How to Write Why This College Essay: Tips and Examples

April 29, 2021
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When applying to college, one finds that there are several documents to submit as an integral part of the application. Among them, there is always a personal statement essay where applicants talk about what they expect from their studies, why they chose this line of studies, and – perhaps – why they would like to study in this particular school. Some schools, however, ask their applicants to expand on the latter and write a “why this college” essay additionally. When you were writing a personal statement, you may have found out that your task only seems pretty straightforward, whereas, in reality, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid. “Why this college” essays are similar in this regard.

Why do schools want applicants to answer such a question? More importantly, how do you answer it appropriately? In this guide, we will talk about what schools want to see in such essays, so that you were not confused about knew precisely what to write and what not to write. We will provide some topics and prompts for your “why this college” essay, so you can write it swiftly and avoid any writer’s block, as well as some hints to persuade the admission officers that you are indeed sincere in your commitment to your goal of getting an education in their school. To facilitate your writing even further, we will also provide an example of a winning “why this college” essay.

We will investigate and answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of asking applicants to write “why us” essays”?
  • What are the types of prompts for such essays?
  • How to make your “why this college” essay stand out?
  • How to research your “why this college” essay?
  • How to come up with a topic for a winning “why us” essay?
  • What should applicants keep in mind while writing their “why this college” essays?


You can imagine how many such essays college admission officers have to read. This, in turn, allows you to imagine the amount of effort that they invest in putting together a splendid class. This is why you should apply the same effort to make sure that you only put meaningful information into your essay.

As one may guess, the purpose of “why this college” essays partially dubs the goal of personal statements. On the one hand, the admission board wants to know how well-informed you are about the school – so that they knew how well you are prepared for what comes next. On the other hand, they want to know about your expectations from their school – to know whether or not they meet your expectations and whether or not you should seek a more fitting place to realize your aspirations.

If we go into a little more detail, we can list three factors to which your reader will pay attention:

  1. What makes this college so appealing to you. In general, this may involve the school’s rich history, outstanding values, their mission which you feel inspired to follow, etc. In particular, you are expected to know about their specific approach to the academic process. Needless, to say, you also need to express your approval of all of the above.
  2. What traits make you a perfect fit for the school’s requirements and traditions. This involves your areas of interest, which may include your hobbies, and how they accord to the school’s activities. In other words, they want to know how you expect to contribute to the school – not only academically, but also in terms of the campus life.
  3. Whether or not this particular school is your right choice. As we have mentioned, the admission board also wants to know about your expectations and what you want to get out of your school years to see whether or not they can meet these expectations. Their specific approach to studies is involved here, and applicants need to be confident that it will allow them to succeed academically. This, however, includes not only studies per se, but also all sorts of the extracurricular activities, including those that may be beneficial for the applicants’ future careers. The admission officers would like to make sure that their school is precisely what students are looking for.

As you answer these questions, it will provide more in-depth insight and other benefits not only to your reader but also to yourself. First of all, researching for your essay will let you know more about the school and what awaits you there. Moreover, you will obviously want to sound excited as you describe it all in writing. By doing so, you will build up your optimism, which is essential to a splendid start of your studies there. Secondly, you will ensure that you are making the right choice by applying to this particular college. You will know exactly what to do as soon as you set your foot on campus. There is also a chance, however, that you will not find this school particularly exciting and wisely choose to apply to a place that fits your aspirations better.


Given all of the above, you already understand that a “why this college” will have two focal points. They are “why us” and “why you.” Naturally, different colleges will have slightly or radically different expectations about “why this college” essays. Among other things, they will expect a particular balance between the “why us” and “why you” information in your essay. So, it is up to an applicant to nail this balance. Luckily, you don’t have to do it blindly. The admission officers are not interested in reading a stream of consciousness or an exercise in freewriting; so, they will give applicants a prompt to answer in their essays. This, in turn, will give students a sense of direction, necessary for spotting the right balance between those two focal points that we have discussed. The necessary balance may gear towards either of these points, and, as such, we can determine two types of “why this college” essay prompts: the “why us”-focused and the “why you”-focused ones.

Correspondingly, if the prompt tells that the admission board is more interested in hearing what you know about the school, then you give it to them and write your odes of praise to the school. If, on the other hand, the prompt asks more about you, then you need to underline your strengths and “sell” them to your reader.

When writing your essay, remember, that these two focuses are not mutually exclusive. Either way, you will be writing about what particularly drives your attention to this school. For example, if you want to learn about Time Travel and Parallel Universes from the celebrated Dr. Who, then your “why us” essay will pay more attention to how renowned a specialist Dr. Who is in the given field and what an honor it would be to have the opportunity to learn from him. On the other hand, “why you” essay may list actual achievements that make you the fittest candidate to learn from such a recognized specialist as Dr. Who.

With this particularity out of our way, let’s take a look at some examples of different types of “why this college” essay prompts, to get a clearer idea of which is which:

“Why us”:

  • Why (this school)?
  • What about this school appeals to you?
  • Why do you think that we are your right choice?
  • What is the best thing about studying with us?
  • Why do you want to continue your studies after high school at all?

“Why you”:

  • What makes you a fitting match for this school?
  • What are your interests and why do you think that being here will aid them?
  • What about our curriculum do you find most exciting?
  • What would be your contribution to our college life?
  • How do you see yourself in our school?
  • Why did you choose to send your application here?

Naturally, every college will word their prompts differently, so it makes little sense to give any real-life examples here. All you need to do is to “decipher” their wording. Be sure that it will go down to one of your formulations.


Regardless of the essay prompt wording, it will always come down to a trade – what you can give to the university and what you expect in return. When we speak about writing, it is all about enumerating the advantages that the success of your application will grant applicants and the school (and sounding sincerely optimistic about it).

How do you do this? How do you comprehensively list all the shining opportunities that open not only before you but before the school in case of your successful enrollment? Importantly, how do you achieve this in such a modest-sized text (typically, about 500 words in two paragraphs)?

To answer these questions, we will have to walk you through each step applicants need to take to write a winning “why this college” essay. Surely, you have already written essays before, so you should know that your work on any essay should begin with a thorough research, and this type of essay is no exception. Then, formulate your topic in a way that will correspond to your writing aspirations – in other words, make up your mind about what exactly you would like to write in this small piece of text. Only then, move on to writing itself. Let us take a closer look at each of these steps:

STEP 1: Researching for “why this college” essay

Just the same as with any other essay, applicants need to be familiar with the subject-matter about which they are to write. In this case, it is the college to which they are applying to. So, where students can find this information? And, more importantly, if this information is already well-known, how do you make it sound genuine and exciting in your essay? As a matter of fact, the information about any given school is always available to applicants, but so you don’t need to overthink it, we will list the ways you can get this information:

  • Visiting the campus. All schools are interested in attracting as many applicants as they possibly can. For this purpose, they advertise themselves. Among other ways in which they do it is offering potential applicants guided tours. Embarking on such a tour is often an exciting undertaking in itself. But if you go there, with all the fun that you may be having, you need to remember that you are on a mission to collect data about the school. So, be equipped to take notes. For that, you can use either a pen and a paper, or your smartphone. The essential information that you write down should include your tour guide’s name, a few facts about the school that caught your attention (these can be surprising, funny, or just inspiring and uplifting), and, of course, some general facts – the architecture and looks, the most important points in the school’s history, college traditions, etc. Mind that while you are on this tour, you can obtain valuable information not only from your tour guide. You may try and exchange a few words with the students or even professors about how they enjoy being there, what was their initial impression of the school and whether it persisted, was there anything about the college life that took them aback and to which they had to adjust, etc. In fact, if you already have your “why this college” essay prompt, you can simply paraphrase it and ask them that. Don’t rely on your memory, be sure to have their answers written down!
  • Visiting the campus virtually. It may happen that the school you are applying to is too geographically remote from the place where you live. There may also be other objective reasons why you cannot take a guided tour of your target school. Fortunately, today’s technologies can help remote applicants out. Simply go to your school’s website and find a virtual tour around their campus. Alternatively, look for virtual tours on such online resources as,, or even YouTube. Colleges also often ask some of their students to provide their contact data on college websites. So, here is your way to connect with students remotely and ask them whatever you have to ask. Once again, you may even paraphrase your essay prompt and ask them that.
  • Interviewing an alumnus. Alumni interviews are not an uncommon practice. Interviewing an alumnus of the school to which you are applying is a perfect chance to get all the information about this school. Formulate your questions in a way which will allow getting all the information you need, including your essay prompt answer. Of course, remember to take notes!
  • Attending college fairs. All high school students who wish to continue their studies at college are encouraged to attend college fairs, facilitating their choice of school. Students who have already made up their minds about the school they are applying to may feel like there is no need to attend such events. Nevertheless, attending college fairs can still prove beneficial for the applicants. Most people who attend such fairs just pick a pile of brochures and go home. This should not be your case. Even though brochures and other hand-out materials are valid research material for a “why this college” essay, do not limit yourself to that info. The people at your college’s stand at a fair are usually volunteering students who should be friendly to the fair attendants. You can use it for your benefit and ask them all the questions that we have discussed above. Once again, don’t forget to take notes!
  • Looking through college’s brochures and course catalogs. As we have mentioned, schools are interested in attracting significant numbers of applicants, and this is why they advertise. Aside from the means of advertisement we have already discussed, there are the colleges’ own published materials, including brochures and course catalogs. You can find them both in online and printed form. One thing that they always include is the school’s mission statement, which reflects their philosophy of education. You can see whether (or how exactly) it corresponds to your goals and expand upon it in a “why this college” essay. By expanding we mean underlining how one or two particular classes and activities are custom-designed for you. It may be tempting to simply paraphrase their description, but you should know that it will not work. Your interest needs to be sincere and genuine, and, as such, you should take an original approach to the issue – for example, you can focus on a particular professor(s) that you find appealing professionally and academically.
  • Reading the alumni magazine. Alumni magazines may seem like something too specific to fall under an applicant’s interest, but this is a misconception. When reading such a magazine, you may come across a professor’s work that you find particularly inspiring or even read about the school’s vision of its future which you share, to which you can connect, and in which you vividly see yourself. For example, you may find yourself particularly inspired by the school’s plans to build a brand new top-notch engineering school which you sincerely hope to join. Another helpful materials are the alumni testimonials where they go into detail about their aspirations which led them to this school and how true to life these aspirations turned out to be, – this is quite an effective source of inspiration for this kind of essay!

Reading the campus newspaper. For now, this is the closest thing to this school’s campus experience. This is a unique opportunity to get more insight into the campus life as it is – what troubles the students, what they are happy about, what career and extracurricular opportunities they have, and other topical issues. So, it would be a shame to miss such an opportunity.

Following the school’s social media profiles. Today, pretty much every school has its own profile on major social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. There, they post about everything that happens on the campus: new construction expansions, anniversaries of particular events in school history, announcements about the school’s regular and one-time events, etc. This is another unique opportunity to get more insightful information about how the school lives, so miss out on those.

Just googling your school. Same as with any other research, just looking up the information on the Internet can prove to be helpful. Wikipedia, for example, often provides insightful articles about renowned colleges, including their history, traditions, plans, etc. You can also google something like “what is (this college) really like” and find student forums where they will most likely discuss all the relevant issues sincerely and in great detail.

STEP 2. Formulating your “why this college” essay topic

Now that you have conducted some substantial research about your school, you should possess a considerable amount of information on the subject-matter. During the research, you have surely come across some particularly relatable and inspiring points about your school. These are the points you should address in “why this college” essay.

These points may come from any of the sources used during the research – hints found online, the information you have gathered while on campus, insights from your conversations with students and those you have “overheard” from their conversations on forums and through the college newspaper, etc.

Surely, you have followed our advice and took notes about everything meaningful that you have learned. What you should do now is look through all these notes and pick up to five points that are the most exciting and relatable to the school’s philosophy, environment, and life in general. They also have to be the ones on which you can expand in a way that reveals a direct connection of these details of campus life. You will be able to use them in your essay regardless of whether the prompt demands a “why us” or a “why you” approach.

Out of these five points, pick one that you will make into the topic of your “why this college” essay. How do you pick just one? To do this, go back to the fundamental question of a “why this college” essay – what makes you personally relatable to this particular school and the things for which it stands. Having conducted significant research, you surely have a lot of genuine things to share. Obviously, they will be more specific than the general sentences like “the historical buildings of the campus are all architectural masterpieces and a sheer pleasure to look at” or “the liberal arts curriculum here is some of the most progressive in the country.” While the admission officer who reads this may find such compliments pleasant, they do not represent your connection to this college and, as such, do not achieve the purpose of a “why this college essay,” because they can be said about plenty of schools across the country. Instead, talk something characteristic of this school specifically. In other words, discuss things that only this school can offer, and that make this school stand out among others.

When you think about these individual features of your target school, you should have a vivid and colorful picture of how you will describe them in your essay. Do not get too emotional about it, though; remember that a “why this college” essay is not required to be 100% objective. Quite the contrary, it should be a personal piece of writing. Just singing odes of praise is not your goal here. Instead, focus more on the reasons why you find this school so extraordinary.

These reasons must form connection points between you and the school, and, as such, they should be personal, perhaps even intimate. For instance, if you write about academic aspects, like particular courses or professors, you can try and find a way to connect them not only to your abstract aspirations but also to your past experiences and/or accomplished activities that substantiate them.

We cannot stress enough that this cannot be general and superficial. For example, you cannot state that you want to get enrolled in this school because it is located in a city and you want to move to that city. Every town has a college or even several to which you could apply, but you chose this particular one – why? You cannot just state that the architecture of the campus buildings is inspiring. Every school seeks to make its architecture stand out; so, explain how this particular architecture inspires you to pursue your academic and other life goals. Simply good weather or any other geography-related factor also does not suit if it can equally be applied to a bunch of other places.

So, once you have made up your mind about these five (or less) specific points, it is time to formulate your possible “why this college” essay topics around them. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that they need to be easily paraphrase-able depending on whether your prompt suggests a “why us” or “why you” essay, which, as you already know, are merely different sides of the same coin. Understanding this principle and following it will help formulate your “why this college” essay topic even before getting the prompt, thus winning a little more time for writing the essay itself. In other words, you should be able to word your essay topic either in “why us” or in “why you” key, depending on the essay prompt.

For instance, a “why us” essay topic and the corresponding essay may focus on how innovative and game-changing a particular engineering project is, and how perfectly it coincides with what you would like to achieve or to what you would like to contribute. A “why you” essay topic and the corresponding essay, on the other hand, will talk about the same issues but from a different perspective. It will focus on what you would like to achieve academically and professionally and how it makes you the perfect person for a particular project that your school pursues or plans to pursue. In other words, “why us” and “why you” are essentially nothing more than different parts of the same equation.

We realize that it all may sound just a tad confusing, so here are a few examples of both types of “why this college” essay topics:


  • How I expect my studies here to benefit my career plans
  • The college’s unique philosophy of education in your desired major. The genuine combination of disciplines comprising this major at this college. How they correspond to your academic experiences and interests
  • The school’s innovative way of connecting the disciplines and how it relates to your own philosophy of education
  • The school’s policy regarding students from underprivileged backgrounds. How you can benefit from it and/or contribute to it
  • A story about your acquaintance with this college. What impressed you and how did you come to realize that this is where you want to continue your education
  • Your initial negative impression about the school and how it proved to be wrong. Did you come across some facts that changed your original impression during some research? Was it debunked in a conversation with someone well-informed? Did you come across an article or a report about the school’s recent activities that appealed to you?
  • Particular details your conversations with this college’s students that were funny/ surprising/ inspiring that left you with an excellent impression and contributed to your decision to apply here
  • Any particularly meaningful incident that you have experienced during a campus tour. Was the tour guide overwhelmingly convincing? Did you come across some surprising information?
  • Did anything happen that transformed your understanding of college life in general?
  • Particular aspects of school history to which you relate personally. Was the school one of the pioneers to teach women or ethnic minorities? Has it always been promoting international students exchange? Has the school administration taken an unpopular but morally right decision at some critical point in national, regional, or school’s history?
  • A particular professor whom you consider your role model and can’t wait to learn from him or her. Has this professor influenced a science or any other project that you did at high school?
  • Have some of this professor’s publications revolutionized your understanding of any particular problem or issue?
  • A specific class that only this college offers that teaches something in what you would like to specialize in your studies and future career
  • A unique facility (laboratory, observatory, etc.) that you find impressive and would like to work with it. Specific equipment that only few schools employ in their education process. An outstanding library that has some unique ancient scrolls in its possession
  • How the school’s education process uniquely utilizes a specific set of skills and knowledge that you have. How different it is from the common understanding of education. How the school unites large groups of students for completing massive projects


  • A project that you have started working on back in high school and wish to continue. The current stage of this project’s development. How you can use the school’s facilities to commence your work on this project. How well it fits into one of the school programs or courses
  • Your social involvement in high school. How you can continue being socially involved when you get enrolled into this college, how you can contribute to the campus life
  • Your hobbies and extracurricular activities which you will keep doing when at college. For example, arts, music, journalism, etc. How inspiring the environment at this campus is for this particular activity
  • Background details that make you outstandingly qualified for a particular internship program. For example, your past experience of working in this or similar field, your preliminary exposure to this or similar line of work through your relatives or friends, etc.
  • An international student exchange program that this school has. How qualified you are to take benefit from this program because you are fluent in the target country’s language and/or fascinated with its culture. The international aspect of your desired career
  • How you are particularly interested in and well-fitting for a research project that the school is conducting. How well it ties in with a research project that you did and enjoyed doing in high school. How the professor who is in charge of this project is an inspiration to you. How you consider research as one of your top career options
  • A particular activity that is currently non-existent on this school’s campus that you can organize or help to organize because you have expertise and experience coordinating such activities in high school. For example, a club dedicated to particular sports or other interests. If you choose to write on this topic, make sure that the school indeed does not already have such a club
  • If the school already has a club to which you can contribute a great deal (because of your outstanding experience and expertise), explain what exactly you can bring to the table
  • Paraphrase or expand upon your personal statement. This essay is your opportunity to talk more about your strong sides and talents or highlight the skills that you had to exclude from your personal statement because of word count limitations. It can be a follow-up to your personal statement. Explain how these strong sides or talents perfectly fit into the school’s academic and/or extracurricular activities

There is always a chance that your dream school will not accept your application. Regardless of their reasons to do so, it is always wise to have a plan B or even several of those. This means that all applicants are strongly advised to apply to more than one college. If your “Plan B” school also demands that you write a “why this college” essay, then, in view of the fact that they are your plan B, the topic for your essay may be one of the following:

  • Focus on how getting a degree will help you achieve your career goals. Talk about how great you will be at your desired job after you graduate
  • The school’s philosophy and values and their connection points with your personal philosophy and values. For example, you are a vegan and this school is famous for vegan cafeterias. You are green-conscious, and this school makes a point about being green and cooperates with local farms for this cause. The school’s active inclusion of ethnic and/or other minorities, etc.
  • Basically anything that you find exciting about this school. If you have a hard time coming up with such a thing, then you probably should not apply to this school

As we have mentioned, “why this college” essays are always limited in volume. They should not be over two paragraphs long or over 500 words long. There are topics that you cannot possibly cover in such a modest word count. These are the “NO” topics for “why this college” essays:

  • The school’s reputation or any general feature characteristic of many schools. Schools may differ, but they are all essentially the same. So, no general features (such as the school’s reputation or the weather in the school’s locality) are good topics for such an essay, unless these features are absolutely unique. For example, if your school is very specialized and has a small number of students (like the Webb Institute, for instance), you can talk about how you find it comfortable and inspiring to work and live in a small community
  • If you are a fan of the school’s sports team, it is also not a splendid idea to write about it in your essay for two reasons. First, it is overused. Second, rooting for the school’s team does not require being at this school. You can only talk about this if you can actively contribute to the team as an athlete, mascot, cheerleader, etc.
  • Paraphrasing the nice words which the school says about itself on their website or in the brochure. This is not original information, so your essay will have no value for the reader and will leave them disappointed upon reading it. If some information from those sources appealed to you, you need to explain why you relate to it
  • College rankings. It is also not original information. Your reader is already aware of the college reputation. Moreover, if this is your top reason for applying here, it will make the admission officer feel like all you want to do is piggybacking on the school’s existing reputation without contributing to it, and nobody likes that. Besides, there are many schools with an excellent reputation in any line of studies, so rankings do not make any school stand out for an applicant
  • Going too deep about why you chose this major. This would be in direct conflict with the very definition of a “why this college” essay. Your task is to write why you want to study at this school, not to write why you want to study this subject
  • Going too poetic about your impressions of the campus. All schools struggle to look nice, and they often use the same means for this. It is not a unique feature of any school. So, writing about it in a “why this college” essay is a waste of volume

STEP 3: The writing process

Once you have picked the perfect topic for your essay, you can consider that the most challenging part of the process is over. All that is left to do is to put your excitement with the school into words. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are writing your essay:

  • Stick to the point and avoid expansive introductions. We cannot stress enough that these essays are very limited in volume, so you should stay laconic and cut off everything that’s not necessary. This includes both the introduction and the conclusion. If you find it tough to write an essay without those, then write them in your draft and cut them off later. Your main body paragraphs (no more than two) should include your most exciting reasons for applying and nothing more
  • Don’t overthink what your reader wants to see in your essay. Sincerity is the key to writing a genuine essay
  • Be specific about everything you mention and include as much factual data as you can: names of professors, classes, clubs, etc.
  • Mention that you will indeed go to this college if you get accepted. You may think that it goes without saying, but it doesn’t. It is essential for the admission board to be sure that you will indeed show up at the beginning of your first semester. That is, of course, if this is your sincere intention – if it’s not, then don’t write it.
  • If you apply to more than one college, you may be tempted to write just one “why this college” essay. This is a big no-no. For one, you might just forget to change a few specifics and send the wrong essay to the wrong school. But even if you are extra careful and cautious, schools are never identical, – so, the only way to write an essay that will fit more than one school is to generalize, and we have gone into great detail explaining why you should avoid this in “why this college” essays
  • If you find yourself stumbling or in some sort of a writer’s block, you can check out some general essay-writing guides – for example, WikiHow is full of those


To sum everything up, we would like to provide an example of a winning “why this college” essay and explain why it works:

“Stanford has been hosting a football game in which I participated as a part of my school’s team. I am an athlete, but I have quite a few more interests than sports. As such, during my time at Stanford, I got the opportunity not only to check out and enjoy the college’s football facilities but also to exchange a few words with the students. A few words quickly turned into fervent discussions of so many topics that interest me – from Asian geography to efficient movement patterns. Not only the topics themselves have inspired and excited me, but the ardor with which the other guys were talking about them. I felt like we have known each other for years! This is exactly the kind of environment in which I would be happy to continue my studies.

I have looked into the programs and activities at Stanford, and I was glad to find out about the Stanford Entrepreneurs Club because this gives me an excellent opportunity to go on pursuing my interest on the subject-matter: currently I am an active member of a similar club at my high school. As such, I would like to take an Entrepreneurial Leadership minor alongside my Computer Science major.”

Here are the reasons why this “why this college” essay is a winning one:

  • The applicant begins with mentioning that he has already begun building connections with other students, thus starting his integration into the campus life
  • He states that he already feels included, thus revealing confidence in both the rightness of his choice to study at Stanford and the success of his application
  • He is specific about how exactly he got to connect with students by mentioning the topics that they have discussed
  • He explains what he particularly likes about Stanford and why: he participates in his high school entrepreneur’s club and feels strongly inclined to contribute to the similar club at college. He also mentions that he is specifically interested in Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • He reveals awareness about the college curriculum
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How to Write a Good Application Letter

April 29, 2021
Posted by

Other than your degrees, an application letter is equally essential for you to get the job you want. However, writing one can be difficult, especially if you have never written an application letter before. But worry not, we are here to help you.

What is an Application Letter?

When you apply for a job, you are often asked to send an application letter with your resume.

A resume details your past work experience, your accomplishments, and your skills. Unlike a resume, an application letter, or a cover letter, details the reason why you have qualified the position and why the company should be interested in inviting you for an interview.

How to Get Started

When you write a job application letter, you need to present information that will increase your likelihood of being picked for the interview. You may be tempted to put in all the information in the letter, but you should also understand that space is limited. Your potential employer has even less time to spend reading your job application letter.

The first thing you need to do is to find out what the employer wants, and then customize your application accordingly. You can find out what they want by looking at their job advertisements. When you know what they want, you can include relevant information according to those needs. For instance, if the job requires leadership skills, mention the times when you have led a team and achieved success as a leader.

General Guidelines

Obviously, writing an application letter is much harder than writing an email to your friend or your colleague. Your potential hiring manager or interviewer expects you to write your application letter in a particular form. That means you need to consider how the letter would look to them. For that, you need to consider the following:

  • Length: Should not be more than one page
  • Font: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or other traditional fonts. The font size can range from 10 to 12 points.
  • Format: Single-spaced, a space between each paragraph. 1-inch margins and align the text to the left.
What You Should Say in Each Section of the Letter

When you write an application letter, you need to remember the rules to each section of it. The rule for each section is different from another.

  • Heading: For this part, you should start with the contact information of both you and your employer such as name, address, phone number, and email). Next, put on the date. Do note, however, that if it is an email instead of a letter, then you should write your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
  • Salutation: Here, you put in your greeting. Needless to say that you should be as polite as possible. If you do not know what salutation to use, then “Dear Mr.” or “Ms.” Followed by the person’s last name is good enough. However, if you are unsure of the reader’s gender, then you can state their full name and avoid the personal title altogether.
  • Body: Things are much more complicated here since this is where you will include all of the necessary information. Think of this as the main course of the application letter. To explain this part better, we will divide this into three parts.
    • First paragraph: Mention the position you are applying for as well as where you saw the job listing.
    • The following paragraph(s): Here, you will include all the relevant information. We mentioned about doing your research about what your employer is looking for. This is where such knowledge comes in handy. You will need to explain how your skills are exactly what your employer is looking for.
    • The final part: This is where you will put the “Thank you” to the employer. Then add your name. Here, you can also include follow-up information.
  • Complimentary close: Here, you sign off your email with a polite close. Using “Best” or “Sincerely” before your name is good enough.
  • Signature: If you are writing a letter, then end it with your handwritten signature. Then put your typed name. If you are writing this in an email, put in your typed name followed by your contact information.

Tired of Formatting Rules? Use Templates!

It is entirely understandable that all of the rules about formatting are overwhelming, if not unnecessary. For that reason, there are numerous templates out there for your job application letter. In fact, you can find one in your Microsoft Office application on your PC. You can save a lot of time writing your application letter if you use an existing template. All you need is to put in the information without worrying about whether or not your format is correct in the first place.

Proofread Your Letter

Your employer can tell at a glance whether you will be a good employee based on how you write your application letter. Grammar mistakes or typographical errors in your application is a sign of negligence. We should stress that the information of the company and the employer (such as their name) need to be correct. If you get them wrong, then your employer will see it as a red flag. You don’t want them to see you as a negligent individual. So, make sure you get them right.

Plus, if the job requires creativity (marketing, for example), then you can try to demonstrate how creative you can be under strict guidelines. However, do take into consideration the position and the company you are applying to before you attempt to stray from the guideline.

Other Tips on Good Application Letters

Be direct: First impression is everything. Your first paragraph should be short and to-the-point. We already mentioned that your application letter should not be longer than a page. Therefore, you need to put in as many relevant information as possible. You need to make that the information in a single page counts. Beating around the bush is not going to land you that job. Start off by explaining why you are writing the application letter. Tell them about the job title and company name. Plus, mention how you found the job listing. If you want to, you can mention why you are the best candidate for the position. However, you need to be brief.

The application letter complements the resume: You are often required to send an application letter with a resume. Your employer doesn’t want to read the same paper twice, so you can try to make your application letter to be an extension of your resume. While you can just make your application letter a duplicate of the resume, you will have a higher chance of being interviewed if you do otherwise. In your application letter, you can add personal touches such as language. You can explain a tad more about your career and work experience in a more personal tone. Bullet points don’t reveal much of the character. A story does.

Prove yourself: Remember that you are applying for a job. Your first step is sending your resume and cover letter to your employer to review. The second step is getting an interview with that employer. The third and final step is getting offered the job. Keep that in mind when you write your application letter. Your application letter should ensure that you get the job. Therefore, you should include details about relevant experience and background that prove why you are the best candidate for the position. Explain to them how your previous jobs gave you the experience for the position you are applying for. Explain to them how you would contribute to the company if you get hired. Make your application letter convincing.

Close with the relevant details: Here, you should include a “Thank you.” You can also include your contact information or inform them of how you will follow up. That way, your employer doesn’t need to look through the entire paper if he or she wants to contact you.

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It’s all in the outline: mastering the compare and contrast essay

April 29, 2021
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Writing clearly and concisely is one of the most important skills that you can learn and develop while you are still in school. Learning to write an effective essay teaches you to investigate, interpret, and communicate information, which will serve you later in life. All good essays, including narrative; compare and contrast; descriptive; argumentative; expository; cause and effect; and persuasive essays begin with an outline that will help you to organize your ideas. Creating an outline before you even start a rough draft will help you to organize your ideas, identify gaps that need to be filled in, and help you to write with ease. Here are some tips on writing an effective outline for an essay, which will help you master writing for a good grade now and communicating effectively in a job later on in life.


Do you need to look at how two ideas, subjects, or topics are alike or different? Well, you are writing a compare and contrast essay. A compare and contrast essay is not just comparing two subject matters. It is more than that. To write an effective compare and contrast essay outline, keep in mind:

  • You must establish that one subject is primary over another.
  • You must clear up and explain common misconceptions about both subjects.
  • You must give ideas on how to do or understand something differently.
  • You must talk about something unknown about the subject and explain it.
  • You must support your facts with reliable sources that provide accurate information.

There are many ways to organize your ideas into an outline for a compare and contrast essay. Here are some to get you started.


Use this organizational outline when you are comparing related subjects, or if you have to identify a few “points” when evaluating them. In each paragraph, you will write your introductory sentence, write about the first subject and all of its details, and then write about the second subject and its details. The next paragraph will compare another point and how the subjects are related to that point, and so on. Each paragraph speaks on one point of comparison while comparing the two subject matters.


What do you do when two subject matters that are completely different from one another (like apples and dragons) or deal with multiple points of comparison? If this is the case, try writing a compare and contrast essay outline organized by item, not points.

When comparing two completely different subject matters, both may not fit within a particular topic or criteria (again, think apples and dragons). When you need to evaluate two different subjects, you want to ensure that your ideas are clear so the reader can follow along. Each body paragraph gives you the opportunity to explore each subject area in depth, and not focus on trying to find connecting concepts. Following your explanation of the subject matter, you can then write two following paragraphs: one examining the similarities between the topics and one explaining the differences.

Once you have completed your outline, the rough draft will flow nicely. Your essay is already pretty much written, now you just need to write your sentences and compose the paragraphs, based on methods of organization that you have chosen.


The introduction of a compare and contrast essay does not vary much from other types of essays. You still need to introduce your topic, communicate what you attempting to compare and contrast, and capture the reader’s attention.

All introductions have three main components:

  • You must introduce the main idea. Hook the reader in with a sentence that is about the topic. Different methods of doing this include opening with a question the reader can relate to, a quote about the topic, or an anecdote which opens the essay with a story.
  • You must name the subjects that you are attempting to distinguish or compare. Don’t get into the specifics just yet, just mention the topics that you will be evaluating throughout the essay.
  • You must write a thesis statement. This is the most crucial part of any essay because all topic sentences will have to relate back to the thesis. The thesis statement tells the reader the main point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, one sentence long, and must tell the audience exactly what you are trying to say in your essay.

Once you have completed the introduction and formulated an excellent thesis statement, you can start composing the body of your compare and contrast essay, which will provide proof your reader needs to agree or disagree with.


The length of your essay and number of body paragraphs you have depends on how many points you have, or how many different topics you are attempting to compare and contrast under your subject area. If, you are only comparing two things (apples and dragons) you only need two main body paragraphs. If you are comparing apples, dragons, and boats, you will need three paragraphs. The number of different aspects that you need to contrast may be assigned by your teacher (or customer if you are doing this for a job), or you may need to use your creative juices and figure this out for yourself.

If you are running short on ideas of what criteria you can compare and contrast, you can always brainstorm by using a Venn diagram. Draw two overlapping circles. The larger circles will be your contrast, and the shape they share in the middle will be your similarities. This is an effective tool that will help you create new, fresh perspective to use in your writing. Remember, three criteria are usually enough for a compare and contrast essay (unless you are instructed to do otherwise).

When you work on your Venn diagram, and after you begin researching the reliable sources, you may find that you have too many ideas to work with. To keep your essay clear and concise, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the teacher or client specifically asking me for?
  • Is the information I want to include relevant to their request?
  • What is going to be engaging for the reader?
  • What is the most informative data that the reader doesn’t already know?
  • Is it relevant and important to the point I am trying to make?

The topic sentence is one of the most important parts of your body paragraph. Not only does it introduce what the paragraph is about, it relates to your thesis statement. Each topic sentence focuses on one topic or criterion, explaining what you are trying to compare and contrast.

After you craft your topic sentence, you need to support your thoughts with evidence. You can use data, statistics, case studies and a variety of other details that you find in your reliable resources. An essay is about explanation and evaluation, not just listing the similarities and differences about each topic.

There are many words that you can use to connect your ideas and show how you are comparing or contrasting your topics. Here are just some, for inspiration:

  • Similar to
  • Although
  • However,
  • In common
  • Either…or
  • On the contrary,
  • Neither…nor
  • Otherwise
  • Just as
  • Differ from

Be careful to avoid bias or judgment when writing. It is up to the reader to make their own evaluation. Your job is to present the facts in a fair way, and that will keep the audience reading.


The easiest part of your essay to write is the conclusion because you are just summing up what you have already written. Plus, you need to make sure that it is well organized. There are three parts to the conclusion (much like an introduction but instead of introducing you are summarizing) that you need to incorporate in your compare and contrast essay:

  • The summary sentence tells the reader what points you made during your essay. Do not start this sentence with “in conclusion.”
  • Evaluate the information you presented in your essay and offer the reader an analysis.
  • Write a final sentence which clarifies the main point of your essay. What is the whole purpose of writing it? Just a suggestion, don’t tell the reader you wrote it “because it was an assignment.”


Editing your rough draft is crucial to producing a good compare and contrast essay. After you organize your ideas and write them into paragraphs, you now need to edit for grammar mistakes and content.

Sometimes it is difficult to read your own writing and pick up on typos and mistakes that you make. You have been immersed in the information, and you tend to read each sentence like you wrote it without picking out the errors. One way to go about editing your paper is to read from the last sentence to the first sentence. That way, you are looking at how each sentence looks, not how the sentences flow into one another. First, read for content. Make sure that your sentences are clear, and your ideas are presented well. Then, you can start looking for capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and syntax. If you can rewrite the sentence so that it is clearer, do it. You are aiming to write the perfect essay!

Don’t let tools such as the grammar check on Microsoft Word or online programs like Grammarly be your only source for checking your work. They aren’t 100% reliable, and you need to practice the skills needed to write and edit a good paper. You can use them after you have edited your own work, just as a backup, but don’t rely solely on these tools to do the work for you. You can always ask someone else to read your compare and contrast essay and provide feedback to your content or proofread for editing errors.

Don’t forget, if you use any information for your essay that comes from another source, make sure that you include them in your reference or works cited section. This is usually a whole separate page. There are a variety of formats that you can follow, but it is important for the reader to be able to look up your sources to make sure the information that you have given is reliable.

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How to Write the Common Application Essays

April 29, 2021
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Common Application Essays: Writing the Perfect Essay

If you’re looking to apply to university, thankfully, technology has made it much easier – it’ll be most convenient for you to apply using the Common Application system. Almost 700 colleges are currently using the Common Application system, making it easy to apply to a multitude of colleges using only a single form. This system can even provide you with an adequate help, financial aid, and relevant information, while streamlining the college application process. Just this year, Common Application (CA) have provided a few different revised essay prompts and amendments to other prompts, with a total of three new prompts revisions and two completely new prompts. You can take these prompts on board and build your essays with them.

We understand that this may be one of the most important essays of your life and so this can be quite a daunting task – it’s as if you have one opportunity to make a difference to the rest of your career here, however, you shouldn’t worry! Fortunately for aspiring students, we’ve come up with some great tips, strategies, and advice to help you with the essay section of the application process. We’ll explore some of the prompts and give you ways in which you can tackle that critical essay. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, but we’ll certainly help walk and talk you through it.

Hopefully, after you’ve read this article, it’ll be smooth sailing to your respective college of choice! Let’s begin.


So what is the purpose of the CA essay? Colleges that you’re applying to will be able to get a good representation of your skills and personal attributes through the prose you’ll supply. Everything from your grades and past results will be available to colleges but the CA essay process is a bit different to this. Rather than a qualitative representation of what you’re about, the CA essay gives you an opportunity to showcase your personality and flare as a potential student. Through the essay, one is able to express their unique qualities and what matters most to them, so you should strive to do just this.

Through the online application system, your essay is going to be shown to various colleges so you won’t be able to tailor it towards different degree applications, making life a lot simpler. This is why you’ll need to write your essay so that it is accessible by a number of universities for a wide range of subjects.

Let’s Talk Strategy

The CA essay is not like an academic paper – it’s only 650 words, not 6500 words. We know that it can appear daunting because you’ll probably want to be shouting at your college with all the wonderful things about you, but soon you’ll find out that college writing is all about refinement and organising text in a clear and thought out manner, so this is what you’ll want to consider.

Develop Ideas

Before you can begin to approach some essay prompts, it’s important to brainstorm your core passions. Concentrate on something you’re passionate about and then think of the ways you connect with it. What makes you resonate with your core passion? If your core passion is creative writing, think about how you can make this come across. Perhaps you love the idea of expressing emotion, creative learning, discovery, portraying characters or bringing your life experiences to the table. Give your core passions scrutiny and a real think.

After you’ve taken a moment to determine your passion, you now have a strong purpose to write a CA essay. For every CA essay, there are four essential things that colleges will be looking to read about:

1. Who you are.

This goes a bit further than your name and contact details – readers are interested in your key personality elements that make you shine. This is above all, a personal showcase.

2. Why you are here.

This is not an indication to discuss existential philosophy. We’re not looking as to answer questions on the origins of life. Whoever is reading wants to know about your journey through high school and how you’ve developed, matured and grown as a person to want to attend college.

3. What makes you unique.

It is important for colleges to understand how you can fit in and how you’ll be able to bring value to a degree programme. Think about your tangible skills, soft skills, problem-solving skills, and any other personality traits that may distinguish you from others – you’ll need to show how you’re unique throughout.

4. What matters to you.

In the end, you’ll need to relate back to where your passions lie. This will help essay recipients understand more about your personality and if you’d fit in at a college.

Every individual is different and every college can be impressed by a multitude of things. The “one true passion” or “correct passion” don’t exist – whatever you’re into, you should express it. Use the four statements above to guide you through this process and through all of the essay prompts we’ll be looking at throughout this article.

Organizing Ideas and Writing

Besides the word count, there are really very limited guidelines for what’s expected of your CA essay, leaving you the freedom to exercise creativity in your approach, writing structure, and style. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should write a big splurge of text – you’ll need to be logical and the context must follow what the title asks. Ideas need to flow smoothly together to provide that perfect essay that’s going to make you stand out.


Now that you’re a prospective student, or a college graduate in the making, you’re going to need to impress them with a mature level of style in order to set your essay apart from the others. Needless to say, you’ll be expected to write with a good grammatical command and well thought out structure throughout, because the university level is set high. As for your use of language, don’t worry, we’re not talking Ernest Hemingway level here but rather a clear piece of text that’s logically set out and has some creative flair – this is what admissions officers will be looking for.

So how can you write with great style?

  • Show, don’t tell. This is a great stylistic move you can make to get the reader thinking about what you’re trying to tell them. You can use less adjectives and more poetry to guide the reader into trying to interpret ideas in the same way as you. To take an example, “the sun is shining” can be changed to “the enormous heated sphere is blaring in the sky”. A blatantly obvious description can lead to a pointless essay.
  • Avoid using cliches. Readers are hardly going to be impressed with statements such as “I woke up and it was all a dream”. This could have been written by anybody and it doesn’t showcase anything about you as a person. Look up some popular cliches online if you’re not familiar.
  • Avoid using vague statements. It’s time to become refined and demonstrate skill in writing. Plus, you don’t have the number of words to go on forever!
  • Write using the active voice. This is the grammatical rule whereby the subject acts upon a verb. It will bode well in essays rather than numerous passive sentences.
  • Write in a mature tone. You don’t want to come across like a spoilt child, someone who’s a cynic or a pessimist. A positive tone will bode well for an application. You don’t want to be arrogant either and flaunt that you have everything it takes, so if you’ve got a big ego, suppress it for the time being. Think about how to come across in a professional and dignified manner. Your CA essay reader is going to want to see a level of maturity so that you’ll be the best fit for their college.

Whatever you decide to do, do NOT resort to using your thesaurus to colour your language to provide a pointless overly complicated plethora of adjectives. Remember that this essay is not a test to show off an extensive range of vocabulary. An overuse of your thesaurus displays a lack of skill and is easily recognisable by the essay recipient, so if you’re going to use it, use it sparsely. Moreover, if your vocabulary appears to be at a higher level than what’s to be expected of a person of your age, essay recipients may not believe that it’s your work, therefore rejecting your essay outright!

The Prompt That Works for You

Let’s take a look at some of the most common CA essay prompts of 2018. Whilst doing this, you should think about what prompt best works for you and which would be the most interesting to write about. The greatest thing about the CA essay is that there isn’t just one singular topic for all applicants. Each prompt provides a number of new challenges, requiring a different way to think about each, so let’s get going and dive into some of them.

Prompt #1

“Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

What a great prompt! On the face of it, this prompt gives you a perfect opportunity for your passions and academic interests to come across, so there’s plenty of room to showcase yourself as best as you can. You can come up with a striking narrative that will show your personal development for whatever “incomplete” part you chose. The fact that this prompt is solely about YOU gives you a tall metaphorical platform for you to stand up and display yourself.

So what exactly is something “so meaningful”? It is up to the meaning that you associate with it. Prompt one allows you the chance to talk about something truly unique that you’re passionate about that will separate you. Perhaps you’re the only one who likes to blog about Nordic folk music? You’ll certainly stand out.

Not every passion has to be something completely unique, however. If you’re not into blogging about music, you can talk about anything that you’re passionate about. It’s not some sort of contest where the most outrageous and unique passion will win you a place at your favourite university – don’t lose sight of the meaning of the essay in the application process. Think about what’s made the most significant impact on your life so far.

If you’re writing about your background, you may want to talk about some training experiences you’ve had, your education, and any cultural insights. It’s possible to mention any experiences you’ve had when growing up whether it be interacting with your family or your brother or sister. How have your relationships made you the person you are today? Your background could include a multitude of things such as your interest in the arts, sciences, sport or any other important things. Your background is inclusive of your social environment from which you’ve come from. How has this environment influenced your thought processes, perceptions, and opinions? It’s even possible to talk about various backgrounds you’ve experienced and how they’ve become meaningful in your life.

If you choose to talk about your identity, this will allow you to discuss any questions about personal identity such as your race, gender, sexual orientation or any other parts that encompass you. What is true to the nature of yourself? Some of these ideas can pose as slightly controversial topics of discussion and writing, so always make sure that you approach them with the highest degree of caution. You won’t want to put anyone off by making any broad statements about stereotypes or any flippant comments. Think about the most dominant identity trait that you have. As an example, if you’re adventurous, you could talk about how this trait has allowed you to experience cultures and how this has made you deal with problems that needed to be solved.

If you’ve gone down the interest side of this prompt, this could pave a path for showcasing your passions – you may find that some of your passions won’t be applicable to talk about in other parts of CA application. As an example, if you’re applying for a mechanical engineering place, talking about your love for skateboarding could provide a nice touch. If you’re looking at a fashion course, writing about your keen interest in mathematics could demonstrate a whole new side of you to the admin officer. Where else would you write about these things? People should know of the great things about you!

Prompt #2

“The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

This prompt is a true test to your personality. You won’t want to talk about an unequivocally dull failure, e.g. forgetting to bring your textbook to school, or a setback that isn’t really one. Don’t be afraid of talking about a true failure, because this prompt is not about making yourself look bad. It is clear that this prompt is a way for the reader to view your personality and see how you can overcome adversity. What a great way to illustrate how you have the personality and wisdom to rise above problems, think of solutions and grow as a person.

Your response to your chosen failure and the actions that you’ve employed to rid yourself of it are things to write about and make clear in this essay. If you’ve lost touch with a member of your closest friends group, analyse why this happened, where you went wrong and how you tried to improve. Even if your friend is still distant and the problem persists, you can always talk about how you haven’t let this ruin you and how this experience has helped you grow. Let the reader see that you’re able to analyse situations – perhaps you could have done something differently as not to have this problem. What solutions worked and what solutions would be better? How could you fix things here? If well written, your thought processes should soon become apparent to the reader, highlighting your critical thinking and reasoning faculties. Working on tackling obstacles is a way to talk about your approach to controversial issues, or even your understanding of ethics.

It’s still possible to talk about a series of smaller or disparate failures that you’ve experienced but have worked positively to overcome. If for example, you’ve always been very shy, you could talk about how you managed to seek help, read about how to overcome your issues and ultimately try and fix your social anxiety. This powerful and thought-provoking prompt could put you in the running in the application process.

Prompt #3

“Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?”

It’s not typical of students to participate or march in protests, but one could still yield a first-class response from this prompt. Instead of challenging a belief in this sense, you could focus on a time when you took a different stance on some social conventions and questioned some societal norms. In doing so, perhaps you raised some salient points? It’s important that this doesn’t become a crusade against some social issue or a platform for moral superiority, but rather that you can reflect on your experiences and analyse your situations.

Perhaps you felt strongly about some situation and this piqued your curiosity, sparking your train of thought? Whatever you choose to write about, the most important thing is not to lose sight of the essay at hand. In a piece of reflective writing, you want to take the reader on a journey to explore your cognitive processes that lead to making decisions.

If you’re struggling for ideas but like the idea of a reflective essay, brainstorm some ideas by writing a problem down and then looking at different solutions you could use to address it, whilst including justifications for doing so. The more you explain and justify your solutions to the problem, the better your response can be.

In the end, you’ll want to demonstrate that you have some degree of logical thinking and an attitude to do what’s right. This could be a great prompt to showcase your morals and critical faculties. In describing the outcome, you could talk about why that outcome came about and what you could have done better. There is plenty of room for analysis and an intriguing essay here.

Prompt #4

“Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.”

This prompt allows you to choose between three different ideas and gives you quite a broad scope to play with because you can talk about anything as long as it is of importance to you personally. We’re sure, after reading this, you could think of at least ten different problems straight away off the top of your head, but it’s essential that you pick one that is profoundly concerning to you personally so that you can make the reader aware of its personal impact.

There are many ways that you could approach this prompt. It’s possible to tell more of an origin type story about why the problem became interesting to you or you could explain the consequences of the problem at hand plus its resolutions. There’s leeway in writing this essay, depending on the nature of your problem, your solution, and your personal experience.

Describing a problem doesn’t mean you’ll have to shed some light on deep theories and present a detailed explanation involving lots of jargon. Sure, you’re describing the problem, but this will not showcase anything about you. You’ve got to remember that the main reason why you’re writing a CA essay in the first place is that you’re trying to make the reader aware of your personality, skills, and reasons as to why you should be considered. So if you’re going to pick an intellectual challenge, there’s no need to go into a verbal spew of quantum mechanics in order to detail your problem, leaving you with 15 words to spare, after all, what does this say about you?

Along with a description of the problem needs to come an explanation of the experience that led you to realise that it was personally important. Why was this a grave problem? Presumably, you’re going to talk about a grave problem, not forgetting to take the rubbish out in the morning for a month (this wouldn’t offer a very exciting solution). So how do you want to solve the problem after identifying a solution? This is the real showcase of your problem-solving abilities. Evaluate what you could have done better or perhaps your solution was just one of many? Maybe your problem was just a small piece of an even bigger problem that society should try and solve, for example, if you were trying to help your friend through their chronic drug addiction, maybe this raises other issues for other ordinary members of society. Perhaps tackling one case of drug addiction is just a part of an epidemic of drug addiction in the country and you can talk about some of the solutions for this.

The question allows you to expand into the hypothetical territory by considering a problem you’d like to solve. This is a great way to use your imagination, but think carefully about choosing a topic that will give you enough to talk about tangible solutions. Avoid any cliche problems, e.g. solving climate change or bringing about world peace because it will just look like you’ve been lazy in thinking of an idea. Try to avoid any problems that require vague solutions, e.g. to solve the problem of overpopulation, one could repopulate the human race on Mars – how and why? Let’s not get carried away here.

Prompt #5

“Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

Much like the prompt on problem-solving, there is a really broad array of things to choose from and discuss. It seems that the sky’s the limit here! So what kind of things could you choose? Do any formal or informal events come to mind? Perhaps you’ve been a part of a religious event or some other sort of ritual whereby you “rose up in the ranks”, maybe in a spiritual way (e.g. in a Bar Mitzvah) or in a social sense (e.g. being elected the leader of your year). As a brainstorming exercise, consider any moments in your life describing a transgression and note them down – pick which had the most profound change and think about why it was so profound. Again, the essay recipient isn’t going to be interested in the detail of the accomplishment, realization or event in question, but rather in the way you’ve grown.

It isn’t necessarily the case that the particular realization, event or accomplishment needs to be one of enormous grandeur, there’s no need to resort to describing an excerpt of the latest Hollywood drama here. The severity of the situation needn’t be an issue here. Perhaps you have a simple event that really caused you to change your ways of thinking or inspired you in a unique way. For example, perhaps you’ve always followed in the footsteps of your family that have never been particularly enthusiastic about sport, but when you reluctantly accepted a late birthday present of a free kayaking lesson, this immediately sparked an interest and put into reality that you loved kayaking. Upon hitting the water in this kayak, you went out of your way and out of your comfort zone to realise that you need to try new things and open your mind to other experiences in the future.

What’s going to make your essay stand out here is a definition of what has really grown you as a person and then going into detail about the circumstances of this growth and the ways in which it related to an understanding of you and other people. It’s not as important to detail exactly how you grew, but rather why you grew and you’ll need to elaborate on the reasons. There is even room for a bit of analysis for the future – to what degree will you keep on growing as a result of the case you’ve described and are you likely to keep developing because of it for a lot longer in the future?

Prompt #6

“Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

Let’s not take this literally, of course, you’ll never lose track of time! Here you can expand upon a small idea or concept in a large and profound way, giving you lots to write about. The key is in the words “all track of time”, indicating that you must, and we mean must, talk about something that is intensely meaningful to you.

One idea is to think about your passions and interests – narrow down from these and try and think of the most striking thing about one of your passions. Are you getting nearer to the topic you’ll be discussing? Or perhaps when you read the prompt, an idea came to you instantly. When brainstorming what to write about, put an idea under scrutiny and think about what engaging qualities it may have in order to engage with this idea on a deeper level. If you find many things to discuss, it could prove to be the idea for you to use.

The topic could be broad, for instance, “language”, with a discussion of how it’s evolved and adapted over time. Perhaps you find it so captivating because of the vast differences in languages over the world, from Asian characters, to the multitude of tenses in western languages. You can expand on your topic by finding areas within it that are of particular interest to you and then expanding on them. If it captivates you, it must be intriguing, so explain why it is.

Similarly, your topic could have a narrower focus, but you could really expand on it in a detailed way. If you like cycling, you could discuss the joy of physical movement and the feeling you get when you’re going at full tilt. A top tip is to make use of descriptive writing – use metaphors, paint a picture of the sound of the wind as you’re pedaling downhill or the feel of the road vibrating through your shins. Building up a picture will help you answer exactly why you’re captivated by something. It’s no use saying that you love cycling – you’ll need to put the contents of your thoughts on exhibition and show your true emotional connection. Following on, you could progress on to reveal your passion for the complexity of cycling, all the physics and mechanics of various parts – why do certain bolts and chain-rings trump others? Show off your geeky side and intelligence. There are many things that you could show off your personality and flare.

Prompt #7

“Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.”

Wow, a topic of your choice! This prompt actually advocates that you can write your own question, which is a great bonus. If you already have a strong arsenal of previous essays, then you could easily drag one out to help inspire you.

However, this is not to say that you can just rehash a previous essay, because even if it’s the highest graded essay you’ve ever written, the CA essay is all about reaching beyond high grade scores and focusing on you. This prompt isn’t one to just be lazy towards – anyone could simply interpret the prompt to the meaning that you don’t have to think too hard about what’s going to be the best fit for an essay, but you’ll need to give the prompt some serious thought, otherwise, you’re unlikely to succeed.

Instead, as a brainstorming technique, gather up any past essays that you’ve completed. Two words need to be considered: how and why. How is your topic going to impress and why is it a worthy topic? Your writing style will need to be on point here, so that you can showcase a strong personality and voice. The essay needs to make a long-lasting impression. Designing a prompt completely on the fly could prove to be quite a daunting and time-consuming task – it’s best to have something that you can work with.

Avoid topics that can make you look bad and that have negative connotations – it’s a no-brainer. Even if you can write well about your drug use, colleges won’t want to have to deal with illegal activities and the consequences of substance abuse on campus. Equally, admins aren’t going to be thoroughly impressed by your active sex life – these things may seem interesting to your close circle of friends, but they won’t display much maturity and could provide a cringe-worthy piece of text. As previously mentioned, also avoid cliche topics that have been done time and time again, such as your travel journal or a dream sequence.

As a rule of thumb, put yourself in the readers’ shoes and consider how you’d feel if you were reading your essay. Writing can be therapeutic, but the CA essay needn’t be, so refrain from writing about uncomfortable topics that relate to traumatic times in your personal life as they’re likely to inspire discomfort in the reader. It will be difficult to write about such essay topics whilst also conveying a positive message.

Conclusion: Let Them See the Real You

So there you have it. Plenty of great examples and advice to get your CA essay on the move. It can’t be stressed enough that your essay needs to showcase YOU as a person. Meredith Lombardi, the Associate Director of the Common Application programme herself, has mentioned that the CA essay prompts are there to give all applicants the opportunity to share their ideas and voice with colleges all over, telling their unique story and helping bring it to life. You should take these words on board. The CA essay is certainly not a place to list your complex accomplishments, because the college application already gives you a space to do that, so don’t go on about it in the essay. In the same way, this is not the place to list excuses for your failing grades and any mishaps in your high school career!

Write with style and finesse, whilst also putting your identity, personality, interests, character, and aspirations out on display for all recipients to see. Make sure not to rush into it initially, spending plenty of time planning and formulating your ideas in order not to hit any sort of writer’s block. With the following examples and strategies, you’ll be at a key advantage and can be well on your way.

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A Few General Facts about How To Write 5 Paragraph Essay ?

April 29, 2021
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In general, the 5-paragraph essay is regarded as the typical essay writing task. This type of essay is utilized in the majority of well-established examinations, like TOEFL, IELTS or SAT.

Seeing as in the majority of such examinations you need to stick to a time limit when it comes to finishing the “Writing” part, it’s advisable to learn the structure of the 5-paragraph essay by heart. This way, you’ll be able to complete the exam swiftly and efficiently. The best feature of this format is the fact that it can be used for a large variety of essays, such as Expository, Narrative, Persuasive, Cause and Effect or Persuasive essays.

5-Paragraph Essay Subject Examples

Here are a few of the most recurrent subjects on which students write 5-paragraph essays:

  • Is an individual able to memorize a life lesson from an event they weren’t part of?
  • Is one able to learn from the errors of other individuals?
  • Is it moral to conduct experiments on animals?
  • Should homosexual matrimony be legalized?
  • Should the legislation on firearms become harsher?
  • Should the capital punishment be fully eliminated?
  • Should cannabis become legal?
  • Should all students benefit from free-of-charge education?

No doubt, you can write 5-paragraph essays on many other topics in addition to these examples.

The Structure of a 5-Paragraph Essay

Introduction: 3 to 5 Phrases

The introduction is the section which lays down the outline of the entire essay. The initial phase represents the HOOK sentence.

  • The Hook Sentence has the purpose of catching the reader’s interest.
  • In general, the Hook Sentence is a rhetorical one. Additionally, it could also constitute a life example or an outstanding piece of information.
  • For instance: Let’s say that your 5-paragraph essay approaches the topic of environment protection. In that case, you can come up with a sentence like: “Is it normal to live in a world of barren lands and waste?”

The question above is a rhetorical one. This means that no one expects a response, as the answer is evident.

Short Introduction of Substantiated Arguments (1 to 3)

  • In this section, you should concisely present your substantiated arguments. The key is to avoid disclosing an excessive amount of information.
  • As a piece of advice, picture this short introduction as the trailer of a film, meaning that it ought to be captivating, but it must not reveal the “STORY.”
  • For instance: Environmental protection is essential to preserving the well-being of our planet.

Thesis Assertion

  • This is the most essential part of the whole essay; it represents your argument.
  • The argument will serve as the premise of the entire paper.
  • Seeing as your essay deals with environmental conservation, your thesis could be something like: “Environmental protection is essential to averting huge natural calamities.”
  • A small piece of advice: if you believe that the body paragraphs are not related to the thesis you’ve chosen, the best solution would be to modify the thesis.

The Three Body Paragraphs: 5 to 7 Phrases

  • This represents the “bulk” of your paper. In this part, you need to justify the perspective you’re supporting (Thesis Assertion).
  • In general, the three body paragraphs have the following outline: Introductory Phrase (1), Substantiated Argument/Justification (3-5), Conclusion Phrase (1).
  • The Introductory Phrase must concisely present your argument. It shouldn’t disclose too much. For instance, you could say something like: “Disforestation and atmosphere contamination affect the characteristics of the atmosphere and intensify the probability of illness in addition to damaging our planet!”
  • Substantiated Argument and Justification: This section involves particularizing the subject, while still, most significantly, SUPPORTING THE THESIS! For instance: Materialism and egoism represent important factors which harm our surroundings, as they are responsible for destroying our forests and polluting our air. While initially a couple of people may benefit from this, in the long run, these factors are dangerous to the entire population. For instance, in Beijing, the atmosphere quality is so low that people are obliged to use masks to be allowed to move around the city.
  • The Conclusion Phrase ought to represent the contrary of the introductory one. Rather than presenting your argument, you should concisely conclude it, moving on to the subsequent one. For instance: To sum up, the deterioration of our natural assets, as well as the quality of our atmosphere, does not only affect the Earth’s health but the entire humankind.



The arguments you offer ought to be presented in the following order:

  • The first body paragraph ought to include your second most powerful argument
  • The second body paragraph ought to describe your poorest argument
  • The third body paragraph ought to present your most powerful argument

To have a better idea of the structure of a 5-paragraph essay, take a look at the following table:

Paragraph no.



Present Subject 3 Substantiated Notions (A, B, D) Thesis Assertion


Present and sustain your first substantiated notion using 3 proofs.

  1. Subject Phrase
  1. Proof
  2. Proof
  3. Proof
  1. Conclusion Phrase


Present and sustain your second substantiated notion using 3 proofs.

  1. Subject Phrase
  1. Proof
  2. Proof
  3. Proof
  1. Conclusion Phrase


Present and sustain your third substantiated notion using 3 proofs.

  1. Subject Phrase
  1. Proof
  2. Proof
  3. Proof
  1. Conclusion Phrase


Reiterate Thesis Assertion Provide a summary of the 3 fundamental substantiated notions (A, B, D) General Conclusion Phrase

Conclusion (3 to 5 Phrases): This must reflect your introduction

  • Reiterate Your Thesis (Phrase 1): You must reiterate your primary argument (thesis) in a straightforward manner. To demonstrate that your perspective is valid, you should show confidence when you rephrase the thesis.
  • For instance: The security and endurance of our planet are highly reliant on the manner in which we choose to behave towards it, and the more attentively we stimulate the procedure, the more we will profit from it.
  • Providing conclusions for your substantiated arguments (1 to 3 Phrases): This part involves paraphrasing the central ideas of your arguments in a single phrase per paragraph.
  • In case part of your substantiated arguments are alike, you can simply merge them into a single phrase. This way, you’ll preserve an adequate organization. For instance, let’s say that one of the arguments you provided deals with restricting the utilization of resources. In that case, you can write something like “Restricting the utilization of our natural assets and enhancing their performance represent essential methods of strengthening the health of the Earth.”

Drafting a Conclusion for the Hook Phrase (Facultative)

A great manner of finalizing a paper is by offering something unpredicted, which may amaze the reader. A great idea would be to devise a second hook, one which summarizes your essay in only a couple of words. Ideally, create a rhetorical question.

For instance: “The soundness of the Earth is highly significant, and in the end, we don’t want to turn our planet into a desert, don’t we?”

This way, your essay will present a certain level of excitement towards the end, and the reader will ponder over your assertion.

Traditional Grading Criteria

Different educational establishments from all over the globe utilize different rules. Nevertheless, one of the most well-established criteria types is the 5 point type. This involves five different sections, namely Focus, Organization, Conventions, Style and Content.

  • Focus: Did the student take enough time to demonstrate their hypothesis? Did they meet this target?
  • Organization: Did the essay have a fluent style? Did the student move from one paragraph to the other in a steady manner? Did they stick to the adequate structure without deviating from it?
  • Conventions: Was the paper written using good grammar? Were the phrases too long?
  • Style: Did the student utilize high-quality lexicon? Did they repeat words too often? Were the phrase structures original enough?
  • Content: Did the student succeed in demonstrating their argument? Did they include coherent and accurate assertions? Did they come up with powerful arguments?

How Do I Proceed If I Have No Idea How to Write the Paper?

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay Outline

April 29, 2021
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Yes, yes — who needs an essay outline when you know the subject? After all, it’s all just a waste of time, made up by nerds who have no other things to do. Well, yes and no. In some cases, an outline may be indeed excessive. But, when writing an argumentative essay, even the best students need one. It’s not about the writing block or not knowing the subject. It’s about writing a logical, coherent, and impressive argumentative paper that gets you an A+.

You should already know by now — there is nothing worse than staring at a blank essay page, especially when the deadline is approaching. And you should also know that even the best students sometimes experience a writer’s block. This is exactly when an outline for an argumentative essay comes in.

Think of this outline as a plan for your paper. Yes, researching and structuring it will take some time. But, it can save your hours on writing. After all, an argumentative paper is should be a properly structured and well-researched piece of work. So, you cannot just fill the blanks in with some random ramblings — not unless you are ready to settle for a C+.

So, cutting a long story short, let’s find out what makes a good outline for an argumentative essay, why you need it, and how to structure this document to save you hours of writing.

Structuring an argumentative essay outline

Just like the essay itself, an outline for your paper should follow a certain structure. In case of a standard, five-paragraph argumentative essay, this structure goes as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Giving your supporting arguments
  3. Refuting opponents’ arguments
  4. Conclusion

Yes, as simple as that! Sounds like nothing scary — so far. Now, let’s take a look at each of these essential sections to find out how we can nail them and get you that A+ you deserve!

Argumentative Essay Introduction: Your Outline

Introduction should make it pretty clear what your paper is going to be about. In case of an argumentative essay, it should also lay down a solid foundation for the main argument you are about to make. Traditionally, an intro of an argumentative essay will include a hook, background info about the topic, and a thesis.

Hook. What is a hook, exactly? Simply put, it is a sentence that grabs your readers’ attention and urges them to read further. Sure, writing a truly compelling hook is not always easy, but since an argumentative essay usually argues a certain perspective (one of many), it should not be too difficult.

Let’s say, you are writing an essay about marijuana legalization and are trying to convince your audience that cannabis should, in fact, be legalized. You can start off like this:

“Those interested in improving their mood and overall well-being should forget about shrinks and spirits and move on to smoking pot instead.”

A hook like this may sound bold and not very academic, but since your goal here is to catch the readers’ attention, it serves its purpose just fine.

Background info. Next, you move on to introducing some background info about the topic. In case of our marijuana legalization essay, it could go like this:

“Even though many states in the US have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes, plenty of them still shun away from the idea. However, medical and relaxation qualities of the plant have been extensively proven by multiple researches on the subject. And, despite opponents’ arguments that marijuana is a gateway drug, there is no scientific proof of cannabis causing addiction — or, forcing users to move on to heavier drugs.”

Thesis statement. It appears at the end of your introductory paragraph. By the time you make a thesis statement, your position on the subject should be made pretty clear. If you managed to write a compelling hook and give some background info, making a thesis statement should not be much of a problem. Our example could go something like this:

“The use of cannabis can alleviate stress, relieve pain from chemotherapy treatment and help patients with clinical depression, which is exactly why the United States should consider legalizing marijuana on a national level.”

Pay attention to ‘should’ in this example. Even though our position on the topic has already been made clear with a hook and background info, ‘should’ in a thesis statement makes the impression truly complete.

Also, notice how we mention alleviating stress, relieving pain from chemotherapy treatment and helping patients with clinical depression. This information lays down a foundation for our body paragraphs and makes it clear for the readers what we are going to talk about further.

Ok, so now that our foundations have been laid, what next?

Developing your arguments in the body paragraphs

Now, it’s time for the main work on your argumentative essay outline — that is, developing your argument.

Our thesis statement has three claims (alleviating stress, relieving pain from chemotherapy treatment, and helping patients with clinical depression); each of them should be backed up by some factual evidence. This will give your paper a well-informed look and make it credible for the readers.

Note, however, that even though each claim needs backing up, the actual number of claims may differ. Here, a lot will depend on the length of your essay, as well as your topic. You can have two claims, or four, or even five — as many as you need to develop your argument.

Now, what is a claim, exactly? This is a point you make to support your argument (thesis).

So, our first claim was stress alleviation. Now, we have to dwell on it in the first body paragraph. For example:

“Regular use of cannabis can help alleviate stress, which is a huge benefit for our hectic lifestyles.”

This is your claim (aka topic sentence of the first paragraph). It’s been made pretty clear, but who is going to believe us? So, our next step is to provide some factual evidence.

Evidence. Every claim you make should be supported by factual, properly researched evidence. You cannot use your opinions or personal anecdotes here. For example:

“Recent research by (source) proves that people who occasionally use cannabis report stressful experiences 20% less often than people who do smoke marijuana.”

As a rule, you will have three claims in a typical argumentative essay. Each of those claims should be ideally supported by at least three pieces of evidence. However, you can adjust the number of supporting evidence, just like you can adjust the number of claims you make. Once again, here everything will depend on the arguments you are making and the points you are trying to prove. So, unless your teacher has given you precise instructions about the number of claims and evidence to support them, you are free to decide for yourself.

Ok, so now you know how to present and support your claims. Is that it? Are we are ready to conclude? Not quite. First, we’ll have to refute opponents’ arguments.

Refuting opponents’ arguments

This is traditionally the last part of your argumentative essay outline. It helps to acknowledge the fact that there are other opinions on the subject and that you respect them. However, your goal is to convince the audience in your point of view. So, while acknowledging other opinions, you are to prove these opinions unjustified.

Remember that you are to stay polite and reasonable. You cannot resort to offenses. Your goal is to prove your opponents wrong, but you are to stay civilized.

In our intro examples, we have already laid a foundation for opponents’ opinion. Remember? “Despite opponents’ arguments that marijuana is a gateway drug, there is no scientific proof of cannabis causing addiction — or, forcing users to move on to heavier drugs.”

Now, it’s time to go back to this statement once again and give evidence that proves it wrong. For example:

“While opponents argue that marijuana can be a gateway drug, leading to potential drug abuse in the future, there is no scientific proof that links cannabis use to further transition to heavier substances. In fact, research by (source) shows that 65% of cannabis users do not use any other substances at all.”

Here goes — we’ve acknowledged our opponents’ opinion and proven it untrue. By the way, the stats on cannabis use are totally made up here — so do not refer to them in your own paper. Just FYI.

Ok, we’re almost done here. Now, it’s time to wrap up.

Concluding your argumentative essay outline

Basically, a solid conclusion for an argumentative paper will accomplish two goals.

1. Highlight the importance of your subject. Just in case readers got lost in your reasoning, you are to remind them why the subject in question is important. Usually, this goal is achieved by restating (not retyping!) your thesis statement. For example:

“Cannabis legalization on a national level can help people with clinical depression, cancer patients, and people suffering from stress on a regular basis.”

2. Draw a picture of the world that does not accept your opinion on the subject. Here, your goal is to impress the readers and make them think. Giving a (sometimes emotional) prediction for the future serves this purpose perfectly. For example:

“Unless we want our citizens depressed, moody, and in pain, we are to take more action.”

By the way, this statement can be expanded further, into giving suggestions on the kind of action we need to take. However, you should also remember that conclusions should not feature any new information. So, unless you’ve spoken about the action (raising awareness on the issue, petitioning the government, educating children) in your body paragraphs, you should leave a call to action out. That’s pretty much all you need to know about drafting an argumentative essay outline.

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How to write a successful reflective essay: best ideas to try

April 29, 2021
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A reflective essay is a very personal writing. An author can create such a paper after analyzing an aspect from the outside world, after acquiring new information that needs to be shared in a subjective way. Often times, a reflective essay is a portrait of the author himself, describing his own beliefs through writing.

To really get to craft such a paper, you have to explore changing in all its levels. In other words, there has to be a certain intimacy between you and the audience. A reflective essay has multiple facets, for beyond the rules, there are the personal stories that matter. Each piece of work is unique, shaped by a different experience.

Despite being so personal, there are some rules of drafting a reflective essay. Not every confession fits into this type of writing, so here is some guidance to help you out.

Do some research

To find the inspiration you need, maybe you could do some research before starting to write. Read the “personal comment” column from any newspaper you find or browse the Internet for a personal multimedia storytelling, just so you can make an idea about what it really means. You may find a good topic in every moment that left its mark on who you are today. It can be a fear you overcame, a life-changing event, an unforgettable episode or a time your convictions gained a new meaning.

Many professors ask for a personal reflective essay without explaining what it implies, so students often find themselves puzzled by the task. But writing a reflective essay is actually enjoyable once you got wind of the technique.

Take your time to look back

The power to reflect is the foundation of a genuine reflective essay. Being able to look back into the past and accurately describe how a specific event impacted you, is an elementary factor. So there is no room for rushing and writing in a hurry. Just have a good cup of coffee, enjoy the silence and reassemble the pieces of the scene you’re trying to write about. How did you feel before, how did your perspective change afterward? Sometimes the memories are bustling out, but sometimes they seem to be locked up in your deepest thoughts like a dearest treasure. That is why you need time to hindsight.

Be honest when describing your feelings

Imagine that you are trying to describe an episode of racism that you have witnessed and how you felt about someone being discriminated. Note down any detail you recall and then try to build the scene from a personal perspective. Did you stand up for the victim or, on the contrary, you just walked by, ignoring the action? Being honest is key. Hold off the instinct of writing how things should have happened, but describe how they exactly occurred. However, remember that you are not re-telling the story, but you are putting down your own memories, filtered through your personal thoughts.

Write as you recall facts

Pen everything you remember as you remember. Raw, with no revision. You might forget parts of the story which can prove to be essential. Any flashback can be useful, so even if you’re waiting for the bus on your way home, take a pen and write down your new idea. It might turn out to be valuable when you put everything together. It might even be the leitmotif of your essay. Some professors ask for a specific structure of an essay, and they even state their personal predilection towards a specific recurrent idea. This somehow discourages creativity, but if you don’t have such holdbacks, feel free to explore your memories.

Create an engaging introduction

Some experts suggest that writing the introduction last works better, especially when drafting a reflective essay. That is because many ideas can change in the process and you will need to adjust the introduction accordingly so that you won’t overlook essential information.

However, regardless of when you decide to create an introduction, make sure it catches the eye. Make it attention grabber either by using an anecdote, a flashback, or a rhetorical question. The introduction is your paper’s first contact with its readers, so make it count, make them want to know more. Here are some useful tips on writing a great introduction for your reflective essay:

Make a great first sentence to keep the audience’s interest;

Pay attention to the length – it doesn’t have to be too long. About three short paragraphs should be enough to embrace the most relevant issues of your paper.

Place a rhetorical question right at the beginning. Your readers will be intrigued by it, and you will give them a good reason to follow you through the rest of the essay.

Write down as many details as you can

Yes, you can afford to use many adjectives and a simple vocabulary to describe any detail you find important. A reflective essay is not a rigid writing. Actually, it is so flexible that it becomes a pleasure to commit to such a task. Be as specific as you can, for the story you are putting down reflects your own view, your personal beliefs. For example, instead of saying that a certain thing made you sad, you can make a gentle suggestion, so that you create a connection with your audience.

For example: “The view made me feel sad” can turn into “the view made me feel like there was no color left to fill my eyes, like all I could see was grey”. Look at the reflective essay as if it were a painting. Your personal experience paints unique features, that only your mind can tell.

Also, don’t forget to engage your reader by using scenes of action – a wide rage of strong verbs stands for a successful personal writing. Always try to be original and avoid using commonplace verbs, such as “cried” or “went”. But remember that you have to be constant when choosing the right tense. And avoid juggling the verb forms at all cost.

Express one idea at a time

The tricky part when writing a reflective essay is how to get organized. Being so personal, you might feel the need to let words pour like a raving rain. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but imagine that your readers should always open the umbrella when reading your writing. So it is preferable to express one idea per sentence. A compelling story is first and foremost, readable.

Look for any errors

Grammatical and spelling errors can compromise a beautiful story, and no matter how well written an essay might be, this is disturbing. Make sure your work is flawless and let your readers enjoy the writing, instead of being annoyed by typos. The easiest way to do it is by properly editing your text. Sure, you might have many other tasks to complete and time is constantly a problem. But if you organize your day wisely, you can make room for proofreading, for sure.

However, when the deadline is so close that you can almost see it right on the corner, it might be time to delegate. We strongly recommend you use a proofreading online service, with spectacular results. It is my all means a time-saving option, but it can bring certain costs, so plan ahead and make sure it is the best alternative for you.

What are the “dont’s”?

When writing a reflective essay, there are some things you should avoid. Always keep in mind that you are working at a personal paper, so throw away the tendency to generalize, and the rigid, academical structure of other kind of essays that you were used to write.

Moreover, try to demonstrate the lesson you have learned from the entire experience. One common mistake students make is avoiding to write down memorable details that have shaped their thinking. On the contrary, reflection demonstrates a personal perspective, which means that you should not draw back from stating your own vision. Incoherency is another shortcoming that appears to be omnipresent in most reflective essays. Although it is hard to keep your thoughts on track once the pen touches the paper, try to maintain a logical sequence of your memories. A good idea is to revise the raw version of your paper. This way you won’t hold back the thoughts once they come and you won’t miss important details. Either way, keep in mind that regardless of the topic, a reflective essay must reflect your particular style, your personal vision. It is the only way you can achieve a great reflective writing.

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How To Write a Case Study

April 29, 2021
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A case study is one of the many kinds of written assignments that you have to face throughout your college years. It is your report about a person, a group of people, a situation or a phenomenon that you are studying. What differs a case study from other kinds of written assignments is its practical nature and narrow focus. For instance, if you are studying the behavior of a group of people in a certain situation, you disregard their behavior in other situations, as well as the behavior of separate individuals within the group.

Same as with any other written task, writing a case study can be divided into several stages to make the process easier and more effective. You should put all these stages into the timetable and follow it strictly. However, you will probably have to revisit some stages in the course of writing your report as new findings show up, writing is a somewhat cyclical process. These stages are as follows:


Carefully read the case and the instructions that you have received. Every point that leaves any ambiguity is a reason for doubt. Anything that can be understood in different ways is better to be discussed with your fellow students or even with your professor. It is a good idea to take a large sheet of paper and draw mind maps to visualize your findings, ideas, and the connections between them. Answering the following questions should also help you to define your task:

  • Do we have the background or context of the case? What is it?
  • Are there any problems with the case? What are they?
  • Has your professor given you any guidelines for your study?
  • Are you using any other tools for analyzing your case, besides mind maps? Matrix, template, SWOT, any specific software, etc.?
  • Do what do you know about the situation that you are studying besides the case background?
  • What do you not know? What is yet to be researched and found out?
  • What are the details of your case study’s presentation (date, volume, structure, auxiliary materials, presentation)?

Answers to these questions can be integrated into your mind map. Alternatively, you can print this list of questions with large amounts of space left for answers and comments, and use it as a checklist.


All the necessary methodology can be found in your course notes and textbooks. You can also find books, articles and other resources with detailed descriptions of relevant analysis tools for case study both online and offline; many schools provide comprehensive guides for that.

Detect the problems

At the initial stage of analyzing the case, you should understand which problems and risks are bound with the case. For example, if you are analyzing a company, read its history to see what has led it to its success or failure and translate them to the companies’ current activities and ongoing processes. Pay attention to the points relevant to the questions provided by your professor who has assigned you this task.

Remember to put all your findings onto your mind map – this includes both problems and the possible solutions; that is, both questions and answers to them. Prioritize the problems and questions by marking them with different colors on your mind map.

Remember to note the causes and effects of each problem, as well as all possible solutions that you think of or come across, even though at this stage they will be only preliminary. So, keep it in mind that you may discover more problems, as well as solutions, as you go on with writing your case study.

Use your tools to analyze the problem

Check out the available tools that you have at your disposal and see which ones can best be applied in your case. To make the best choices, carefully read and brainstorm the possible applications of each tool and discuss it with your fellow students and your professor.

Write down your findings

Remember to put down everything that you find out in notes. It is critical that you have everything documented, should you need to return to some point of your study. Also, write down what you think about those findings and how you have come to them. If you used calculations or testings for finding a possible solution to a problem, they also need to be thoroughly documented in detail.



This is your advice on what can be done to eliminate, solve, or at least minimize a problem in the case. There should be recommendations for each problem that you have found out. They can be shaped in the form of plain text or put in a table. They must be detailed and include not only the solution but also a plan of actions that need to be done to achieve positive results. Each solution should answer the following questions:

  • Why should this solution work?
  • What can possibly prevent it from working?
  • Who will be responsible for implementing the solution?
  • Who may be blocking it from being executed?
  • How much time is needed for each action?
  • What will be the pay-off and/or savings in detail?


Here you summarize your analysis of the case from the perspective of the objectives – both compulsory and desired ones. Remember to follow the recommendations from your professor regarding your conclusions to the letter, especially when it comes to your original assumptions.


  • Make up a plan

Same as with any other academic writing, a case study report needs to be carefully planned before writing. The plan or the structure of your report will most probably start taking shape in your head as early as the beginning of your investigation.

First, make up your preliminary outline with all the sections and subsections. Since this outline is for your use only, it does not necessarily have to be in the format of a list, like with most academic papers that you have to submit. You can make it in any format that you find convenient – for example, a mind map.

Then, just sort your notes by adding them to the corresponding sections and subsections. Creating the outline will help you visualize the order in which you will put the bits of information that you have in your notes. Mind that this outline does not need to be final, and you are free to change it as your ideas develop. Only when you see that it is finalized, you can translate your outline into the contents page of your case study report.

Create a schedule for your writing and follow it strictly. Meticulously plan how much time you can spare on writing and editing your report. Exceed the time limits for each portion of work in case you find some section harder to write than others and need some extra time for them. It is recommended to begin with the sections about which you feel most confident. Naturally, these will be the sections that are your won to the biggest extent: the methodology and the conclusions, – because at this point these ideas are fresh in your mind. The auxiliary and secondary sections are the ones to finish with. These are the introduction, reference list, appendices, etc.

Consider your readership. Your case study report is meant for someone to read it. Therefore, you should always imagine this person or group of people when writing your report. Your (at this point, imaginary) readership should have the decisive vote over your choice of style, language, and, of course, content. Clearly, you use different language when speaking, for example, to one person versus when you are talking before an audience of people. So, try your best to think about what the people in your readership need to know, what they want to hear and in what form, etc. Answering the following questions will help you understand your readership better.

For whom is your report written? As we have mentioned before, a case study report is a practical piece of work, meaning that it has practical application. Therefore, your potential readership should be not only your professor but also your fellow-students, as well as other people working in the given field(s). For example, a case study in human psychology can be applied in a wide variety of fields – from marketing to psychiatry.

What does your readership expect from reading your case study report? As we have discussed, a case study report is a work of a practical nature. Therefore, the findings from your report can potentially be used by specialists working in a certain field. You are expected to visualize their professional interest if you want your writing to look convincing. For example, a practicing psychotherapist will be interested in innovative approaches to psychology in regards to his or her practice, whereas a marketing manager will most probably rather favor old patterns which have already proven to be successful on many occasions.

How to communicate my ideas clearly? Unlike with other writings, here your writing must be exact, simple, and laconic. Think of your readership as busy people who value their precious time and will to have it wasted by an overly wordy writer. They only want useful information. This should influence not only your choice of words but the very structure of your case study report. Ideally, to reach out to your audience most effectively, don’t use too much specific terminology or slang; the amount of background and subsidiary information should be limited but sufficient. Also, remember to make sure that the sections and paragraphs flow into one another smoothly and logically.

Which parts of your report might your audience object against and what might they favor? Clearly, you should be ready that not every reader will like the solutions that you offer in your case study report. Therefore, you should adopt such point of view and address it in your report. This will not only reveal your multi-angled understanding of the problem and your empathy toward people who have different views from yours, but will also add to your authority in the eyes of the reader, which will make your report more convincing in general.

  • Write your first draft

It is wrong to assume that you will write your case study report perfectly from scratch. A properly written report can only be achieved through an accurate planning of work and meticulous editing. So, same as with any other writing, it is necessary to put one or several drafts before you can finalize your paper. Here are a few tips for this stage:

  1. Re-read your assignment whenever you have questions. When gathering the information, it is easy to get carried away and spend your precious time studying something irrelevant to your case. Therefore, return to the task given to you by your professor, so that you always keep your objectives in mind.
  2. Be scrupulous about your choice of materials. Upon reviewing the notes that you have taken while gathering the information, don’t think twice to leave out something that you think is irrelevant to your report. Only essential information should stay.
  3. Stay logical. Create a comprehensive outline, follow it strictly, and use it as your contents page. Add as many subsections as you deem necessary, but take care that you put them in the correct logical order. Every subsection should be devoted to a certain idea. All ideas should not only be supported by substantial arguments and/or evidence, but every subsequent idea/subsection must flow into the consequent one organically. If you use any visual aid, make sure that it is well integrated into the paper and that the reader can easily follow why it is put there and what it tells. If necessary, show it to someone who may represent your target audience to see how well it works.
  4. Proofread and edit. Even if you estimate your writing skills as good or expert, there will be no harm in running your draft through a grammar- and spelling-checking software (or online service). It will be even better to run it through several of those. Although, you should not rely on them solely. There are possible errors that such programs are bound to overlook. So, it is good to find someone who is expert in writing to edit and proofread
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

April 29, 2021
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Everybody knows how stressful being student can be. The number of stress factors is overwhelming, both study-related and personal. Many students state that one of the biggest stress factors is coping with all the written tasks. The biggest complication about it lies not in researching and writing proper, but having to tell one kind of task from another, formatting everything, etc. In other words, you cannot get good grades just for being bright and hard-working, you also have to accord to all the formal bureaucratic requirements which have little to nothing to do with how well you understand the subject and how insightful your ideas are.

For example, you may encounter a task of writing an annotated bibliography. The term itself is enough to stun a student into procrastination. What is an annotated bibliography? How does one write it? Where does one begin? Why is it even a separate task in the curriculum? Same as with any other assignment, it is not a good idea to subside to panic, it is best to calm down and dig into the issue. So, let’s see how you can achieve that.


Basically, it is exactly what you may think – a bibliography with brief annotations to each item. Surely you have written essays where you had to reference the sources you have cited in the end. Roughly, an annotated bibliography is this reference section, only you add annotations to these sources.

An annotation includes a very brief summary of the referenced source along with your unbiased opinion on how credible this source in particular and its author in general is. You may also be asked to evaluate how useful this particular source is to your research and whether or not you should even use it.


Having to write an annotated bibliography may seem a peculiar assignment. It often leaves a student wondering – why they even have to write it. That is, of course, aside from the fact that it is on the curriculum and you have to submit this task if you want to have decent grades. As a matter of fact, this assignment serves two main purposes:

1) Developing research skills

As we have mentioned, one of the things you will need to do to write is to summarize your sources as brief yet as meaningful as possible. This suggests thorough reading to be familiar with the text well enough to grasp its pure gist. You also need to evaluate the source’s credibility and relevance to the topic so you will not be able to just pull any random source and throw it into your list. Instead, you will choose your sources more carefully. This is how writing an annotated bibliography trains you to be a better researcher.

2) Helping you to use your time more efficiently when performing an actual research

If you have conducted some research and are now at the stage of actually writing the first draft of your paper, you will always remember some quotes from your sources to substantiate your argument. What you need to do is to find that quote and cite it properly. It is easy when you write a short essay with two or three sources. However, things get more challenging when you have to write a larger and more serious work with ten or more sources. You will remember a perfectly fitting quote, but chances are, it will take you some time to find it in your stockpile of sources. That is unless you have prepared an annotated bibliography before getting down to drafting your paper. Putting together an annotated bibliography may seem like a nuisance, but you will be glad you did it once you get down to writing with an annotated bibliography at hand.


1) Research for sources

Same as any other academic paper, an annotated bibliography begins with a research. If you are not sure where to start, feel free to consult your tutor or find a manual online. One thing to keep in mind is that your goal here is to gather more sources than you think you may need. This is because some sources that may seem relevant when you first see them, may turn out not quite what you need as you start writing and you will have to return to this initial stage. This is why it is always better to have a little surplus of sources at hand.

2) Take notes of the sources as you read them

This, of course, does not imply thorough recapitalizing of every single detail that may or may not be important. Your goal right now is simply to write an annotation. So, here is a list of things that should be in your notes:

  • main idea
  • comments on the credibility of the source or of the author (these may come in the form of questions)
  • ideas and quotes that may end up in your paper
  • your conclusion as to whether or not this particular source is useful to your research.


Once you have notes of all your sources at hand, it is high time to go on to writing your annotated bibliography. Of course, you should know all the exact requirements for your end result.

These include:

  • word count
  • formatting style
  • whether or not your annotated bibliography should include an introduction with a summary of all sources
  • should your annotations be only informative or should they also include a critique
  • in which order should you organize your sources

If you are not sure about these details, do not rely on your intuition. It is always better to consult your professor on any issue that raises even the smallest doubt.

Basically, writing an annotated bibliography can be broken down into three steps:

Step 1. Cite all your sources according to the formatting style that your tutor has specified

As you may guess, there will be one entry per source. Each entry will begin with a properly formatted bibliographic description. For example:

APA formatting style:

Better, A. (2017). How to write an annotated bibliography. Manual Journal. (11)2, 12-14

MLA formatting style (7th edition):

Better, Author. “How to Write an Annotated Bibliography.” Manual Journal. 11.2 (2017): 12-14. Print.

MLA formatting style (8th edition):

Better, Author. “How to Write an Annotated Bibliography.” Manual Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, 2017, pp. 12-14.

If your tutor has specified any other formatting style (ASA, Chicago / Turabian, Harvard, etc.), you can easily find detailed instructions with examples online. Once again, remember to ask your tutor if they have any specific requirements when it comes to formatting.

Step 2. Summarize every source

A summary here does not mean retelling the source in brief. Instead, it suggests an explanation of the main ideas that the author has intended in the source. It is easier to do when you imagine someone who hasn’t read your source. This imaginary reader should be able to look through your summary and understand what this source is about. You may be tempted to give your opinion on the source right away, but hold your horses, this is not your goal right now. Your goal is just to inform your reader about the main idea of the source, merely this and nothing more. For example:

Better’s article focuses on the peculiarity of annotated bibliography as an academic writing assignment, explains the purpose of such assignments, and provides a comprehensive instruction on how to accomplish them. The article is full of examples to illustrate what the author is talking about for the convenience and better understanding of the students who read it.

Step 3. Give your opinion on each source

Now is the time to tell your reader what exactly you think about each of the listed sources. It does not have to be very detailed. On the contrary, your evaluation should not exceed the volume of one or two brief paragraphs. Of course, your opinion should be objective and unbiased. The best way to achieve this is to ask yourself some or all of the following questions and include the answers in your evaluation:

  • Does the author seem credible?
  • How did the source appeal to me?
  • Were there any off-putting points?
  • What was the author’s intention?
  • Were the author’s arguments sufficient to realize this intention?
  • Are the arguments well substantiated?
  • What are the strong points and drawbacks of this piece in particular and of the author in general?
  • In what way is this source useful to my research?

For example:

Dr. Better is a renowned education researcher with a vast experience of teaching pedagogy. His articles regularly get published in internationally recognized scientific journals, so there is no reason to doubt his ideas and opinions.

This article is a very valuable source for my essay because it mentions how students sometimes get frightened at the very idea of writing an annotated bibliography and breaks down the process into three steps, concluding that the task is much easier when divided into several mini-tasks. Better also includes excellent examples which I might borrow for my work.

Basically, this is it. You have cited, summarized, and evaluated each of your sources. Now all that’s left to do is to put it all together – citation to summary to evaluation, and your annotated bibliography is almost ready. This was not nearly as much of a challenge as it looked like, was it? Only three easy steps – cite, summarize, evaluate – and you have an accomplished assignment. What you do now is just give it one final proofread – and your annotated bibliography is ready for submitting! So, good luck with your research!

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How to Title an Essay

April 29, 2021
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Have you ever skipped past reading an article, an essay, a post or any other writing just because the title didn’t inspire you? Ideally, we’d only form an opinion on a certain piece only after reading and analyzing it in its entirety, but the reality is, the title is very important in determining one’s opinion, even on whether or not the potential piece is worth reading. This counts for essays too, and although you’re usually writing it for a class or a client, and you have the title given to you, sometimes you need to create your own essay to prove your writing skills. So how do you do it? We’ll teach you exactly that below.

The importance and purpose of an essay title

Every part of the paper holds a huge importance in getting good feedback or a high grade, and the words you use in your title make no exception to that. They are absolutely vital to your entire work’s success, having the ability to grab your professor’s (or other readers’) attention and make them go through the entire essay to fully grasp your arguments, get a proper feel of the subject. A wrong choice can undermine the perceived quality of the work you submit by not grabbing the audience’s attention, so you should give it its due importance.

It’s the first thing any reader sees and helps form the initial opinion, so their reaction can easily go from super interested to completely put off. You’re eager to showcase your writing skills, to highlight your intelligence and knowledge on the given subject, and a good title helps you with that by arousing curiosity in the reader’s mind and making them open to your arguments. This is especially important for freelance writers, whose entire livelihood is based on the popularity of their work.

What makes a good title

Before you formulate the title, it’s important to know what specific characteristics a good title should have. After you know and understand these, you will be ready to make the right choice and successfully complete this initial but crucial part of your work.

So without further ado, here are the most important characteristics of a good title:

Attention-grabbing – We start with an obvious one. When faced with the choice of reading any kind of content, a boring title will attract far fewer users than an eye-catching heading. So even before exposing your ideas, make the reader is curious about what you have to say.

Realistic – a common mistake in freelance or academic writing is making the title so over the top in the attempt to make it catchy, that the whole idea of the paper strays far from the truth. This, in its turn, makes the message hard to deliver and, as a result, leaves the reader unsatisfied and annoyed. We established that grabbing attention is crucial, but try not to base the heading of your essay on false premises.

Accessible to the reader – Over-complicating your title with difficult phrases, structures or strange fonts will put everyone off, including your teacher. Make your title easy to understand; this will convey your paper topic at a glance.

Use an active voice – Try to avoid using a passive voice when creating your title. “Is superficiality caused by social media” sounds far less attractive than “How does social media influence superficiality?” The reader must ask these questions in his or her mind.

Short – Long titles are hard to follow and may put off some readers, so whenever you can, make sure you write a short title.

To the point – No matter what you write about, you must always make sure the title reflects the general idea of your entire paper. Misleading your audience with over the top statements and having them believe the theme is different than it really is would only harm your credibility and appreciation for your work, so do your best to keep your title short and straight to the point.

Components of an essay title

Just like the essay itself can be created with the help of different formulas and techniques to properly convey your points, the same can be told about the title. Here’s what the main components of an essay title should be:

  • A curiosity-inducing hook – a creative way to introduce the paper to the reader, similar to a “hook” used in a song.
  • Words related to the topic – showing all the different topics you will be expanding throughout your work and identifying all the stories and ideas you’ll be exploring in your essay.
  • Keywords to focus on – they are an absolutely vital component of your headline, as they show the Where and When to the reader. Together with the topic keywords, they’ll give your writing a polished and professional image, while providing the reader with even more vital information regarding what they are about to read.

Example: That’s not good for you: the do’s and dont’s of healthy eating in the 21st century

Curiosity-inducing hook: That’s not good for you

Words related to the topic: healthy eating, do’s and dont’s

Keywords to focus on: 21st century.

Creating your essay title

Now that we’ve covered the importance and the necessary qualities of good essay titles, we can learn how to create them. If you’re having problems with crafting a good title for your work, rest assured in knowing that many experienced and prolific writers have struggled with this from time to time. So everyone, no matter how long they’ve been doing this or how appreciated their work is, sometimes gets writer’s block, but the key is learning how to overcome it and create the title you want.

Write the essay before the title

Writing the title before the actual essay may seem like a natural thing to do, but most authors do the exact opposite. Of course, you have a general idea of the essay theme and some words you will use in the title, but writing the piece beforehand will inspire you, and most times the title will write itself.

It also helps to save time, as you’ll get right to work and not waste precious minutes (or even hours) on figuring out what the best title is. So start writing your piece, get your arguments and ideas together in a coherent and professional order, and watch the title appear in your mind.

Rely on your thesis statement

Another reason for leaving the title behind the actual work is that, on many occasions, you will find the perfect title in the thesis you’ve written in your opening statement. This way, you’ll also be sure the paper will be perfectly in line with its title. So, you will not mislead the reader, while also saving time on finding the perfect headline.

For example, a thesis like ” One of the most magical and charming winemaking areas is Tuscany, with the best Tuscan wine coming from the area of Chianti, home to some of the most appreciated wines in the world.” can create the title “Magic and charm: the winemakers of Chianti.”

Use play-on-words and cliches

An amusing phrase or an interesting pun related to the essay topic can make an interesting title. Also, different cliches that can be manipulated and correlated with the topic will help make your title eye-catching. Charm your reader from the get-go, and your work will get the recognition it deserves.

Correlate your essay tone with its title

The overall tone has a very important role in choosing your title. If the topic is serious, using a silly, funny or extravagant title will hurt your credibility. If however your writing is more on the personal side and is written in a friendly tone, feel free to have a funny, witty and informal title. Correlating the tone of your paper with its headline will help. Still, remember that it’s best to avoid using jargon or abbreviated words.

You can use a part of the essay or its general point

This does not universally apply, but it’s easy to use when it does, which will spare you a lot of time and thought that you would have put into finding a great title. You can even use a quote if the topic allows it, like a part of a song lyric if that’s what you are writing about. The same goes with writing about a book, sometimes using a fragment or an intriguing short quote makes for the best title.

Use three words to sum up the entire essay

This is another useful technique, just try and find the three words that represent the main point of an essay, put a colon after them, and add a sentence that sums up what the essay is all about. That’s it – you’ve managed to create the perfect title.


Your essay is not only made or broken by your arguments, writing style or quality of the research; always remember that the title plays a crucial role. Most freelancers and students find it hard to find the perfect headline to showcase their work, but using these tips you’re sure to save time and find the perfect attention-grabbing title that will intrigue your readers.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble figuring out the best title for your essay (or even struggle with writing the whole paper), remember that there is no shaming in contacting professional essay writers for help. There are plenty of custom writing services that can help you write an essay or polish up the one you already have, and most of them offer very reasonable prices for the help they offer.

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