The Ultimate Guide to Writing Essays as a College Student

Screenshot 74
Screenshot 74

As a college student, you’ll need to write essays in almost every class you take. For many students, writing essays can be difficult, because it’s something that most of us aren’t necessarily taught how to do correctly in high school. But if you follow the tips in this ultimate guide to writing essays as a college student, you’ll be well on your way to earning great grades and impressing your professors.

Start early

Don’t assume you have all semester to write your essay. Many students begin brainstorming weeks before they need to submit an assignment, and while it’s important not to wait until the night before an essay is due, if you start early you can make time for rewrites without worrying about forgetting an idea. This will help you create a solid draft and give you plenty of time for edits later on. And if someone suggests that revision is all that matters? Tell them they’re wrong (politely).

Put your best foot forward

These days, writing an essay involves more than just sitting down at your computer and creating a rough draft. In fact, it requires research (online or off), organizing and outlining your thoughts, editing, re-editing, proofreading…the list goes on. If you are looking for an effective way to manage all of these steps efficiently and quickly, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of your tools in place before you begin typing. Your goal is not only write an amazing paper; it is also to maximize time and energy so that you have time left over for everything else college has in store for you!

Keep it relevant

Sure, you could write your essay about any number of topics, but if it doesn’t tie into your major or interests, there’s little chance you’ll do well. However, if you want to throw in some variety and get creative with your college essay topics. Here are some ideas that are still relevant to your academic goals: (1) What did you learn during an experience that caused you to grow? (2) What advice would you give others who are trying to accomplish what you have? (3) Describe how a particular person has influenced your life. (4) In what ways do your talents and strengths differ from those of other people?

Write clearly

The foundation of every great essay is strong writing. After all, if you can’t get your point across in a clear and engaging way, it won’t matter how well thought out your ideas are—you won’t be able to convince your reader of anything. It’s worth noting that there are no absolute rules for what makes for good writing; rather, there are strategies you can use to improve your own skills. If you have trouble with word choice or sentence structure (and who doesn’t), try highlighting awkward phrasing and rewriting it in an improved manner. It may take several iterations until you find an approach that sounds right—but keep at it! Great writing takes time, but anyone can make improvements with practice.

Don’t overdo it

A major part of writing an essay, and any paper for that matter, is outlining. An outline can help you keep track of your thoughts and main ideas without getting lost in all of your research. It’s also going to make it easier for you to structure your essay later on—but don’t think of it as dictating exactly how you write things. In fact, some people say that including an outline in your final paper can be too rigid; take it with a grain of salt and use what works best for you.

Ask for help

If you’re an adult and confused about what an essay is, don’t be embarrassed, you are not a professional essay writer yet. The best way to learn is by asking someone who has done it before—your teacher, your parents or even friends who are still in college. They can show you that essays aren’t hard and they definitely don’t have to take forever.


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