How to preserve clarity of thoughts in college essays

The key to writing a well organized essay is to have your own thoughts on the topic well organized. This is accomplished by following a few simple steps. If you do follow these steps, from start to finish, you'll find that preserving clarity of thought in your college essays is a surprisingly easy task.

  1. Start with a clear thesis statement.
  2. This is the first, and most important step, when it comes to writing a clear and straightforward college essay. If your thesis statement is clear and concise, and focused, it will allow you to research, outline, and plan a focused essay that you can be proud of. When determining your thesis statement, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Can I effectively research this topic?
    • Can I defend it thoroughly, using arguments related to one another?
    • Does my thesis make a clearly defendable proposition?

    Once you have a thesis that meets these qualifications, you're off to a good start.

  3. Organize as you research.
  4. As you research, create categories in your notes for each main idea that you will use to defend your thesis. As you record sources, quotes, and facts that you intend to cite in your essay, record them as part of these categories. Furthermore, make notes on how each of the categories relates to one another so that you can plan your transitions between ideas.

  5. Make a detailed outline using your research.
  6. Once you've completed the research stage, you'll need to make a thoroughly detailed outline of your paper, paragraph by paragraph. Each paragraph outline should contain:

    • The main idea of the paragraph.
    • A clear description of how the main idea supports the thesis.
    • Notes regarding which sources/facts/quotes will be used to flesh out the idea.
    • Notes regarding how you will transition from this idea to the next paragraph.

  7. Write your rough draft.
  8. Using your outline as a guide, write a rough draft of the essay, being certain to incorporate each of the above items in each paragraph.

  9. Edit your essay.
  10. Now that you've completed the rough draft, it's time to edit your essay. Go back through and mark any spots where it seems less than coherent, or difficult to understand. Considering the flow of the essay as a whole, edit these areas until you are satisfied that each part of your essay contributes to your overall thesis statement.

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