Writing an Essay at the College Level

Robert J. Flynn, Ph.D.

This handout will help you write more effective college-level essays. It includes a guide to help you organize, draft, and revise your paper; content and style points that will improve your argument and the quality of your prose; and a list of do’s and don’ts. Please read this sheet over before you write each paper, after you have completed your first draft, and before you make changes to your final draft.

Remember, writing is not a free-form activity. It is a three-step process in which you first organize and outline your thoughts, then develop a rough draft, and, finally, undertake a series of revisions aimed at sharpening your argument and improving your prose. By approaching a writing assignment with such a plan, you will compose clearer, more logical, and more persuasive papers. You will also receive better grades for your effort.

Organizing and Outlining

Drafting Your Paper

Revising Your Essay and Preparing it for Submission

Content and Style Points

Do’s and Don'ts