How to write an essay: from a draft to final copy

Writing an essay is a basic collegiate skill that students should have before they enter college. However, many students in high school do not care much for learning how to write, which can create problems when they enter college and they find their professors expect top notch essay writing skills. Fortunately, writing an essay is not overly challenging, especially when you know the steps:

  • Step one: Brainstorm. While this step can be combined with step two, brainstorming is usually considered a separate step. This is where you will decide the claim that you will prove in your essay and how you will go about proving it.

  • Step two: Craft a quick outline. Your outline can be done formally with Roman numerals or informally with your own organizational styling. Having a plan for your essay will make it easier to craft and complete in a timely manner. You should plan how you will get the readers’ attention in the introduction, what your claim will actually be, and how each body paragraph will support the claim.

  • Step three: Write the first draft. This is where you actually write the sentences and paragraphs. Use your outline so you keep everything in order. Your first draft will look like an essay, with an introductory section, body paragraphs with actual examples and explanations, and a conclusion. You should not cross out anything when writing the first draft, because you might want to use an idea later.

  • Step four: Edit. In this step, you will read through your essay and circle or highlight areas that seem to need help. You actually do not make any changes at this point. You simply find the mistakes and make note of them on the paper. If you are writing this online, you can make the editing marks with comments. If you are not good at finding mistakes, you can always ask a friend to help you.

  • Step five: Revise. This is where you make the changes. Look at the paper as a whole and how the changes will affect not just the immediate area, but the rest of the paper as well.

  • Step six: Proofread for final copy. After you have made the changes, you should read through the essay at least one more time to look for any remaining problems. You can make the changes. If you find several, you might want to repeat steps five and six until you get the essay exactly the way you want it.

  • Step seven: Turn it in. Once you decide that everything is in its place, then you can turn in your essay.