Being a college student can be both challenging and rewarding, especially if you’re pursuing your academic studies full-time. As such, having to write essays and papers is just an added perk in your life as a full-time student! However, many students often don’t know how to make their essays stand out from the crowd. Follow these 10 amazing tips on becoming a better essay writer, and you’ll surely have your professors eating out of the palm of your hand!
1) Start with your main idea
The first sentence of an essay, also known as its topic sentence, should introduce your topic and tell your reader exactly what you’re going to discuss. To start off right, take some time with these tips on how to write an effective opening sentence. Once you’ve got your topic down, writing the rest of your essay will be much easier.
2) Support your point of view
Think about it, if you want your essay to stand out among dozens of other applications, why should anyone trust what you have to say? Why should they believe that you’re an individual who will bring something special and valuable to their class? In order for people to take your ideas seriously, they need evidence that shows that you know what you’re talking about. And there are few things as convincing as facts and statistics. Why? Because readers can check up on them.
3) Include facts and statistics
The most effective way to grab readers’ attention is through stats and research. A recent study found that people who ate one apple every day for a month lowered their blood pressure by 8 percent. Mentioning facts like these will make your essay come alive, demonstrating your ability as an informed writer. Make sure you can back up any claims with reputable sources.
4) Use quotes
Before you ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, get inspired. Find something from someone who has said something inspiring and tweet it or pin it on your wall. Quotes are known for encouraging us when we’re down, but did you know they can also be motivational? There’s no easier way to kickstart your writing than by reading through some of these fantastic quotes.
5) Use bullet points
One of my favorite points from these 10 tips is: use bullet points. This is an easy way to get your point across in one quick, concise line. If you’re struggling with outlining your essay, try breaking it down into bullet points and then putting those bullet points into more detailed sentences later on in your writing process. It can help keep you focused and on topic.
6) Write in third person
When you’re writing in third person, you’re looking at your character as an outsider. You can ask yourself questions like: How would my character react if he knew his friend was lying? or What would my character say when she makes a mistake? This perspective is helpful for two reasons: 1) It gives your characters agency; 2) It helps you get inside their heads and understand them better.
7) Turn off your phone
If you’re one of those people who can’t seem to keep away from their phone, even when it’s time to write an essay, try putting your phone on silent (or turning it off altogether) while you write. In many cases, your smartphone is distracting you from focusing on what really matters: writing.
8) Avoid using too many quotes
One of my biggest pet peeves as an editor is when I come across essays with huge chunks of quotes from scholarly sources—usually because students are too lazy to paraphrase and summarize. A good rule of thumb for essay writers: Use about three direct quotes per page, with each quote no more than a few lines long. Remember, your goal is not only to convey information but also to demonstrate your understanding and analysis of that information. Quotes should complement these efforts, not detract from them.
9) Know how long it should be
Ideally, essays should range from five to ten pages long. However, if you’re limited by word count requirements, keep in mind that shorter isn’t always better. For example, an essay written at one page or even two pages may be too short and not offer enough information or detail for your reader. Remember, your essay needs to cover all of its bases before it can be considered successful! How can you do that if you only have 500 words at your disposal? You can’t!
10) Edit, edit, edit
It sounds obvious, but editing is one of those things that we all tend to skip. But spend time editing and polishing your work, and you’ll find that your essay shines. Make sure you use good grammar and spelling (and if you don’t know how, now’s a great time to learn!). Try reading your essay out loud – it helps! If you find errors as you go along, fix them immediately.