College Essay Writing Tips
In college you will be required to write many papers. In fact in order to get into college you will likely have to write an essay about why you are a good candidate for the school. You must be able to express yourself clearly and concisely. Often you are persuading others to take your point of view in situations that are not black and white. When I was in high school a wonderful English teacher named Mrs. Vaughn taught a writhing method we nicknamed ‘writing in chunks.’ This method of writing will guarantee success. I have used this method throughout my college experience and continue to use it in the professional world and it continues to be very successful.
How to Write in Chunks
So, you have been given an assignment to analyze a book or a topic and you have an opinion or feelings already but you have no idea how to express yourself intellectually. Or, have you ever sat down to write a paper and didn’t know where to begin? Perhaps you know your main idea but didn’t know how to prove it. Maybe you are unsure of your ability to analyze and discuss the meaning behind supporting documentation. Using the chunk method will solve these problems for you.
Chunks are blocks of information. They help you organize your thoughts into main focal points and record the supporting documentation. The format of a chunk is:
- Your main thought or idea
- A quote or statistic to support, prove, document, your idea
- Statements that analyze or discuss your thoughts on the idea and the supporting documentation.
So chunks incorporate your thesis, supporting ideas, and your own analysis. If you have ever had a hard time discussing the meaning behind your supporting documentation or the purpose of your main thought the format of a chunk makes this a non-issue. Chunks give you an easy format to insert your thoughts, which is your analysis. The following is the format for a paper that is written using chunks.
The introduction is a standard component of any essay. The introduction introduces the reader to the topic, your feelings on the topic and the purpose of your essay. The first sentence should be the introduction to the topic that your will be discussion. The next two to three sentences will be an introduction to your opinion on the topic. The final sentences will be your thesis or main topic of discussion.
The body paragraphs follow directly after the introduction. There should be at least two to three of the chunks in the paper depending on the length of the assignment. The body paragraphs of your essay are where you will begin writing in chunks.
The first sentence will be a statement about what you believe or are trying to prove. Next there should be a quote or some statistics that back up your initial statement. Directly following your quote would be at least two sentences that both analyze the quote and discuss how it supports your initial statement. Each body paragraph should contain at least two chunks. The following is an example of a chunk paragraph.
Some feel that practicing for a job interview is unnecessary because you don’t know what will be asked. However, according to Terry L. Fitzwater “You’ll be more successful in any interview if you rehearse first.” (Fitzwater 45) Rehearsal will build confidence in yourself and help you to practice poise and clear articulation which will help you succeed in the interview. Rehearsing can also reduce some of the nervousness associated with the interview process and the interview itself. Fitzwater goes on to say that, “The anagram M-A-T-T-E-R will help you remember that most interview questions fall into six categories. The categories are: Motivation, Ambition, Technical, Theoretical, Energy and Relationships.” (Fitzwater 46) Understanding the common categories will help you rehearse better. With common categories and your job description you can have friends assist you in preparing for the interview process.
The closing paragraph will reiterate what your stated thesis is and sum up the points you have made throughout the essay. The closing paragraph should tie up any loose ends as well so there are no unanswered questioned.
When writing a college essay whether it’s about yourself or a subject you have researched, this writing method will guarantee success. It guarantees that you incorporate your analysis and quotes to support your analysis. This style proves to your professors that you have studied the material and have came up with your own analysis which demonstrates your comprehension.
Fitzwater, Terry L. Preparing for Behavior Based Interviewing How to Get the Job you Want . unknown: Thompson Learning , 2004.