Essay-writing is one of the most important skills taught at college-level education. However, while writing an academic essay generally is not that difficult for those who know the rules, the rules are still the basis for the entire skill. In order to write an academic essay, one should pay attention to thesis statement, topic sentences, layered structures and an academic tone.
Firstly, the thesis statement is the core of the entire essay and should therefore be clear and complete. For an academic essay, the thesis statement should always be the last sentence of the introductory paragraph. It is supposed to contain every point to be made in the essay, although it is used as a summary and should be clear per se. A great thesis statement cannot be too long, though; it can best be kept under a maximum of twenty-five to thirty words.
Secondly, the topic sentences are supposed to be elaborations on the points made in the thesis statement, meaning that every topic should be granted its own paragraph. The rules for a topic sentence are almost identical to those for the thesis statement: it has to be clear, concise and should not surpass the maximum word count. By and large, a topic sentence starts with a linking word. ‘On one hand’ and ‘on the other hand’, ‘on the contrary’ and the numerals ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’, ‘lastly’ et cetera are appropriate as paragraph starters. Also, every topic sentence should be explained in its own paragraph.
Thirdly, layered structures in the body paragraphs cause the argument of every paragraph to be comprehensible and clear. There can be said to be three layers, which should be used in order. The first layer is generally the topic sentence itself, which introduces the subject or the argument. The second layer is the explanation of the first, but it can contain more than one sentence, as opposed to the first layer. Lastly, the third layer consists of examples to clarify the explanations.
Fourthly, an academic tone has to be kept over the course of the entire essay, which can be accomplished by using several rules (this is an example of a bad topic sentence). It is important not to use the first person in an academic essay, as the tone of such a paper is supposed to be objective. Personal interferences would cause the essay to come across as subjective, no matter the research that was done. However, this seemingly unpreventable subjectivity can be prevented by writing in the passive. Also, the informality of the diction should be kept to a minimum. Learning the words of the academic word lists by heart allows one to avoid those informalities.
All in all, writing a great essay is not too difficult as long as one to hold on to the right structure and tone. On the condition that the voice of the author is confident, the essay will come across as of higher quality. While content definitely matters, essays for college-leveled education should foremost stick to a set thesis statement, topic sentences and an academic attitude.
(I apologize if this seems rather pretentious; I wanted to do something special for my 25th blog so I decided to go with one of the subjects taught at my university: essay-writing proficiency. I hope it is alright, considering I am still a first-year student with not that much experience.)