Academic Writing Tips

By Ryan Hickey + updated on May 22nd, 2013

It’s tough to believe, but the end of the 2012-2013 school year has arrived. For those of you who haven’t yet graduated or finished your current year, or maybe even those of you who will be enrolling in a summer session, you’ll probably be writing papers, reports, theses, and other academic work over the coming weeks. Don’t worry, though – EssayEdge has you covered with a few simple tips that will help you boost your grades when academic writing is required. And if you want more help to ensure your essay really shines, be sure to check out our full set of helpful academic essay editing services, where you get one-on-one assistance from outstanding writers who attended Ivy-League schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton!

Give Yourself Time

This is the single most important thing that you can do to ensure the success of your academic essay.  If you leave the writing of your essay until the night before it is due, you may spend all night writing your essay and then find, to your horror and just one hour before it is due, that it does not work for you.  And if it does not work for you, it is not likely to work for your professor. You will avoid this common disaster if you begin your essay well before it is due.  Effective writing, after all, is mostly a process of rewriting – your work will get better with each passing draft. You will not have time to do this if you wait until the last minute.

Don’t Skip the Outline

What is your thesis statement? What is the single most important message you wish to convey in your academic essay?

If you have an answer to this question, you are well on your way to developing a very effective academic essay. But even if you know what your thesis statement is, how will you prove it?  There is nothing worse than spending days developing an essay that, when complete, simply does not work.  So, save yourself all that time! If you develop an outline first, you will know whether or not you can prove your thesis statement.

If you do not have experience developing outlines, no problem. Here’s a tip from the pros at EssayEdge: find two or three academic essays that you really like (and that have been judged to be well written), and develop outlines for those. By outlining something that is already written, you’ll get the hang of the process.  This will give you two or three outline models that can help you develop an outline for your own essay before you write it.

Ground Arguments in Fact

Effective academic essays offer clear, concise proof, throughout their development, of the various points that are being made.  The thing to avoid is “over–referencing” your work, so that it turns into a series of footnoted sentences. Footnotes and supporting quotations are critical, of course, but what is even more critical is the original thought that is contained in your essay.  Be sure that your original thought is introduced early, in your introduction, and summarized clearly in your conclusion. In other words, tell the reader what you are going to say, say it, and then summarize it.

And keep it simple! It is a misconception that the most effective academic essays are the most complex academic essays.  Your professor has read through countless essays characterized by convolution, obfuscation, unclear thinking, and the absence of a thesis statement. If you open with a clear thesis statement, develop it effectively, and then re-present it in your conclusion, you will go a long way toward winning over your professor and getting the A+ you want.

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Ryan Hickey

Ryan Hickey is Managing Editor of Peterson's & EssayEdge and an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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2 Responses to “Academic Writing Tips”

  1. Stephen says:

    Hi Ryan, thanks for sharing this informative post. Really very useful information for students on writing a college admission essay. Awaiting for more such useful blogs.

  2. Abdullah says:

    these tips are really important for students and you did a great job

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