Your First College Essay is Due in 24 Hours. Now What?

Your First College Essay is Due in 24 Hours. Now What?
  • Opening Intro -

    It's not a secret that one of the biggest challenges college students face is beating deadlines.

    Blame it on the distractions because, well, they are many.


Anyway, you procrastinated, for whatever reason, which might have seemed urgent at the time. Or maybe you just didn’t feel like you were in the right mindset to tackle your essay.

Regardless, now you realize that you probably waited a bit too long, and the paper is due in 24 hours.

Now what?

Well, don’t panic just yet. You can still pull this off, and we’re going to show you how.

What You Shouldn’t Do

That last-minute feeling is terrible, to say the least. But you mustn’t freak out about the situation or allow negative thoughts to dampen your spirits.

Sure, you’ll probably curse yourself left, right, and center for being a terrible individual.

However, don’t waste time with negative self-talk. You’re going to need loads of motivation and willpower to make this paper seem like a piece of cake, and it’ll be when you believe it.

Therefore, your first and vital step is to adopt a positive attitude. Give yourself a pep talk if it helps.

“I can do this. This is nothing. I’ve been in worse situations!”

Now You Need a Plan

It’s time to put your plan in place. You can’t just start typing away, even if you’re itching to.

Remember, every successful endeavor has a solid plan behind it, and no, we won’t do a shoddy job of this assignment just because time’s running out. Without a proper plan in place, you’ll get stuck and waste even more time.

Relax, sit down with a piece of paper, and draw out your perfect plan. The best part is, we’ve got you covered on that with tips to write your first college essay in a matter of hours.

Allocate Time to Every Stage

Considering time is tight, you want to use it wisely. This means finding out just how much you need at every stage of the writing process.

It’s easy to misjudge the amount of time you’re spending on individual aspects like research, which you must be careful with.

So, instead, come up with a step-by-step layout of your work, from research to writing out the conclusion. Then allocate approximate timelines for each of these stages and try to work within the timeframes.

With that said, you may want to factor in a couple of extra hours just in case.

Jot Down the Thesis Statement

Regardless of how many ideas you may have, if you don’t have an angle, you’re basically an incoherent mess. You’ll feel stuck and waste precious time.

So, let’s start with the thesis statement and build up from there.

Why is a thesis so important anyway?

An easy way of understanding this would be to imagine your essay was a house; the thesis statement would be its foundation. You can’t tear the two apart because they make up the whole structure.

Remember, a thesis statement is not the same as your topic but a stance or attitude you assume within that topic. Once you nail it down, it may surprise you how easily everything else falls into place.

Start Researching

Strong research means strong arguments. How deep you went with your research is going to reflect in your work.

You don’t want it to look like you just came up with the whole thing a day before — of course you did, but nobody needs to know that.

Ensure the research part has plenty of time, allowing you to go through multiple sources and make notes.

Remember, you don’t have the time to go through all the books in the library dealing with the subject matter. You don’t need to anyway. Just pick a couple and focus more on online sources.

Write Down Your Main Points

Keep in mind, research gives you a wealth of information, but it’s all just a massive mess until you sort through it.

Take a notebook and go through all the info you have, creating points that’ll make up the body of your essay. You’ll quickly realize that there’s stuff in all that info that is perfect for your paper and elements that won’t work.

Don’t ignore this stage of the process. It keeps your work organized and moving faster.

Write Out the Content

All that’s left now is to fill up your essay’s body with content. It may seem daunting, but that’s because you haven’t started yet.

Relax. You have all the info you need; you just have to present it in a unique, personal way.

A fun way of turning this stage of your writing a total breeze is to put yourself in the shoes of a know-it-all.

What do they like to do?

They tend to talk and argue a lot, and today you’re honored to be one of them. Now, start talking about your points, and don’t stop typing until you finish.

Don’t interrupt your thought process by worrying about spelling and grammar mistakes. Leave all that for the editing process.

Edit Your Essay

Now you can breathe. Your work is almost done.

Our advice? Take a break to refresh your mind. Eat, listen to some music, or call a friend.

Now, come back and start editing and fine-tuning your essay. This is the part that’ll level the playing field with those who began their paper sooner.

other related articles of interest:

Write the Conclusion

Always leave the conclusion for last.

Read through your essay and see how the ideas fall in line. It’ll be easier to wrap up your thoughts perfectly after.


Nobody likes to get caught up in the last-minute rush. It’s anxiety-inducing.

Still, if for some reason, you find yourself with a paper due in a few hours, don’t panic.

If you implement these tips, you should be able to race through the assignment and come out just fine on the other side.

Author bio:
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Cheney to help them with their online marketing.

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Categories: Education Tips