How to start a college essay

How to start a college essay
How to start a college essay

Starting a college essay can be difficult, especially if the topic doesn't inspire you or you're not organized enough to articulate your thoughts. But don't worry, with a little bit of organization, research, and hard work, you'll be able to start your college essays in no time. Any essay begins with an introduction, setting out your main points, aimed at hooking the reader and setting out your thesis, which is the idea you are going to defend in your essay.


Part 1 of 4: getting started

Start a College Essay Step 1

Step 1. Fully understand what is required of you

You might want to jump into your essay right away, but first you need to know exactly what is being asked of you before you even open that new Word document. Read the statement carefully and see what type of essay your professor wants you to write, how many words are required of you, and the extent of research needed. Here are a few things to clear up before you even get started.

  • The number of words. If your essay is to be only 500 words, it will be a very different piece of work than a 2000 word essay. Know the number of words required and stick to it or at least stay within a limit of 10% more or less. You don't want to annoy your professor by writing an essay that is much longer or shorter than he expects.
  • The amount of research expected. Some courses will require you to write work based largely on research that you have done yourself. Others will ask you to use the course content, such as novels or textbooks, as a basis for your work, and then draw your own conclusions. That said, almost all good essays are based on solid research.
  • If you have any questions, ask your professor well in advance of the essay due date, to clarify any concerns you may have.
Start a College Essay Step 2

Step 2. Master the different types of essays

There are many, many different types of dissertations that you may have to write during your college education. It is best to be aware of the diversity of these jobs so that you know what is expected of you. Here are the basic essay types you need to master.

  • Argumentative / persuasive essay. In such an essay, you will need to convince your readers of your perspective on a given issue. For example, an essay demonstrating to readers the reasons why firearms should be banned will be a persuasive essay.
  • The analytical essay. This type of essay is most common in literature courses. You will need to read a work and analyze its words, themes, characters and meanings using your own ideas as well as other academic sources on the subject.
  • The explanatory essay. For this kind of essay, you will choose a process or situation and explain the important aspects of that topic. For example, you could describe the daily life of students.
  • The research essay. This essay will ask you to research a topic and inform your readers of its history, uses or interest.
  • The comparative essay. This type of essay will ask you to compare and contrast two topics to show their differences and similarities. For example, an essay analyzing all the similarities and differences between Paris and Marseille will be such an essay.
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Step 3. Define your audience

Do you write for a teacher, your classmates, subject matter experts or for novices on the subject? If you are writing for experts then you don't have to define basic terms and can use more advanced vocabulary. But if you're writing for people who don't know much about the subject, such as reviewing a movie for readers who haven't seen it, then you'll need to give more details.

If you are writing a research essay on a topic that is esoteric or unfamiliar to your readers, you will need to explain the results of your research in specific detail

Start a College Essay Step 4

Step 4. Define your goal

What is the objective of your essay? Is it to inform, to distract, to persuade, to define, to compare, to analyze, to synthesize, to tell a story? Knowing your goal up front will help you frame your pitch as well as possible and reach the right readers in the right way. For example, if your goal is to persuade your readers, you will need to develop a logical pitch by presenting major arguments that will convince your readers of your point of view.

  • If your goal is to analyze something, like a poem or a play, you will need to use compelling excerpts from the text to support your ideas.
  • If your goal is to compare two things, then you need to outline the differences and similarities between the two topics.
  • If your goal is to educate your readers, you will need to study the topic carefully and help your readers better understand it.
Start a College Essay Step 5

Step 5. Pick the right tone

Tone is an important aspect of writing a successful essay. For most essays, the tone should be professional, detached, and informative. If you use too many subjective formulations to try to convince your reader, you are not being authoritative. If you use slang or too casual phrasing, you won't look professional. But if you are writing a personal essay (for example, as part of a class teaching memoir writing), you may be able to use more informal and comfortable language.

  • Your tone matches your attitude towards the topic you are presenting. Is your tone detached, amused, cynical, suspicious or rather passionate? Whatever your tone, it should be appropriate to the topic.
  • If you are writing an essay on source cell research, for example, your tone should remain objective and detached. If you write an essay about dating on the internet, you can take on a playful and amused tone.

Part 2 of 4: Formulating your thesis

Start a College Essay Step 6

Step 1. Do your research

While it can be fun to jump right into the essay without really knowing what it is, the best thing to do is still to do your research first and then build your thoughts afterwards. Get the texts you need, take notes, and read until you think you have mastered the topic and have enough information to write an essay or make your pitch.

  • Make sure the sources you use are credible and come from recognized experts. Don't do your research on Wikipedia.
  • Take enough notes to be comfortable with the topic.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different citation systems and know which one to use in your essay.
Start a College Essay Step 7

Step 2. Know what constitutes an appropriate thesis statement

Once you have completed your research, you will be required to write a thesis statement, which will be the central thesis that you will defend throughout your dissertation. You can present a few basic ideas first or outline points that you think are important, but don't start writing your essay without having a clear idea of ​​what your thesis statement will be. Here is an example of a thesis statement: Life in Marseille is more attractive than in Paris, because the city presents more diversity, possibilities and better weather. Here are the characteristics of a successful thesis statement:

  • clarity
  • the precision
  • the possibility of being defended
  • the possibility of being demonstrated
  • the details
  • the use of the third person
Start a College Essay Step 8

Step 3. Write a thesis statement

Write a thesis statement that sets out a point clearly and precisely and that is defensible. You cannot write a thesis demonstrating the existence of unicorns, because you will not be able to prove it. You cannot write a thesis showing that smoking is bad for your health, because it doesn't have to be proven. Rather, choose an interesting and relevant argument and choose at least two or three specific details to support your argument. Here are some examples of different thesis statements.

  • An analytical dissertation thesis statement: The three central themes of The Great Gatsby are loneliness, the corruption of wealth, and the loss of great love.
  • An argumentative or persuasive dissertation thesis statement: Psychometric tests should not be used during college admissions procedures because they do not reflect intelligence and are socioeconomically biased.
  • A thesis statement for an explanatory essay: Most high school students spend their time juggling homework, friends, and extracurricular activities.
Start a College Essay Step 9

Step 4. Make a plan

Once you have a thesis statement, develop an outline that will serve as a roadmap when writing your assignment and help you know exactly which paragraphs to place which arguments. This will make your thoughts logical and organized, preventing you from letting yourself go or changing your mind in the workplace. The outline should include an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and concluding paragraphs, and present as many arguments as possible. Here is an example of a drafting plan defending the following point: Paris is the best city for young graduates thanks to its attractions, its weather and its job market.

  • Introduction: 1) catchphrase, 2) three main points, 3) thesis statement
  • Body paragraph 1: attractions: 1) restaurants, 2) nightclubs and bars, 3) museums
  • Body paragraph 2: weather: 1) winter snow 2) pleasant spring 3) refreshing rain
  • Body paragraph 3: job market 1) opportunities in finance and business 2) opportunities in the arts 3) networking opportunities
  • Conclusion: 1) return to the hook, 2) reaffirm the main points, 3) present the thesis

Part 3 of 4: write an introduction

Start a College Essay Step 10

Step 1. Hook your readers

The introduction consists of three parts: the hook, the main points and the thesis statement. The first part, the hook, should be a way to attract your readers and get them to read your work. The catchphrase should relate to your main points and should engage your readers in making them want to read more. Here are some examples of hooks.

  • The rhetorical question. Asking a question that helps draw readers into the discussion you are going to argue can help grab their attention. For example, an essay supporting gay marriage might begin with the following question: Should everyone be able to marry the person they love?
  • A shocking fact or statistic. Starting with a shocking fact or statistic that relates to your topic can help grab the reader's attention. For example, if you are writing an essay on student depression, you can start by stating a fact, based on your research, such as: Over 10% of college students are currently suffering from depression.
  • An anecdote. Starting with a little anecdote related to your thesis can help you engage the reader. For example, if you are writing an essay about the struggles of a single mother, you might start by saying: Jane was struggling to make ends meet as she was trying to best take care of her son, Randy.
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Step 2. State your main points

Once you've hooked readers with a strong hook, it's time to take at least a sentence or two to describe each main point, so your readers know what to expect. For example, if you are writing an essay whose thesis statement is The Three Central Themes of The Great Gatsby are Loneliness, Corruption of Wealth, and Loss of True Love., you will have to describe in one sentence the loneliness in the book, in one sentence the corruption and in another sentence the loss of the great love.

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Step 3. Present your thesis

Once you have hooked your readers and presented your main points, all you need to do is present your thesis. It usually finds its place in the last sentence of the introductory paragraph, but some writing might be successful by placing the thesis earlier in the introduction. The introductory paragraph and thesis should work as a road map for the rest of the writing, so that readers know what to expect from their reading. To recap, a successful start to an academic essay or introductory paragraph should include the following.

  • A catchphrase, to awaken the reader's attention.
  • A brief discussion of the main points that will be covered in the body of the essay.
  • A thesis statement.

Part 4 of 4: To continue

Start a College Essay Step 13

Step 1. Write 3 to 5 paragraphs for the body of the writing

Once you've found your thesis and written the introductory paragraph, most of the work is done. You just have to jump into the body paragraphs which will develop the rationale for your thesis statement and which will inform and convince the reader. You should have 3 to 5 paragraphs or more, depending on the length of the essay. Each paragraph should include the following points.

  • A first sentence explaining to the reader the theme of the paragraph.
  • Compelling details, evidence, facts or statistics supporting the main point.
  • A concluding sentence that sums up the ideas in the paragraph and makes the transition to the next paragraph.
Start a College Essay Step 14

Step 2. Write a conclusion

Once you have your introduction and the body of the essay, you need to write a conclusion that will summarize the ideas you have introduced. The conclusion should:

  • present your thesis again,
  • remind the reader of your main point,
  • refer to the anecdote, statistic or fact presented in the introduction (optional),
  • leave the reader with open thinking beyond the essay.
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Step 3. Remember to stick to the third person

Writing in the third person (unless specifically instructed otherwise) is an important aspect of writing successful college work. You should never say I believe … or I think … or your argument would be weakened. Rather than saying I think abortion must stay legal in the United States, say Abortion must remain legal in the United States, so that your argument will be more powerful.

Avoid the first and second person. Do not say you, say, we, he or she or use the appropriate pronoun. Rather than saying You should study 3 to 5 hours per week if you want to be successful, say University students should study 3 to 5 hours per week if they want to be successful

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Step 4. Proofread your work

Once you've written your draft, proofread your work and make any necessary changes, check for flaws in your reasoning, unproven points, or weak arguments. You may also find that part of your essay is irrelevant, that your ideas are repetitive, and that you need to refine your thesis. It's normal !

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