process of essay writing largely remains the same. This guide to essay writing will walk you through the process of crafting an excellent essay, from the initial brainstorming phase to the final proofreading stage.
Types of Academic Essays
There are several types of academic essays, each with its own purpose and structure. The narrative essay tells a story in a structured manner, often presented in chronological order. The descriptive essay aims to paint a vivid picture for the reader, describing an experience or an object in great detail.
An expository essay or informative essay, is designed to educate the reader about a particular topic. It’s a facts-based essay that requires thorough research and a clear, concise presentation of the information.
Lastly, a persuasive essay or argumentative essay, aims to convince the reader of a certain viewpoint. It’s essential to present clear arguments and evidence to support your stance in this type of essay.
Knowing the specific characteristics and objectives of these essay types can help you in determining the best approach for your academic writing.
Proper Format for Your Academic Writing
The structure of an academic essay is typically divided into three main sections: the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The introduction , or opening paragraph, presents the topic of your essay and provides a glimpse of your thesis statement or central idea. This section should grab the reader’s attention and provide some context for your main argument.
The body paragraphs , or main sections of your essay, provide the bulk of your argument. Each paragraph should contain a single point or idea that supports your thesis statement. It’s important to present your points in a logical order and provide clear evidence for each of your arguments.
The conclusion of your essay, provides a wrap-up of your main argument and final thoughts on the topic. This section should not introduce any new ideas but rather summarize your key points and reaffirm your thesis statement.
Properly structuring your essay and ensuring that each section fulfills its purpose is crucial for creating a compelling and well-organized academic paper.
How to Create an Outline for Academic Essay: A Step-By-Step Approach
Creating an outline for your essay can make the writing process much smoother. It helps you organize your thoughts, keep your essay focused on your thesis statement, and ensure that each of your body paragraphs serves a distinct purpose in your argument.
Start by brainstorming ideas related to your topic and organizing them into a logical order. Once you have a general idea of what you want to cover, you can develop your thesis statement, the central idea that will guide your essay.
Next, create a list of main points or arguments that support your thesis. Each of these will become a body paragraph in your essay. For each point, consider the evidence or examples you can use to support it.
Once you have your outline, you’re ready to start writing. Begin with a draft and don’t worry about making it perfect. Focus on getting your ideas down first, then revise and edit until you have a polished academic essay.
In conclusion, writing an academic essay involves careful planning, a clear understanding of the essay type, and meticulous attention to structure and format. By following these guidelines, you can craft an academic paper that effectively communicates your ideas and meets the standards of scholarly writing. Whether you’re new to academic writing or looking to refine your skills, this guide provides a comprehensive overview to help you succeed in your academic writing endeavors.
Research and Planning for an Academic Essay
Before you begin writing an academic essay, it’s essential to do your homework. This involves understanding the essay prompt, researching the topic, and planning your essay. Research is a crucial part of academic writing. Unlike narrative or descriptive essays, where personal experience or observation can be the primary source of information, an expository or persuasive essay relies heavily on facts and evidence. Therefore, it’s vital to gather reliable and relevant sources that can provide a solid foundation for your argument. Planning, on the other hand, helps in organizing your thoughts and ideas coherently. A well-crafted outline serves as a roadmap for your essay, ensuring that you stay on topic and effectively address the thesis statement.
Crafting a Strong Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is a crucial component of an academic essay. This single sentence serves as the cornerstone of your argument, succinctly presenting the main point or central idea of your essay. A strong thesis statement is clear, concise, and specific. It makes a claim that requires support through evidence and provides a roadmap for your essay’s direction. For a persuasive essay, it’s essential to take a stance, while an expository essay would require a thesis statement that articulates the focus of your investigation.
Writing Engaging Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs form the meat of your academic essay. These main sections contain the supporting arguments or ideas that validate your thesis statement. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence that presents one aspect of your argument, followed by evidence or examples to support it. It’s also crucial to provide analysis or explanation showing how the evidence supports your point. Remember, these paragraphs need to be cohesive, maintaining a logical flow of ideas from one to the next.
Mastering the Art of Introduction and Conclusion
The introduction and conclusion of your essay act as the ‘bookends’ to your argument. The opening paragraph, or introduction, sets the tone for your essay. It provides the context, introduces the topic, and presents the thesis statement. It’s crucial to make the introduction engaging to grab the reader’s interest.
The conclusion, on the other hand, brings closure to your essay. It’s your chance to revisit the main points, reinforce the thesis statement, and provide final thoughts or implications of your argument. Be careful not to introduce new ideas in the conclusion; it should merely wrap up the essay by synthesizing the information presented.
Proofreading and Editing Your Essay
After drafting your essay, the final steps are proofreading and editing. This process involves checking for grammatical errors, ensuring your arguments make sense, and verifying that you’ve adequately addressed your thesis statement. It’s a good idea to take a break before you start proofreading so you can approach your work with fresh eyes. If possible, ask a peer or mentor to review your essay, as they might catch mistakes that you’ve overlooked.
Writing an academic essay can be a challenging yet rewarding process. It requires critical thinking, thorough research, and meticulous attention to detail. By following these guidelines and tips, you’re well on your way to crafting an excellent academic essay that effectively communicates your ideas and arguments.
Putting It All Together: The Journey of Academic Essay Writing
In conclusion, academic essay writing is a systematic process that requires a blend of creativity, critical thinking, and a firm grasp of essay structure. Whether you’re crafting a narrative, expository, persuasive, or descriptive essay, understanding the unique demands of each type is crucial. Each essay type serves a distinct purpose, be it presenting a compelling story, delivering well-researched information, or asserting an argument convincingly.
From choosing a topic and crafting a robust thesis statement to structuring engaging body paragraphs and bringing your thoughts to a powerful close, each step contributes to the overall coherence and impact of your academic paper. Beyond writing, the importance of meticulous proofreading and editing cannot be overstated, as they ensure your scholarly writing meets the high standards expected of it.
With practice and dedication, you can improve your academic writing skills and deliver excellent essays consistently. Remember, writing is as much a journey as it is a destination. So, embrace the process, learn from your experiences, and strive to make each essay better than the last.
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Sometimes a good example of what you are trying to achieve is worth a 1000 words of advice! When you are asked to write an essay, try to find some samples (models) of similar writing and learn to observe the craft of the writer. You can use the samples as a basis for working out how to write in the correct style.
About sample essays
Most books on essay writing will supply you with a number of model essays—collect some of these as they are great teachers! No matter what the topic is, you will see similarities between your writing tasks and these model essays. This is because many features of writing are common across subject areas. In some subjects (e.g. Law, Economics, Psychology and others), it is very useful to find subject -specific essay models as you can use these to work out the ‘peculiarities’ of writing for that subject area.
Read an academic essay
The following five paragraph essay has paragraph labels to show the parts of an academic essay. (Note: This essay does not contain authentic references and has been written specifically to use for this teaching task.)
Body paragraph 1
Body paragraph 2
Using assignment essays for assessment supports student learning better than the traditional examination system. It is considered that course-work assignment essays can lessen the extreme stress experienced by some students over ‘sudden-death’ end of semester examinations:
If we insist that all students write about everything they have learned in their study courses at the same time and in the same place (e.g. in examinations), we are not giving all of our students equal opportunities. Some students are not daunted by the exam experience while others suffer ‘exam nerves’ and perform at the lowest level of their capabilities. (Wonderland University, 2006, p. 4)
Additionally, Jones et al. (2004, pp. 36-37) propose that assignment essays can be used to assess student learning mid-course and so provide them with helpful feedback before they are subjected to the exam experience. Exams only provide students with a mark rather than specific feedback on their progress. Therefore, setting assignment essays for a substantial part of student assessment is a much fairer approach than one-off examination testing.
Body paragraph 3
Bloggs, J. (2003). Linking teaching, learning and succeeding in higher education . London: Bookworld.
Jinx, J.M. (2004). Student essay writing. Journal of Research in University Education, 9 (2), 114-125.
Jones, J., Smith, P.L., Brown, K., Zong J., Thompson, K., & Fung, P.A. (2004). Helpline: Essays and the university student . Tokyo: Courtyard Printers.
Sankey, J.M., & Liger, T.U. (2003). Learning to write essays [CD-ROM]. Sydney: Wonderland University.
Taylor, G. (1989). The student’s writing guide for the arts and social sciences . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wonderland University. (2006). Attributes of a university graduate . doi:10.1098/063-112
Yang, S., & Baker, O.E. (2005). Essay writing and the tertiary student . Melbourne: Diamond Press.
Zapper, Y. (2006). Learning essay writing. In F.T. Fax & Y. Phoney (Eds.), Learning Experiences at University (pp. 55-70). Calcutta: Academic Scholar Press.
Analyse an academic essay
Most students really appreciate seeing a finished product. If you are to really benefit from model essays, you need to learn how to read the ‘techniques of the writer’. The following exercise helps you to get started with developing your ‘read the writer’ skills.
1. The introduction paragraph
2. Body paragraph 1
3. Body paragraph 2
4. Body paragraph 3
5. The conclusion paragraph
6. The reference list
- Write essays, reviews & reports
- Report broken link
- Found an error?
College Essays That Worked: See Examples
Experts say a good college essay features a student's voice and personality.
Students should know themselves and write authoritatively so they can share a sense of their lives with admissions officers. (Getty Images)
Many college applications require a personal essay, which can be daunting for students to write.
But a few simple tips, some introspection and insight into what admissions officers are looking for can help ease the pressure. U.S. News has compiled several college essay examples that helped students get into school. Shared by admissions staff or referenced from admissions websites, these essays stand out, they say, because the student voices shine, helping the school get to know the applicants.
"Students can get caught in the trap of overthinking it and write the essay that's going to impress the admissions committee," says Andrew Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College . "The best essays, the ones that really pop, are the ones that come across as authentic and you really hear the student's voice."
The essay gives schools a feel for how a student writes, but it's the content of the essay that matters most, admissions professionals say. In other words, while it's important to showcase sound grammar and writing, it's even more important to showcase your character and personality.
"I care more about their stories than if it is a perfect five paragraph essay," David Graves, interim director of admissions at the University of Georgia , wrote in an email.
Many schools give students a wide range of topics to choose from, which experts say can be beneficial in helping students find their voice.
While you want your voice to be apparent, it's wise to be aware of your tone, says Allen Koh, CEO of Cardinal Education, an admissions consulting company that works with students to craft and revise their college essays. The goal of the essay is to make a strong case for why you’re different from all the other applicants, not necessarily why you’re better, he adds.
"You have to pass the genuine likability test. Sometimes kids are so busy trying to brag or tell their story that they’re forgetting they have to sound like a likable person. That’s a very simple test, but it’s really important."
Good essays tend to be "positively emotional," he says. It's best to avoid using sarcasm because it tends to fail on college essays.
Any humor used "really has to be a very positive, witty humor, not sarcastic," which he says can be hard to pick up on in an essay.
The Perils of Using AI for Essays
Choosing the right tone can be a challenge for many students, but admissions pros encourage them not to take shortcuts to completing their essay.
Though some college professors have embraced artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT in their classrooms, Strickler says he's begun to stress in recent talks with high school audiences the importance of original work and avoiding the use of AI tools like ChatGPT to craft college essays. While it might produce a technically well-written essay and save time, your unique voice will be stripped away, and it may leave a bad impression on admissions offices as well as prevent them from truly getting to know you, he says.
Instead, Graves says, start early and take time to write it yourself, then "actually read it out loud to someone ... to listen to the rhythm and words as they are 'read.'"
Each spring on his admissions blog , Graves shares an enrolling student's essay and why it was strong. The essay excerpted below, shared with the permission of the University of Georgia, uses descriptive word choice and gives the admissions office deep insight into the student's life, their love for writing and their connection to their family, Graves says.
It was chosen as an example "to show our applicant pool how to express themselves through similes, sensory language (words that capture the senses of the reader), and emotion," Graves wrote on the blog.
Here's how the essay opened:
If you asked me what object I’d save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook. My notebook isn’t just any notebook, it’s bubble gum pink with purple tie dye swirls, and has gold coil binding it together. But more importantly, it’s the key that unlocked my superpower, sending me soaring into the sky, flying high above any problems that could ever catch me. However, my notebook is simply the key. My real power rests in the depths of my mind, in my passion for writing. But to know how my powers came to be (not from a spider or a special rock), I must travel back to the first spark.
Four years ago, I wrote my first 6-word memoir in my eighth-grade rhetoric class. Inspired by my father’s recently diagnosed terminal illness, I wrote “Take his words, don’t take him”. It was as if all the energy of my powers surged into six meaningful words meant to honor the man that I would soon lose to a villain known as ALS. This was the first time I felt my writing. Three years ago, my dad’s disease severely progressed. The ALS seized his ability to speak and locked it in a tower with no key. The only way we could communicate was with an old spiral notebook. ...
The essay counted down each year ("three years ago," "two years ago," etc.) and concluded with this paragraph:
One month ago, I needed my powers more than ever before. I needed them to convey who I truly am for the chance at the future of my dreams as a writer. Except this time, I didn’t need the key because my powers grew into fruition. Instead, I opened my laptop only to type out one sentence… “If you asked me what object to save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook.”
This style of storytelling, which shows not just the triumph at the end but also the conflict, struggle and evolution in between, makes for great essays, Koh says.
"The student also used an intriguing timeline (counting down years and month) to tell their story, and showed how she had grown," Graves says.
This next essay, by an anonymous writer and shared on Connecticut College 's admissions page , "manages to capture multiple aspects of the writer's personality, while not becoming overly cluttered or confusing," writes Susanna Matthews, associate director of admission at the school.
Every person who truly knows me believes that I was born in the wrong century. They call me "an old soul" because I'm a collector, attracted to books, antiques, vinyl records and anything from the 80's. But they also think I am unique in other ways. I believe it is because of the meaningful connections to my two languages and two cultures.
When we moved into our first American house, I was excited to decorate my new room. The first thing I knew I needed was a place to organize my most cherished possessions I have collected throughout my life. I searched and finally found a bookshelf with twenty-five thick sections that I could build and organize alphabetically ... Each shelf holds important objects from different parts of my life. ...
These books are a strong connection to my Brazilian heritage. They also remind me of the time when I was growing up in Brazil, as a member of a large Italian-Brazilian family.
The writer continues on, describing the types of books on each shelf, from Harry Potter to books used to learn English. They describe the bottom of the bookshelf housing some of their most prized possessions, like an old typewriter their grandfather gave them. They wonder about the words it has crafted and stories it has told.
As I grab my favorite Elvis vinyl to play, I can only wonder about the next chapter of my life. I look forward to adding new books, new friends, and a wide variety of experiences to my bookshelf.
"By placing one subject (the bookshelf) at the center of the piece, it lends some flexibility to layer in much more detail than if they had tried to discuss a few different interests in the essay," Matthews writes. "You learn a lot about the person, in a way that isn't in your face – a great thing when trying to write a personal essay."
Some colleges require a supplemental essay in addition to the personal statement. Typically, admissions pros note, these essays are shorter and focus on answering a specific question posed by the college.
The University of Chicago in Illinois allows students to submit essay prompts as inspiration for the admissions office and gives students some latitude in how they answer them. Essay prompts range from questions about the school itself to asking students to pick a question from a song title or lyric and give their best shot at answering it.
"We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions," the school's admissions website reads. "They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between."
While the University of Chicago says there is no strict word limit on its supplemental essays, other schools prefer brevity. For example, Stanford University in California asks students to answer several short questions, with a 50-word limit, in addition to answering three essay questions in 100 to 250 words.
Georgia asks for a school-specific supplemental essay that's 200-300 words in addition to a 250- to 650-word personal essay.
"Sometimes a shorter essay response is not as polished an essay, but instead is a more casual, more relaxed essay," Graves says. "In addition, sometimes a student needs to get to the point or be concise, and this helps see if they can give us their story without overdoing it."
Other schools allow for a little more creativity in how the supplemental essay questions are answered. Babson College in Massachusetts, for example, gives students a 500-word limit to answer a prompt, or they can choose to submit a one-minute video about why they chose to apply to the school.
One student, Gabrielle Alias, chose to film a "day-in-the-life" video , which she narrated to answer the prompt, "Who Am I?"
"Visiting campus twice, I know I could see myself as one of the many interesting, innovative, and enticing students that come out of Babson," she says in the video. "But who am I you ask? I am a student. I am a reader. I am a researcher. I am a music lover. ... I am Gabrielle Alias and I am excited for who I will be as a graduate of Babson."
An essay by Babson student Bessie Shiroki, seen below, describes her experience in the school's admissions office and how she immediately felt comfortable.
I immediately smiled at the sight of my favorite board game. Babsonopoly. I love the combination of strategy and luck in this traditional family pastime. Seeing this on the wall in the admissions office gave me immediate comfort; I knew I was home.
Shiroki describes what she felt set Babson College apart from other schools, such as being surrounded by "sophisticated and mature individuals" and a tight-knit, entrepreneurial environment that would help her reach her career goals.
It is natural for me to be in a small class where more than one language is spoken. I am accustomed to discussions with diverse viewpoints, open minds, and where differences are seen as advantages. I embrace my cultural uniqueness, and I will add my voice to the community. I can’t imagine not continuing this in college.
She notes that as she toured the campus and saw students studying, she could see herself as one of them, feeding off of their studious and entrepreneurial energy. She mentions that Babson's Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship class got her attention immediately and she saw it as a launch pad for a future that included running a business.
Babson recognizes the potential of their students, and FME is a great way for young entrepreneurs like me to find our place in the business world and learn from our mistakes. I am capable of this challenge and will conquer it with tenacity. I will bring my dedication, commitment, and innovative skills to Babson College.
Now it’s my turn to pass go and collect my Babson acceptance letter. I’ve found my next challenge.
Babson College offers several tips for what make good essays, including a strong "hook" to engage the reader from the start and a topic that allows you to share something that's not as obvious on your application.
When it comes to writing a college admissions essay – whether personal or supplemental – experts advise students to follow these rules:
- Find your voice.
- Write about a topic that matters to you.
- Share your personality.
- Express yourself.
- Proofread extensively.
With both traditional essays and supplemental essays, Koh says it's best to write long and work with someone you trust to edit it down. Teachers, friends and parents can all be helpful proofreaders, but experts note that the student voice should remain intact.
A good editor can help edit a long essay to keep the main message but with fewer words. “If I see 400 words, I know I’m a dozen drafts away from getting it to 650,” he says. “If I see 1200 words, we might just be one or two away. It’s at least going to be a shorter haul.”
Strickler encourages students not to stress too much over the essay or put unnecessary weight on it as part of their college application . While a strong essay helps, he says, it doesn't make or break an application.
"There's this sense that you write the most amazing essay and it gets you over the top because it opens the door to the pathway to the Magic Kingdom," he says. "But it's just one piece of a myriad of pieces that allow us to get to know a particular student and help us figure out if they're a good fit and how they're going to contribute to our community."
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Sample College Admission Essays
Applying to college can be very exciting, but also require a lot of dedication, research, and hard work. One key piece of your application that should be given plenty of time and attention is the college admission essay. Before you write your first draft read our sample essays to get a few tips on writing your perfect admission essay.
This section contains five examples of good college essays.
College Essay Sample One
College essay sample two, college essay sample three, college essay sample four, college essay sample five.
State University and I possess a common vision. I, like State University, constantly work to explore the limits of nature by exceeding expectations. Long an amateur scientist, it was this drive that brought me to the University of Texas for its Student Science Training Program in 2013. Up to that point science had been my private past time, one I had yet to explore on anyone else’s terms. My time at UT, however, changed that. Participating for the first time in a full-length research experiment at that level, I felt more alive, more engaged, than I ever had before. Learning the complex dynamics between electromagnetic induction and optics in an attempt to solve one of the holy grails of physics, gravitational-waves, I could not have been more pleased. Thus vindicated, my desire to further formalize my love of science brings me to State University. Thanks to this experience, I know now better than ever that State University is my future, because through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion for science and engineering.
In addition to just science, I am drawn to State University for other reasons. I strive to work with the diverse group of people that State University wholeheartedly accommodates – and who also share my mindset. They, like me, are there because State University respects the value of diversity. I know from personal experience that in order to achieve the trust, honesty, and success that State University values, new people are needed to create a respectful environment for these values. I feel that my background as an American Sikh will provide an innovative perspective in the university’s search for knowledge while helping it to develop a basis for future success. And that, truly, is the greatest success I can imagine.
This emphasis on diversity can also be found in the variety of specialized departments found at State University. On top of its growing cultural and ethnic diversity, State University is becoming a master at creating a niche for every student. However, this does not isolate students by forcing them to work with only those individuals who follow their specific discipline. Instead, it is the seamless interaction between facilities that allows each department, from engineering to programming, to create a real learning environment that profoundly mimics the real world. Thus, State University is not just the perfect place for me, it is the only place for me. Indeed, having the intellectual keenness to absorb every ounce of knowledge presented through my time in the IB program, I know that I can contribute to State University as it continues to cultivate a scholarly climate that encourages intellectual curiosity.
At the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at State University, I will be able to do just that. In a department where education and research are intermixed, I can continue to follow the path that towards scientific excellence. Long-mesmerized by hobbies like my work with the FIRST Robotics team, I believe State University would be the best choice to continue to nurture my love for electrical and computer engineering. I have only scratched the surface in this ever evolving field but know that the technological potential is limitless. Likewise, I feel that my time at State University would make my potential similarly limitless.
This is a picture-perfect response to a university-specific essay prompt. What makes it particularly effective is not just its cohesive structure and elegant style but also the level of details the author uses in the response. By directly identifying the specific aspects of the university that are attractive to the writer, the writer is able to clearly and effectively show not only his commitment to his studies but – perhaps more importantly – the level of thought he put into his decision to apply. Review committees know what generic responses look like so specificity sells.
For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of science. Where others see the engineering, experimentation, and presentation of science as a chore, I only see excitement. Even as a child I constantly sought it out, first on television with Bill Nye and The Mythbusters, then later in person in every museum exhibit I could find. Science in all its forms fascinated me, but science projects in particular were a category all to themselves. To me, science projects were a special joy that only grew with time. In fact, it was this continued fascination for hands-on science that brought me years later to the sauna that is the University of Alabama in mid-June. Participating in the Student Science Training Program and working in their lab made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just the thought of participating in a project at this level of scientific rigor made me forget that this was supposed to be my summer break and I spent the first day eagerly examining every piece of equipment.
Even at first, when the whole research group sat there doing rote calculations and others felt like they were staring down the barrel of defeated purpose, I remained enthusiastic. Time and time again I reminded myself of that famous phrase "great effort leads to great rewards," and sure enough, soon my aspirations began to be met. This shift in attitude also coincided with a shift in location: from the computer desk to the laser lab. It was finally time to get my hands dirty.
Now things began to get really interesting. During the experimentation phase of the project, I spent the majority of my waking hours in the lab – and I enjoyed every minute of it. From debriefing with my coordinator in the morning to checking and rechecking results well into the afternoon, I was on cloud nine all day, every day. I even loved the electric feeling of anxiety as I waited for the results. Most of all, though, I loved the pursuit of science itself. Before I knew it, I was well into the seventh week and had completed my first long-term research experiment.
In the end, although the days were long and hard, my work that summer filled me with pride. That pride has confirmed and reinvigorated my love for science. I felt more alive, more engaged, in that lab than I have anywhere else, and I am committed to returning. I have always dreamed of science but since that summer, since my experiment, I have dreamed only of the future. To me, medical science is the future and through it I seek another, permanent, opportunity to follow my passion. After all, to follow your passion is, literally, a dream come true.
In addition to its use of clear, demonstrative language, there is one thing that makes this an effective essay: focus. Indeed, notice that, although the question is broad, the answer is narrow. This is crucial. It can be easy to wax poetic on a topic and, in the process, take on too much. Instead, by highlighting one specific aspect of his personality, the author is able to give the reader a taste of his who he is without overwhelming him or simply reproducing his résumé. This emphasis gives the reader the opportunity to learn who the writer is on his terms and makes it a truly compelling application essay.
The winter of my seventh grade year, my alcoholic mother entered a psychiatric unit for an attempted suicide. Mom survived, but I would never forget visiting her at the ward or the complete confusion I felt about her attempt to end her life. Today I realize that this experience greatly influenced my professional ambition as well as my personal identity. While early on my professional ambitions were aimed towards the mental health field, later experiences have redirected me towards a career in academia.
I come from a small, economically depressed town in Northern Wisconson. Many people in this former mining town do not graduate high school and for them college is an idealistic concept, not a reality. Neither of my parents attended college. Feelings of being trapped in a stagnant environment permeated my mind, and yet I knew I had to graduate high school; I had to get out. Although most of my friends and family did not understand my ambitions, I knew I wanted to make a difference and used their doubt as motivation to press through. Four days after I graduated high school, I joined the U.S. Army.
The 4 years I spent in the Army cultivated a deep-seated passion for serving society. While in the Army, I had the great honor to serve with several men and women who, like me, fought to make a difference in the world. During my tour of duty, I witnessed several shipmates suffer from various mental aliments. Driven by a commitment to serve and a desire to understand the foundations of psychological illness, I decided to return to school to study psychology.
In order to pay for school and continue being active in the community, I enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a Medic. Due to the increased deployment schedule and demands placed on all branches of the military after September 11, my attendance in school has necessarily come second to my commitment to the military. There are various semesters where, due to this demand, I attended school less than full time. Despite taking a long time and the difficulty in carving separate time for school with such occupational requirements, I remained persistent aiming towards attending school as my schedule would allow. My military commitment ends this July and will no longer complicate my academic pursuits.
In college, as I became more politically engaged, my interest began to gravitate more towards political science. The interest in serving and understanding people has never changed, yet I realized I could make a greater difference doing something for which I have a deeper passion, political science. Pursuing dual degrees in both Psychology and Political Science, I was provided an opportunity to complete a thesis in Psychology with Dr. Sheryl Carol a Professor in Social Psychology at the University of Texas (UT) This fall I will complete an additional thesis as a McNair Scholar with Dr. Ken Chambers, Associate Professor in Latin American studies in the UT Political Science Department.
As an undergraduate, I was privileged to gain extensive research experience working in a research lab with Dr. Carol. During the three years I worked in her lab, I aided in designing a study, writing an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application, running participants through both pilot and regular studies, coding data, and analyzing said data, with these experiences culminating in my honors thesis. This thesis, entitled Self-Esteem and Need-to-Belong as predictors of implicit stereotypic explanatory bias, focuses on the relationship between levels (high and low) of self-esteem and an individual’s need to belong in a group, and how they predict whether an individual will tend to explain stereotype-inconsistent behavior. Participating in such a large study from start to finish has validated my interest in academic research as a profession.
This fall I will embark on writing an additional honors thesis in political science. While the precise topic of my thesis is undecided, I am particularly interested in Mexico and its development towards a more democratic government. Minoring in Spanish, I have read various pieces of literature from Mexico and have come to respect Mexico and Latin American culture and society. I look forward to conducting this research as it will have a more qualitative tilt than my thesis in psychology, therefore granting an additional understanding of research methodology.
My present decision to switch from social psychology to political science is further related to a study abroad course sponsored by the European Union with Dr. Samuel Mitchell, an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at UT. Professor Mitchell obtained a grant to take a class of students to Belgium in order to study the EU. This course revealed a direct correlation between what I had studied in the classroom with the real world. After spending several weeks studying the EU, its history and present movement towards integration, the class flew to Brussels where we met with officials and proceeded to learn firsthand how the EU functioned.
My interest in attending the University of Rochester in particular, relates to my first semester at OU and the opportunity to take an introductory course in statistics with the now retired Dr. Larry Miller. Through the combination of a genuine appreciation and knack for statistics and with his encouragement, I proceeded to take his advanced statistics class as well as the first graduate level statistics course at OU. I continued my statistical training by completing the second graduate statistics course on model comparisons with Dr. Roger Johnson, a Professor in the Psychology Department. The model comparison course was not only the most challenging course I have taken as an undergraduate, but the most important. As the sole undergraduate in the course and only college algebra under my belt, I felt quite intimidated. Yet, the rigors of the class compelled me to expand my thinking and learn to overcome any insecurities and deficits in my education. The effort paid off as I earned not only an ‘A’ in the course, but also won the T.O.P.S. (Top Outstanding Psychology Student) award in statistics. This award is given to the top undergraduate student with a demonstrated history of success in statistics.
My statistical training in psychology orientates me toward a more quantitative graduate experience. Due to the University of Rochester’s reputation for an extensive use of statistics in political science research, I would make a good addition to your fall class. While attending the University of Rochester, I would like to study international relations or comparative politics while in graduate school. I find the research of Dr.’s Hein Goemans and Gretchen Helmke intriguing and would like the opportunity to learn more about it through the Graduate Visitation program.
Participation in the University of Rochester’s Graduate School Visitation Program would allow me to learn more about the Department of Political Science to further see if my interests align with those in the department. Additionally, my attendance would allow the Political Science department to make a more accurate determination on how well I would fit in to the program than from solely my graduate school application. Attending the University of Rochester with its focus on quantitative training, would not only allow me to utilize the skills and knowledge I gained as an undergraduate, but also would expand this foundation to better prepare me to conduct research in a manner I find fascinating.
From attending S.E.R.E. (Survival/POW training) in the military and making it through a model comparisons course as an undergraduate, I have rarely shied away from a challenge. I thrive on difficult tasks as I enjoy systematically developing solutions to problems. Attending the University of Rochester would more than likely prove a challenge, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would not only succeed but enable me to offer a unique set of experiences to fellow members of the incoming graduate class.
My handwriting didn’t become jittery until the third round. The number of competitors in the Midwest Spelling Bee had dropped from 100 to the thirty-some who remained after two waves of preliminaries, a group I was awed to be in. The third round would likely be the last one carried out with pencil and paper. A sole word stood between me and the oral competition to follow. My nerves soared at the thought that a mere handful of syllables from the pronouncer’s mouth would offer me a chance to compete in the apex of orthography: the regional bee finals. Yet, when I heard the word “Wagner,” the degree of my confusion was only rivaled by that of my disappointment upon elimination.
My approach to academic success in middle school consisted of rote memorization and stodgy study habits. Fortunately for my sanity and social life, I have since discovered that learning derived from experience can introduce an invaluable layer of reality to otherwise useless knowledge. My hinge moment came near the end of eighth grade when I was stumped by “Wagner” and its ensuing definition: “a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas.” To my credit, the phonetic vocalization of Wagner is something like “BAHG-nur,” with the ever ambiguous bee/vee sound. But, an error is an error, and my misspelling of the word earned me a disheartening dismissal from the Midwest Spelling Bee. I immediately resolved to learn about the man whose name was responsible for cheapening my years of poring over vocabulary lists and etymology guides. Upon learning that Richard Wagner was one of the most prolific opera composers in history, I had to investigate. Along my inquisitive quest, I encountered two newfound passions: opera music and the pursuit of stimulating information.
I am an unabashed classical music aficionado. My enthusiasm came gradually over years of imposed piano lessons that eventually became voluntary as my interest in the activity piqued. I came to sense the profound communion with notes on a page arising from tinkering out the same rhythms and melodies that were manuscripts by musical geniuses centuries ago. However, because I could not perform it, I never thought to explore opera. Without my keen interest in Wagner, I may have never encountered the awe-inspiring blend of visual and musical mastery that constitutes his interpretation of the genre. Opera swiftly captured my eye and ear for insightful art. For instance, in his landmark opera, Tristan und Isolde, Wagner unleashed a then-revolutionary tonal system which paved the way for twentieth century classical music. As I unearthed the beauty of opera, my awareness of all the remarkable, groundbreaking themes of Wagner’s productions became embodied by the word “Wagner.” In this striking moment, I could not help but feel the value of connecting my learning to purposeful interaction.
Fueled by my frustration with the outcome of the bee, I searched for the source of my failure. In uncovering the works of Wagner, I gleaned a sense of the vast droves of information that can lie behind a seemingly simple word. I suddenly became aware of my incapacity to seek out the surprising insights that the world might have been waiting to reveal. Thanks to a reevaluation triggered by a failure, I garnered a new appreciation for experiential learning. Since my underwhelming performance nearly four years ago, I have become well versed in the mysterious, gritty art of inquiry. Rather than perceiving my environment to be a sterile list of terms with a neat pronunciation guide to boot, I am now eager to take in the uncommon wisdoms of everything from the innovative operatic tropes of Wagner to the fickle nature of bees—both the pollinating insects and their manmade homonyms.
The exclusiveness portrayed in Mean Girls led me to expect that high school would consist of like-minded cliques. Rather, in high school I found that a single commonality can unite a seemingly random sampling of people. Through marching band, this idea was embodied in a desire to perform music. UChicago’s community is similarly bonded by a serious passion for learning which satisfies my desire to become a thoughtful citizen of tomorrow.
The hierarchy of authority in marching band is one I have come to love, and not only because I achieved the top student position in it as a drum major. In that role, I watched younger members hone their skills in an effort to contribute to the collective performance. The value of a uniform training followed by opportunities to lead is exemplified by the ambitious and talented student leaders produced. At UChicago, The Core serves a comparable purpose in preparing students for exhaustive academic exploration. I am enticed by the intensive inquiry and groundbreaking research that students partake in. Yet, I appreciate the benefit of undergoing the rigorous Core first. UChicago emphasizes experiential learning, even in the College, which appeals to my desire to collaborate with other brilliant learners. When I visited campus, two specific encounters struck me. Initially, the Institute of Politics attracted me with its hands-on approach to policy issues through programs like Student Civic Engagement projects. Even more alluring was the Politics & Policy class I sat in on. Following a lecture on bureaucracy that may have droned over the heads of less inspired students, I was surrounded by a hubbub of engaged thinkers convening through discussion. UChicago’s intellectual atmosphere is animated by the common thirst for knowledge that characterizes every student.
Through marching band, I discovered a passion for influencing others. My dream is that by drawing from UChicago’s empowering community, my drive will transfer to pertinent global issues like human rights in the Middle East. UChicago is my ideal learning environment, for as Wayne Booth stated while he was Dean of the College, UChicago empowers tomorrow’s intellectual leaders to “see through the guff.” During high school, I have grown from an uncertain ninth grader into the capable leader I am today, leaving me optimistic for how I may develop in the next four years.
A travel through my room reveals almost everything about me. The walls are splashed with two tones of eye-burning pink, fairies dance across the vibrant wallpaper sprinkled with sparkles, a white-washed dresser covered in knick-knacks, and an overflowing toy box fit perfectly in this Technicolor dream room.
In one corner of my room, a paint-by-numbers portrait that my grandfather created in a World War II hospital silently tells its story. My grandfather, an Italian barber, raised six children in Bayonne, NJ with my grandmother. My grandparents worked hard to deliver the most American of promises – that your kids will have a better standard of living than you. In that regard, my mother, who put herself through college to become an engineer, made good, affording to give me my own room, a luxury she never knew.
The next corner of my room contains a nondescript desk and laptop, the same as anyone’s room. Who would guess that this desk is also the launching pad of myYearbook.com, a 1.6 million member social networking site that I created? Layers of spec sheets, Post-Its, and emails form a sea of productivity that I find comforting. Scribbled telephone numbers and names remind me of deals I did and didn’t do, reporters who did and didn’t write on me, and technology worries I never stop trying to resolve. Half-drunk coke cans tell the tale of a dozen all-nighters, and someone who is at her most creative at night.
The desk is not all business though. My calculus and economics texts bookend my laptop, and a bouquet of dead flowers from my boyfriend rest in peace on my shelf, revealing a morbid sentimentality. Although the flowers have long died and the water completely evaporated, the card and its words “Jeg synes a du er fantastik og du er det beste ting i mit verden,” are the only reason the flowers never made it to the garbage. In Danish, the sentence translates to, “I think you are fantastic, and you are the best thing in my world.” Ever since I started dating him, I have been learning more and more about his Danish culture, and I plan to go to Denmark twice this year.
The third corner holds my well-worn, folded-up gymnastics floor beam and barely used grips. Unlike many gymnasts though, I prefer not to wear the grips on bars because they make it harder to feel the bar. I started gymnastics when I was five, and since then my hands have earned their calluses, and I am proud of them. You won’t find me moisturizing my hands except to keep them from splitting on the bars.
In the last corner hangs a painting I bought while organizing an online Tsunami Aid Art Project. It was my first significant project online and helped give me a sense of the power of the Internet to connect people. As part of the artist community WetCanvas.com, myself and two other members organized a tsunami-related art project with all proceeds donated to charity. We raised $10,000 in funds, and had about 100 pieces of work donated from artists in nine countries.
Sadly, I know this will not always be my room. The pink fairies will give way to adult- sized possessions and responsibilities. The knick-knacks will break, and the sanctuary of my childhood will soon seem so childish. But, for now, I will embrace the pink, the fairies, and the simplicity of life in my mom’s house. I will look forward to the possibilities of creating another space, as uniquely my own as this one, and as uniquely a part of my past as this room will always be.
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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Write your essay introduction
The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
Length of the body text
The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Write your essay conclusion
My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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12+ Academic Essay Examples in PDF
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Are You Ready and Prepared to Create an Academic Essay?
- Human behavior, characteristics, and emotions
- Community relations
- Natural occurrences
- Language and its effective usages
- Culture and the arts
- Academic researchers
- Relevant cultural phenomenon
- Photography and other artistic undertakings
- Human interactions
- Other subjects that are related to education and academics
- You need to have an order of writing that can easily showcase the flow of your thoughts. You must ensure that you can easily connect with your readers or audience so they can respond to the content of your article. Your academic essay should evoke an emotion that is necessary to spark other ideas, opinions and other kinds of responses.
- You need to be aware that academic essays differ depending on the educational or academic discipline where they will be used. There are certain ways that are necessary to be followed in various fields for an academic essay to be deemed effective. With this, always be mindful of the directions or instructions were given to you by the entity who requires you to write an academic essay .
- You do not need to pattern your writing to the works of others. You can be ready even by just knowing your subject and researching about it. The style of writing that you have can give the most difference to how you write and how you present your work. Always keep in mind that your academic essay should be playful – it must not bore your audience.
- You must think of your academic essay as an enterprise by using scholastic writing approaches. The conversation that you can create with your readers must be relevant to what is happening nowadays or for the study that specific student groups need. Being able to give focus on the relativity of your written work can make it easier for readers to understand why your academic essay is important within the academic field.
- You should ensure that your thesis statement is precise, concise, and strong. When you are in the process of developing your academic essay’s thesis, you need to make sure that you are not just basing your write-up on unreliable information. Always refer to evidence, facts, and real data as it can help you strengthen your claims. More so, do not forget to reference your essays when necessary.
Simple Academic Essay Example
Academic Essay Sample Structure Example
Importance of a Well-Defined Thesis Statement in an Academic Essay
- Your thesis statement is a reflection of your actual idea. This helps you present the point that you would like to make and the message that you actually want to disseminate to your readers. Through a thesis statement , you can organize the evidence that are relevant to your claims based on their relevance to the topic and how you view it as a writer.
- Your thesis statement can guide you within the entirety of your writing processes. Just because you have already done an initial thesis statement does not mean that you are going to fully stick with it until the end of your writing. There are instances where thesis statements are developed or even changes during the creation of an academic essay depending on how the research about the topic has evolved.
- Your thesis statement can allow you to establish originality. Since your academic essay can be based on your research findings and observations, your thesis statement can be your platform to specify what you have come up with. Through a well-defined thesis statement, you can set your output apart from other essay examples that have been written by professionals and other entities in the field of academics.
- Your thesis statement is one of the items that the audience will look at when referencing for credibility and validity. Academic essays need to have a strong initial impact on readers. This statement can help them be focused on a particular standpoint which can enlighten them about your views and opinions, and how these are essential to be considered.
- Your thesis statement can help your readers immerse in your academic essay. The material that you will be coming up with can be reviewed by different people. Depending on the field of education where you are currently in, you need to make sure that your readers can see patterns of evidence presented so they can clearly see how you were able to generate and come up with insights. You have to ensure that the thesis statement that you have created contains the most promising thought so you can get the trust or even the acceptance of your readers about your academic essay’s subject.
Academic Essay Example in PDF
Free Printable Academic Essay Sample
Things to Remember When Identifying the Purpose of Your Academic Essay
- Do not create an academic essay just for the sake of passing it. Your academic essay is more than an assignment or a project. There are some last minute essay writing activities that are done in various fields especially if students think that an academic essay is just a part of their requirements. However, what these students do not know is that an academic essay is a representation of themselves. It showcases the thoughts of the students, what they have learned may it be in class or through self-discovery, and how they are impacted by certain issues and subjects of discussion.
- Be precise with the purpose of your writing. An academic letter is not just a document that can showcase your mastery when it comes to a particular academic subject. It can talk about a specific subject or it can also be a general paper that can provide a lot of information about your experiences and/or insights. if you will have a precise purpose when writing an academic essay, there is no doubt that your essay will not be pointless.
- Always think of the best case that can help you represent your thoughts. Your style of writing, as well as the entire document’s format and content, can help you realize your ideas. With this, your point of writing can easily be identified by readers. Being able to present your purpose the best way possible can add up to the success of your academic paper.
Sample Academic Essay Example
Academic Essay Writing Sample Example
Developing an Academic Essay
- Start by creating a strong thesis statement. Identify your stand and make sure to strictly present evidence that can help you claim its authenticity and validity. Reveal evidence after your thesis statement presentation. Your thesis statement serves as your introduction speech . It lets your readers know the topic of your academic essay and what they can expect from the entire article.
- Establish the context of your essay after your thesis statement. The way that you approach your topic can let readers know whether it is the specific approach that they also need for their undertakings. There are difference contexts that can be used within the same subject so you have to make sure that you will be clear when it comes to identifying the part of the topic that you are going to talk about. Limiting your topic discussion can help you give more focus to what is important for your discussion.
- Create the next paragraphs based on the data that can support your thesis statement. The body of your academic essay can be based on your observations, reviews, statements and research outputs. You can present these items separately through the usage of various paragraphs. However, there are instances where it will be better if you can combine or compare to evidence to make your statements more effective.
- Conclude. Your conclusion is as important as your introduction. If you believe that you have created a strong introduction, you have to maintain that until the end of your academic essay. Sum up all the information that you have presented so that people can identify whether your conclusion has lived up to the content of what you have written. Your conclusion can also be used to assess whether your thesis statement has been carried within the entirety of your discussion.
Free Academic Essay Sample Guide
Sample Academic Essay Outline
Guidelines in Writing an Academic Essay
- Always analyze your essay prompt or the question that you need to answer or explain. You have to know whether you are tasked to argue, analyze, or discuss the topic. There will be times where you also need to compare the items present in your subject or explain the underlying factors that can affect your topic.
- Make sure that you will research about what you will write about . Your academic essay can only be fully-maximized if you can present facts. Primary research may be a helpful bit a more precise review of your research topic can help you gather more information that can be helpful in the development of your content. Always assess your sources of information so you can ensure that they are credible.
- Create a draft so that you will have a guide when writing your academic essay. If you will be organized when writing your academic essay, you can create an output that is well-curated and comprehensive. With this, your academic essay can provide more impact to your readers. This can also help you gather your thoughts first and identify how you can put them all together in the most cohesive and efficient way possible.
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