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10 Tips for Writing College Essays

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College writing is unavoidable. However, most students agree that writing is their greatest weakness. Some are troubled with knowing where to start while others don't know how to conclude their final thoughts. The key to a great idea is knowing how to organize it into an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Within this blog, we’ll discuss how to creatively write those ideas on paper. Learn how to critically think and discover 10 new tips for writing college essays.

1. Create an outline

If you fall into the group of individuals who know what they want to write about but have difficulty organizing their thoughts, one simple tip is to create a rough outline to guide you. The outline will be formatted to follow your research paper. Start by choosing three major topics you’d like to cover in your paper. Then, within each of these topics, write down three points you’d like to make about that topic. Follow this tip for writing college essays and your paper will flow more smoothly.

2. Have someone proofread your work

Do you have a friend that’s good at writing? Perhaps an acquaintance is an English major. It’s always a great idea to put thoughts on paper, then let a friend look over them. Don’t know anyone who is particularly talented at writing? Even your roommate can help. He or she might see places that need more explanation; furthermore, this person can point out simple errors.

Ultius edits your paper in three easy steps. First, upload your draft. Then, our professional editors will review and make changes to your essay. Lastly, your finalized draft is securely posted for you to download. The benefits of an expert editor not only include correcting any mistakes in your paper, but also providing feedback for future work.

3. Choose an essay topic you're interested in

While learning new things is always a bonus of any class assignment, if you aren’t quite confident in your writing, do what the experts say: stick to what you know. Start by brainstorming ideas on paper and turn this into your outline. Research all you need to know about your topic.

Let’s say your history professor assigns a research paper on famous WW2 battles. If you aren't aware of D-day or El Alamein, but you know a good bit about Iwo Jima, then choose to write about Iwo Jima. The ideas flow more easily when you know a little about your topic.

Need help writing about a topic? Try speedwriting! What is speedwriting? The solution you need to quickly write a college essay.

4. Utilize editing software to help write your college essay

Google Docs

Which software helps you write? Microsoft Word is a common tool for students. However, Word has a multitude of drawbacks and, unless you remember to turn on the autosave feature, you could lose your work should your machine lose power. Consider using Google Docs. This tech tool saves your work as you go. Plus, if a friend agrees to look over your essay through Google Docs, he or she can simply open it up, read the document, and automatically save comments.

Distraction-free writing apps

Are you constantly picking up your phone and scrolling through social media? Distraction-free writing apps will keep you from being able to access certain websites and they turn off notifications from social media such as Facebook.

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Other tech tools

Google Docs and distraction-free writing apps are not the only tech tools you can utilize to write an awesome paper. Do you lack confidence in your grammar skills? There are a number of spell checker apps across the web that you can utilize to improve the grammar and usage of your paper. Find a detailed list of helpful tools here.

5. Dedicate time to crafting your thesis statement

Your thesis statement should be considered the backbone of your research paper. Grab your outline. The three points that you chose to write about should be incorporated into your thesis statement.

Your thesis might look something like this: The Battle of the Bulge was a costly one to American troops; however, it was a pivotal victory that directly led to the Allied victory in Europe. As you can see, the topic of your paper has to do with the Battle of the Bulge. Your professor can expect you to describe the battle, detail American losses, but to also explain why this battle led to an Allied victory on the European front.

6. Write an interesting introduction

At Ultius, we have the tips for writing college essays. A well-written introduction grabs the reader and sets the mood for the rest of the essay.

Again, in keeping with the WWII theme, you might quote General Patton or Eisenhower regarding the battle. You can also use statistics to begin an introduction. Anything interesting pertaining to your topic will catch the reader’s attention, which is what you are aiming to do. Your introduction should be at least five sentences, and the thesis should be the final sentence in the introductory paragraph.

7. Address your thesis and key points in the body of your paper

Your body should be based on the ideas already laid out in your outline. Make sure that each body paragraph has a topic sentence explaining what the paragraph will be about. Now, think back to the outline you made earlier - remember the subtopics you listed under each topic? Those are the points you want to cover in your paragraph. You’re also going to want to add support in your body paragraphs regarding your topic. Try to have a good mixture of actual quotations along with paraphrased information from your sources.

8. Cite your work and make sure you're using the correct citation style

Citing information you gather as you research—and citing it correctly —is imperative as a college student. Plagiarism, even done unintentionally, can cost you more than a failing grade; it can bring an end to your academic career. The Purdue OWL, and our own writer help section are great, all-in-one resources for in-text citations as well as creating a reference page. Before you begin writing your paper, double check the citation style your professor requires. Then, utilize the guides for creating your in-text citations. A word to the wise - if a piece of information is not commonly known, cite it so that the possibility of plagiarism is eliminated.

9. Summarize your conclusion

Experiencing writer's block? Follow these Ultius tips for writing college essays and you'll never be stuck again. Writing the conclusion is just summarizing the ideas put forth in your paper. Begin by stating your argument once more. Then, briefly synopsize the main points of your paper. It's that easy!

10. Edit And revise

Once you have finished writing the initial draft, take some time to read over your paper. Make sure that there is a definitive argument in your paper.

  • Does your introduction feature eye-catching statements?
  • Does your conclusion wrap up your argument?
  • Do your body paragraphs have at least one or two pieces of information from your research that support your argument?
  • Is it cited correctly?
  • Finally, look at the rubric your professor provided - have you met these requirements?

Follow these 10 tips for writing college essays and you'll be well on your way to an "A" on future writing assignments.

Whether you’re writing college essays straight out of high school or you’re going back to school in your 30s, Ultius is here to help!

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Ultius, Inc. "10 Tips for Writing College Essays." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. Ultius Blog, 23 Aug. 2018. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/tips-for-writing-college-essays.html

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Ultius, Inc. (2018, August 23). 10 Tips for Writing College Essays. Retrieved from Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services, https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/tips-for-writing-college-essays.html

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Ultius, Inc. "10 Tips for Writing College Essays." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. August 23, 2018. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/tips-for-writing-college-essays.html.

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Ultius, Inc. "10 Tips for Writing College Essays." Ultius | Custom Writing and Editing Services. August 23, 2018. https://www.ultius.com/ultius-blog/entry/tips-for-writing-college-essays.html.

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