General Rules for Writing a 3-Paragraph Essay for College

College essays usually require a shorter 3-paragraph format that can be a bit confusing to students, especially when they are only experienced writing 5-paragraph format assignments. A 3-paragraph essay helps students learn to write concisely and clearly over three distinct but equally important parts.

Choose a Topic and Develop a Thesis Statement

Your essay will follow a simple structure which includes the introduction, the body paragraph, and the conclusion. Choose an original and interesting topic to write about. It can be anything you like but you have to make sure that it is specific and argumentative. For example, if you’d like to write about cats you can develop a thesis statement along the lines of “Cats make great pets because their fickle personalities are much like those of humans.”

Create a Detailed Outline for Guidance

Outlines are a writer’s best friend, but too many students skip making this vital tool because they believe they have what it takes to write their first draft without the use of one. But why make the assignment harder than it has to be? An outline takes only a few minutes to create and can shave off several hours of disorganized writing.

Start Writing Your Rough First Draft Quickly

It’s good to get started on your first draft immediately after creating your outline. This is when your ideas are fresh on your mind and can be written more efficiently. Use your outline for guidance and as a means to get back on track if you find yourself going off on a written tangent or lose your train of thought.

Revise Your Argument and Edit Your Writing

Read your work aloud when you begin revisions. This will help you identify any weird sounding sentences, phrases, and confusing words. This is also a time when you should think critically about making changes to the argument by removing, adding, or rearranging content. Edit for sentence and word choice clarity. Always write clearly and concisely.

Proofread and Put in the Finishing Touches

Finally, proofread your work, ensuring that you have caught and fixed all mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Put in the finishing touches, which includes page numbers, even margins, consistent formatting, etc. It might help to have a friend or classmate review the work one last time for a helpful second opinion.

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