Writing an essay often seems to be a dreaded task among students. Whether the essay is for a scholarship, a class, or maybe even a contest, many students often find the task overwhelming. While an essay is a large project, there are many steps a student can take that will help break down the task into manageable parts. Following this process is the easiest way to draft a successful essay, whatever its purpose might be.
According to Kathy Livingston’s Guide to Writing a Basic Essay, there are seven steps to writing a successful essay:
1. Pick a topic.
You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. If you are given the topic, you should think about the type of paper that you want to produce. Should it be a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Narrow your focus if necessary.
If you have not been assigned a topic, you have a little more work to do. However, this opportunity also gives you the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. First, define your purpose. Is your essay to inform or persuade?
Once you have determined the purpose, you will need to do some research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that interests you? Jot these subjects down.
Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the mission of the essay, make sure that you are interested in your topic.
2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly. This structure serves as a foundation for your paper. Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them.
To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.
If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay.
3. Write your thesis statement.
Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas?
Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Bill Clinton and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Bill Clinton has impacted the future of our country through his two consecutive terms as United States President.”
Another example of a thesis statement is this one for the “Winning Characteristics” Scholarship essay: “During my high school career, I have exhibited several of the “Winning Characteristics,” including Communication Skills, Leadership Skills and Organization Skills, through my involvement in Student Government, National Honor Society, and a part-time job at Macy’s Department Store.”
4. Write the body.
The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.
Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.
5. Write the introduction.
Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay.
Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.
6. Write the conclusion.
The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
7. Add the finishing touches.
After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Wrong. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.
Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.
Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.
Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Congratulations! You have just written a great essay.
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How to Write a High School Essay
What is the purpose of a high school essay?
A high school essay is a piece written by a student to tell of their high school experience.
High school gives people an opportunity of self-discovery which influences their future career life and helps them grow psychologically, emotionally and physically. It is the place where one knows who they are and what they want in life. This article serves to give students tips on how to write a high school essay.
The high school essay serves different purposes:
• Identifies who a person is- a high school essay tells the reader who the character is based on their experiences throughout high school;
• Acts as a journal- a high school essay being a collection of events and affairs might be used by a student as a journal where they fill in what goes on in their life;
• Enhance creativity- there are so many ways of writing a high school essay and the student develops creative high school essay writing skills to make their pieces stand out .
Tips to guide you in selecting the best topics for a high school essay include:
- Refer to course material to ensure your topic is covered in class and is not out of context
- When brainstorming, take a general concept and form a theory around it. Narrow down from there what aspects you would like to explore.
- Choose an interesting topic. This gives you motivation to do more research and makes it easier to relate to.
Below is a list of some interesting good high school essay topics that you might work on.
Top 10 argumentative topics for high school essay
In argumentative essays, the student can choose to from given list:
- High school does little to build self esteem. Discuss
- Games and sports are more fulfilling than chemistry lessons
- Teachers should not get cozy with students
- Should high school education be mandatory?
- Should sex education be taught in high school?
- Why is it important for high school students to wear uniform?
- Is guidance and counseling really helpful for teenagers?
- Should prom be abolished?
- Do you think some games are overrated than others?
- How often should teenagers be allowed TV time?
Top 10 persuasive topics for high school essay
In persuasive high school essay writing, the student is required to pick a side and defend it adequately to convince the reader that his opinions are right and correct. Some examples are:
- Should students in high school be allowed to have phones?
- Do you think juvenile shapes a teenager or makes them worse?
- Should schools regulate the internet for their students?
- Is working while schooling really appropriate?
- Should students get scholarships based on their grade or what they are good at?
- Do you think teachers should be allowed to use phones in class?
- Should students be allowed to have jobs?
- Should schools offer fast foods?
- Should students with disabilities be treated differently than the rest?
- Should student cases be tried at court or by the school board?
Top 10 narrative topics for high school essay
Narrative high school essay writing is written as an allegorical tale of how something was done. Some examples are:
- How was your first day in high school?
- Explain the day the drama team won the national trophy
- How has your journey through high school been?
- How did you spend your summer?
- Everyday practice as a football coach
- What is your favorite high school memory?
- What has high school taught you so far?
- What are your plans after graduation?
- What is unique about your school?
- How often do you go for academic trips?
Top 10 topics for a personal essay at high school
This is an essay that majors on your own life as a student and gets into intimate details about who you are. Examples of these high school essay topics are:
- How to deal with your first heartbreak
- How to battle low self esteem trying to fit in
- That feeling of Feeling unwanted
- The interpersonal conflict of career choice
- How relationships with family affect learning
- What regrets do you have after being in school all these years?
- How fears and insecurities keep you focused
- Why you hated math and the math teacher
- Why prefer summer camp to staying at home
- Making friends in high school
Top 10 topics for a reflective essay at high school
A reflective essay is one that focuses on a particular incident and what you learnt from it. It could be a personal essay for example:
- The day someone mum was so proud of you for an achievement
- How the death of a loved one affected your social life
- How your life choices created conflict
- A moment when you spoke in front of people for the first time
- A time when you were so afraid
- When you know that someone you loved was not perfect
- A moment you needed someone to be there for you
- When you realized that you were in love
- When you were humiliated or embarrassed
- A time when you felt sad
Top 10 teaching topics for high school essay
These are the areas that a teacher, motivational speaker or counselor may teach, for example:
- Leadership and problem solving
- Relationships love and sex
- The importance of career goal
- Drugs and drug abuse
- HIV and aids
- The importance of good financial management
- How to build and maintain friendships
- Peer pressure, cause and effects
- Self esteem, self worth and awareness
- Making an all round individual
Top 10 of good research topics for high school essay
These are questions that students can pick out when conducting research where they do field work and come up with recommendations. Some sample questions are:
- The impact of phones on academic performance of students
- To find out the effects of action movies on the behavior of teenagers
- To investigate the effects of parenting on self esteem
- To establish the impact of the internet on moral standing of students
- To find out the effects of interpersonal relationships in building teamwork
- To determine the relationship between co curricular and academic excellence
- To explore the impact of working on the academic performance
- To find out the relationship between self esteem and social interactions
- To investigate how censorship affects language
- To see the impact of social media on social interactions
Sample high school essay outline
The impact of social media on social interactions
The 21st century is overwhelmed with social media like Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter and Snapchat. These have contributed to the youth being addicted to their phones and have neglected face to face communications time. They have forgotten the basic concepts of communication.
Social media is not suitable for the teenagers as it interferes with their communication skills:
- It interferes with face to face conversation- most people have 1000+ followers on social media while in real sense they do not have friends. This creates fake identities.
- Interferes with social interactions- social media has made the youth impermeable to the society. They do not go out or speak to their friends but are on the phone every other time.
- It breaks self esteem- watching their peers on social media makes them think they are not good enough ad this has promoted social ills like bleaching and prostitution.
Social media does more harm than good and therefore should be observed very keenly. Teenagers should be monitored on how they use social media to reduce dependency otherwise the next generation of adults will be like robots with no sense of direction.
Tips on introduction writing
Most people do not know how to start a high school essay and these tips will be of help when writing the introduction for a high school essay:
- Have a clear, simple topic that is catchy;
- Introduce your argument in short sentences;
- Make a good first impression through your writing style;
- Be creative e.g. introduce with a provocative question;
- Take advantage of the 2nd person ‘you’.
Tips on writing a high school essay thesis
A high school essay thesis should follow the tips:
- Think about the question(s) you are trying to answer;
- Decide on how general or broad your topic will be;
- Be realistic in choosing a thesis statement. It should be doable;
- Pick an issue that relates to everyday life;
- Keep it brief. High school thesis writing for essay could tempt you to write too much but it should be short and precise.
Tips on body (paragraphs, length and transition)
- Have clear sentences that are short. Ensure that the sentences are well constructed and punctuated for an easy read;
- Arrange your points into paragraphs. Each section should contain a single concept;
- Avoid using too many transitions as this becomes monotonous. Be creative in how you join paragraphs. They should not sound fixed;
- Ensure that you follow the correct high school essay outline;
- Do not veer off topic in your argument. Stick to your thesis as much as possible.
Tips on conclusion writing
Here we offer the best tips on how to conclude a high school essay.
The conclusion for a high school essay contains your general opinion on the topic of choice. It is a summary of the essay and therefore you should not introduce any new points in the conclusion.
- Make any necessary disclaimers to make sure your audience fully understands your point of view;
- Provide useful recommendations based on observations stated. You cannot recommend something you did not say in the body of your essay.
Sources for essays
The internet contains tons of information and it is one of the best places to source. There are guidelines provided on how to write high school essays. Besides, it is efficient and convenient. Students can source for more essays from their teachers, books in the libraries and through brainstorming. Brainstorming also gives high school essay writing guides to students.
You could ask your teacher for some high school essay writing help if stuck at a particular point.
Finalizing the essay
- The final step towards writing an essay is proofreading. It ensures that your work is error free and the correct high school essay outlining is done.
- Check on the grammar used, the sentence construction and punctuation.
- It is also crucial to check for plagiarism in your work.
- Ensure that the formats are well followed.
- Make citations and reference of quotes and information used from their relevant sources.
Tips on perfect high school essay writing
These tips for a high school essay writing give guidelines on how to write perfect high school essay:
- Prepare an outline of your ideas. Come up with a high school essay draft that outlines all your thoughts;
- Make your sentences short in your high school essay introduction;
- Choose a topic that you are interested in;
- Consider the length of your article to guide you into what to write;
- Build your case by giving real life examples. It will ensure that your high school essay prompts the reader to continue reading;
- Do not be objective in your writing but ensure you cover both sides of the argument;
- Take time to do research on the topic of your choice;
- Take time to write the essay. Do not write it in a hurry as it will sound rushed;
- Add finishing touches to your essay to your high school essay conclusion;
- Proofread and edit your work making sure you follow the outline for a high school essay.