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Student's Guide to Essay Writing: What Is It and Why Bother?

Essay writing is the bane of college students all around the world. It's usually associated with plenty of boring writing and looking up boring information. While some assignments can definitely be like that, most of the negative rep essays get is due to students' lack of experience with this type of work. It can definitely prove to be a challenge. But writing an essay isn't as hard if you know what you are doing.

Essays have been around for the longest time. They seemingly are unaffected by the change of times. But the relevance of this type of assignment depends on the topic of your essay. This kind of freeform writing has always been and still remains one of the best ways to get students to express their thoughts and gauge their understanding of the topic.


Writing an essay is as easy as following a bunch of instructions step by step. So, the first thing you want to do is to create a foundation - sort of a skeleton you'll use to build the rest of your essay on. These skeletons have few differences depending on the type of essay. But generally, it's a pretty straightforward structure consisting of an introduction, two to three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

You also have to keep in mind any extra specifications your assignment might contain. Following those is very important if you need that top grade on your record. It's very easy to lose sight of those little things as you go through the writing process. Make a list of requirements and put it nearby. Tick off items on that list as you add them to your essay.

The structure provides you with the main points of your narrative. But you shouldn't forget about the transitions. Your essay is supposed to be one cohesive piece of writing and not a shattered mess of ideas haphazardly thrown together. As you move from one paragraph to another, make sure you keep within the confines of your topic.


Editing oftentimes gets overlooked. Yet it's a very important part of the writing process. It doesn't really matter if you are doing creative writing or working on an academic paper. Your first draft is very unlikely to turn out great. Many students tend to turn that first draft in right away instead of taking their time to file down some of the rough edges. And that can backfire badly.

There are plenty of types of errors that tend to sneak in during the first stage of writing:
  • Punctuation;
  • Spelling;
  • Wording;
  • Formatting;
  • Conflicting statements.
Your concentration gets weaker and weaker the longer you spend hunched over your laptop. In order to weed out the mistakes efficiently, you need a fresh mind. Employ the help of a close friend or a family member, and let them read through your writing. This new perspective will help you easily locate any imperfections.

You could also try and edit alone. The trick here is to take a small break between writing and editing to let your brain reset. Ideally, you should spend a day or two doing something else before you return to your draft and start filing it down. But it does require quite a bit of time, so be wary of blowing your deadline. Speaking of which.

Time Management

Being good at editing and following a set of guidelines is great. But the one thing that's even more important is being able to keep to your deadlines in the process. This oftentimes presents a serious problem for students who strive to achieve perfection. The truth is, your essay will never be perfect. You will have to step back and call it good enough at some point. And that point better come sooner rather than later.

Yes, your paper might become much better if you just spend some more time on it. But a professor that's supposed to read it most likely has dozens of other assignments to check. And dozens more after that. While some may cut you some slack for a slight delay, others will be real sticklers about it. Most of the time, you'll be better off turning in a mediocre assignment in time than blowing a deadline to marginally improve it.

Final Words

Essay writing really isn't as hard as you might think. It's a pretty straightforward type of work that anyone can deal with. All you need is some time and a bit of patience to sit through several hours of work. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Confidence in your research and approach is key to a successful essay.