Essay Writing For High School Students A Step-By-Step

At high school, particularly here in New Zealand, ideas are always assessed in the form of essays.


With so many rules surrounding ‘proper’ essay form, it’s easy for ideas to get lost to the format, or for you to lose sight of what they’re arguing for in the first place.

Sadly, this means that students often can’t get their thoughts across effectively, and are marked down for things that have no bearing on their ideas or intelligence.

However frustrating they might be, research has shown that learning how to compile an argument in written form is a skill that does great things for your grades, employability and general life-confidence.

As a soon-to-be graduate of high school – whatever you choose to do – the importance of strong communication skills cannot be understated.

If you choose to head straight into the workforce, you’ll be expected to demonstrate this skill in your cover letters and CV’s during job applications, and at University, essays are pretty much the stock standard assignment in most courses (otherwise there are always reports, reviews and reflections).

Writing skills will even get you further in your travels: Visas can involve lengthy letters and application processes, and administrators are always impressed by a well-written application.

Considering all the evidence, it’s a smart move to get a good feel for essay writing now – the seeds you plant now will help you out big-time in the long run.

 

How can I write a good essay then?


Contrary to popular opinion, anyone can write a good essay.

It’s a skill, not a trait, and like any other skill, it only improves with practice.

The tricky thing is getting your head around all the niggly bits, like structure, and themes, and ideas, and topic sentences, and punctuation, and clarity, blah blah blah, etc. That’s what we’re here for.

This guide will help you to break through the sludge of essay writing and help you to get to the heart of their purpose: communicating an idea. We’ll decipher the intimidating jargon and wordy standards for you, and give you solid, smooth steps to follow so you can smash an essay for every topic, any time. The guide will cover:

 

Deciding on an “idea”

Planning your argument

Essay structure

Introduction

Body paragraphs

Conclusion

Proofreading

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing an Essay

So your teacher assigned another essay to write. Does the mere thought of putting pen to paper – or fingers to the keyboard – send shivers down your spine? For many students in elementary, middle or high school, it does, but writing an essay shouldn’t be intimidating. As long as you know the basic steps of essay writing, you should be well-equipped to handle any essay topic.

Determine What Type of Essay It Is

There are many different types of essays you might be asked to write in elementary, middle or high school. Some of the most common include narrative, expository, argumentative, persuasive, comparative and literary. Are you presenting an overview or telling a story about the topic (narrative) or are you providing an analysis (expository)? Do you have to convince the reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action (persuasive)? Are you writing an essay about a book you read (literary)? Determining the type of essay is the first step to writing a targeted essay.

Create an Essay Outline

An essay outline is your road map. It will guide you through to the finished product. When you create an outline, you organize your thoughts about your topic. First, write your topic at the top of the page. Then list all the points or arguments you want to make about the essay topic. Finally, list the facts, examples and statistics that support those points or arguments.

Develop a Thesis Statement

Your thesis should inform the reader what point you will be making or what question you will be answering about the topic. In other words, it is a prelude to your conclusion. A thesis statement should be as specific as possible and address one main idea. Strong theses also take a stand or illustrate the controversial nature of a topic.

Introduce Your Topic

The first paragraph of your essay will introduce your topic and provide direction for the entire essay. The introduction should discuss your main idea, or what the essay is about, then state your thesis and points or arguments that support your thesis.

The introduction also sets the tone for your essay, and you want to grab the reader’s attention with interest and clarity. To capture the reader’s attention, you can make a challenging claim about the topic or present some surprising (but factual) information.

Write the Body of the Essay

The body of the essay provide details for the points in your introductory paragraph that support your thesis. Take the points you listed in your introduction and discuss each in one body paragraph. First, write a topic sentence that summarizes your point then explain why you feel the topic sentence is true. Finally, support your argument with evidence such as facts, quotes, examples and statistics.

Present Your Conclusion

The conclusion summarizes the essay and gives the reader closure. In three or four concise sentences, you should reiterate your thesis and review the main points of the body of the essay. Just be sure not to restate your previous words exactly. You can even briefly describe your opinion of the topic. Your final sentence should uphold your main idea in a clear and compelling manner.

Just remember to tackle each step one at a time. Some people do better when they work backwards from the conclusion. Write a rough draft of your essay first – don’t try to get it perfect the first time through. After you finish your rough draft, proofread it thoroughly and revise until you have a strong, informative essay.

Interactive Essay Writing Classes

Online lessons like Time4Writing’s essay writing classes can help children build and strengthen the foundation for strong essay writing skills in elementary school, middle school, high school and beyond. These interactive essay writing classes build basic writing skills, explain essay types and structure, and teach students how to organize their ideas.

Time4Writing is popular as a writing homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment, for remediation, and as a summer school alternative. All of Time4Writing’s online lessons are led by certified writing teachers who provide valuable feedback after every writing assignment.

Learn more about Time4Writing today!


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