Essay Writing Tips for University Students

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Essay writing is a major component of the university academic curriculum for many programs. It can  also be pretty daunting for anyone who has never written an essay for university. Get off to the best possible start or improve upon your existing writing skills with these tips.

 

Plan Your Paper

If you’re going to write a successful essay, you need to understand the topic and create a good plan. Good planning includes effective time-management, essay mapping, and goal completion. First, create a schedule and stick to it. Next, map out the steps for completing your paper. For example, the first step should be to choose a topic. Additional, important steps should be:

  • Do some research
  • Take notes from the research on your essay topic
  • Create an outline
  • Write your first draft
  • Submit the first draft to a writing centre, professor, or your peers for feedback
  • Use feedback to complete your final draft
  • Proofread before turning in the paper

While mapping your essay is important, you should also take note of and meet any milestones/deadlines set by your professor. These milestones will also help with essay planning and time management. However, setting your own milestones and/or goals could boost your confidence and performance. Mark these goals off as you complete them. The final step in a successful essay-writing plan is simply to turn in the paper on time.

 

Show Your Critical Thinking Skills

Unbeknownst to most university students, the true purpose of essay writing is to test and enhance critical thinking skills. Of course, essays can also be an expression of students’ general knowledge, understanding in certain areas, and learned skills. However, blatant critical thought and analysis may be the greatest testament to what a student knows and has learned. Critical thinking can also be the difference between an average essay and an excellent one. If you want yours to stand out, engage with the theories and arguments you present, provide an academic and intelligent analysis – don’t just repeat other authors’ points and thoughts or information from your research.

 

Understand the Topic

Not understanding the essay topic is actually the top reason why students receive failing grades on essay assignments. Before starting your paper, make sure you understand the topic or research questions, as well as your professor’s expectations for the paper. If you’re unsure, then ask questions – even the simple ones. It can be extremely helpful to simply ask what you should do on the paper. This will help you decide what and how much to research. Remember that some essay assignments require more in-depth research and analysis than others. However, make sure you perform targeted, concise research that thoroughly covers your essay topic or questions. Think of the process as similar to what you'd do when looking for the best student housing Ottawa has to offer. Your search should be as narrow as possible and be based on your needs and pre-determined criteria. And the more you know about what you're looking for, the better the results. This applies to writing a great essay and finding great housing!

 

Build a Solid Structure

An essay that flows well is easier to read and follow. It also aids in conveying your messages throughout the paper. So, make sure your essays always have a logical structure. The most basic structure, includes:

  • An introduction, stating your hypothesis or the main ideas of your essay
  • A body, presenting your main points or arguments
  • A conclusion, summarizing the main points covered in the essay and presenting any reflection on them

To ensure your paper follows this basic structure, just create an outline to use as a guide. This will also help you create a focused argument or story arc. Furthermore, a strong structure can ensure your paper stays on track and only covers points relevant to the essay topic. Additionally, the order of your paragraphs should make the paper cohesive and comprehensive. Just remember to use logical transitions between the main points and paragraphs and reorder them as needed. Good luck!

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