Capstone College and Career Advising

Writing a College Essay – Tip #2 – Organize

October 12th, 2017 by
Tip 2 – Organize
The key to writing an essay is to organize your thoughts.  Once you have a story and an idea which you want to write on, it is good to organize your thoughts on paper so you can construct a solid written essay.  Follow these steps to help you create an organized paper that flows through the story and ties together all of your ideas.
  1. Identify key ideas of your story. Depending how long the essay needs to be, you need to identify a few key ideas that you feel are important pieces to the story.  This could be 2-7 ideas depending on the word count of the essay.
  2. List those ideas on paper. They could be a particular event in your life, a series of events, creative story over a hypothetical prompt, or a stance on a particular issue. Whatever the prompt, list those ideas on your paper with space between each thought.
  3. Develop each idea. With each sentence or idea you have listed, write a few sentences explaining the details in the space you left between each idea.  For events in your life, provide the details of what happened adding some interesting details.  For creative stories, create specific situations for each point using your imagination to develop a believable narrative.  For specific points of view, research your stance and make a strong case for why you are holding to that stance.
  4. Create an introduction. Develop an introduction that addresses the information in the prompt and introduces your story as it relates to that prompt.  The key is to create a smooth transition from the question in the prompt to your story and show how you plan to address it.
  5. Create an ending. Much like the introduction, the ending paragraph should tie your story together and complete it with a statement showing how it addressed the prompt.   You want to make sure you include, in some form, each idea that you expressed in your outline.
Once you complete these steps you still won’t have a paper you can submit to colleges.  However, you will have completed a major part of the essay – providing structure and developing content for a paper.  Follow the tips in our following articles to help you complete the process for submitting an outstanding essay that will get noticed.
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