There are very few things as daunting as writing an essay in college. But essays aren’t going anywhere and knowing how to efficiently compose an essay is an important skill for every college student to have. As a history major, I usually write two essays per week. While I may not be a writing professor, I’ve learned a lot of great tricks for writing papers since I’ve had to write so many of them. Here are some great tips I’ve learned that have really helped me when I write my papers:
1. Make an outline before you write the paper.
Having a plan for your essay will make the writing process a lot more coherent and smooth. When your paper sounds like it flows, it will be much easier for readers to follow it.
2. Vary your sentence structure.
Keeping a variety of long sentences, short sentences, complex sentences, and simple sentences will make your paper sound interesting and will engage your reader.
3. Have a clear argument.
A meaningful paper picks an argument and articulates the idea well in the introduction. Pick a clear argument and make sure the reader can easily determine what you are trying to say.
4. Don’t stray from your point.
Great papers stick to the argument or theme for the entirety of the piece. Make sure your topic sentences all support your main idea. Try to eliminate anything that strays from your argument.
5. Write the way you speak to people.
A paper will be easier to read and will sound more authentic if you write similarly to how you speak. Try not to use words you don’t know the meaning of and, instead, try to write in a way that sounds authentic to you. It will sound much better.
6. End your sentences with nouns.
This is a tip one of my history professors told me to use in my papers. A paper sounds nicer when you end sentences with simple nouns.
7. Eliminate small connecting words.
Words like “that,” “really,” and “like” can be easily eliminated from your paper. By taking out these words, you can make your paper sound more polished and focused on the point.
8. Avoid using basic transitory phrases.
You should never start sentences with words like “however,” “unfortunately,” “meanwhile,” “additionally,” and “interestingly enough.” These words can just be eliminated from your paper. Your essay will sound better if you just get to your point without adding unnecessary words.
9. Keep it simple.
Sometimes people try to craft very complicated sentences with large words that sound super intellectual and intelligent. However, sometimes it sounds better when you stick to your point and get rid of the frivolous fluff.
10. Edit your paper by printing out a hard copy.
Seeing your edits on an actual piece of paper helps make it easier to spot errors.
Writing papers might be difficult, but hopefully, these tips will help make the process a little less intimidating for you. Good luck with your writing!