Essay Writing Tips

Essay writing can be challenging for young writers.  I have written hundreds of essays.  It's always been a pleasure to receive a grade of A on an essay; however, it is even more enjoyable to receive a direct deposit for a winning scholarship essay!  Yes, it can make all the difference when funding your own education.  There are thousands of scholarship opportunities and most of them require a well written essay submission.
Have you ever been given a writing assignment that requires referencing a dozen different documents?  Are you learning to organize your writing?  Is it overwhelming when you are asked to complete a lengthy essay or report that includes more than just 5 or 6 references?  Do you want to apply for scholarships but you don't know how to write a winning essay?  To write any type of essay, my first tip is to take a step back, re-read the assignment criteria and/or rubric, and ask yourself a few questions.  
1.  Do I need to do any research before I can write the essay?
2.  Do I have all of the components needed to fulfill the assignment's criteria?
3.  Will the essay require in-text citations, a list of works cited, or a bibliography?
4.  Do I know what style I need to use?  Is it MLA, APA, or Chicago style?
5.  Do I already have an outline in my head that I could easily jot down?
After answering the above questions, you should have an excellent idea of how to break down your essay into puzzle pieces you can work with.  With a printout of your instructions for the assignment, with all components needed, and the grading rubric (if you have been provided with one)--you can now begin putting the puzzle together.  
Your first piece of the puzzle is the most simple, yet it is most often the one piece of the puzzle that novice writers leave out, it is the "outline."  Simply taking the time to establish an outline will save time and possibly, a few headaches along the way.  In my next blog, I will give you tips on writing an outline that will help you complete each piece of the puzzle and perhaps, even complete a winning essay!  
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