Want to know the best way to start a college essay? Well, here’s a piece of advice: Don’t just start writing. Because if you do that then you’ll never end up where you’re trying to go – at least if you’re trying to get a passing grade.
The most important part of writing an essay isn’t the actual writing. That part is pretty easy once you’ve done that most important part. Instead, the part that you’ve got to focus your attention on is finding the arguments that you’re going to put forward.
Start with the beginning and the end
A college essay is all about introducing your question and then answering it. For that reason, start with what you’re going to talk about and decide what your end position is going to be. Write these two down. Now, I’m not saying that you’ve got to write them out. No, nothing like that. Instead, the point is quite simply to have your starting point and your endpoint – a bit like you’re trying to figure out where you’re going on Google Maps.
When you’ve got those, you can find the best route to get there.
Next, you’ll want to find the arguments that you’re going to discuss in the body of your essay. These need to come forth from what you’ve been reading, as that’s what your professor expects. Sure, occasionally you can throw in an argument that you’ve thought up all by your lonesome, but that can’t be the majority of what you’re trying to say. No, not even if you’re a genius.
Write these arguments out in a few lines and then order them in a way that makes sense. Remember to always put the strongest and arguments at the beginning and the end as the first one is where you want people to sit up and take notice and the last one is the one you want them to remember.
And now you have an outline
Sure, it’s not a very detailed one. But for most essays that’s okay. Particularly as nothing is exactly written in stone yet (often your ideas in an essay will evolve as you write them down). Of course, if you’ve got to write a longer essay, you might want to flesh this outline out a bit more. You can even give yourself a rough estimate of how many words you’ll have to put into each argument.
If that sound preposterous (two thousand words about why 1 + 1 = 2?!) then you’ll need to find some more arguments. But at least in this way, you’ll know that.
And then you write
Yeah, that does make it sound a lot easier than it is. I mean, how long does it take to write an essay? Well, how long is a piece of string? It really all depends on how much experience you have. One good thing to note, it does get easier as you get more experienced. So there is that.
Now go on, figure out that outline. It’s a simple step but it’s vital to the college essay writing experience.