So you need to write an essay for college. Though you might feel like using a few of your own when you get the assignment to write one, ‘essay’ is not a four-letter word. Everyone knows that rather than sitting down to write an essay, most students would rather sing the national anthem while singing in a vat full of sharks. And hey, it’s not really that hard to understand why.
After all, all the brainstorming, outlining and agony involved in writing an essay is time you could spend snoozing. Right? Wrong. You’d be surprised that once you understand that all essays have a structure, everything becomes easy as pie. Especially if you take a course such as this one that shows you the ropes when it comes to college-level essay writing.
Half the Battle is Getting Started
Whether the essay assigned to you is informative, persuasive or reflective, half the battle is in choosing the topic (i.e., getting started). The beginning of a great essay is a great topic. If a group of topics don’t really interest you, think of how it would feel to be the one reading your essay.
When you look for an essay topic to write about, select a complex topic that will hold the interest of your readers but not so complicated that it can’t be written in three to five pages! With this in mind, here is one article you will enjoy reading that gives you all the tips and tricks.
Informative Essay Topics
Telling your readers the why and how of a subject is the purpose of an informative essay. Select topics that you are fascinated by and want to research further, or which you are knowledgeable about. Just as its name suggests, an informative essay’s objective is to inform readers about a particular subject.
- Science- Write about the psychology of sports, personality, creativity or weight loss. Describe what effects on your brain exercise has. Choose a widespread misconception or myth and explain why this is false.
- The Arts- Write about the influence celebrities have on the culture of younger people or trending films. Write about how different music genres affect society.
- History- Dig deeper into a historical theory of conspiracy. Trace the path of an adventurer or explorer. Contrast/ compare a contemporary culture aspect with the same aspect of a foreign, historical culture.
Persuasive Essay Topics
When writing a persuasive essay, you are really trying to get readers to be on your side about a certain issue. Great topics always have 2 opposing, clearly defined viewpoints. Make a commitment to one of them.
- The government- Should there be a ban on state lotteries? Argue your position. Take a strong position on our government’s checks and balances system. Get your readers persuaded that the system does not work or that it does. Foreign aid—for it or against it? Explain why or why not.
- The media- to what extent, if any, does violence in music and in movies responsible for society’s violence? Tell your readers the extent. Defend your views on whether reporters should be required to name their source or what the influence of twenty-four hour society news coverage on the community is.
- The internet- Should the net have the same censorship as radio and television? Is there too much privacy invasion online? Make strong arguments for or against shutting websites down when they allow free downloads of music.
Reflective Essay Topics
Reflective essays let you express your perceptions or your thoughts about an object, event or purpose. The intention is to reveal a bit about your character or personality rather than to demonstrate your knowledge about a subject. In other words, giving your essay a voice is one way of getting your message across, the way this course on essay writing shows you.
- Think of something you have seen that is unique, something you lived through or had done that not many people have experienced. Have you volunteered at a hospital? Finished a marathon? Traveled to a foreign country? Realize what interesting experiences these are and write about it.
- Write about people you admire. You can relate how your life and character was influenced by this person. You can write about any person in the world- a public figure, friend, teacher, coach or relative.
- Have there been challenges you have faced? What did you have to do to overcome these challenges and in the process what did you learn about yourself? Tell readers about the wisdom you gained from failing if you did not overcome the challenge.
When You Get a Prompt
There will be times when you are assigned to write an essay and can create your own argument. In college, however, there are also times when the professor presents you with an essay prompt that you will need to write about. You still have some freedom about how to interpret the prompt, but being guided by a few factors won’t hurt either.
- A quote- many professors will provide you with an essay prompt that happens to be a quote. It is important to do a thorough analysis of the quote, whom it is meant for, what it is about and whether it applies to text your instructor assigned previously. Take your time analyzing the quote since if you jump to conclusion or dismiss it, the rest of your essay could be flawed in the most fundamental way. When questions are presented along with the quote, take your time answering the questions and see how they apply to the quote.
- Make a thesis- your next step would be to create a thesis. This will be your essay’s central focus. It needs to be an argument or idea that you can take a stand on. You should be able to explain clearly how the prompt assigned relates to the statement of thesis. If you have a hard time connecting the thesis to the prompt, keep reworking this until there is a clear connection.
- Making claims- once you created a clear argument and a solid thesis, clams that support your position should be used in your essay’s body. Create a rough draft and read through this again. Your claims should not deviate from the thesis in any way. One example is if the instructor asks you to take a stand on how effective certain themes are in pieces of literature, take examples directly from the text to support your perspective. If you find that some claims deviate from the prompt, rewrite the section to make sure that your essay remains focused.
- For your essay to be a success, all evidence and claims you are presenting need to be unified and harmonious. Your claims need to build off from one another and be connected with direction and smooth transitions that keep the essay as a whole in mind. Restate your position in the final section to round out your argument, telling how each of the claims supports it, just the way this course shows you.
A Note on College Essays
Great essays for college are written in an academic style and are quite concise. Use transition phrases, words and varied lengths of sentences to make sure your writing flows. Carefully select your words and be precise about what meaning you are attempting to convey. Finding the best words to express ideas is what being concise means. Avoid regional expressions and slang and as much as possible, avoid the passive voice. To make smooth transitions that result in great essays, here is one course that shows you how to do just that.