Essay writing prompts: planning is key
The essay prompt is something that students should get used to seeing and have a strategy for using them to write effectively. Scholarships and college entrance requirements commonly ask for an essay written from prompts. Planning ahead and knowing how to answer these questions in the way the instructor expects really is the key to writing success.
The main steps in planning before trying to write your essay from prompts include the following:
- Know the type of essay you are required to produce. Is it persuasive writing, which is based on trying to present an argument for the reader to change their mind to your point of view? Narrative writing tells a story, whereas a literary response essay focuses on analyzing a work of literature and then discerning literal and implied thoughts about the text.
- Understand the purpose of the essay. If its goal is to let an applications committee get to know you better, make sure you include insights about what makes you think. They should get an idea of why you are unique and what value you can bring to their program.
- What are your goals for the essay? Are you trying to compete with hundreds of other students to win a scholarship? Do you want to show the judges you have been able to overcome challenging obstacles in your life experiences?
- Create an outline. This is a plan that helps you to satisfy all the requirements of the essay. The outline is like the base structure of a building. It must be strong and well-planned before adding all the finishing touches.
- Settle on a theme and write the first draft. This should never be your finished product. A great essay has many drafts, with corrections and revisions in between which help to polish and perfect the final work.
- Revise, re-write and finalize. Your writing should be proofread and revised several times to ensure clean copy. It should also be checked for smooth transitioning between paragraphs and a logical flow of ideas.
- The introductory paragraph should catch the reader’s attention and focus on telling them the theme of the essay. What is it really about? Which direction is it heading?
- The summary or conclusion wraps up in one paragraph what the essay was all about, so essentially it’s very similar to the introduction. It’s your last chance to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Make it memorable.
Steps you can take to create your essay efficiently: