Easy Guide to Writing College-Style Essays

College freshman arrives at their first composition courses and soon find out that they are expected to write in a completely different format than they are used to.

This can be frustrating because writing differently takes some adaptation and there tend to be lingering feelings of betrayal, why teach me to write a certain way and then ask me to change it soon thereafter?

Even though these feelings are valid, it is important to not concentrate on them as they can keep you from moving forward to your new self as a college student.

Being a college student and essay writer is completely different from being a high school student; for one thing, there are a lot more responsibilities and expectations placed on you.

Once you adapt to this new style of life, you will be glad that you learned to write college-style essays, since this skill could come in handy for your future jobs.

Dos and Don’ts When Writing College Essays

  • Do write an outline and brainstorm before writing the paper
  • Do think of a thesis before writing the paper
  • Do write an introduction and a conclusion
  • Do include your thesis at some point in the introduction or towards the beginning of the paper
  • Do title your essay
  • Do include a bibliography page
  • Do use MLA format
  • Do use reputable sources for reference
  • Don’t list the topics of the essay in the first paragraph, as you normally would
  • Don’t write in a five-paragraph structure
  • Don’t reiterate everything that you already said in your conclusion
  • Don’t use un-reputable websites, such as Wikipedia

Steps to Writing a College-Style Essay


Your first step when writing a college essay should be to decide on a topic, researching can help you decide.

Researching is a good idea because reading articles and books on the subject that you are thinking about writing in can help you make sure that you don’t copy an idea that someone else already used.

More importantly, researching will aid you in deciding what to write about and how to write about it, based on what experts in the field are talking about and how.

Also researching will tell you if the topic you are thinking of writing about is a good one, ask yourself: Are there any sources that support my thesis?

Write a Thesis

Once you decide on a topic you can start working on your thesis, ask yourself: What is my argument or opinion on the subject?

Brainstorm, it is important that you sit down and write down all the different possible ways of writing your argument/thesis.

Your thesis is the most central part of your essay, so make sure that you spend enough time on it.

Your thesis should convey an argument or point of view, and it shouldn’t be something obvious. Something obvious would be for example saying that “Twilight” is a romance story.

Even though you could probably argue about whether this is the case, it is a fact that is known and accepted, so that using it as an argument won’t work.

A good thesis will be concise and to the point, making the argument clear. An example of a thesis is the following:

Through the experiences of Freya, the main character, in the novel The Mortal Storm, Phyllis Bottome can portray the crushing effect that Hitler’s movement had on the life of German women.

Find Sources that Support Your Argument

Do some more research, find sources that help you make your point, or support a general idea behind your argument.

Make sure that you use reputable sources; a good place to start is your College’s library.

If you are going to use an article, make sure that it is a peer-reviewed article. Peer-reviewed means that the article has been reviewed by authorities in the field.

Do an Outline

Write an outline, that breaks down how you will support your argument.

Make sure that you or an essay writer service incorporate into your outline the sources that you found from your research and quotes/references from the book/article/movie that your paper is about. This will help you know when to use these important elements as you write your paper.

Start Writing but Keep These Tips in Mind

You can finally begin your essay, but here are a few more tips to remember:

Your introduction should be interesting, draw your readers in and help you set up the context for the introduction of your thesis (which should come no later than the first or second paragraph).

The body of your paper should display arguments within your argument that help you prove your thesis. These arguments should be complimented and aided by the quotes/references and peer-reviewed sources that you previously included in your outline.

Don’t be afraid to write more than one paragraph on one idea, remember the body of your essay should be much longer than the 3 paragraphs that you are used to.

Your conclusion shouldn’t sum up your paper, instead, it should be enlightening and it should open the door for others to write on the same topic.

Your conclusion should talk about what you have concluded about the subject after writing the paper and about what others or you could write about in the future to advance the studies on the topic.

Happy Writing!

About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is a content editor at BuyEssayClub. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Currently, Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.