How to Write an Awesome College Essay – all You Need to Know

How to Write an Awesome College Essay – all You Need to Know
  • Opening Intro -

    This article will lay out eight steps to take in writing an awesome college essay in any class you take.

    Follow these steps, kick that essays' butt, and earn that 'A'.

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Ah… the dreaded essay. We’ve all have to write one at some point in our college careers. Some of us are masters at the art of compiling an awesome essay, but others struggle at the thought of turning in the final product. This article will lay out eight steps to take in writing an awesome college essay in any class you take. Follow these steps, kick that essays’ butt, and earn that ‘A’.

Step 1: The Rubric

Reading the rubric is probably the first and most obvious thing to start with when preparing to write an essay. The rubric is an outline of what the professor expects out the essay you will have written by the due date. Usually, this will include formatting instructions, questions that need to be answered within the essay, and/or possible essay topics.

Keep this piece of paper, take a picture of it, or even better save it on your computer if it was uploaded. This rubric is basically an outline for an ‘A’ in the eyes of your professor, so keep it handy.

Step 2: Choosing a topic

The topic for your essay could be relatively easy for some but a pain in the you-know-what for others. That rubric I mentioned could have some ideas or even three or four choices that you have to pick so just pick one that you know most about. If you’re an unlucky one, or if you find that having more freedom to choose is preferred then searching for a topic can be tough.

Read through your notes or texts and try and remember something that stood out to you as interesting. If there is something you find intriguing and you can find information on the topic easily in a search engine, then you will have probably found a good candidate. Shoot this idea to your professor, they usually love giving feedback on topics and will let you know if it is ‘do-able’.

Step 3: Brainstorming

This step is essential in figuring out what the meat of your essay will be about.

What questions can you ask?

What can you answer?

Mind maps are an awesome way to really get down to your argument and subtopics within your essay. Here is an awesome mind map strategy guide specifically for writing an essay and brainstorming on a topic. https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/learning_guides/learningGuide_mindMapping.pdf

Step 4: Getting your sources

Research can be a real pain if you’ve got no idea what you are doing. Luckily, if you’ve followed these steps you will have a solid topic and some key words in hand using that mind map or whatever you’ve concocted while brainstorming. With these notes you can easily plug in some of those key words into your libraries search engine and find articles or books on your topic.

If you have no earthly idea how to navigate your college’s library website, go to the library and ask a librarian. Librarians are super excited to help students find information, heck it’s their job! They will also probably know some secrets as to where you can find ‘the good stuff’ in regards to your topic. Just make sure that the topic you pick has enough sources because without them you may not have enough to write about.

Step 5: Your first and second draft

Yeah, I said first AND second. Two drafts are important, let me explain. The first draft should be a steady flow of whatever your mind has thought up while researching and reading sources on the topic. In the first draft you shouldn’t care too much about grammar or citing, just make sure that you’ve got some idea as to what you’ve cited for later. The second draft is a more concise draft. Run spell check for your first draft and check for long sentences and clear ideas. This draft should have citations according to the rubric that the professor outlined.

Step 6: Getting a second pair of eyes

Send your second draft to someone who you know is a good student and is willing to take time out of their day to help you edit (maybe even suggest editing their paper in return). A second pair of eyes does any paper justice. You’ve been looking at the computer for a while now and have probably missed a few things. A disclaimer when receiving constructive criticism is that some of it will be determined by their own stylistic choices, so if you think that something they suggest will take away from your style then don’t change it. If it’s in regards to grammar or unclear ideas or thoughts, consider revising.

Step 7: Final draft and submitting

The final draft should follow the rubric down to the formatting, probably twelve point Times New Roman font… Anyways, consider all of the feedback you’ve gotten and also just do another double-check on your own to make sure you iron out the paper. Read it out loud, that usually helps a lot too when making sure the paper flows.

Note that your essays can be used to help apply for scholarships. So do a thorough scholarship search for the next academic year.

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When submitting it, do it on time! Usually, if the submission is online you don’t have any extra time to spare so be prepared and use your time wisely. If you have to submit in person, be on time! Have the paper printed out and stapled by the time you come into class. Nothing peeves professors more than a bunch of students asking for a stapler… they don’t have one.

Step 8: Treat yo’ self!

You’ve done it! You’ve completed an original piece of work. It may seem stressful, but submitting and knowing that you are done is that best feeling in the world. Now that you’ve got a little more time on your hands before the next big assignment, do something relaxing. Meet up with a friend at a local coffee shop or read a book that isn’t related to school. Do something that you know will de-stress your mind for a little bit before you’ve got to hunker down again. You deserve it!

It may seem like most of the writing you do in college, especially in the beginning, isn’t really important. What you don’t know is that writing is a skill that almost every future employer will demand from any employee they hire. Here’s an article on CollegeExpress.com explaining this even further… http://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/majors-and-academics/articles/college-academics/cultivating-exceptional-writing-skills-success-college-and-beyond/

Following these steps will undoubtedly lead to better grades, but more importantly they will help improve your writing skills. Please share this article with friends or family members in college who may have a hard time with essays or just want to improve in general. It may not only save their grade, but also save their futures.

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