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250 words

How to Write a Good College Essay

User Mark time17 June,2016

I write essays to clear my mind. I write fiction to open my heart.”

–Taiye Selasi.

Though the task of essay writing can be observed in each academic level of the contemporary education system, the nature of this task becomes more complicated as the level ascends. So, if you are a college student and has been assigned to write an essay, you cannot write an essay following the guidelines that you used to consider when you were in school. You need to incorporate your own viewpoint especially when you are going to draft a college essay. Before learning how to compose an ideal college essay, let us define the term essay more precisely. The essay refers to an informative text that throws light on a certain issue, topic, or subject by comparing, analyzing, and interpreting most significant perspectives of that particular issue.

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The main reason behind allocating an essay assignment is to judge and assess a student’s creativity and the ability to establish a point of view rationally by opposing other aspects. A flat and straightforward discussion is not desired in a good college essay.

Factors to be Considered for Composing a Good College Essay

The following factors should be considered while drafting a college essay.

• Adequate discussion on the topic

• Reference to the larger context of the issue

• Reference to more than one perspectives

• Incorporation of one’s own point of view with valid justification

Several Types of College Essays

A college essay can be anything starting from a narrative essay to a persuasive one. Let us have an idea about the distinct genres of essay writing to learn writing college essays more properly, using this useful and complete Essay Writing Guide. Essays can be grouped into four major categories such as- Expository essays, descriptive essays, narrative essays and persuasive essays. These categories can be further divided into some sub-categories like informative essays, personal essays, and argumentative essays and so on.

• Expository Essays

An expository essay presents an adequate and balanced analysis and discussion of the issue or topic by using relevant statistics, definitions, facts, and examples. This essay is sometimes called an informative essay when it aims to educate the audience about a certain topic.

Characteristics of this style of Essay Writing

Some characteristics of an ideal expository or informative essay are discussed below.

• It should not include any personal opinion. An ideal expository essay contains only the facts and the detailed explanation of the topic or issue.

• The focal point of an expository essay should always be the topic of the essay. Wandering from the main issue is not accepted in a good argumentative essay.

• One of the most effective ways for composing an admired expository essay is to adopt comparative and contrastive approaches.

• A well composed expository essay consists of the definitions of the uncommon and complex terms.

• Narrative Essays

A narrative essay throws light on real life experiences. It always conveys a story. This type of essay sometimes is divided into another sub-group known as personal essay where the writer shares his or her personal experience.

Characteristics of both Narrative and Personal essays

• As personal essay is recognized to be the subdivision of narrative essay both of the styles share common features or characteristics and they are-

• As this genre of essay writing is considered as the recreation of real life experiences, try to compose an engaging piece so that the readers can relive the moments experienced by the author or the writer

• A good personal essay is identified in terms of effective story telling techniques

• The aspects included in a narrative essay have to be relevant and well discussed

• An ideal narrative essay always justifies the significance of that particular experience

• Descriptive Essay

This category of essay can be recognized as a sister of narrative essays. This particular genre aims to draw a sketch with the aid of words.

Characteristics of Descriptive Essay

• Some notable characteristics of a descriptive essay are enlisted below.

• An ideal descriptive essay helps the readers to visualize the scenario mentioned in the essay

• It should describe the subject or topic of the essay from several distinct positions

• A comparative approach can be adopted in order to write a good descriptive essay 

• Persuasive Essay

The main objective of this genre of essays is to compel the readers for accepting the author’s opinion by simply convincing them. Another sub-division of this distinct style is argumentative essay where one has to refer to at least three perspectives on the topic in order to support a particular aspect by contradicting opposing views or arguments.

Characteristics of Persuasive Writing

Though argumentative essay is known to be a sub-categorization of a persuasive essay, there is hardly any difference between this two writing styles. The features that can be observed in both of these essay genres are-

• An ideal persuasive essay should be convincing enough to compel the readers to accept the writer’s point of view

• The thesis statement should have adequate evidence in support of it.

• A good persuasive essay should have a final judgment

• The essay should neither be too long nor too short 

Significance of Essay Writing

Students often fail to understand the significance of writing an essay. The primary significance of writing an essay is that it teaches one to express his or her own opinion rationally. Other benefits of writing an essay are given below.

• It helps one to enhance his or her writing skills

• Essay writing helps one to communicate his or her thoughts more precisely

• This task helps to harness one’s critical thinking skills

• For writing an essay, one has to do an adequate research. In this way, he or she can acquire more knowledge

Tips to Write a Good College Essay

You must be thinking how to compose the above-mentioned parts or sections of an informative college essay. Before going to this composition part, it is required to follow some fundamental steps first. Otherwise, you will get perplexed while learning the rules to draft all the paragraphs or sections of an informative essay

1. Start as Early as Possible

If you want to impress your examiner by writing a brilliant essay, then do not wait for the last moment. Start composing your essay assignment as early as possible. If you start early, then you will get enough time to focus whole-heartedly on your essay and give your 100 percent efforts.

2. Do Research

Adequate research is required for writing an informative college essay. First, understand the topic. Do research on that topic to become well acquainted with all the aspects of the subject of the essay. Write down all the important points that you wish to incorporate in your essay. Research work can be considered to be the main foundation of an essay. It is impossible to write a well-formed essay without doing a sufficient research.

3. Make an Outline

Before start writing the essay, make an outline of the essay. You have to make a plan how you will proceed. As most of the students find difficulty in deciding in which direction they want to proceed, you are suggested to identify the parameter according to which you will discuss your essay topic. Suppose you are going to write an essay on the relevance of Shakespeare’s works in this contemporary era, you need to choose a certain parameter to avoid ambiguity. In this context, you can write either a generalized essay or you can focus on a particular text of Shakespeare.

4. Just Start Writing

After acquiring all the information regarding the topic of your essay, just start writing whatever comes to your mind. As it is the initial stage of the task of writing the essay, it is better not to be concerned about the structure and perfection. Just write down your own point of views regarding the topic so that you can easily associate your viewpoints with the existing perspectives or aspects of the topic or subject. Let us elaborate this issue with an example for your better understanding. For the essay topic that has already mentioned in the previous section of this blog, you need to write first what is your personal opinion regarding the topic; are Shakespeare’s works really relevant in this contemporary era? If you think so, then you have to state valid reasons. Otherwise, you cannot compose a well-justified essay.

5. Speak your Heart Out

It is always advised to add a personal and honest point of view for drafting a unique college essay. Do not paraphrase from others. Just state what you actually believe as it is tougher to justify someone else’s view than yours.

6. Make a Rough Copy

It is always recommended to draft a rough copy first so that whenever you need to make some changes you can do it easily. Do not write the final copy initially; as you will proceed, you will come across several new interesting and significant aspects. So, for producing a top quality college essay first make a skeleton structure and then you can incorporate important points and notions to achieve perfection.

7. Read and Rewrite

After writing the first rough copy, read the content several times. It will help you to point out the flaws. Then rewrite and include all the major points that you have missed out on your first attempt. Continue this process until you are unable to find any flaw or mistake. Though the task of rewriting is quite boring, it helps one to compose an error-free essay. Rewriting also helps to enhance the language style and tone of the essay.

8. Use Unambiguous Syntax

According to many, using bombastic words and complicated syntactical structures is the ideal way to score high. But this notion is absolutely wrong. Ambiguous and complicated syntactical structures give rise to an ill-formed and ambiguous essay. So, if you want to write a wow essay, it is recommended to use short and uncomplicated sentences. If the text requires the grandiloquent morphological form, then only it is allowed to use such words or forms.

9. Do Experiments

Do not end up with writing a so-called conventional essay. Try to write something completely unique if you want your essay to be recognized as an example of a high-scoring essay by your professors or teachers. Suppose your topic is- relevance of Shakespeare’s works in this contemporary era, try to find out the aspect or perspective that have not been dealt with before. For that, you have to read all the literary criticisms on Shakespeare’s work by the Shakespearean Critiques.

10. Discuss with your Professor or Teacher

After writing the first rough copy, you can discuss the aspects and notions that you are considering with your professors or teachers to understand or assess the validity or relevance of the content that you have already written. You can ask for their suggestions to improve the quality of your essay. The best way is that make them read the content and then ask them to give their opinion.

11. Avoid using Irrelevant Points

It is better no to include irrelevant points in the college essay. The smartest way to point out the irrelevant points is to read the composed essay again and again. If you keep on reading, you will eventually come across the irrelevant aspects or points. Do not think twice to omit those points as quality is important than quantity.

12. Focus on the Topic

An ideal essay always focuses on the core topic. If you want to write an informative college essay, then your focus should be on the topic. Do not get distracted from the topic. Otherwise, your essay will become meaningless. Your essay should be straight to the point.

13. Be Rational while Describing an Aspect

Each aspect included in your essay should be rationally discussed. You cannot state any fact without appropriate justification. Especially when you are going to write a college essay, the essay should reflect your ability to establish a notion logically. You have to provide valid evidence in support of your arguments. Be it a narrative essay, persuasive essay, expository essay or descriptive essay you need to incorporate rational points.

14. Do Revise

If you want to submit an impeccable essay, you have to revise the essay several times. Many students take this revision task very casually and here they commit the biggest mistake. Finish the writing part at least 4 days before the final submission so that you can have enough time for the revision. Always remember that revision enables one to improve the quality of the essay. If you do not revise how you will omit the unnecessary points.

15. Edit

It is recommended to edit the essay that you have written as editing helps one to compose a structured essay or text. Editing mainly refers to the task of giving the most appropriate shape to a text or paper. Editing comprises many parts such as rewriting some sentences, omitting some parts, reorganizing the paragraphs if required, checking the flow of sentences and reassuring the incoherency of the text. This task is considered as one of the most crucial parts of writing a perfect essay. So, dedicate at least one day for this task. If you are facing difficulty in editing, you can seek help from a professional editor.

16. Proofread

You have to proofread your paper or essay also as proofreading is basically a task of checking the grammatical and punctuation aspects of a text. If there is any grammatical or punctuation error in your essay, it can create a negative impact on your teachers or professors. So, be very attentive while proofreading your text.

17. Do not Expect Too Much

Often too many expectations lead to disappointment. As essay writing is not the ultimate thing, you should not keep your expectation level high. You should not be disheartened if your teacher won’t like the essay as much as you have thought. The best way to deal with this issue is to give your best effort without any expectation.

18. Take Occasional Breaks

You can take breaks whenever you feel exhausted or overloaded to boost up yourself. People do several activities during the breaks according to their suitability. You can listen to the soft music. You can go for a walk also. According to many great personalities, they become more productive if they take a break.

19. Do not Rush

The task of writing a college essay requires lots of patience and hard work. Do not rush to complete your essay assignment. If it is taking time, then it is absolutely okay. Just take a deep breath, relax, and continue writing.

20. Read Great Essay Writers

Read the essays written by the famous essay writers. It will help you to come across the most updated literary techniques used in essay writing.  As essays are divided into several categories or genres, each genre has a certain parameter. You must have a clear idea about those particular parameters and all the genres. If you read more, you will know more. It is suggested to read several kinds of essays.

21. Choose and Identify a Particular Essay Type

If your professor has assigned you to write a certain genre, then no need to choose a genre, just identify the specialty of that essay category and start writing. If you have been assigned a generalized topic without any essay genre specification, then you need to choose a specific genre of essay writing, as you cannot jumble up the features of all categories.

22. Do not use Too many Quotes

Using too many quotes can affect the equilibrium of your essay. You can use maximum five quotations. It is always better to paraphrase a quote in order to write a 100 percent plagiarism free content. Plagiarism is considered to be an academic offense.

23. Know all the Requirements of Your University

Every university has some requirements regarding the academic papers. Before start writing your college essay, know all the academic rules and guidelines of your university. Otherwise, your essay assignment may get rejected.

24. Use Relevant References

Many students use irrelevant references in order to expand the length of the reference list. It is nothing but a foolish act. You are suggested to use relevant references. Irrelevant references can ruin all your efforts by making your academic paper or essay irrelevant.

25. Know the Proper Formatting Style of Citations

The citation is an essential part of writing an academic paper or essay. Each university prefers a certain citation style as there are numerous referencing styles. Some of the most preferred citation styles are- APA, MLA, Harvard, Oxford, and Chicago referencing style. Before drafting this section know your university’s requirement regarding the formatting style of citation.

The Ideal Structure of a Good College Essay

A good college essay must consist of five paragraphs. They are mentioned below.

  • Introduction- first paragraph
  • Main body or content- second, third and fourth paragraph
  • Conclusion- last or fifth paragraph


The introduction should be a gateway to the main content of the essay. This introductory paragraph should introduce the larger context of the topic. Most importantly, this section should be interesting enough to engage the readers. This is the part, which will help your professors to have an idea about the standard of the entire essay. It is better to include the thesis statement i.e. the statement focuses on the core topic and the perspectives related to the topic. The smartest way to compose an impressive introduction is to incorporate an interesting opening sentence. There are several ways to write an impressive opening sentence. Those ways are mentioned below.

1. Rhetorical Question

To attract readers’ attention you can start the introductory part with a catchy rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is considered as one of the most effective literary tools to make a text interesting. This kind of questions does not demand any answer as the author already knows the answer. An example of a rhetorical question is quoted here from the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s masterpiece Ode to the West wind.

“O wind,

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

For your better understanding, some examples from daily language usage are given below.

“Who knows?”

“Why not?”

“Isn’t it?”

2. Use Famous Quote

The smartest method to begin an impressive essay is to include an admired quote of a famous author or person at the beginning of the introduction but it does not mean that you can use any quote. The quotation that you are going to incorporate in your essay should be relevant from the aspect of the topic you have selected.

3. Figurative Language

Figurative language makes an essay very interesting. It is suggested to use this language for writing a strong introduction. Figurative language refers to those phrases or words, which do not have a literal or normal everyday meaning. Figurative language can be used in many ways such as similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification.


Simile refers to the process of comparing a thing with something else using the terms or words- as or like.

Example- His will power is as strong as a rock


The metaphor is such kind of a literary tool that makes an implied or implicit contrast between two unrelated things.

Example- My sister is boiling mad (It means she is very angry)


Hyperbole refers to extreme exaggeration of a thing or point.

Example- I have watched this movie million times.


Personification refers to the method of assigning human qualities to a non-human object.

Example-  A golden opportunity is knocking at the door.

               The moon is blushing like a new bride.

4. Sentence Focusing on the Backdrop of your Area

To write an informative essay you can start with a sentence that concentrates on the background of the topic. It will help the readers to acquire some knowledge about the larger context of the issue or topic that you have chosen


An example is discussed here to make you understand how you can begin the introduction of your essay. For your convenience, let us determine a particular topic. Suppose the topic is- the relevance of Shakespeare’s works in this contemporary era. You can begin in the following format.

Literature reflects the society. Though Shakespeare’s works represent Elizabethan period…….his works are relevant in this contemporary society as well……….”

Main Body or the Content

The success of an essay depends on the well-formedness of the main body. In this section, you have to describe, explain, or argue the topic you have selected.  For your convenience, you can choose any three outlooks of the topic of your essay and discuss each of them in each paragraph of this section. Each outlook has to be elaborated and analyzed precisely. You need to compare and contrast all the aspects in order to draft a well informative college essay. The main body of a college essay can be written in the given structure if the topic is the relevance of Shakespeare’s works.

“Shakespeare’s Macbeth is still relevant now from the perspective of the politics…………”


Writing the concluding paragraph is considered as one of the toughest tasks as the conclusion is not only a summary of the entire essay. Your opinion should be reflected in this paragraph. You should not include any completely new aspect in this section.

“ …………….Shakespeare’s works are immortal…………” the Most Reliable Essay Guide

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