7 Smart Essay Writing Tips That Every University Student Should Know

The most important thing is to start!
by Chanel Ang   |  Sep 1, 2023
Art: Shannen Gardon
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Not everyone enjoys writing essays. People usually say that you will be free from writing papers after graduating high school. Even when you enter college, though, the essays unfortunately never stop. They're not the most fun to write, but we're here to give you the ultimate guide to slaying your uni essays!

  1. Break down the prompt

It's important to fully understand the prompt before you start writing. Look at the key terms and take note of them. Understand what your professor wants to see in the paper. Is it more reflective or argumentative? What is the end goal of your paper?

  1. Default to research

More often than not, college essays require some form of research or reading. It's important to at least have some foundational knowledge on your subject, so open up Google Chrome or your readings! Remember: You don't need to know *everything,* just the highlights or important info. 

  1. Make a brain dump and integrate your research

From there, start your brain dump outline! This is essentially a space for you to leave your thoughts on the subject matter. This brain dump is not meant to be your essay already, but a semblance of ideas for it. It can be the main points you want to make about the prompt or quotes from the reading you want to add! 

  1. Make an outline

Dedicate some time to outline prior to writing your essay! When you're doing this, make sure that you already have your main points. They don't have to be fully fleshed out yet with amazing wording, but your main points should be there!

  1. Write now, edit later

We tend to not want to start unless we know something will be perfect in just a single try. In the case of essays, the most important thing is to start! It can be the worst draft out there, but it is still a *draft.* Find a nice, quiet spot, plug in your headphones, open your Google Doc, and start writing! 

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  1. Proofread content

When you have your first draft, proofread the content. Grammar can be handled by extensions like Grammarly, but the content is really the most important thing! Check if some parts are too long or repetitive. Read it out loud, if you can; this helps you check if the essay really flows!

  1. Don't forget to cite

College professors are quite strict with plagiarism, so another thing you have to check before you submit is your citation. There are many citation engines now, so just make sure that your bibliography has all the references you used! Practice in-text citations as well to cement yourself from plagiarism. 

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Chanel Ang