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A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Essays For College Students

Whether you’re writing an essay in school or as part of your job, the essay-writing process can be frustrating if you’re not...

avatar Written by Ashish Sidhu · 3 min read >
A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Essays For College Students


Whether you’re writing an essay in school or as part of your job, the essay-writing process can be frustrating if you’re not familiar with it. The good news is that there are several tried and true methods to guide you through this process, and you can use them to make your essay-writing experience as seamless as possible. Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing essays for college students.

Generating Ideas

Some students write papers that are okay, but they’re not as strong as they could be. Other students let their ideas get away from them and ramble on in a paper until it becomes unreadable. The key to writing effective essays is to start with a good idea and then support that idea with facts. Developing your thesis statement (or topics) will require you to do some research on your topic, read related material, and think about how those facts support your ideas (or don’t). Your thesis statement is essentially just one sentence that summarizes what you’re going to say in your essay. Most professors will give you their expectations for what should be included in your thesis statement before handing out assignment directions. Make sure you follow those directions!

Research Process

It’s impossible to write a paper on any subject and make a serious impact without doing your research. Not only will your writing be weak if you don’t do your homework, but you risk saying something ridiculous and having no way to back it up. Identify what kind of information you need before you start writingâ€â€and think about how that information might be organized for maximum impact. When in doubt, look at other research papers on similar topics to get an idea of how many sources are used, how they’re cited, and so on.

Building An Outline

The main outline for an essay or paper needs to contain an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction will clearly state your topic and why it is interesting, relevant and necessary to discuss. If you are writing a paper that serves as a defense of an argument (this happens in philosophy classes), then you may want to write your thesis in your introduction. The body should make up most of your essay or paper. It is here that you give specific examples, statistics or details to support your thesis statement. In one paragraph, or in small sections if needed, you need to answer each of these questions: What? Why? When? Where? Who? And How?

Drafting An Essay

The first step in writing an essay is to identify what it’s about. This is a bit of an exercise in creative thinkingâ€â€that means coming up with possible thesis statements. If you’re not sure what your topic will be yet, don’t worry: You can come back to your thesis statement after you’ve done some research and developed a few ideas for what you want to say about your topic. An essay, remember, is basically a really long sentence that starts with In my opinion… or something similar (but longer). The idea here is that you’re sharing a point of view on something, making observations and/or arguing a specific point.

Editing And Proofreading

We’ve all had to write papers for school or work. Whether it was a five page essay or simply a 2000 word report, all papers need editing and proofreading. The sooner you can start with proofreading your paper, the better your final product will be. If you give yourself time to edit and proofread, you’ll find that it is much easier to find any errors in your paper. Editing And Proofreading: We’ve all had to write papers for school or work. Whether it was a five page essay or simply a 2000 word report, all papers need editing and proofreading. The sooner you can start with proofreading your paper, the better your final product will be.

Finalizing An Essay

Once you’ve outlined your essay, it’s time to start writing. The best way to get started is by just putting pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard. Write down a topic sentence and a thesis statement for each paragraph (these are basically mini-theses that outline what you’ll be talking about in each paragraph). Then, use your outline as a guide while brainstorming every point you want to make in your essay. Go from broad idea to more specific points. Be sure not to get stuck on one thingâ€â€like an interesting fact or exampleâ€â€that is distracting you from your larger idea.  You’re on your way to being one of the best essay writer in college, don’t get stuck.

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Written by Ashish Sidhu
I write about the tips and tricks about graphic designing and web development.
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