Search 74,172 tutors
FIND TUTORS

Blogs Blogs

Essay Writing Blogs

Newest Most Active

Contrary to popular belief, MLA format was not designed by English teachers as a torture technique. It is used to keep you in the legal clear zone while writing. MLA format establishes guidelines that allow you to include academic research without being suspected or (worse) convicted of plagiarism. It also allows those reading, be it professors or scholars in your academic field, the chance to see where you are getting your evidence to support your claims.   The best one stop shop for MLA format is the Purdue Owl, which can be found at this web address: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/   This website gives not only the rules, but examples of citing sources in different medias (print, web, video). When in doubt I always look to Purdue. Save yourself time and trouble and bookmark it right now.   With their specific examples you will be on your way to a beautifully cited research paper.

The best advice I can give any student heading into the college admissions process is to read much and read often.   Chances are, you haven't read much of the printed word this summer. Now that it's August, it's the perfect time to pick up a book or a copy of the Times, or even check out a savvy pundit's blog.   Reading helps you brush up on skills you'll need for essay writing and the SAT: Critical reading & reading comprehension Grammar & usage Vocabulary   Besides improving these skills, reading helps you become a more well-rounded, informed, and conversant applicant.   Whether you're just beginning the application process or you just need an extra set of eyes on your essays, you'd do well to contact a professional tutor today.  

I know how they told you to write it. Now let me tell you how it's really done. Popular misconception is that because you read a paper from start to finish, that the best way to write it is from start to finish. This is, of course, nonsense. The best way to write a thesis paper is as follows.   Write your conclusion first. That's right... the easiest way to write a 5-paragraph thesis paper is to start with your conclusions first. This is how we think, anyway. When we read about a subject,  we are thinking while we read, so that by the time we've finished reading, we already know what we think about it. Those are our conclusions about what we just read/watched/experienced. We're already there, so why not start there? When you start the conclusion you should say something specific about your topic. By then end of your conclusion, you should show how the specific nature of your topic says something large, say, about the nature of life itself. Write... read more

Too many times I hear the sigh of long breaths immediately following the words "I have to write an essay."  I realized early on that I was the only one around, who did not mind the 2000 word count minimum papers. What makes it easy for me? Well,  it is not easy, but it has become easier. As a young child, I struggled to learn to read, and it was not until after high school that I began to enjoy it. The best I have found to relieve essay stress is to be fully prepared.  Read resources multiple times and be certain the resource is realivant, and breathe. Sit down at your computer with resources available. If you find yourself stuck just revisit the resource and look for inpiration. 

The best preparation for the SAT essay section is two-fold: first, learn and use new sophisticated vocabulary words to help in expressing your ideas more clearly; second, practice outlining and writing several essay questions each weekend. I encourage my students to send me essays to grade, in between lessons, since I can help turn a '3' or '4' essay into a '6' score!

Too many times students leave their papers until the last minute.  Haven't we all done this at some point in high school and college? Here is the best tip to ease the stress of that last minute essay writing.  Breathe!  Take a long breath and realize that you CAN do it!  Next, write a quick outline of the main topics you wish to cover in your essay.  The outline does not have to be long and involved.  A list of bullet points is the easiest way to organize your thoughts.  Do not forget that the first paragraph is your introduction and the last is your conclusion. Make the last sentence of your first paragraph your thesis statement ( the main topic of your paper).  Have at least three supporting ideas or paragraphs. Conclude with a circle ending where you go back to your first paragraph idea or end with a clincher!  That is something that "clinches" or closes the essay with a bang! Check off each bullet point as... read more

A key aspect I work on with each college applicant is applying for scholarships. Untold millions are set aside very year to give to students of all types to pay for college. Contrary to popular belief, money is out there for students of all kinds, regardless of ethnicity, family income, or academic achievement. The money is scattered about and I streamline the process, consolidate your scholarship search, and help you edit and craft compelling essays and personal statements. My work branding, goal setting, and essay writing for college admissions applies directly to scholarship applications. Corporations, non-profits, and institutions want to give away money to ambitious and prepared students, but your job as a student is to SELL them on you. Identify your brand and convince them that their money won’t be wasted on you. I aim to help every client pay for their investment with me many times over.    It’s almost guaranteed that your investment... read more

My students at the University of Wisconsin told me that they found the acronym MEAL to be helpful to them when they were writing in-class essays.  MEAL is a way to remember how to structure your paragraphs if you are stuck or if the writing process does not happen organically for you.   M - Main Idea - Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence introducing what the paragraph will discuss E - Evidence - What facts, quotations, artifacts, articles, etc. do you have to support your main idea? A - Analysis - You cannot just present the evidence, you must tell the reader why your evidence supports your topic L - Link - How does this paragraph support your overall thesis?

Have you ever received a graded essay handed back with the phrase, "Needs more structure," or "structure needs work?"   Creating a structure for any written word, whether it is poem, essay, news brief, or novel, is an integral part of the message you intend to convey. Using long, convoluted sentences as means to convince the reader that your argument is very simple will usually only give the opposite impression; simple arguments are best conveyed with short, simple sentences. (For example, the opposite is true in Jonathan Swift's essay, "A Modest Proposal," in which he uses didactic and complex language in an effort to "convince" the people of England that the solution to their hunger and poverty problem is to eat their starving infant children; his complex sentences reflect the sarcastic and satiric nature of his essay, reflecting that he does not see cannibalism as a real solution.)   Structure also helps you... read more

The holidays are almost upon us - school will be out soon - and parents and students are looking at a 2-4 week hiatus from the regular routine of school work.  What happens to all of the knowledge and skills learned from school and tutoring during those weeks? Well, having been a high school principal for years, as well as a classroom teacher, my experience is that students often will not read on their own, review math on their own, or if in an AP class "read ahead" on their own.  If you have tutors in the educational profession, we also have that time off and our lesson times can be flexible - so instead of all of those late afternoon, early evening, or weekend appointments, most of us can now meet with our students in the morning or afternoon. So, what would your student gain from tutoring in the winter break? 1.  Weekly reinforcement of knowledge and skills  already... read more

Students have a wonderful opportunity to show admissions officers who they really are, by using the college essay to stand out from the crowd. In my experience, if you find a topic that you care about, and you write an essay that speaks from your heart, you will have a successful application experience. Admissions officers have to read dozens of applications per day in the 'busy season'. If you give an application reader a chance to pause, laugh out loud or wonder about the end of the story, and really recognize you as an individual, whether using humor, philosophy, creative writing about a memory or a fictionalized experience, or a profound lesson learned, you will hit a home run!   I am happy to help you get started, and then to edit your results. I do not write essays for students, but I do help you present yourself in the best light possible, and to give you opportunities that you may not find on your own.  Contact me for 3-session essay writing... read more

I find that the best way to start writing something is to do a concept web of the topic. The web will have the central theme in the middle of the page circled and then write each supporting idea  off of that theme and then form sentences off of that idea.  See the example Below: Sorry but there is no way to circle these things so, I have had to become inventive.                                                                                                                              Trees---how they grow----sunlight----oxygen

The last student I tutored was presented with what seemed like an impossible task. She was to write a speech based on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. But her speech was to include repetition of a concept, a theme, metaphors, and allusions. Tough order! So, we broke down the tasks. First we watched some videos on allusion (not to be confused with illusion!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYCdlX6y2M8 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6CHtuZsz9c. I would recommend that you start with videos for any concept that you don't fully understand. Once she watched the videos, we broke down the assignment. What else has themes, repetition, and metaphor/illusion? Songs! We decided to write a song with a chorus. The first step was to choose a topic: Dropping out of school. Bam! We have our "theme" and "concept". We chose to make it a conversation between my student and a fictional partner who was going to say things like "I'm dropping... read more

What's the easiest way to make your students groan? Assign them an essay to write, of course! Students far and wide would almost rather do ANYTHING than to have to write an essay; and, truthfully speaking, I felt the very same way for many, many years. However, something changed for me as a young college student. I was introduced to a book that contained many samples of good essays that were written over a variety of short stories. I voraciously read, and reread, the essays over and over again. And then the "light bulb" moment came to me. I began to pick up on a "formula" that was used in each and every essay. Mind you, this "formula" was not taught in the book, but it was modeled. So, I began to practice my formula theory on the next few papers and essays I had to write. I was an English major, so writing assignments were a MAJOR part of my homework. One by one, the essays came back graded and the grades were good; I'd even say, if I can... read more

RSS Essay Writing Blogs RSS feed

Woodbridge Writing tutors