4 ways to write a college essay

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4 ways to write a college essay
4 ways to write a college essay

Getting started writing a college-level essay can be a bit tricky, especially if you don't feel inspired or organized enough to articulate your thoughts. It's nothing to worry about though, with a little planning, research, and hard work, you'll be able to start writing college essays in no time. Any essay should begin with an introduction, which will establish your main points, hook the reader, and implant your thesis. This will be the main point you will be discussing in your essay. If you want to know how to start a college essay, just follow these steps.


Method 1 of 4: Get Started

Start a College Essay Step 1
Start a College Essay Step 1

Step 1. Have a clear understanding of the topic

Although you may want to dive right into your college essay, you should know exactly what is being asked of you before opening a blank Word document. Read the outline or suggestions carefully and see what kind of essay your teacher wants you to write, how many words they ask for, and how much research is required. These are some things you should be very clear about before you start:

  • Number of words. If your essay only needs to be 500 words, it will be very different from an essay that needs to be 2,000 words. You must know the word requirement and keep it to the letter, or at least vary a maximum of 10%. You don't want to tire your teacher by writing an essay that is much longer or much shorter than what they asked for.
  • Amount of research required. Some subjects require you to write an essay that is largely based on your research. Others will request that you use course materials, such as novels or textbooks, as the basis for your work and to draw your own conclusions. However, almost every good essay is based on solid research.
  • If you have any questions, speak well with your teacher to clarify any doubts you may have before the day of the work delivery.
Start a College Essay Step 2
Start a College Essay Step 2

Step 2. Master the different types of essays

There are different models of essays that you will probably have to write in college, and it is good that you know the variety that exists so that you know what is expected of you. These are the basic types of rehearsals that you must master:

  • Argumentative-persuasive essay. This essay is used to persuade readers to see your perspective on a topic. For example, an essay showing readers all the reasons why having personal use guns should be prohibited would be such an essay.
  • Analytical test. This is the most common type of essay in literature subjects. In it, through the reading of a work, the words, themes, characters and meaning are analyzed using both your own ideas and other specialized sources on the subject.
  • Expository essay. Whether it is a process or a situation, this type of essay will explain important aspects of the subject, such as describing the daily lives of university students.
  • Research essay. This essay delves into a topic by researching it and informs readers about its history, uses, or relevance.
  • Contrast and comparison test. In this type of essay, a contrast and a comparison is established between two subjects, their differences and similarities. For example, an essay that examines all the similarities and differences between living in two different cities is a contrast and comparison essay.
Start a College Essay Step 3
Start a College Essay Step 3

Step 3. Define your audience

Your work may be directed at your teacher, your classmates, experts in the field, or people who don't know much about the subject. If you're writing for experts in the field, you don't need to define basic terms, instead you could use more advanced vocabulary. However, if you are writing for people who do not have a lot of knowledge on the subject, you should give more basic details. For example, this happens when you write an essay where you analyze a movie and direct it to readers who have not seen it.

If you are writing a research essay on a topic that may be esoteric or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to explain the research you have done in great detail

Start a College Essay Step 4
Start a College Essay Step 4

Step 4. Define your purpose

What is your purpose in writing this essay? It can be to inform, entertain, persuade, define, compare and contrast, analyze, synthesize or tell a story. Knowing your purpose well can help you structure your argument and reach the right people in the right way. For example, if your goal is to persuade people, you will need to develop a logical argument whose main points are compelling and which can convince your readers to see your point of view.

  • If your purpose is to analyze something, such as a poem or a play, you will need to provide compelling evidence in the text to support your ideas.
  • If your goal is to compare and contrast, you will have to be well informed or informed about the differences and similarities between the two topics.
  • If your purpose is to inform, you will have to study the subject thoroughly and help your readers understand it better.
Start a College Essay Step 5
Start a College Essay Step 5

Step 5. Take care of your tone

Tone is another important aspect of writing a great college essay. For most essays, your tone should be professional, objective, and informative. If you use very biased language to try to sound very convincing about your research, you will not sound authoritative. If you use very casual phrases, you will not sound professional. However, if you are writing a personal essay (such as writing an autobiography), you can use more comfortable and informal language.

  • Your tone is your attitude towards the topic you are presenting. It can be objective, funny, slightly cynical, suspicious, or a little more passionate. Whatever the tone, it has to be appropriate to the subject.
  • For example, if you are writing an essay about stem cells, your tone should be objective and disinterested; If you're writing one about dating online, you could use a funnier, more playful tone.

Method 2 of 4: Formulate Your Thesis

Start a College Essay Step 6
Start a College Essay Step 6

Step 1. Do your research

While it can be fun to jump right into an essay without knowing exactly what you're talking about, the best thing to do is do your research first so that you can build a solid foundation for your thoughts. Get the texts you need, take notes, and read everything until you feel that you have mastered the topic and that you have enough information to write an essay or formulate an argument.

  • Make sure the materials you use are credible and come from established professionals. Don't do your research on Wikipedia.
  • Take enough notes to feel comfortable or comfortable with the topic.
  • Familiarize yourself with the bibliographic references in MLA or APA format so that you can use them in your essay.
Start a College Essay Step 7
Start a College Essay Step 7

Step 2. Learn what's behind an appropriate thesis statement

Once you have done your research, you will need to write a thesis statement, which will be the central argument or point on which you will base your work. Although you can sketch out some basic ideas at the beginning, or find several important ideas that stand out to you, you should not start writing your essay without a clear idea of what your thesis statement should be. An example of this is the following: "Mexico City is a better place to live than Monterrey because it has more diversity, more opportunities, and a better climate." These are the characteristics of an appropriate thesis statement:

  • Clarity
  • Precision
  • Ability to be sustained
  • Ability to be demonstrated
  • Details
  • The use of the third person
Start a College Essay Step 8
Start a College Essay Step 8

Step 3. Write a thesis statement

Write a thesis statement that makes a clear, precise, and sustainable argument. You can't write a thesis on the existence of unicorns because you can't prove it, and you can't write a thesis on the harm that smoking causes because, actually, that can't be claimed. Instead, choose an interesting and relevant argument for your topic. Also choose at least two or three specific details to help you argue your point of view. Here are some examples of different thesis statements:

  • Thesis statement for an analytical essay: "The three main themes of the Great Gatsby are loneliness, the corruption of wealth and the loss of a great love."
  • Thesis statement for an argumentative or persuasive essay: "Standardized test scores should not be a factor for college admissions because they do not accurately measure intelligence and are socioeconomically biased."
  • Thesis statement for an expository essay: "Most high school students spend balancing their time for homework, for friends, and for extracurricular activities."
Start a College Essay Step 9
Start a College Essay Step 9

Step 4. Make an outline

Once you have the thesis statement, you should create an outline that works like the road map for the rest of your work, which will help you know exactly what to put in each paragraph. This will keep your thoughts logical and organized, and will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or changing your mind midway through. The outline should include the introductory paragraph, the development paragraphs and the concluding paragraph, specifically citing as much evidence as possible. For example, this is the outline of an essay whose thesis statement is: “Madrid is the best city for young professionals thanks to its attractions, the climate and the job market”.

  • Introduction: 1) Hook, 2) Three main points, 3) Thesis statement
  • First paragraph of development: Attractions: 1) Restaurants, 2) Nightclubs and bars, 3) Museums
  • Second paragraph of development: Weather: 1) Beautiful snow, 2) Pleasant spring, 3) Refreshing rain
  • Third paragraph: Labor market: 1) Opportunities for business and finance, 2) Opportunities for the arts, 3) Opportunities for networking
  • Conclusion: 1) Pick up the hook, 2) Reaffirm the main points, 3) Affirm your thesis

Method 3 of 4: Write an Introduction

Start a College Essay Step 10
Start a College Essay Step 10

Step 1. Hook your readers

The introduction is made up of three parts: the hook, the main points, and the thesis statement. The first part, the hook, should be how you attract your readers and their interests by continuing to read the rest of your essay. The hook should be related to your main point and should get your readers to want to commit to keep reading. These are some examples:

  • Rhetorical question. Asking a question that draws readers to the central debate you are discussing will help you get their attention. For example, an essay advocating gay marriage might begin with the question, "Shouldn't anyone be able to marry the person they love?"
  • A surprising statement or statistical fact. Starting with a powerful statement or statistic related to your topic can help get your readers' attention. For example, if you are writing an essay on depression in college students, you can start with a statement (based on research) like this: "Currently, more than 10% of college students are suffering from depression."
  • An anecdote. Starting with a short anecdote related to your thesis can help get your readers' attention. For example, if you were writing an essay about the difficulties of being a single mother, you could start by saying, "Juana was struggling to make ends meet while trying to care for her son, Ramón."
Start a College Essay Step 11
Start a College Essay Step 11

Step 2. State your main points

Once you've hooked your readers with a strong statement, it's time you describe, in at least a sentence or two, each main point so your readers know what to expect. For example, if you are writing an essay with a thesis statement like this: "The three central themes of the Great Gatsby are loneliness, the corruption of wealth, and the loss of a great love," you should use a sentence to describe the loneliness in the novel, a sentence that describes corruption and another sentence that describes the loss of a great love.

Start a College Essay Step 12
Start a College Essay Step 12

Step 3. Establish your thesis

Once you've hooked your readers and stated your main points, all you have to do is establish your thesis. It is usually best placed as the last sentence in the introductory paragraph, although sometimes the essay can be successful if you place the thesis at the beginning of the introduction. Together with the introductory paragraph, the thesis should be the road map for the rest of the essay, so that the reader knows what to expect from the work. To recap, a good way to start a college essay should include the following:

  • A "hook" that gets the reader's attention.
  • A brief discussion of the main points that will be covered in the development or body of the essay.
  • The thesis statement.

Method 4 of 4: Move On

Start a College Essay Step 13
Start a College Essay Step 13

Step 1. Write 3-5 paragraphs

Once you've found your thesis statement and written the introductory paragraph, much of the hard work on the essay is over. Now, you will have to dive right into the development paragraphs to explain the main points of your thesis statement, which will help persuade your readers. You should have a length of 3 to 5 (or more) paragraphs, depending on the length of the essay. Each development paragraph should include the following:

  • A topic sentence that tells the reader what the paragraph will be about.
  • Supporting details, evidence, facts or statistical data that develop the main point.
  • A concluding sentence that wraps the ideas outlined and serves as a transition to the next paragraph of development.
Start a College Essay Step 14
Start a College Essay Step 14

Step 2. Write a conclusion

Once you have the introduction and the development paragraphs, you should write a conclusion that wraps around the ideas that you have introduced and explained in your essay. The conclusion should do several things:

  • Reframe your thesis
  • Remind the reader of your main point
  • Re-reference the anecdote, statistical data or fact within your introduction (optional)
  • Leave the reader with something to think about, beyond the words in the essay.
Start a College Essay Step 15
Start a College Essay Step 15

Step 3. Remember to write in the third person

Unless you have been asked otherwise, writing in the third person is a very important aspect of writing a great college essay. You should never say "I think that …" or "I think that …", because your argument will sound very weak or insubstantial. Instead of saying, "I think abortion should be legal," you can say, "Abortion should be legal," to make your argument sound more vigorous.

You should avoid writing in the first and second person. Don't use "you". Use "one / one," "he / she," or the appropriate pronoun. Instead of saying, "You should spend 3-5 hours studying each week if you want to do well in college," write, "College students should spend 3-5 hours a week studying if they want to do well."

Start a College Essay Step 16
Start a College Essay Step 16

Step 4. Check your work. When you have written your draft, you should go back and review the essay, check that there are no flaws in your logic, points without evidence or weak arguments. You may also find that not everything in the essay is relevant, that your ideas are repetitive, or that you have to adjust your thesis a bit, which is natural.

Once you feel like the essay is solid, check the grammar and punctuation

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