How to Write an Essay: 5 Steps to Writing a Great College Essay


Ever since you were little, you’ve been writing essays and tests for your classes. Whether it was for English, history, or language arts, you probably remember how frustrating essays used to be for you. Now that you’re older and more mature as a writer, these subjects shouldn’t come as much of a challenge. In fact, when it comes time to write an essay in college, they should feel like a breeze instead of a burden on your shoulders. But how do you know if the way you are writing is effective? Keep reading so that you can form a clear plan and easily execute your ideas in no time at all!


Define your goal

Before you head into one of the most difficult parts of writing, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve with the essay. This will help you to write the essay in a specific way so that you will reach the outcome that you want. For example, if your goal is to communicate a message, you would want to be sure that your essay makes that message clear to the reader. You could also write about different ways to achieve your goal, if you’re trying to show that you have multiple perspectives on a subject. You can also go into detail about what your essay is about if you want to make it more interesting for your reader. You could give examples from your own life, or you could use information from a book or other source. Be sure to keep your essay focused on one main topic, though. Otherwise, your essay will be too long and not very useful to the reader.


Step 2: Set up your writing space

Whatever your goal is with the essay, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right writing space. You could choose a corner of your bedroom to set up your desk, or you could choose a more formal setting for your essay. If you are writing about something that happens in your daily life, you could write in your dorm or in a café or library. You could also choose to write in your car when you need to be somewhere in a hurry. Try to find a setting that makes you feel comfortable as you are writing, since you will be spending a lot of time in this setting. Choose an area where you won’t be bothered by other things that may be going on in the room such as other people, electronics, and appliances. You may choose to use the room without any distractions such as a white board or an empty notebook. You may choose to use the same room each time so that you can set up the right environment without needing to adjust to different surroundings.


Step 3: Brainstorm ideas

Now that you are ready to write, you will need some ideas to work with. When brainstorming, keep three things in mind: what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why you want to say it. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can for the essay. Some ideas could come from reading the assigned reading or from the professor or professor’s notes. Other ideas could come from your own life, family, or friends. Whatever the source of your ideas is, you want to write down as many as you can. You may want to take two separate notebooks or two separate pages of a notebook so that you can get everything down. Alternatively, you may want to use a computer program to help you keep all of the ideas organized and straight. You will then be able to easily find the right idea when you are ready to write. Keep in mind that you want to use a lot of detail in your essay, so be sure to use as many words as you can when you are brainstorming. Even though you may not use all of the words you write down, they will help to give you ideas as you work through them.


Step 4: Write and edit

When you have a list of ideas, it’s time to begin writing your essay. When you’re done with the brainstorming, you want to start with the actual essay. When you’re writing your essay, keep the three parts of brainstorming in mind: what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why you want to say it. If you’re not sure where to start, start with a concrete example from your own life, or from a book or other source. When you’re done with your first draft, you want to edit it. This means that you want to go through your essay and take out all of the unnecessary words, reword things that don’t make sense, and generally clean up the draft. Make sure that there is nothing left in the essay that is confusing to the reader. You may have to take the essay out and re-write some of the paragraphs. When you’re done with your editing, you want to re-read the essay to make sure that you are clear on what you are trying to say.


Step 5: Wrap it up

Don’t forget to finish your essay on time. This means that you should put a date on the essay, whether it is your due date or a few days before. If you have an extension, you should take it. This will let the professor know that you are doing the work and will also give you extra time if you need it. However, do not leave the assignment until the professor has given you permission to do so. When you’ve finished the essay and you’ve put a date on it, you want to read it over carefully. Look for any errors in grammar or spelling and re-write anything that does not make sense. Once you’ve done this, you want to submit the essay. This could be in the form of a paper, an e-mail attachment, or a dropbox link. It may be worth noting that some professors require essays to be submitted online. If this is the case, make sure that you follow the directions provided by the professor.



Your college years may be some of the most important years in your life. You will either be getting ready to enter the real world and get a job, or you may be hoping to get into a good college where you can further your education. College is a great opportunity to make new friends, explore new ideas, and learn more about yourself. However, it is important to remember that college is not easy. It is filled with new challenges, new situations, and new things to learn. It is important to be prepared for them all by being well-prepared for college. College essays are a great way for students to showcase their personality, their thoughts, and their ideas. When you understand how to write an essay, it will be easier to show the reader what you have to offer. Make sure that you keep these five steps in mind when writing your essay. Then, you will be able to show the reader what you have to offer, and you will be able to succeed in college.

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Daniel Salvatore

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