Updated: July 15, 2013 3:02PM
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
My grandmother suggested that I write to you for advice.
I will begin my freshman year this fall and I hope to attend a top college such as Notre Dame, the University of Chicago or Northwestern.
I am very good in math and science, but I have a difficult time writing essays and term papers. Do you have any advice to help me improve?
I attached an example of an eighth-grade term paper, which received a B+.
I really enjoyed reading your term paper. In particular, I liked the fact that you included very specific details about your interests.
I do have some tips about how to improve your writing.
The most important thing to do when you are about to embark on a writing task is to take a step back and ask yourself the following questions:
Who is my audience?
This will tell you how you should style your writing. For example, if you are writing a letter to your best friend, you can use more casual verbiage.
However, if you are writing an English term paper for your teacher, you will use more academically appropriate language.
What am I writing about?
Clearly outline your essay. In your introduction, make sure you state your main premise or argument.
Then, in each of the following paragraphs, you should focus on at least three pieces of evidence that support that premise or argument.
Why is my essay important?
It is helpful to keep the answer to this question on a piece of paper next to you as you write. It may help keep you stay inspired.
The next piece of advice I have for you is to pay close attention to your sentence and paragraph structure. This is how a successful essay is structured:
Introduction: This is your opportunity to state your thesis. Briefly list the supporting evidence that you will be presenting in the body of your essay.
Paragraph 1: This paragraph should be dedicated to the first piece of evidence that supports your thesis.
Paragraph 2: This paragraph should be dedicated to the second piece of evidence that supports your thesis.
Paragraph 3: This paragraph should be dedicated to the third piece of evidence that supports your thesis.
At the end, briefly restate your thesis, and summarize the evidence that you provided.
You may also include a sentence on why your essay is important. Do not introduce new details in the conclusion.