Essays are, for most, not the most fun way to spend your time. Regardless of whether you are in high school, college, graduate school, etc, essays have and always will be a fundamental part of education. Unfortunately, essays are not the easiest things to complete, and every teacher is expecting something different from these long assignments. Trust me, I understand. All those hours of writing endless articles and essays for newspaper and english classes, respectively, have sometimes made me throw my hands in the air in despair. However, there is a basic guideline on how to write an excellent essay (and keep yourself sane).


  • A hook: A sentence or two which grabs the reader’s attention. It can be written in any way, but a fact or a statement is preferable.
  • Background information: Explain what your topic is about briefly, so the reader will have a general idea of what they are about to read.
  • Thesis: A sentence or two which answers the overall theme/question of your piece. Include the central idea of your essay.

Body Paragraph

  • Topic sentence: introduce the main idea of your paragraph in a sentence. Make sure to link it to your thesis, and do not make it too detailed.
  • Evidence: Cite and/or state specific evidence which supports your thesis and central idea. If you are quoting something, integrate the quote into your sentences or cite your source in a works cited page (publications prefer when you integrate the citing into your sentence with “according to”. Essay citations are better in a works cited page.).
  • Synthesis: Explain why your evidence supports your thesis/central idea. Be detailed, but do not restate your evidence.
  • Closing and transition: Conclude your paragraph and make a smooth transition into the next paragraph. Anticipate the next idea you are going to write about and wrap up your current idea (Transitions are very important to teachers!)

Concluding Paragraph

  • Reintroduce: Reiterate your thesis/issue. Summarize your final thoughts and points (do not introduce new points, as it will leave the reader feeling open-ended)
  • Call to action: Finish off by writing a brief reflection on the theme of your essay. You can ask a “what would you do” question to the reader, or simply conclude your essay with an ending remark. Be dramatic but to the point, and leave the reader feeling satisfied.