writing an essay in college is very different from writing an essay in high school. personally, i write more research/history papers than literary essays (the liberal arts life and curse), so this is going to be a post on how a general research-y essay that has a thesis and arguments.
- don’t open with a quote and don’t be overly broad.
- avoid generalizations
- your intro should address the topic of your essay (ex. the significance of gardens in renaissance society), and then narrow down to what you want to talk about in regards to your topic (ex. the political influence of the Medici gardens during the renaissance)
- thesis! it should include the argument you want to make about the narrowed down topic, and three (or however many your class requires) reasons to support it. I like to think of it as W = X + Y + Z.
- your thesis explains who, what and why in a concise manner.
- topic sentences should not be a word for word copy of your thesis.
- the order of arguments in your thesis is the order of your paragraphs
- depending on the length of your essay, there should be at least two justifications to your argument.
- so, just as the intro has a formula, X = A + B, and so forth.
- A and B should be backed up with some sources/quotes. don’t forget that if you are quoting from class notes to put either the prof’s last name, or (class notes)
- be sure to have clear and concise arguments, don’t be flowery
- USE WORDS THAT ARE ACCURATE. thesaurus is great but if you use a word that sounds cool but doesn’t capture the meaning you want to convey then don’t use it, because it may just change the meaning of your argument
- quote whatever isn’t yours. it is completely fine if 90% of your sentences are quotes. its weird to get used to, but don’t worry about it.
- the worst part in my opinion.
- synthesize don’t summarize. show how your arguments relate back to the thesis.
- try not to copy paste your thesis into the conclusion, word it so that the readers understands that through XYZ, you were able to conclude and support argument W (referring back to the thesis formula)
- do not add any new information, do not add quotes.
- your final sentence should tie up the essay in a pretty bow, but try to avoid clichés
- when writing the body paragraphs, your ‘weakest’ paragraph should be in the middle, strongest as your last, and the second best as your first.
- if you’re stumped on the intro, skip it. write out the body first, then the intro and you’ll be able to concisely word your thesis
- think of your essay as an infomercial. your intro is the loud and clear HERES MY PRODUCT, the body is blasting information on why the product is so cool, and the conclusion is the final push for the viewer to buy that product. make your teacher want to agree with your thesis!
- use a mix of paraphrase and quotes!
- don’t forget your works cited lmao (the MLA Handbook is a gr8 tool, also OWL Purdue)
- prime time for essay writing is in the morning or at night, but make sure you edit it meticulously
- EDIT ON PAPER NOT ON YOUR SCREEN
stay humble, study hard