A Student’s Guide to Writing an Essay for College

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Writing essays has always been an important part of the college experience, but even more so these days with college admissions becoming more competitive than ever. Writing an essay can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re up against it on a deadline and don’t know where to start. This guide will provide students with everything they need to write an essay for college, from getting started to submitting the final draft.


What are you going to write about? For most students, that’s the hardest part. You have a long list of topics, but none of them seem perfect. We know what you mean. When we started looking for our own essay topic, we felt overwhelmed as well!

Understanding the assignment

Always read your assignment sheet before you start writing. You want to make sure you know what, exactly, your teacher is looking for. Even if it seems self-explanatory, it never hurts to read directions over again and make sure you don’t miss anything. If there are any specific formatting or citation requirements that aren’t covered in class, find them online and become familiar with them now so that you won’t get stumped later on.

The introduction

The first few paragraphs of your essay are usually referred to as the introduction. The goal here is to capture your reader’s attention and explain why you wrote your essay. Your introduction should make people want to keep reading, so a good way to do that is by asking a question or describing something in a way that interests them (or both). Make sure it flows smoothly into your thesis statement.

The thesis

Formulating a thesis is at least half of your battle. So how do you develop a college essay thesis? Here are some pointers on how to write a good, sensible thesis: First, read through your introductory paragraph. Then ask yourself what idea you wish to argue in relation to each sentence of your body paragraphs (your strongest argument would go first). From here, pull all of those ideas together into one general statement; make sure it sounds like something you believe.

Body paragraphs

The purpose of body paragraphs is to reiterate and expand on ideas you introduced in your topic sentence. You should be able to express what you’re trying to say without referring back at all to your introductory paragraph, so it’s important that each statement in your body paragraphs has enough detail and supporting evidence that a reader can understand exactly what you’re saying. To ensure you’re hitting every point within your topic sentence, outline each body paragraph before writing it. Start with a short summary statement of what will be in that paragraph, then write three or four complete sentences describing what each main point will look like in practice.

Works cited/ references

Instead of using footnotes or endnotes, you can place your citations in a separate section at the end of your paper. This is often referred to as a works cited or reference page. The specific formatting rules vary between different style guides, but some general format points include: Make sure to use consistent citations throughout your work; you don’t want some sources formatted with small-case letters and others with capital letters! Different sources require different levels of detail when it comes to formatting titles.

Sometimes, getting my head around a particular topic can be really difficult, so I just get professionals online to write my paper for me.


Jeff Campbell