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Help Me Write a Better College Essay

Students usually have to write a lot of essays to succeed in college. Instead of seeing each essay as an insurmountable burden, learn some tricks to make your essay easier to write. This article contains advice to help you create an essay that your professors will be pleased to read.

1) Choose a Powerful Thesis Statement

Choosing a strong thesis statement is the trickiest part of good essay writing. A thesis statement is the main argument of your essay. Your thesis statement should be an argument you feel you can substantiate with evidence from the literature you've read. If you can't do this, choose a different thesis statement.

Note that an essay is not a book report. Therefore, your thesis statement should not be something inarguable, like: "Romeo and Juliet is a play about the struggles of two lovers fated to be apart." Sure, you'll have an easy time making your point, but your professor is bound to be unimpressed.

Instead, find a thesis statement that is at least slightly controversial, so that you actually have something to argue in your essay. For Romeo and Juliet, your thesis statement could be something like: "Romeo and Juliet is a social commentary that condemns arrogance and group mentality." This thesis statement lays the groundwork for you to make an argument that your reader will find much more compelling than a simple plot summary.

2) Stay on Topic

Even with a great thesis statement, it can be tough to make your essay readable. There is usually so much information to deal with that you risk getting led astray. To stay on topic, you need to constantly re-focus yourself on your thesis statement. Never write anything that takes you off track.

Try this easy trick: once you've chosen your thesis statement, write it on a sticky note and post it somewhere obvious. Then, every time you write something, you can ask yourself: "Does this help to defend my thesis statement?" If the answer is yes, you're in good shape. If not, go back and reconsider where your argument is headed.

3) All About Arguments

Once you've got a great thesis statement, you'll need to come up with several (at least three) arguments to defend it. For maximum readability, limit yourself to the arguments that are the most compelling. Arguments that are too obvious will not hold the attention of your audience.

It's easy to think of choosing arguments in favor of your thesis statement, but here's a tip to really impress your professor: make at least one argument in opposition to the opposing standpoint.

Sound confusing?

Well, remember how your thesis statement needs to be arguable? This means that there could also be a thesis statement opposite to yours. Consider what someone in that position would write. Then, find an argument that supports your essay by refuting the potential thesis statement of someone else. This tactic shows your professor that you're a strong critical thinker because you'll have successfully contradicted a potential argument against your own essay.

Finally, make sure that you order your arguments deliberately. Starting with your weakest argument could bore your reader, but ending with it could undermine the impact of your essay as a whole. Therefore, sandwich your weakest arguments between your stronger ones. This way, you'll still be able to make all of your points while really highlighting your best arguments. Your reader will appreciate the effort you've made to keep your essay captivating and convincing.

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