Building a Successful College Essay
From original powerpoint by Mag Evans, Success Centre Coordinator for Writing
● Step One - Understanding the assignment / What is the topic of the essay
● Step Two - Planning
● Step Three - Proof reading / Polishing
Step One …Know and understand your assignment!
Read the assignment instructions several times to find
valuable information onyour instructor’s expectations
Highlight and make notations
Look for important clues in key words like:
… summarize, define, inform, analyze, or persuade
What is the important mechanical information?
Number and type of sources you are expected to use … if any. Also … citation style for those sources!
Step two … Planning
Mind mapping … aka … Clustering
Outline … formal or informal
Plan of Development … this will appear in your thesis statement … which in turn will appear at the end of your introductory paragraph.
What is brainstorming?
Thinking … questioning … chatting … sleeping … dreaming …
Brainstorming is a “creativity technique” designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution to a problem.
Introductionwith the thesis statement
Body Paragraphswith supporting evidence
Conclusion with reworded thesis statement
Building an essay is like building a building … the big picture
Step 3 - Proof Reading / Polishing
Now we’re down to sentences and words we need to do some …
What is it?
How do you do it?
Why do it?
What is it?
You read over the wordsand sentences to see that they’re clean and tidy, you look to make sure your paragraphs are all arranged as they should be, that yourframework is sound, and that your built essay is in good enough nick for you to close the door and walk away.
How to do it?
It’s a good close reading to look for:
… careless mistakes
… word choice
… sentence structure and variety
… transitions between paragraphs
… paragraph length
… cohesion … or how it hangs together
… thesis statement … with plan of development
… reworded thesis statement
… sophisticated closing comment
Why to do it?
So you look like you know what you’re doing
So you look like you care about your work
So you earn a better mark
So you can feel proud that you did the best job you could
Done and dusted!
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