Ambitious students usually enjoy writing essays, because essays give them an excellent chance to demonstrate their writing skills and original thinking. Moreover, they can practice in conducting academic research and constructing interesting arguments. Essays allow you to showcase your knowledge and intelligence in a creative way with almost no restrictions – you just have to consider the word limit. However, if you think about dozens of other students writing essays on the same topic, you will understand that one of your tasks is also to stand out from the crowd. In this article, you will find a number of practical recommendations on how to make your college essay papers brilliant and different from others.
Why Are the Students Assigned to Write Essays?
Essays are a common type of academic assignments that tests a great variety of skills, including the students’ ability to search, interpret, and analyze the information.
Before we start discussing how to make your essay shine, it is important to go back to the basics and consider what exactly the essays are purposed to test. Only after we understand the basic purpose of an essay, we will be able to define what the tutors are looking for when they assess your paper.
Regardless of the student’s academic level, an essay is supposed to test the following:
Knowledge. Fundamentally, essays are designed to test the students’ ability to consolidate what they have read and learned. It makes the essays an important part of the learning process.
Comprehension. Essays test your ability to understand, interpret, and explain complex concepts and issues.
Essays test your ability to analyze the question and come up with a considered response to it.
Essays evaluate how skillful you are at absorbing and condensing the information from various sources. These skills include covering a lot of material within a limited period of time and assessing which material is the most relevant.
Essays test your ability to form a coherent argument that considers various points of view.
Essays demonstrate your writing skills.
Writing an essay also tests your time management since it is a part of your overall workload and has to be planned and prioritized according to the deadline.
Characteristics of an Excellent Essay
After we determined why the students are asked to write essays, we can proceed to the characteristics of the outstanding essays. Your tutor may have his own preferences, but there are some basic traits, which are hallmarks of really impressive works.
A good essay can be derivative, but if you want to create a brilliant essay you have to make it original.
Original thinking is one of the basic factors that make an essay outstanding. It does not mean you have to come up with a completely new theory. Most of the topics you are studying are covered by many people in the length and breadth. What original thinking really implies is your ability to go beyond the specific aspects of a topic discussed in your class and offer an original approach in your essay. You may study your topic from a different angle; develop a hypothesis different from those discussed in the classroom, and present new evidence and insights based on the literature not included in your reading list.
In-depth Knowledge and Understanding
No need to say that an outstanding essay should display a solid knowledge of facts, a sound comprehension of all the concepts and issues related to the topic, and an explanation why they are important. An excellent essay showcases your ability to collect relevant facts and use them to create a basis of an argument or hypothesis. It includes studying a wide range of materials, considering every point of view, and making use of the proper quotations and citations from a variety of sources.
Logical Structure and Intelligent Debate
A brilliant essay provides a coherent overview of different viewpoints on your topic, including the contradicting ones. It presents a balanced argument and concludes with evaluating the covered evidence and maybe providing your own opinion or interpretation of the topic according to the evidence.
No Superfluous Information
The purpose of the information provided in your brilliant essay is to inform and persuade. There should be no rambling or waffling – your essay should be to the point and not waste the time of your reader. It requires careful sorting of the relevant facts and excluding of all the materials that do not contribute to your points or arguments. An excessive number of irrelevant facts shows that you have not studied the subject deeply enough.
The words in the outstanding essay are easy to read and understand, thus making the reader feel in safe hands. All the sentences are logical – each of the sentences consistently follows the previous one, without jumping from one topic to another. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are impeccable, with no careless mistakes.
Have you seen the college essay papers that meet all the mentioned criteria? If not, continue reading and you will learn how to create such essays yourself.
Do Some Extra Background Work
Ambitious students always read beyond the reading list set by their tutors. Extensive reading allows you to gain deeper knowledge compared to your colleagues and provides you with additional insights that may help your essay stand out.
If you have a specific text to read, here are some ideas to broaden your reading and give you a range of excellent quotes to include in your work:
Study other works by the same author and consider how they compare with the text set by your tutor.
Consider the works of contemporary authors and analyze whether your text goes along with a wider movement or stands out from what was written at that time.
Learn more about the works of the author’s predecessors and find out what works, events or personalities inspired the author of the given text. Follow the development of his or her ideas from the very beginning.
Evaluate the opinions of different literary critics regarding the given text. Determine whether you agree or disagree with their opinion and why.
Study the background history. To form a well-grounded point of view regarding the set topic, you should be aware of the context in which the author was creating his work.
It may look like a lot of additional work, but you don’t have to read all the offered materials in full. It is enough to browse these resources and make sure you are in the context.
Figure out What Your Main Point is Before You Start Writing
Although this is a popular piece of advice, it is important to start with formulating a clear idea of what you want to speak about in your essay and how you will build your arguments. The easiest approach is to create an essay plan. Making an essay plan should not be time-consuming. You should just write down all the ideas you want to cover and then organize them in a logical order. Then, you should start typing your essay according to this plan.
Do not forget that your essay should start with the introduction, continue with the series of paragraphs in which you develop your argument, and finish with the conclusion where you evaluate your evidence.
Make Sure You Are Answering the Given Question
Some students do not give a precise response to the asked question, but rather try to modify the question into something they would prefer to write about. Even if a resulting essay is brilliant, it is not what the markers expected to receive. Therefore, you should be very careful and address the question properly.
Give a Balanced Argument
Good essays consider both sides of an argument and provide multiple points of view. This way you will show that you have studied the subject comprehensively.
Make Sure to Express Your Own Opinion and Interpretation
Apart from studying a broad selection of materials on the subject, you should show that you have formed your own points based on the learned facts. Thereby, you will display your ability to think independently and formulate an intelligent opinion on a specific topic. If you look through the winning college essay papers, you will hardly find a few that do not include the opinions of their authors.
You should quote the academic works and sources to support the points you are making. By providing a strong evidence for each of your statements, you will strengthen your argument, as well as demonstrate that you have properly studied your subject. However, your essay should not consist only of other peoples’ thoughts. Overusing the quotations suggests that you are lacking either confidence or knowledge to explain what you mean in your own words. You should formulate your own points and offer your opinion supported by the respective evidence.
Sometimes, learning about the political, religious, and social context of the times in which a writer or an artist created his work is essential to understand his writing or art.
As already mentioned, if you demonstrate a deep understanding of the context, it will show that you have analyzed all the possible historical and other influences that may have shaped a work or an issue you are writing about. It is an excellent way to show that you haven’t approached the essay question in a superficial manner, but rather used your skills to think beyond the obvious. Broadening your focus and developing an ability to look at a wider picture will make you an exceptional writer.
Historical events usually have a great impact on the literature and art. Therefore, you should never evaluate the authors’ work in isolation from their environment and basic historic events of their time. Only this way you may develop a complete understanding of their ideas.
Illustrate Your Essay with Images and Diagrams
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words. If a picture or a diagram is appropriate and makes your essay more effective and persuasive, you should include it. Apart from supporting your point, illustrations will also make your essay more interesting to read. And, if your reader and your marker enjoy the essay, you will get higher marks! Make sure to include proper credits for all the images and diagrams you have used.
Provide a Complete List of the Academic Citations and Bibliography
Even if your tutor hasn’t asked to include a reference list at the end of your essay, it is a good idea to do it. You should provide all the bibliographic information about the material you have studied. Firstly, it will showcase how organized and scholarly you are. Secondly, it will give you an opportunity to show off how much additional information you have studied.
Make sure your citations are organized the right way. There are different styles for citing an academic reference. You should choose a specific format, if it is not indicated in your assignment, and stick to it throughout the entire paper.
Proofread Your Essay
You should proofread your essay at least two times to correct all the mistakes. An automatic spell check is never enough: if you use “from” instead of “form” a spell check will simply miss it. Therefore, you should check your essay yourself and ask someone else to check it again.
One of the hallmarks of a brilliant essay is flawless English, without any grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes. Moreover, your sentences should be clear and intelligent in their structures and placed in a logical order.
You should also make sure that all the pages in your essay are numbered, and you included your name at the top of each page. Choose the font that is clear and easy to read.
Meet the Deadline
If you submit your essay late, it will not be perceived favorably. You should plan your work from the very beginning, making sure that you finish your essay at least a couple of days prior to the deadline. It will allow you not only to work calmly, but also have some spare time in case you have a sudden brilliant idea you want to include.Basically, this is all you have to know to create impressive college essay papers. If you combine theoretic knowledge with extensive reading and practicing, you will undoubtedly achieve excellence in essay writing!