The Structure Of College Essay: How To Follow It

In college, writing assignments often determine students’ final grades, so it is crucial to know how to write them correctly. With the abundance of essay types, it might be challenging to learn everything about them, including format and structure. And it comes as no surprise, as numerous students lack time to delve deep into their assignments. Instead, they prefer to get a cheap college essay. It saves their time and allows them to work, do sports, and attend other extracurricular activities.

However, you don’t necessarily need to follow the same path. Having a bit of inspiration, you can follow the proper structure and finish off the paper independently. This guide will give you a clear idea of how to do that successfully.

College essay: definition

A college essay is a writing assignment with specific instructions and requirements. It usually has a word count of under ten pages. Instructors assign college essays because writing helps develop students’ analytical, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities. College papers also help teachers, showing them whether students progress throughout the academic year.

Types of college essays

Typically, there are seven fundamental essay types. They are:

  • Narrative
  • Descriptive
  • Argumentative
  • Expository
  • Analytical
  • Persuasive
  • Compare and contrast

 

Every type has its objective and goal, which the writer should achieve. For instance, a narrative essay tells a story. A student describes a personal experience in the form of an essay. A narrative essay tends to be among the easiest essay types because it doesn’t require referring to authoritative sources or following a formal writing style.

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In contrast, when writing an analytical essay, a student must examine the topic and present some claim. Although all those types differ in terms of aims, they share one common feature – a structure. Let’s take a closer look at that and find ways to follow it.

College essay structure and how to follow it

Each and every college essay comprises three essential components: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. It is a widely-known fact. Why do students find essays taxing then? The problem is, this structure is incomplete, meaning every particular element has its peculiar sub-parts. Ignoring (or, in many cases, not knowing about) them leads to low grades.

Introduction

An introduction, aside from kicking off the paper, has other vitally important functions. The introduction contains an opening sentence, background information, and a thesis statement. Here’s how it’s best to write them effectively:

An opening sentence

Also known as a hook, it aims to catch the reader’s attention. An opening sentence is a powerful and effective tool to make the audience excited. Hooks can be different. You can write the opening in the form of an anecdote, fact, misconception, shocking statement, or simply attach a relevant quote. When working on a hook, consider your audience and its preferences, as adding a joke might be irrelevant.

Background information

In simple terms, adding some background information helps the readers get a bigger picture of the topic. Adding some background related to your subject is a must, regardless of the paper type. When writing, make sure to make it concise and clear, i.e., no larger than two average sentences.

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Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is, without any doubt, the most critical element of any paper. It has arguments and ideas that the writer develops in the following paragraphs. A thesis statement is usually a single, ultimate sentence of the introduction. It has to be neither very specific nor too broad.

Body

The number of body paragraphs always depends on the paper’s word count and thesis statement’s arguments. For instance, a standard, 500-word essay with three arguments will have three body sections. Nonetheless, every unit should comprise the following components:

Topic Sentence

A topic sentence is the first sentence of every body paragraph. Its primary purpose is to take one idea or argument from the thesis and start developing it.

Advancement, Evidence, Explanation

Following the topic sentence, you should develop a stated argument, provide an authoritative opinion, and explain it to the reader. When looking for sources, make sure they are reliable, updated (published no longer than five years ago), and pertain to the topic.

Brief Conclusion and Transition

Once you develop your argument, refer to a credible source, and explain it, you should wrap up the content and move on to the next section. Make a brief conclusion and use transition phrases to make the paper coherent.

Conclusion

The conclusion is the essay’s last paragraph. Usually, students fail to write a comprehensive conclusion for three reasons:

  1. They repeat everything stated previously, word-for-word.
  2. They don’t meet the structure.
  3. They add additional information.

 

To avoid those errors, ensure following this structure along with tips:

Thesis reiteration

The first two sentences should correspond with the thesis statement. They must remind the audience of the reasons why this paper emerged. When writing, make sure to rephrase your sentences; no one likes regurgitation.

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Key elements

Once you restate your thesis, wrap up your paper’s content and highlight the main ideas everyone must know.

Call to Action

Call to Action usually aims to provoke a discussion or motivate the reader to continue researching the topic. It can also be a powerful sentence, striving to evoke emotions (especially in a narrative essay). Try to be creative and eloquent, nudging the reader to take action.

 

Amanda Sparks is a former college teacher. For the past four years, she has been working with students one-to-one, teaching them effective writing techniques. Amanda is also a freelance writer; she creates how-to guides and blog posts on various topics.

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