For most students, the most difficult part of writing an essay is getting started. What should I write about? How am I going to begin writing this thing? If you find yourself staring at a blank document on your screen, here’s a few quick tips to hopefully jump-start your essay.

Two essay tips to keep in mind

  1. Studies have shown that students who use longer words (6 characters or more), more complex sentences, and longer essays get higher GPAs. 
  2. It’s also a good idea to avoid using “I” in academic writing. Using “I” suggests personal opinions & influence. Instead use phrases like “It may be that”, or “One point of view is that”. 

The Introduction (hardest part of essay-writing)

If you can pick a topic, choose one that you’re greatly interested in. You should write from a perspective that you completely understand (don’t play devil’s advocate). This is why many writers will say to write about yourself & your own experiences so often. If you’re doing it right, you should start writing and lose track of time.

Use an Essay Prompt

Here’s some ideas to get you started on your introduction.

  • Write about your own background, interest, or talent.
  • Describe when you learned a valuable lesson or had a fundamental encounter.
  • Talk about a time when something happened that changed your belief or opinion.
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept.

Breaking Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is when you stop being productive and can’t produce any new work on your essay. In this case, try using a sentence starter to help you break past. Begin typing one of these phrases with the intent of completing the sentence.  

Traditional Sentence Starters:

To introduce 

  • This essay discusses …
  • The key aspect discussed…
  • Views on … range from …
  • Emphasised are …
  • … is explained and illustrated with examples …

To conclude

  • In summary …
  • It has been shown that …
  • In brief …

To compare/contrast

  • On the contrary …
  • Notwithstanding …
  • Complementary to this …

To give examples

  • … as demonstrated by …
  • To illustrate …
  • … as can be seen in …

To show relationships

  • Considering … it can be concluded that…
  • These factors contribute to …
  • The evidence suggests/shows…

Present others’ ideas

  • Based on the findings of … it can be argued …
  • With regard to … argued that …
  • Based on the ideas of …

Finish Your Essay

It’s best if you can get through a rough draft of your essay as soon as possible after beginning the intro. Don’t take long breaks where you can lose your train of thought. Remember that you can always go back and revise or expand on segments of your essay later. 

Lastly, after you’ve completed your essay, walk away. Give yourself a break, then proofread. After you’ve proofed yourself, get a friend, classmate, or roommate to proofread your essay as well. Make any necessary last-minute changes, then consider it complete! 

Don’t second-guess yourself. You’ve got this!
Hopefully this got you going on your college essay. For more tips, be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

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