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The 5 Step-Guide to Writing any College Essay

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Writing is one of the most valuable skills any aspiring professional can strive to learn. Indeed, regardless of your particular field of expertise or your long-term life goals, learning how to communicate effectively through the written word will serve you well for years to come. Unfortunately, many college students struggle with long essay assignments. Indeed, the prospect of writing a ten-page paper can be a daunting one for modern students. The good news is, we’re here to help you master any writing assignment that comes your way with this handy five step-guide:T

Step #1 Define the Problem

It’s amazing how few people actually bother to read a teacher’s instructions on a given assignment. Rather than selecting a topic at random and jumping in, it’s a better idea to first consider your options for a writing assignment. Teachers will typically include samples, examples, and prompts in their instructions to help students get started. What’s more, students should never forget the purpose of the essay they’re writing. Keeping this top of mind will help students navigate the little details that compose long-form tasks.

Step #2 Take a Stand

Essays are intellectual exercises –– mostly. Teachers grade essays based on style, grammar, punctuation, etc. but what separates the best essays from the rest of the pack is passion. Get involved in the material you’re studying and don’t be afraid to take a stand or voice an unpopular opinion. In fact, developing a compelling argument against an established doctrine is one of the fastest waysto create exciting content.

Step #3 Hit the Books

If you want to write a functional essay, you have to go to the library. Teachers will reward students for conducting research and supporting their arguments with facts and figures from academic sources. Whether you’re writing a report on a new style of ACD tube, or the societal demands made on single mothers, there’s no substitute for hard-earned research.

Step #4 Break it Down

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As with any large task, the more a student can break it down, the better their chances of success are. Block out time during the week to write little portions of an essay rather than trying to cram in a massive writing session just before a due date. Furthermore, segment your essay with subheadings. Even if you remove them later, they’ll help you stay organized during the writing process.

Step #5 Polish

Once you’ve formed a rough draft, the next –– and final step –– is to polish your writing. This can take some time, though, so budget accordingly. Read your workout loud, ask a friend to proofread it, and double check all annotations and citations. These little details can matter a great deal to teachers, and sweating the small stuff will show your instructor that you care about your work. Accomplish that much and everything else will tend to fall into place!

Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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