Planning your college essay? Here’s how

Planning your college essay? Here’s how

The work itself begins with proper planning, same way with essay – an issue you’re reviewing requires the detailed scheme to rely on. This scheme will serve as a skeleton, and all you have to do is add it some flesh.

The theme is the first important thing

The theme of the essay is not what people usually pay attention to. The question the theme defines is the part most people refuse reading carefully because most of them try to focus on an answer. In the meantime, people put a lot of sense into theme composing, add reference words such as “compare”, “discuss”, “analyse”, which tell to a writer what type of strategy he should apply. So always read the question properly and pay attention to clue-words.

Making references and analyzing the theme subject

This is the second important thing to do when planning an essay, as it gives you a lot of material to work with. Every piece of text you’re researching should be thoroughly analysed and main thought should be written down as well as a quotation of some distinctive expressions. In short, your task is to rewrite core phrases relative to your theme. Anything you quote or rewrite must be referenced in your essay. When making a reference, remember of two principal styles:

  1. Quotation inside the text according to the reference list;
  2. Bibliographic reference.

Find out which style is used in your academic establishment (you can refine it in the library) and start sketching the text adhering to it. Don’t neglect this issue, as careful referencing is an important part of your result.

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Writing a structured plan

The basic structure of most texts is simple and consists of 3 parts:

  • Problem definition (intro);
  • Your point argumentation (main part);
  • Summarization (general conclusion).

You are never restricted with this scheme, but it allows you to make a logically verified essay with a clear basic idea.

Problem definition

When planning the intro keep in mind, that this part’s feature is brevity. Your opinion on the problem should be stated concretely without an excessive description of reasoning. You can implement quotation of some succinct statement if it coincides with your opinion, ask a rhetorical question if the topic allows. The main task in this part is to catch a reader’s attention and stimulate his imagination. But don’t forget to make a semantic linkage between intro and main part. Writing longer papers even trickier – it must be composed a cyclical proces, – more on .

Argumentation part

Argumentation part consists of 2 to 5 paragraphs, where you should give an explanation and proof of your opinion given in intro. Divide your main thought on the issue on several aspects. Every paragraph must describe only one aspect of the issue. It will be useful for you to make references in advance (even if you don’t take a whole quote but only retell the ideas) so you could avoid plagiarism. Also, remember that you must be able to summarize every aspect in the conclusion, so don’t exhaust in discussion or you’ll leave no possibility to rephrase all above said in the end.


This final paragraph solves 2 tasks: summarization and synthesis of your conclusions and your proposal for the future examination of the problem. To solve task 1 you need to squeeze the main thought of each argumentation paragraph and concisely tell about obtained results. Solving task 2 is absolutely creative work, it requires to think about the possible extension of the main idea and write down the suggestions. Ignoring the importance of conclusion is not recommended as this part serves for examiner as an indicator of your overall competence in the matter.