College 101

Essay Tips for the Unsure: Tackle those 800 Words with Confidence

It’s midterms, you’ve got a thousand things to do and the unthinkable is looming: an essay you have to write, polish and turn in by a deadline that seems way too close.

So what do you do? First off, don’t panic! Writing an essay for a college class might seem intimidating but it’s totally doable. Here are some tried and true tips from the experts at West Hills Colleges to help you craft the perfect essay!

  1. Keep organized. Are you writing a research essay? Or a literary analysis essay? Whatever essay it is, make sure you stay organized. Before beginning your writing, make sure you have any notes or sources you need to reference at hand. That way, you’re not scrambling and searching for something you need as you start to write your essay. You can remain distraction free.
  2. Outline. Outline. The clearer you are on what you’re going to write, the better. Take the time before you begin to actually write to figure out a rough idea of what each section of your essay will be about. How will you introduce your topic? What order will you present your evidence in? This will help you to both reduce the stress you’re under as you write and give you a roadmap to follow.
  3. Remember what you learned in high school. This might seem kind of self-explanatory but remember what you learned in high school English class: the basics of essay writing. Everything from having an introductory sentence to each portion of your essay to spellchecking before you turn it in. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time you write an essay. Just rely on what you already know.
  4. Be specific and focused. Essays should have a topic and that topic should not be too general, not matter what kind of essay you’re writing. Be sure you know what you’re going to focus on and focus on that. Try to avoid unnecessary information and research. This will make both your life easier and the life of the person grading your essay easier!
  5. Finish the essay and then walk away before editing it. It’s always important to edit your essay and give it a final lookover (or three!) before you turn it. However, it’s often better to do that with a fresh mind. If you try to edit your essay right after you finish it, you might miss something since your brain is so used to the text. Walk away, grab a bite to eat or go for a jog. Maybe even give the essay a day to sit and then return to it. When you do, you’ll find that it’s much easier to edit it and catch any mistakes.

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