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Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay

Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.

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Tips for a Stellar College Application Essay

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These lists suggest questions to ask of your writing when you are reviewing it. The need to use such a wide range of academic skills is probably the main reason why the essay format is so popular with tutors as an assignment. The word limit adds to the challenge by requiring that all of these skills be demonstrated within a relatively small number of words.

Producing incisive and clear written work within a word limit is an important skill in itself, which will be useful in many aspects of life beyond university. Good, constructively critical feedback can give you excellent guidance on how to improve your essay writing. It is worth attending to all of the suggestions and comments you receive, and trying to act on them. You need to read every single word of it, and to squeeze out as much guidance you can from the title.

Then you need to plan how you will respond to every single element of the title. The guidance given to you by the title is freely available, and is your best clue to what is required in your essay. One, answer the question. Two, answer the question. Three, answer the question. This is important at the start, but also throughout your writing, as it can be easy to drift away and waste valuable words from your word limit by writing material that may be interesting, but which is not relevant to the title set.

Essay terms explained , and Questions to ask about interpreting essay titles may be useful. It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly.

It can be stressful and very difficult trying to work out solely in your mind how to tackle an essay title; asking yourself questions such as: What structure should I use? What are my main points? What reading do I need to do? Have I got enough evidence? It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions.

In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding. Instead, you can catch all of your ideas, in no particular order, on a sheet or two of A4.

Once they are down there it will be easier for you to start to review them critically and to see where you need to focus your reading and note taking. Essentially, this is what you are doing within the essay process: Throughout this process, the essay title is the single immovable feature. You begin there; you end there; and everything in between needs to be placed in relation to that title. All three of the processes described above will inform your decisions about what you need to read for a particular essay.

If left unplanned, the reading stage can swallow up huge amounts of time. Fortunately, there is scope for developing efficiency in several ways:.

While a certain level of efficiency is desirable, it is also important to remain flexible enough to identify relevant and interesting ideas that you had not anticipated.

You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set:.

As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument. Writing is an active and constructive process; it is not merely a neutral recording of your thoughts.

It is therefore useful to go into the writing process expecting to make revisions. The first words you write do not have to be part of the final version. Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: All essays need structure. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there. Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there. However, even in those essays that appear to be highly creative, unscientific, or personal, an argument of some kind is being made.

It is the argument, and how you decide to present and back up your argument, that will influence your decision on how to structure your essay. The essay structure is not an end in itself, but a means to an end: By creating a relevant structure, you make it much easier for yourself to present an effective argument. There are several generic structures that can help you start to think about your essay structure e.

These can be useful starting points, but you will probably decide to work with a more complicated structure e. In addition to these macro-structures you will probably need to establish a micro-structure relating to the particular elements you need to focus on e. You may feel that, for your particular essay, structures like these feel too rigid.

You may wish to create a more flexible or fluid structure. An analogy could be that of symphony writing. This set out a pattern for the numbers of movements within the symphony, and for the general structure of writing within each movement. The continued popularity of their work today shows that they clearly managed to achieve plenty of interest and variety within that basic structure.

Later composers moved away from strict symphonic form. Some retained a loose link to it while others abandoned it completely, in favour of more fluid patterns. It would be rare, however, to find a symphony that was without structure or pattern of any kind; it would probably not be satisfactory either to play or to listen to.

Similarly, a structure of some kind is probably essential for every essay, however revolutionary. The process of essay planning and writing does not need to be a linear process, where each stage is done only once. It is often an iterative process i. A possible iterative process is:. This section heading is in quotes as it is also the heading of chapter 8, pages , in Barass Barass p80 makes the simple but valid statement, that:.

The tutors reading and marking your essays deserve your consideration. They will be reading and marking many, many student essays. If you make your argument hard to follow, so that they need to re-read a paragraph or more to try to make sense of what you have written, you will cause irritation, and make their job slower.

Realistically, it is possible that they may even decide not to make that effort. Your tutors will not necessarily be looking for the perfect, revolutionary, unique, special essay; they would be very happy to read a reasonably well-planned, well-argued and well-written essay. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines.

Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas. If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page.

From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay. Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay.

Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas? Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay. Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence.

Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together. Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic.

Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction. The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.

After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.

Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order. Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable.

Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format. Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense.

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Writing the essay can be one of the biggest challenges in the application process. Learn how these students approached their college essays.

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Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

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This Study Guide addresses the topic of essay writing. The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both coursework and exams. It is the most common focus for study consultations among . The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.

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Do you have to write your essay for university and your decision is to buy it? Of course, there are a number of reasons to do it, but you should understand that you are going to cheat the system and pay for your university essay writing instead of writing it . Crafting an Unforgettable College Essay Most selective colleges require you to submit an essay or personal statement as part of your application. It may sound like a chore, and it will certainly take a substantial amount of work.