College Essay Structure: What You Should Know?

essay structure

Essay writing can be daunting for most people, but when you have firm grasp of what is required, it is a fairly easy task. A good college essay structure is the one that effectively and coherently discusses and evaluates ideas on a certain topic. Then the writer presents the ideas in a format way that will make sense to the reader.


Essays should begin with a one introductory paragraph which sets the scene for the whole essay. This is the point where the writer introduces and interprets study topic and names the issues they will explore and what your essay will show.
Basically the introduction is meant to meet these objectives:

  • Give some background on the topic and ensure the reader gets what you intend to say.
  • Present the thesis statement that will shape the line of argumentation in the essay.
  • Offer a definition of terms used on the essay.
  • Give a strong relevant quote (write good hooks for essays).

A thesis statement of one or two sentences should be used to answer the question and is placed at the end of your introduction. It explains your particular stand on the topic. Since it is a preview to your essay, you must be sure you have an idea of what you intend to say before writing your first draft. You can improve your thesis statement by:

  • Ensuring your thesis is not only opinion based.
  • Ensuring your thesis is making a claim.
  • Adding a twist to an old idea so as to ensure that your thesis is obviously not true.
  • Ensuring that your thesis isn’t too broad by focusing it on the topic.


This part of your essay will consist of paragraphs discussing your response on the question at hand.
There is no limit to the number of paragraphs to be written in this section.
You are supposed to:

  • Outline all your main ideas and give weight to your argument.
  • Ensure each paragraph links seamlessly with the previous one.
  • Your thesis is to be proved in the sub-topics to be discussed.

The paragraphs should not follow any order although you may decide to:

  • Start with causes then move to effects
  • Follow a chronological order, or,
  • Use the strongest argument last or just move back and forth.

A topic sentence has to be included in every paragraph, and it should be placed at the beginning (to show what you are about to prove), or at the end (to show what you have proven). Topic sentences will assist you to make sure that your paragraphs are developed well. They also help in unifying paragraphs since each paragraph should talk about one thing.
Have some kind of evidence that will go along with your explanation and backs your claims. This is done by giving specific references that help to deepen your discussion. Explain how and why the evidence proves your point and how the point relates to your thesis. Your paragraphs should not lack either of these, and if they do, then you should fix the problem. Provide proof and explanation for every assertion made.
Smooth transitions between your paragraphs will ensure your essay is coherent. Use words like “however”, “additionally”, “comparatively” etc to transition from a paragraph to the next. You can also consider using similarities and differences to come up with interesting transition sentences that will give your points more significance. Have a concluding sentence that will bring every paragraph to a closure.


This is where you wrap the essay up.

  • New material should never be introduced here.
  • Restate your main points and clarify why those conclusions are significant. Although it may seem like repetition, it gives you a chance to show how your ideas were developed. The reader should be satisfied and glad that he/she read your essay.

This is where to include a call to action. After a lengthy discussion and proving of your argumentation, you need to call to action. This is where you:

  • Suggest further reading
  • Give a concluding statement – for instance you could state: “If the US government fails to stem the wave of Jihadism in the American soil, American could be staring at a more bleak and bloody future. Our kids are not safe.
  • Pose a further question.

You can consider adding metaphors or quotations that will stick the idea in your readers mind. Speculations or predictions can be used although you shouldn’t overdo it. A great title can be used to give a lucrative finish to the essay. A phrase that relates to your discussion can also be used.
It is advisable to link your recommendations and conclusions to the title. Include your final evaluative comments on the arguments importance. In case you are not sure of a point or idea, refer to the essay question.

3 thoughts on “College Essay Structure: What You Should Know?

      1. As a teacher I would have to dgsiaree with you here. The quality is exactly what evaluators will be looking for when judging a paper. I know because I’ve been on the panels for SOL (Standards of Learning) and some other ones as well. Being an evaluator helps me pay the bills. Secondly, in test such as the SAT/ACT/SOL writing section, you will not be able to make-up as you say because there will be a prompt given to you most of the time.

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