How Should My Best Essay Look Like: 7 Must-Have Characteristics of a Strong Paper


Although many professors are now turning to alternative methods of assessment, such as presentations, visual displays, and group projects, the most tried and true–and classic–way of testing students’ knowledge is essay writing. Essays can be tough, especially, if you did not excel in English Composition during your secondary years. You might ask yourself, “How can I write my best essay ever…without stressing as much about the process?” Luckily, there are a few easy-to-follow tips that will make writing your next best essay a breeze.

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A strong paper will:

1. Follow a Clear Format

A quality essay will begin with a general introduction that introduces the topic and provides a clear thesis statement. It will be followed by several body paragraphs that include concise, specific topic sentences. Lastly, your essay will finish with a poignant, relevant conclusion that leaves the reader feeling satisfied and well-informed. A good conclusion will not just rehash what you have already covered, but will leave the reader feeling as though the overall “question” posed at the beginning of your paper has been adequately answered.

2. Not Be a Specific Length

Don’t worry about the desired length of your paper. When writing–write as many paragraphs as you need to to make the points of your argument.

3. Establish Credibility

Make sure you cite reliable sources or otherwise indicate what makes you a legitimate and respected author. Why are you qualified to speak on the subject?

4. Include Relevant Content

Your paper should be well-researched. Don’t include facts that you don’t understand, or that have little or nothing to do with your topic. Make sure you aren’t including quotations or information just for the mere sake of doing so–everything you write should have a clear purpose and goal in advancing your essay.

5. Engage the Reader

Keep your reader in mind while writing. What is the overall purpose of your essay, and who will be reading it? As such, use language that is suited to your reader (not too challenging or insultingly easy) and make sure you write with that vision in mind.

6. Be Attractive

Format your essay according to the guidelines and requirements issued by your professor. Typically, professors request the papers to be double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and appropriate headers and footers. This will vary depending on your class. However, you should make your essay as appealing and easy to read as possible.

7. Use Appropriate Spelling, Grammar, and Mechanics

Proofread your essay carefully. Edit multiple times, and consider having a friend that you regard as a strong writer to edit your paper as well. Be open to edits.

Although writing an essay is rarely easy, it doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these tips and starting with a mindset that accepts change and revision, you will be on the road to writing a collegiate masterpiece in no time.

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