Writing Your College Essay

A recurring phenomenon among college students of today is that they find themselves challenged when faced with the problem of writing a competent, satisfactory essay that will pass grading and get a good mark. Teachers and lecturers make great emphasis on your college essay writing to enable you express the views on certain matters.

A problem often arises when you have not been provided with any topic, but have been asked to choose a topic of your own in writing your college essay. This can prove to be both encouraging as well as cumbersome - encouraging because you have not been restricted by any boundary for writing your college essay, and cumbersome, because you might tend to use up too much time thinking of what to mention in your college essay writing. In such a case, you should:

  • Be sure of the objective of your college essay - whether you want to debate a matter of contention, or you want to explain some particular subject of interest and thereby inform and make people more aware.
  • In searching for a topic to write your college essay on, you will inevitably narrow your choices down to a few. Brainstorming with your peers or your elders often helps to broaden the spectrum of your thoughts and thus helps you in accomplishing your task of writing a good essay. If narrowing down of topics has still eluded you, then you can fish for topics that have relevance in the world surrounding you - be it social (ex. human rights violation and their enforcement, child trafficking and abuse), economic (ex. Financial crisis in Europe, do higher rates of taxation encourage evasion of taxes?), political (ex. Space colonization and its effects on world peace, disarmament and its success after the Cold War era), etc.
  • When you have the topics for your college essay writing short-listed, gauge the potential of each topic by how well you'll be able to express yourself and, at the same time, be successful in attaining the aforementioned objective.

Tips for Writing my College Essay

Writing a good essay is not something that can be rigorously spoon-fed. It is not something that can be laid down in a set of hard-and-fast rules, but it does involve a few simple, but vital steps

  • A concrete introduction - one that will help the readers familiarize themselves with the problem/matter.

A point to be noted is that a good essay should not spend too many words with the introduction, because it tends to become repetitive and monotonous. A good introduction is one which will rivet the attention of the reader to your essay. In writing your college essay introduction you may use anecdotes, interesting information, quotations (but never overdo it!) or simply an overview of the topic. But remember - do not deviate from the topic which you have been asked to write upon!

  • In writing the body of your essay, the topic will have to be explained/argued.

The points in your mind will have to materialize on paper in the form of paragraphs (a paragraph for each point is often regarded as an ideal way of presenting your thoughts).

Now, for every point, it is possible that you have a few more sub-points that either corroborate your argument or enhance your explanation. Lets say the topic you are writing your college essay on is "do higher rates of taxation encourage evasion of taxes?", then as a point you can mention how levying of higher taxes is based upon the economic state of a country and its developmental plans, foreign relations etc. And as sub-points you can explain how a debt-ridden country would want to exact more money from its citizens to keep its head above the waters of a financial meltdown, and consequently how the citizens will tend to escape from the jaws of heavy taxes; how foreign relations (with economically able countries) help in rescuing a country out of the depths of insolvency; how the development of industry and increasing trade ensures greater inflow of money and consequently lower rates of tax, etc.

When you have finished explaining/debating a point, you can include a sentence to summarize your paragraph. However, such sentences are barely necessary and might sound redundant and thus must be used with caution.

  • After you have finished writing the body of your college essay, you will need to sum up the points laid down in the previous paragraphs and provide your views on the matter.

Now as a reader finishes reading the essay, you, as the writer, would want to ensure that your writing has been able to strike a chord. And for this all you need are three or four strong sentences - make sure that the sentences don't become too long. However, care should be taken to see that in providing your opinions on the matter you don't become heavily biased. Inclination towards a particular thought is appreciable and not outright prejudice. Like the introduction, the conclusion should also be short and precise.

Apart from the above guidelines, few other points to be kept in mind while writing your college paper:

  • Keep the sentences as short as possible. Constructing long sentences might confuse the reader and while writing them you will be more prone to making mistakes.
  • Use more active verbs instead of passive in writing your college paper.
  • Keep the language simple. Making it too verbose might result, again, in the reader losing interest.
  • Apart from facts, statistics and figures, quotations, keep your college essay as original as possible.
  • Avoid too colloquial language. Ensure that the tone is never offensive, and if possible introduce humor in a few places, but ensure it isn't too obvious to be funny.
  • If any word limit for your college paper is given, deviate as less as possible.

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