Basics of College Essay Writing: Structure and Distinctive Features

I have found recently an article presenting college essay advice from Michael Winerip, a New York Times columnist. Following the example of Mr. Winerip I decided to give some time to exploring peculiarities of college writing since nowadays essays are often offered as homework assignment. Writing helps in developing some useful skills such as independent creative thinking and ability to express thoughts and arguments in a written form. It allows a person to learn how to put ideas clearly and correctly, how to arrange information and to use basic concepts, how to infer cause-and-effect relationships and to support the experience by relevant examples. Besides, essays have become a necessary part of documentation package for admission helping college authorities to select the best of the best among applicants.

It is clear that admissions essays differ from critical, narrative or descriptive essays in some aspects, but there are common features of various types of essays and we’d like to go deep into this subject.

Essay structure

Let’s start from basic requirements for college essay writing which determine the structure of any essay:

– author’s ideas on the problem are set in the form of short theses;

– author’s thoughts have to be supported by arguments, i.e. each thesis should be followed by an argument.

Arguments are facts, phenomena of social life, events, real-life situations and experience, scientific evidence, references to scientists’ opinion, etc. It is better to adduce at least two arguments in favor of each thesis since one argument is unpersuasive.

Thus, we can say an essay features a ring structure where the number of theses and arguments depends on a topic and a plan as well as on the logic of presentation:

– Introduction,

– Thesis and arguments,

– Thesis and arguments,

– Thesis and arguments,

– Conclusion.

When writing an essay it is important to consider the following common requirements:

– Introduction and conclusion should focus on the problem (in the introduction it is set forth while in the conclusion an author’s opinion on the problem is summarized).

– Remember that college essay writing requires paragraph indention and logical connection between paragraphs for archiving the integrity of an essay.

– As for the style of writing it is important to understand that an essay requires some emotionality, expressiveness, and artistry. Experts believe that the proper effect can be provided by short and simple sentences of varied intonation. However, style reflects personality, so it’s up to the author.

Before you begin to write an essay

Here are some questions answering which you’ll be able to define clearly what is to write about:

– Touching on your personal qualities and abilities in the essay ask yourself:

Do I differ from other people I know in some or other quality? How is this quality manifested?

– Speaking about activities you are engaged in:

What made me go into this kind of activity? Why do I keep doing this?

– If you are going to mention some event in your life:

Why do I remember this event? Has it changed me as a person? How did I react? Was this something I have never experienced before?

– If you are going to mention some person:

Why am I going to mention this particular person? Do I strive to be like him/her? Which of his/her qualities I admire? Did he/she say something I would remember for a lifetime? Have I revised my views?

– Touching on your preferences and on what you don’t like:

Why do I like this or why don’t? Did this affect my life to a significant extent?

– Telling about each of your failures:

What did I learn from this situation?

Distinctive features of an essay

Since there are various types of essay, each of them having its peculiarities, it’ll be useful to highlight some common features of the genre:

– small volume (usually from three to seven pages of computer text though there are no commonly-accepted limits);

– specific topic and pronouncedly personal interpretation of it;

– free composition;

– easy narration;

– tendency for usingaphoristic statements and paradoxical definitions;

– unity of semantic;

– commitment to colloquial language.

Even you had been good at essay writing in your high school times you must go through the above guidelines. Otherwise the help is always there to find someone who can write for you, like

If you have any questions, please ask below!