Essays in college are different than in high school. It’s not enough to write about something; instead, now you have to assert your opinion, often without being able to state your opinion. You also have to learn to back up everything that you say with evidence. College writing is more complex and more nuanced than high school writing, but it’s quite easy once you get used to it. If you follow this method, which we’re dubbing the BOW method, you’re almost guaranteed to get an A. This method is based on lecture notes from actual English 101 professors.
Three Essay Tips That Will Make You Want to Take a BOW
Surprisingly, the actual writing is one of the last steps in the draft process. It may sound counterintuitive, but a little bit of prep work will make the whole thing run all the more smoothly. Start by brainstorming. Using the topic that your instructor provided, write down everything that you can think of regarding that topic or question. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense at this point, or even if it’s grammatically correct or spelled correctly, right now, what you want to get down are unobstructed ideas and associations down on the page. From there, we can begin formulating essential essay structure and elements. Some students find that using the format of a mind map helpful.
Once you’ve run out of things to write down, then read back over your notes and, on a separate sheet of paper, note any connections between the ideas. Are there concepts that you keep coming back to, or moments where you attempt to prove the same point by different routes? Organizing these connected fragments of ideas should help you to form a picture of what you want to write about.
Organize and Outline
Next, you’ll further organize your ideas. By the time you finish this step, you should have a convincing thesis statement and an outline. A thesis statement is a sentence or two that outlines your whole argument. It often follows the formula of “X is true because of A, B, and C.” For instance, if you were writing about your last vacation, you might say “My vacation to the beach was wonderful because of the weather, the hotel, and my summer ﬂing.” In a five paragraph essay, ultimately, the A, B, and C above will correlate with the body paragraphs in the above example. Paragraph A would talk about the weather, paragraph B would speak of the hotel, and paragraph C would discuss the ﬂing. For now, don’t worry about the introduction and conclusion, and instead focus on crafting the body, although you should still include them on the outline.
First write the thesis, using the formula above, then, write a basic outline. it might look something like this
Thesis: “My last vacation to the beach was wonderful because of the weather, the hotel, and my summerﬂing.”
Body Paragraph 1: Weather
Body Paragraph 2: Hotel
Body Paragraph 3: Fling
Once you’ve set up a basic outline, you’ll flesh it out. Under the Body Paragraph 1 heading write down two to four reasons that the paragraph proves your thesis in the above example, you would write down a few reasons the weather made the vacation great. Examples might be that it was warm enough to swim on the beach, the scenery was beautiful, or that it was the perfect, comfortable temperature. Then, do the same thing with your other two body paragraphs.
Essay writing is extremely repetitive, so prepare yourself to say the same thing over and over. Once you have two to four points for each of your body paragraphs, then you will write a topic sentence for each paragraph. A topic sentence is like a mini thesis statement; it tells the reader what the paragraph is going to be about. It also connects that paragraph to the thesis to explain brieﬂy how the two relate. For the above example, the topic sentence of the first body paragraph might read something like, “One of the reasons that my trip to the beach was so amazing was the weather.” Then, once you have a topic sentence, you’ll write a brief transition sentence that will summarize what you just said in the paragraph (or, in this case, what you plan to say). The transition sentence for the first paragraph of our example essay might be “The wonderful weather made my vacation better than I could have imagined.” Then, as above, repeat the process for the other two paragraphs.
Now, you’re going to make a new outline incorporating the above. It might look something like this:
Thesis: “My last vacation to the beach was wonderful because of the weather, the hotel, and my summer fling.”
Topic Sentence 1: “One of the reasons that my trip to the beach was so amazing was the weather.”
Swim on the beach
Transition Sentence 1: “The wonderful weather made my vacation better than I could have imagined.”
Topic Sentence 2: “Another reason that my vacation was great was the hotel.”
Transition Sentence 2: “The lush amenities at the hotel made me feel like a princess on my vacation.”
Topic Sentence 3: (You can write this one!)
Transition Sentence 3: (You can write this one too!)
Once you have your outline completed, you’ll be able to start writing. if you’ve followed the above plan, it will be effortless.
Write The Essay
Now, starting with the body, you’ll write the essay, referring back to the outline. Believe it or not, this is the easiest step! Take your topic sentence, and copy and paste it over to a new document. Then write a sentence that explains why your first sub-point supports that paragraph. Then do the same with the other points and finish up by copying and pasting the transition sentence. We’ll do the first paragraph as an example.
One of the reasons that my trip to the beach was so amazing was the weather. It was just warm enough for us to swim on the beach. Because the weather was nice, we spent lots of time walking on the beach, enjoying the scenery. The perfect, temperature meant that we were able to relax and play outside almost the whole time. The wonderful weather made my vacation better than I could have imagined.
If you look at the above paragraph, you’ll see that little actual writing happens in this step, since you’ve done most of it in the prior step. All you’re doing in the body in this step is just filling in the words around the points.
Once you’ve finished the body, you can write the introduction and the conclusion. These paragraphs are more flexible than the body paragraphs but there are a couple of rules to remember. The introduction starts off with general information and then becomes more specific until it narrows in on the thesis statement. The conclusion does the opposite; you’ll start with the thesis statement and then return to the general.
If you follow the BOW method, essay writing is uncomplicated, albeit formulating the structure first. With each essay, it becomes easier and easier until it is nearly second nature.
Just remember to proofread! Feeling lazy? There is always a chance to use the assistance of writing services for crafting or adding changes to the original essay should you need help with editing. This decision is completely up to you.