Writing an essay can be a daunting task for many college students, but it doesn't have to be. The following 7 steps provide guidance for writing a quality college essay with ease.
1. Understand the assignment details: The first step to writing a quality essay is comprehending the specifics of the assignment. The worst mistake you can make at this point is skimming over the details and writing a lengthy essay, only to discover that it does not adequately address all the key points of the assignment (I would know).
2. Select a topic with existing research: Now that you understand the assignment, it's time to choose a topic. When brainstorming possible topics, it's crucial to consider the amount of existing research available. If your topic has not been extensively researched, writing an essay will be more challenging. Generally, professors require 10 to 15 sources for longer essays. If you can easily locate 10 or more sources to use in your essay, you're on the right track.
3. Outline your section headings: The third step to writing a quality essay is outlining the structure. Building on step one, you might notice that your professor has described certain key sections that are expected in the essay. Use these as section headings! This is one of the simplest ways to organize the content of your essay and also demonstrates that you understand the assignment.
4. Begin writing a draft: Now that you have identified the necessary sections to be covered, it's time to start writing. Initially, focus on developing one section at a time and make use of at least two of your sources. This demonstrates to your professor that you know how to properly engage with multiple academic sources. Additionally, avoid writing the introduction, thesis statement(s), and conclusion at this point.
5. Fill in the gaps: With the majority of the content written, it's time to fill in the gaps. In the previous step, you were advised to refrain from writing the introduction, thesis statement(s), and conclusion. Now it's time to write these sections since you have a better understanding of the outline and content covered in the essay. Ensure that your introduction addresses the topic of the essay and includes a thesis statement about what will be covered in the essay. For the conclusion, start by restating the thesis statement and then summarize the overall findings – avoid presenting new information here.
6. Review: You're almost there. The next step is to review everything you've written. Start by reading over your essay (multiple times if needed) to ensure that you have covered everything detailed in the assignment. Additionally, make sure that the content flows smoothly from one section to another, that you've followed writing conventions (APA, MLA, etc.), and that there are no grammatical or spelling errors (use Word or any other grammar and spelling checker). Finally, wait for one or two days before reviewing your essay for the final time, so you can have fresh eyes to spot anything you might have missed.
7. Submit: You've done it! Your essay is complete, and now it's time to submit.
And that's all there is to it! By breaking down the process into these steps, you should now be able to more comfortably write a quality essay for any of your college classes. Moreover, you can use many of the same steps to write non-academic papers, journals, or blogs like this one.