I am a college student, and I know that organizing essays can be so frustrating. I realized that in high school they do not really teach us in an effective way. I always just learned that you needed to have an introduction, a conclusion, and some body copy. Seems simple enough, but it is a rude-awakening when you start writing for college professors. Now a sophomore in college, I have found a method that works for me. I want to share it to save all of you that keep getting that “poor organization” comment on your paper.
By following the set-up I have provided, I can assure you the most critical parts will be included. Take your time and you will have composed something you will be proud of!
First, decide what it is you want to convey in your essay. The main point should be able to be summarized in one sentence. I always try to have a firm grasp on exactly what I want the reader to take away from my paper.
Next, take a sheet of paper and list everything you want to talk about in your paper. Do not worry about being picky in this section. I simply write anything that comes to mind.
Now, order these main topics into an order that you would use if you were actually speaking to someone. Treat your essay like it is content you are telling a friend. This makes the task feel less daunting. The reason that this method works for me is because when I am writing, I feel like I need to word it perfectly, so it ends up sounding unnatural. When we talk to friends, though, it always comes out natural.
Next, take each topic and write one sentence that sums up the point you wish to convey in that particular paragraph. Once that topic sentence is decided on, be sure not to steer away from it anywhere in the paragraph. If you are like me, you may have a habit of rambling on and on. I have learned that in some cases, less is more.
After ensuring each paragraph has a topic sentence with content relating to that sentence, add in transitions between paragraphs. How does this topic relate to the topic you just discussed? If you can’t find a way to relate it, you may need to rearrange your paragraphs.
Be sure not to forget an intro and conclusion! I recommend writing these last. The intro should spark attention, but also give the reader an idea of what to expect in the remainder of the paper. The conclusion “sums it all up,” but it may also leave the reader with thought-provoking material.
If you follow these steps, your essay should seem organized. Of course, there are many other aspects of writing that matter: word choice, grammar, spelling, etc. Those mistakes will feel like a breeze to fix once you make sure everything is organized, though. Happy writing!