Students often have to do a great deal of essay writing in college. This not only includes research papers, but also includes writing essay answers to questions on tests. Those that struggle to write essays may find these tips helpful in organizing essay question answers and organizing their thoughts for research papers as well.
How to Help College Students Write Essays
Writing Essays in College
The best way to help a college student write an essay is to assist them in understanding the process of writing one. This means leading them through the steps of:
Brainstorming the Essay
You can work with a college student on brainstorming topics for their essay. If you are working with a group of college students, everyone can do this together - while if you are working one-on-one, the student can share his ideas with you.
Brainstorming is simply a matter of thinking about the topic and coming up with all the ideas that could fit within the parameters of the essay assignment. There are formal methods, such as creating a "map" with the topic in the center and then bubbles coming out of it with thoughts about the main topic, but you can also just make a simple list of good topics that come to mind.
Once topics for the essay have been brainstormed, the best topic for the essay should be chosen based on the essay assignment and the research materials available (if any).
Outlining Skills for an Essay
The next step to writing essays is to create the outline. If you are a teacher working with a class, you can do this on the board and have the students create one sample outline together for a chosen topic. If you are working one-on-one with a college student or if you are a college student writing a paper on your own, you can do this on a sheet of notebook paper.
You will want to divide a piece of paper into three sections. You can do this simply by drawing two lines on the paper to separate the sections.
In the first section of the paper you should write the word "Introduction."
In the middle section of the piece of paper you will want to write the word "Body."
In the final section at the bottom you will want to write the word "Conclusion."
Next, you'll want to jot down the information to be included in each of your sections.
You will want to start with the introductory section of the paper.
Start by creating bullet points.
The first bullet point should highlight the thesis, topic, or main idea of your paper.
The other bullet points should summarize the strong arguments you will elaborate in the body of the paper to support your topic or main idea.
This section should highlight points that you plan to discuss in the rest of the paper without elaboration or specific discussion about any of the points.
The body of the paper is where you will present your main argument and specific information in order to support the topic or main idea of your paper.
You should create bullet points for each main argument and then supply supporting points for each of the main bullet points that you plan to discuss in the body of your paper.
Keep in mind that these supporting facts should come from outside sources that are known to be reliable in order to justify your argument.
The conclusion should highlight bullet points that restate the thesis and summarize the body of the paper in a few short sentences.
The conclusion is where you will also include your own personal thoughts on the topic or main idea that is being discussed throughout the paper. These should be addressed on your outline too.
Writing the Actual Essay
The final step is to take the completed outline, or the piece of paper with all of your organized bullet points, and put the points into complete thought or whole sentences. The college student writing the paper will generally do this part on his own.
The outline will help him to stay organized and focused on the main idea and the supporting evidence. The outline will also help the writer to remember to cover all of the aspects of the writing assignment so that nothing is missing in the paper or response.
Editing the Essay
The written paper should be edited for content, style and grammar. Students can edit their own paper, a teacher can edit the paper, or students can exchange papers and have them peer edited.
The process should become easier each time a paper is written, but the general steps will be the same.