Ten College Essay Tips
The following tips can help you write a good, effective essay for college:
- Make sure you fully understand the assignment.
- Have conversations with your classmates.
- Ask yourself what the purpose of your writing is.
- Remember that strong introductions and conclusions are vital.
- Sandwich your “weakest” body paragraph in between two stronger ones.
- Use transitional words and phrases.
- Write a first draft.
- Use synonyms.
- Consider language, tone, and style.
- Revise, but give yourself time before you start making edits.
How To Write an Essay for College
It’s essay writing season. For some students, writing essays comes easily. For others, it’s a struggle. If you find yourself in the second group, don’t worry. We’re going to give you a few pointers that’ll help you write a comprehensive, easy-to-follow essay.
College Writing Tips
There are many different types of essays professors assign. The following tips are helpful regardless of which essay you find yourself writing.
1. Make sure you fully understand the assignment.
Read the instructions before you start the assignment, and reread them while writing. Life can be hectic, especially for college students who have multiple assignments to worry about at once. If you have questions or need clarification, reach out to your professor.
2. Have conversations with your classmates.
You’d be surprised at what you can learn when you have conversations with your classmates about what you’re writing about. You might even find that your opinion or perspective shifts after one of these conversations. If you lean towards the introverted side, you can have a conversation with just one student, or look for the online classroom forum that is often offered by many colleges and universities.
3. Ask yourself what the purpose of your writing is.
Before you start writing, ask yourself, what’s the purpose of what you’re writing? Is it to persuade others to agree with your opinion? To educate? To entertain? Whatever it is, it’s a good idea to write it in big, bold font on the top of your (draft) paper to keep you on track.
4. Remember that strong introductions and conclusions are vital.
You’re a busy college student, we know. But introductions and conclusions can make or break your essay. They’re what your professor will most likely remember the most, so don’t rush through them. And while we’re on the subject, a well-written thesis statement also goes a long way, too.
5. Sandwich your weakest body paragraph in between two stronger ones.
Some paragraphs will be stronger than others, and that’s okay. Placing them in between two more well-developed paragraphs is an effective technique that’ll get the attention off the weaker paragraph.
6. Use transitional words and phrases.
Your essay should have a rhythm to it. What this means is that your arguments should flow naturally and not confuse your readers. Transitional words and phrases like additionally, similarly, furthermore, meanwhile, and as a result help keep your readers engaged with your writing.
7. Write a first draft.
Don’t just write one version of your essay and hope for the best. Usually, many drafts are needed before you have one that is presentable. Make sure to make the time to write a first draft (and second, third, and fourth if needed). It’s a good idea to ask a classmate to review it too.
8. Use synonyms.
Using synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and use a word that more accurately portrays your message. For example, instead of writing the findings were surprising, you can say the findings were astonishing. The word choice can add a more dramatic effect.
9. Consider language, tone, and style.
Always make sure the language, tone, and style fit the assignment. Many essays require formal language, but there are times when you may need to alter your tone and word choice to better suit the audience or point of the assignment.
It’s highly unlikely that you walk around with a thesaurus in hand. Nowadays, synonyms for any word can be found online. LanguageTool—a spelling and grammar checker that supports over 25 languages—makes it even easier. All you have to do is double-click on a word to find synonyms that can more accurately express your thoughts.
As if that weren’t cool enough, LanguageTool can also help rephrase your sentences. If you want your sentence to sound more formal, more fluent, or even shorter, LanguageTool can help. Enhancing your style and tone has never been easier.
10. Revise, but give yourself time before you start making edits.
Have you ever repeated a word so many times that it starts to sound like it isn’t a real word anymore? The same thing can happen when you read your essay too many times—it starts to sound nonsensical. If you start editing right after writing, you risk removing strong points. Give yourself a day or two before you start making changes.