Being able to write a college essay is a crucial part of any student’s education. Writing an essay goes beyond linearly listing ideas and writing blocks of paragraphs. Many academic institutions will require that students follow and adhere to specific formatting styles. The prime examples of essay format styles include; MLA format essay, APA Format essay, Chicago, and Turabian format essays. The application of the above formatting styles goes merely beyond college and university application essays. The first component of any essay is the format or the structure of the essay. Essentially, essay format is basically how the text of the essay is formatted to conform to the stipulated academic requirements. The most standard elements of an essay format include; the title page, the pagination, headings, sub-headings, titles, and figures. Essay format has much to do with the presentation of the text clearly and attractively. A poorly formatted essay gives the readers a hard time reading and understands the ideas and arguments of the essay. On the contrary, a well-structured essay is easy to read and access any outlined ideas or arguments.
Using the Right Essay Structure
A well-crafted essay follows the correct structure where the writer prepares the plan for the essay and includes the ideas and concepts to be discussed in the essay. Once the plan for the essay structure is developed, the writer or the student must step back and evaluate where the argument for the essay flows freely throughout the written structure. Writing the essay outline helps the students to understand whether the essay arguments flow smoothly and whether there is a clear transition from one idea to another. The most basic structure captures three basic components: introduction, body, and conclusion which are well-connected to support one idea or one argument referred to as the thesis. In the introduction, it is advisable to ensure that the writing is clear and concise, and it creates a good relationship and rapport with the audience or the readers. One strategy for developing a good introduction is to place the topic in the wider context by explaining its significance to the outer world. The second part of the introduction is the explanation of the writer's interpretation of the question. The writer must clearly interpret key concepts and key terms as they apply to the question of the essay. A classic tip for formatting the introduction is to first write the entire essay, and then re-read to ensure it mirrors or captures the ideas and arguments in the essay.
In the body section, the writer articulates the arguments to support the thesis captured in the introduction section. In clearly demonstrating key arguments to support the thesis, it is advisable that writers develop a prior list or plan of arguments. The list prepared at the beginning of the essay must guide the arguments that would later be articulated in the body of the text. The body of the essay must consist of several interconnected paragraphs that are each dedicated to a different or discrete idea. This means that each paragraph must strive to prove a point either by the way of interpretation or deduction. Any claims and arguments must be supported by quotations or examples – and good practice is that students always ensure they reference materials consulted to support claims and arguments in the paper. Failure to reference materials is interpreted as trying to take advantage of the credit for someone else's work and is widely referred to as plagiarism.
The conclusion section surmises the main argument of the essay. Writing the conclusion requires that the writer reflects back on the main points captured in the body, and makes a verdict that is informed from the arguments. It is not advisable to introduce new ideas in the conclusion. Rather, the writer must look back and give an articulated response or verdict to the question in the discussion. The above structure of the essay continues to provide insight into what college essays require. Most importantly, it is advised that as part of developing the above essay structure there is a need to look keenly at the paragraphs to ensure they are almost of the same size. The size of the paragraph may range between five to seven sentences, but shorter paragraphs are considered as easy to read and comprehend. The introduction, body, and conclusion may contain same-sized paragraphs for presentation and easy comprehension of the body text.
Paragraph organization is a crucial component of the essay formatting process. One vital element of a well-formatted essay is the manner in which the paragraphs are organized and how smoothly the paragraphs flow from one to another. The recommended structure of an essay paragraph captures the topic sentence, the supporting, and the concluding sentences. Although the topic sentence is mostly located at the very top of the paragraph, this format may vary depending on the individual organization as well as the audience's expectations. The length of each of these paragraphs may vary depending on the purpose and scope of the essay. However, longer paragraphs may present reading challenges to readers with relatively shorter reading spans. A crucial part of paragraph spacing is to ensure unity and coherence. Unity refers to the continuity of a single idea while coherence refers to the ability to have well-connected body paragraphs. The process of achieving coherence includes the use of transitions in body paragraphs and in the topic sentences.
Paying Attention to Essay Presentation
An essay presentation is an integral part of any formatting process. Impressions are considered critical to essay presentation since no matter how well-structured or well-crafted an essay, if the writer presents it in a sloppy manner, it fails to generate a favorable impression. The inability to provide a good impression may be profound in cases where the reader fails to understand the argument provided in the thesis. It must be acknowledged that in terms of presentation, generating a well-formatted text can be somehow a simple task. Students are advised to type essays in an A4 document with a minimum of 2 centimeters margins all round. Although some instructors still accept handwritten essays, it is advisable that students keep their handwriting clear and neat. All essays must include a separate cover page. Another important element of the presentation is the font and the spacing utilized. Although some teachers specify the specific font and spacing, some leave it to the students. In case no information is given on the font style and size, the students must use a standard font like the Arial or Times New Romans. The fonts must be no smaller than 12 points. Each page must be numbered according to the formatting convention used in the paper whether MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, or Turabian. The spacing requirements also vary widely although it is advisable to space the text of the essay to at least 1.5. Most importantly, the headings when used must be clearly identified and distinct throughout the body of the essay.
Tips for Essay Formatting
Tips for Writing the Introduction
Although formatting is given a frontline as far as essay writing is concerned, there is a range of tips that can be applied in creating a top-quality essay. The introduction of the essay presents the most important element of any formatting process. Although the introduction has been captured and discussed above as a crucial tip for essay formatting, there are key additions that must be considered anytime the introduction is developed.
- Begin with a bang. An attention grabber is considered as a sure hit in any essay writing process. As a result, it is advisable that the introduction encompasses a good attention grabber. There are specific ways of including a bang or an attention grabber in the essay. The first is to use startling expression or information that may include statistics or revealing data or information. Essay writing is a brain-stimulating and exciting process; this means that adding revealing and startling information makes the readers excited and curious at the same time.
- Use of Anecdotes. Using anecdotes is a great way to format and kick-start any essay. An anecdote, in its simplest sense, is a short story that exemplifies the main point of the essay. However, it must be established that when using anecdotes, the story must be very short and genuinely relevant to the topic. Although the use of anecdotes can be a competent essay winner, it must be utilized with caution.
- Dialogues. The use of dialogues as introduction openers and topic sentences entails crucial scrutiny. The dialogue must be relevant and appropriate to the topic, and the readers must in a position to relate how the dialogue conveys the primary message of the essay or thesis. It is advisable to note that when using dialogues as introduction openers, the writer must maintain two or three exchanges among speakers to outline the main point. The process of writing the dialogue must also appear as essay writing and not scripting.
- Application of Information Summary. The information summary works best when writing formal essays. A few sentences that clearly cite out the main arguments and ideas can successfully lead the readers towards the essay. Each of the sentences cited out in the information summary must be more and more specific until it touches the thesis statement.
- Finishing with the Thesis Statement. The closing paragraph must clearly and accurately finish with a thesis statement. The thesis statement explains to readers the main points that the essay intended and offers a closing that clearly surmises the main argument.
Learn more about how write an introduction for a research paper
Formatting Tips to Make the Essay Shine
Although it may seem like time-wastage to plan especially during exams, the existing evidence of essay formatting shows that planning pays. Brainstorming a bit before beginning the essay helps the writer find the best ideas possible – other than simply ideas that were identified at the beginning of the essay. Most importantly is that planning introduces new ideas that can later be arranged and integrated accordingly to the body of the work. The best supporting idea which is the one that most strongly makes the case and one the writer has the most knowledge must go first. The significance of planning is that even the best essays fail due to ineffectively placed ideas and arguments.
Aiming for Variety
The vocabularies and sentences of varying complexities are the primary hallmarks of any effective writing. It is advisable that writers avoid using the same vocabulary and phrases when writing. Writers do not need to have a very firm grasp of a list of vocabularies, however, a little variation of the vocabulary can make the entire essay sparkle. As a result, a general formatting rule of essays is to aim for variety in sentence structure, terms, phrases, and vocabularies. For instance, when asked about money, the writer can use other vocabularies like riches and wealth. Similarly, it is advisable to avoid beginning the sentences with a dull pattern of the subject-verb-direct object but rather to employ a more varied style of sentence structuring.
Avoiding Generalization and Embracing Specificity
Explanatory details and examples are specific and relevant to the question or argument in a discussion. Although it is hard to summarize the full richness of a specific example in just a few lines, writers are advised to keep the message short and details clear. Essay formatting involves the development of small sentences that complement one another. Most importantly, each sentence must communicate specific details while providing clear examples and illustrations. One way to avoid generalization is to capture the thesis statement and maintain a clear understanding of the question or argument under discussion. For instance, an essay discussing the merits of democratic leadership may concentrate on how the democratic style of leadership is special and beneficial to a country that other forms of leadership. Well-crafted essays are specific and relevant to the topic and hardly deviate from the main points of argument.
Using Active Voice
Active voice refers to a set of verbs in which the subject is typically the person doing the action and which takes a direct object. For instance, “she loved him” is direct as opposed to “he was loved by him” which takes a passive voice. The primary benefit of the active voice is that it uses fewer words which makes the essay concise and more efficient. The active voice also creates faster-moving writing or essay that makes easier writing and a more engaging type of reading. Besides, the active voice is encouraged in essays as it cleans up grammatical mistakes hence paving way for a smoother and more engaging readership.
Essay Formatting Process
This step of the paper outlines a comprehensive and thorough process of essay formatting. The process offered follows closely the step-to-step process of formulating, developing, and writing the essay. The essay formatting process is a crucial element of any formatting task as it provides a clear and direct model of formatting an essay from the beginning to the end.
- Read the essay instructions keenly. The first step of any essay formatting is to carefully read the instructions. Reading the instructions provides a good grasp of exactly what the instructor requires in the essay, and what should be done to meet the instruction requirements. The main basic components of the instructions include; the essay topic, word count, deadline, detailed instructions of the body, and the relevant sources. Instructors will also stipulate formatting information like style, font, and size.
- Brainstorming Ideas. Once the writer reads the instructions and understands what precisely is needed in the essay, the next step is to spend a little time brainstorming. The brainstorming process identifies a list of ideas that can be included to support the main thesis of the essay. Brainstorming also introduces ideas that would otherwise be forgotten when writing the essay.
- Preparation of an Outline. Once the brainstorming is done, the writer can proceed to develop a detailed outline that captures any relevant ideas to support the thesis. What is important is that the outline must encompass every component and element in the essay instructions.
- Writing Clearly. The writer must keep the writing clear, articulate, and consistent throughout the essay. A clearly written essay has a good selection of words, conformity in subject-verb agreement, and a smooth transition of topic ideas and supporting statements. Any arguments must be stated clearly and supported by evidence and examples. Any examples, quotations or evidence must be appropriately referenced using the conventional formatting standard; APA, MLA, Chicago, or Turabian.
- After the essay is written, the writer must proofread the entire essay to ensure there is no room for grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. An important part of proofreading is the use of grammar checkers although with caution. Grammar checkers do not identify all grammatical mistakes and spelling errors, and may sometimes label correct material as erroneous. It is important to check and double-check the essay to ensure it is fully impeccable.
- External Party Review. It is advisable that essays are proofread by a third-party; mostly a person affiliated or respected by the essay writer. In this regard a custom essay writing service would come in handy. There are a plethora of advantages to having someone review the essay. An external review highlights and accentuates mistakes that the writer failed to address. The external review may have a better knowledge of the language and a better understanding of literature hence uniquely positioned to identify any outstanding grammatical errors. The external review also creates room for better writing and editing skills. In most cases, the external reviewer must be someone with strong writing and editing skills. The inclusion of better reviewing skills helps to strengthen the essay and eliminate any outstanding mistakes.
Essay Formatting Tips
It is important to ensure that when writing a personal essay make sure everything is well-formatted for simplicity and understanding. This section discusses a list of essay formatting tips that are not captured in prior parts but altogether provide a basis for formatting formal essays. For scholarship essays, it is advisable to format the essay as outlined in the scholarship essay outline or instructions. Failing to adhere to the specifications outlined by the instructor may lead to lower marks and may fail to capture what is precisely required in the essay. Once the essay is finished and edited, it must be printed out on a high-quality paper. Most students use a standard paper which means that essays submitted in the quality paper often stand out. It is advisable that students write the essays in a standard, legible, and professional font.
Students are warned against using a script font. Recommended fonts include Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Romans, and Verdana. When the font size is not stipulated or suggested in any essay instructions, it is advisable to utilize 10-12 point for the essay body, and a maximum of 14 points for the headings. The existing literature on essay formatting recommends that before printing the final copy, it is important to ensure that the printer has enough amount of ink. Writers are warned against creasing the papers and ensuring it is not smudged when submitted. Finally, it is advisable to note that when submitting essays, writers must not use foldable envelopes indeed, a large envelope containing the relevant document should be used. Before the final submission of scholarship essays, the parent, friend, or parent can review the essay to ensure it meets the relevant requirements.