How to Write a Good Essay Many college applications require an essay. This is a way for the school to learn a bit about the student. It also may help them make a decision about whether to extend an offer to attend the school based on the quality and content of the essay. For those who are planning to apply, there are a few things to keep in mind on how to write an essay. What Is an Essay? An essay for a college application often is a short few paragraphs of content that answers a question posed by the college admissions team. The use of an essay like this may allow the school to learn a bit about the student as well as the reason they wish to attend. What is an essay itself? Essays are short pieces of content that provide information in a clear, easy-to-follow manner. What is essay format if asked for it? An essay format typically starts with an introduction, includes topic sentences, and offers a consolation that wraps up and makes a point. Understand the Essay Prompt What is an essay prompt? A college essay prompt is often a question or topic that the college administration wants the prospective student to write about in their essay. Some schools offer several options to choose from, while others have a single prompt question to answer. Essay prompt examples may include: Share a story about a difficult time in your life and how you overcame the challenge. Talk about an instance in your life where you demonstrated personal growth. Who is a person you admire? Why? How do you approach challenges or solve problems? Where do you see yourself after college? Write a Thesis Statement How do you write a thesis statement for a college essay? Start with understanding the question being asked in the essay prompt. Then, create an answer to that question that wraps up your thoughts and feelings. A thesis statement should provide a direct answer to the topic in many cases. You then may expand on this answer in the essay, creating a point. You may learn how to write a thesis statement by first creating a few notes about what your answer is to the prompt. Sometimes it is easier to create an outline and then a statement from it. Make an Essay Outline You may be able to find essay outline examples online that offer some great starting points. However, it is often beneficial to create your own based on the topic and your answer to it. To create a college essay outline, start with writing down a few topics that you want to address within the essay. Then, create a logical order for those topics, building an outline around the topic that leads from the thesis statement to your conclusion. Begin with the Body, Write the Essay Introduction Later Don’t start with the introduction. The introduction is where some students struggle, so to avoid getting bogged down, create the introduction later. This allows you to fully form your thoughts and ideas and come back and integrate the main ideas into your introduction. Remember Your Paragraph Topic Sentence What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence is the main point of each paragraph within your college essay. Each paragraph has one specific point or thought that is expanded on within the paragraph with supporting sentences to the topic sentence, in many cases. A topic sentence example may be, “One of the reasons I wish to pursue this college degree program is because I enjoy working with people.” From here, you may wish to provide examples of why or how you help people. Why Do You Need to Use Credible Sources? What makes a source credible? Credible sources are those that are typically respected as non-biased providers of information. Credible sources are often important in a college essay if you need to source facts and figures or specific information that comes from a specific organization. It may also help prove your argumentative essay and aids in providing backup for the statements made. Write a Great Essay Conclusion A great essay conclusion wraps up the entire piece. It should restate the thesis statement in a new way and add in some of the topic sentence statements that help prove or expand on the topic. Essay conclusion examples may show a round up of information from the entire piece but should not restate the entire essay again. Keep it short and to the point, summarizing what the essay included. Proofread Essay Reviewing is critical to creating a great essay. Some teachers won’t even finish reading essays if they’re not grammatically sound or riddled with spelling errors. Here are a few ways to make your essay or research paper more academically acceptable and better overall. Take out all conjunctions (aren’t, don’t, couldn’t, etc.). This may make your paper longer and more appropriate for academic writing. Print out your paper, read it, and mark it up. You may notice more errors when reading it this way than on a computer screen. Have friends or parents read it. A second set of eyes may catch any mistakes you missed. Read it out loud. This may help with grammar mistakes. If it sounds wrong, it probably is. How to Write a Great Essay Here are nine essay writing tips to create a great essay for either college, scholarship, or for your homework. Make sure you understand the topic you’re going to write about Write a strong, clear, concise thesis to set the tone/intent/direction Outline your thoughts and ideas in a rough draft Circle back to your introductory paragraph if it’s giving you a hard time Each paragraph needs a sentence to frame what it’s going to discuss Cite reputable sources and use these quotes to support your opinion Stay focused on the topic you clarified in step #1 Finish by summing up the point you made and how you came to it Check for errors and to make sure your essay hits the nail on the head Writers of all skill levels could find it a challenge to write an essay, especially on a subject they don’t know well. But the above writing tips could make the process a little easier and a lot less stressful. Use your writing skills to apply for scholarships. Check out our Scholarship Match to find scholarships that are optimal for you. About the author Taylor is a senior at Tarleton State University. She is a member of the Presidential Honors Program and the president of the Tarleton Scholars Society. She’s majoring in communications, with an emphasis in communicating in relationships, and a minor in psychology. She loves Jesus, wears too much flannel, and is obsessed with The Lord of the Rings.