Tips for Organizing Your College Essay

College essays are different from high school papers. You have to structure your college essay properly and take a closer look into analysis, reasoning, logic and context. Here are some tips on how to organize your college essay.


Start by introducing the topic you want to write about. Make the reader care about the topic by providing relevant information about it. Don’t forget to express your stance on the topic in your thesis statement. There are various introduction styles that you can try. You can quote statistics, include a knock-out quotation, provide a convincing example, ask an interesting question or state a relevant anecdote.

Writing the introduction is the most difficult part, so try writing it last. After writing the supporting paragraphs, you may find it easier to introduce them. Get straight to the point and don’t use excessively broad introductions.

Thesis statement

The thesis statement defines your position on the topic you are writing about. It guides the rest of your essay’s arguments. When writing the thesis statement, ask yourself some questions. Does your thesis statement answer the prompt or question asked by your professor? Is the thesis statement polemical? Can someone contend for or argue against this statement? If not, you need to rework your thesis statement as it is weak. A thesis statement is usually present at the conclusion of the introduction paragraph and is one sentence long. Make your thesis statement specific and concise.

Body paragraphs

Good body paragraphs contain well-researched evidence. Don’t include suspicious statistics or sources. Use only reliable sources from authorities in the subject. Your body paragraphs should also contain an in-depth analysis of the topic. This is where you begin to develop critical thinking skills. Start answering “how” and “why” questions. You should also consider historical context. The body paragraphs should contain counter-arguments as well. Supporting your thesis statement is not enough. A strong counter-argument should be present as well. Your essay will be more convincing if you show the reader that you have considered all sides of the topic and why you picked the stance presented in the thesis statement.


A more elaborate conclusion is required in college essays. It should go beyond summary and show synthesis, reflection and analysis of the ideas presented in the paper. For instance, if you used an anecdote to introduce your essay, you should reexamine it at the end. If you did not use a quote in the introduction, try using one in your conclusion. Propose ideas or further studies required in order to solve problems. Point out why this matter is important and why people should care about it.


Doing a reverse outline is a great idea after writing your first draft. A reverse outline gives an in-depth evaluation of your essay draft by spotting gaps and inconsistences in your logic and grammar and spelling mistakes. Read your draft and ensure that it makes sense. Did you stay close to your thesis statement or stray in the middle of it? Sometimes, reorganizing the paragraphs will help your essay flow better. Numbering the paragraphs will make it easier to rearrange them later.

Make a basic outline by dissecting your draft. Determine the main points of every section and take a look at the outline you’ve made. Examine which areas should be revised for flow and coherence.


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