You will likely need to be able to write an essay as a college . A good academic essay is a way to present an idea or make an argument about a topic. This skill is great for college students, especially if it’s new. We have created a step-by-step guide to help you write an essay. This plan can be used to help you write all types of essays like college essays, research papers, and scholarships.


How do I start an essay? It doesn’t matter what type of essay you are writing, understanding the assignment or question is the first step. This will give you a clear direction for the main body of your essay, which should respond to or speak to the prompts.

Remember that even though you might be able to write well, if your writing is not on point, you could still receive a poor grade. You might find it useful to split the question into two parts.

  1. What is the prompt directly questioning?
    • What topic should an essay be about?
    • What length should the essay be?
    • How much research and background information is required to understand the topic?
  2. What is the indirect prompt?
    • Are you asking me for my opinion? Or the opinion of credible academic sources or facts?
    • How can I connect this essay topic with what we have studied in class?

After you have identified the question, begin brainstorming ideas for your essay. You may come up with many great ideas when you brainstorm. Focus on the task at hand. Make sure you are familiar with the format (APA or Chicago), word count, deadlines, and style guidelines (e.g. Page number at a specific place, date, cover page.

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Start your essay by introducing a thesis statement. This will help guide the entire paper and grab the attention of the reader.

Clear thesis is one sentence that connects the central point or intention. It summarizes your topic and outlines your position. A thesis statement that is well-written can make the difference between an A or a B .

You should also match your thesis statement to the prompt. Also, make sure you do this in the first sentence. There are two types of thesis. The persuasive one makes arguments about the content of your essay. Informative ones state the purpose of your essay.

A thesis is a statement of your opinion and the reason why it is true.

Example John Steinbeck, the greatest author, is best because he creates his characters. This persuasive thesis is where you state your opinion (best author) as well as the reason (develops his characters).

Informative essays require a thesis to declare your intention and guide the reader towards the same conclusion.

Example: Writing an essay requires preparation, proofreading and formatting. This statement states that in order to write a great essay, one must first prepare, proofread, then format.


Before you start writing your research paper/essay, make sure to create an outline. From your thesis statement, create a plan for how your paper will flow and the information you wish to include.

This could make it easier to write the entire draft of your paper. For any piece of writing, you should consider a beginning (introduction paragraph), middle (main body), and an end (conclusion paragraph).

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The introduction is not the most important part of your introduction. Don’t start with the introduction. Students often struggle with the introduction. You can then develop your ideas and thoughts, and then come back to integrate your main ideas into your introduction.


Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. This is the main idea for the paragraph. You should include quotes and contextual information in each paragraph to support your thesis statement and topic sentence.


Credible sources are important for two reasons. You want to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you copy something and don’t cite the source. This is a big no-no and could lead to an F grade or other consequences.

A second point is that you must be able to support your argumentative essay statements. It is important to include context information and quotes in your argumentative essay. They establish credibility and support you point of view.

Some examples of scholarly resources include:

  • Academic journals
  • Articles peer reviewed
  • Textbooks and eBooks
  • Books by accredit authors

Some Unacceptable scholarly Sources are:

  • Magazine articles
  • Submissions to the open forum
  • Encyclopaedia entries
  • Sources online that are not verified

Google Scholar is a great resource for finding credible sources to support your essay.

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Teachers don’t know . Don’t write an essay that doesn’t answer the question. If you don’t understand the prompt, it is a good idea to avoid fluff and rambling. Make sure every sentence is relevant to your essay. You can remove it if it’s not necessary. Teachers would prefer a well-written essay that isn’t too long than one that is.


Always begin your conclusion by reiterating your thesis statement. You have the chance to bring together all your key points and end with a bang. The conclusion should address each paragraph’s main arguments in a concise manner and prove your thesis statement.


To create a great essay, it is important to review. If essays aren’t grammatically correct or filled with spelling mistakes, teachers may not be able to finish them. These are some ways to make your research paper or essay more acceptable academically.

  • All conjunctions (aren’t, don’t, couldn’t, etc.) should be removed. This will make your paper more long and better suited for academic writing.
  • Take a piece of paper and print it. Then, mark it up. This way, you will see more mistakes than if it is printed out.
  • It is a good idea to have your parents or friends read it. You can have another set of eyes to catch any errors you made.
  • It is best to read it aloud. This will help you avoid grammar errors. It is possible to make grammatical errors if it sounds incorrect.


These are nine tips for writing great essays for college, scholarship and homework.

  1. Be sure to understand the topic that you are writing about
  2. Write a strong, clear, concise thesis to set the tone/intent/direction
  3. In a rough draft, outline your thoughts and ideas
  4. If you’re having trouble understanding the introductory paragraph, circle back to it.
  5. Each paragraph must have a sentence that frames the topic it will be discussing.
  6. Cite reliable sources and use these quotes for support
  7. Keep your eyes on the topic that you have clarified in step 1.
  8. End by summarizing the points you have made and how they led to them.
  9. Make sure to check for mistakes and make sure that your essay is on the right track

Writing an essay on a topic that is unfamiliar to a writer of any skill level can be difficult. The following writing tips can make it a lot easier and less stressful. Apply for scholarships using your writing skills. To find scholarships written that match your criteria, visit our Scholarship Match.

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