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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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How long does it ACTUALLY take to write supplements?
I'm legit wondering how long it takes to write supplements that are 150, 250, 350, and 650 words.
Like I know the 650 word ones require a lot of thought in general such as the why X college essay requires research and whatnot, but I wrote a 250 word supplement in like 8 minutes at 1 am last night (obviously it was a shitty first draft but I was kind of surprised it only took me 8 min).
How long in general do you guys spend on your supplements?
Not too long. I could probably finish a 350-400 in a couple hours(drafts and edits).
Depends on how good you want these to be. For some of the shorter essays, it can actually be really tough to convey your thoughts is so few words. Mine have taken me a while
it is remarkably easier to write supps for two reasons:
They all are for a specific prompt or purpose. You are not actually expected to be creative or thought provoking. The prompts are direct and specific to the college or programs.
I think the the process of writing the common app essays makes you better at writing overall, so it is already easier for you to write in general.
In my experience, it takes me like 3-4 hours of staring at the computer/going on reddit for me to come up with an idea to talk about. Once I come up with the idea, I was able to write many supplements in under 30 min. However, they were pretty shitty first drafts which I had to revise many times.
I really wanna start my essays, but I’m overwhelmed by school. Do I still have time to finish it all? I’m planning on putting an hour ish at least everyday. Hopefully I can do that.
As long as you want it to.
Anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. My UChicago essay took around 4 hours for a first draft, and some of my shorter (EC Description, MIT 100 word prompts) took around 2 hours. I am still in the editing process for most of my supps, but currently, I can get 1 or 2 drafts a day. Then again I have a hard time leaving my writing alone and have a tendency to make changes irregularly.
I can write a supplement pretty quick, but it won't be good. I'm actually still struggling to know what colleges expect in supplements lmao
I’ve found that the supplementals are much easier and take less time to write because you’re usually addressing a very specific prompt.
I did them all in two days (including edits and having people read over it). I would not recommend it.
3 hours for 100 words for me to “perfect” it (for one of my dream schools, I knew how I felt so it was really hard to put into words and not contrived)
I’ve found that writing a rough outline or mostly just listing ideas on paper helps, and the actual writing of an essay is like a late night grind lol. a 650 word takes a couple hours for me, and for the smaller ones it highly depends on how hard the prompt is.
you’ll get downvoted but this is just true for some people (albeit a little unnecessary to state here). I’m not that fast but I’ve always found writing essays pretty easy and can rip out a long supplement in an hour. I finished my 3 CMU supps in 3 hours. While writing is definitely my strong point, I often struggle in science or math classes. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses!
With all that being said, downvoted because this is all in all a pretty thinly veiled flex
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Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses.
An essay about the reasons for becoming a cheerleader might include discussion about the challenge of the hard physical work involved, the opportunity to be a visible leader, the chance to show off hard-won skills in tumbling and dance and ...
Writing a perspective essay begins with choosing a topic, determining the thesis statement for the essay, choosing a specific point of view and backing up the essay with concrete examples, illustrations and questions.
2 weeks on the dot. I spent about 2-3 hours each day of the FIRST WEEK. The first few days were spent gathering ideas/brainstorming, while the
Depends on the college, I wrote some colleges in an evening (start to finish), but took weeks on others. Sorry that this is probably no help
I'm a slow writer so from brainstorming to writing a decent draft of a 500-600 word essay would take 3-5 hours. Editing might take an additional
I already knew a lot about my school so I didn't have to do much research (maybe 20 minutes). Writing and editing probably took about 2ishh
Assuming that you're talking about the main common app essay, 3 hours is nowhere near enough time. Ideally, you should work on it for at least a
not that i'm perfectly satisfied with mine yet, but i wrote 2 drafts which took a couple hours each, combined them for an hour or two, took a
A ten page research paper would take me about 3-4 days to write. One or two days for research, one day to outline, and one day to write and edit.
1-2 hours for 500+ word items, .5-1 hour for shorter supplements. Then probably 10-20 minutes proofreading on each.
Depends on your writing style. For me 150 word ones were about 2 hours tops. 400 plus were usually 3-4 hours on average, 6 hours tops.
Brainstorm/draft those supplemental essays. This should be the first busy month for essay writing. The summer is the best time to get essay drafts done, and
Anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. My UChicago essay took around 4 hours for a first draft, and some of my shorter (EC Description, MIT 100 word