College Essay 101 – Getting Your Outline In Line

Writing an outline is the best way to ensure that you have a clear, structured, and well- organized essay in which key information is accessible and easy for the admissions officer to pick out. Keep in mind that the average admissions officer reads over thirty submissions per day so you will want key information to be as available to him or her as possible.  Making an outline will ensure that your information is conveyed strategically (to get you into your dream school!).

Your outline should be a bullet-pointed summary of all of your essay’s main points. The more work you put into your outline, the easier your essay-writing will be. Your outline should be written such that if your admissions officer only skimmed your outline, it would be enough to get you into the school.

There are four main components to an outline: (1) a theme, (2) subcategories, (3) supporting evidence, and (4) introspection. You may take this content from your brainstorming.

1)   Your theme is your main idea. Every single point that you make in your essay will relate to this main idea. The entire theme of your essay should be stated clearly and deliberately in your thesis statement.

2)   The theme is then supported by subcategories—main points that illustrate your theme.

Each of these subcategories will make up one body paragraph.

3)   Then, each subcategory must include supporting evidence and introspection. Supporting evidence demonstrates your points, and introspection includes the insight and ideas that you have developed on those points.

Drafting Your Outline

There are many different ways to outline a paper. The following is the best method for writers who are looking to achieve top-notch structure and organization in their papers (often the most difficult element of essay-writing). Also, keep in mind when you are writing an outline that your essay is still in its early stages and that nothing has to be perfect. Very little, some, or most of your outline can change by the time you have a completed a polished essay.

Step 1: Write the first draft of your thesis.  Because the thesis should include your theme, as well as a perspective on that theme, it should be no less than ten words, and at times may need to be split up into two separate sentences. Strong theses usually include two or three subcategories to be further elaborated upon in the body. This is your working thesis. Feel free to change it as you continue your outline.

Step 2: Write down your subcategories in bullet points beneath your thesis statement. Make them into clear and concise sentences that relate back to the thesis. These will introduce each body paragraph.

Step 3: After each subcategory, write one to three indented bullets that include your supporting evidence. These can be segments from a longer narrative that you thread throughout the essay, or short anecdotes or examples.

Step 4: Indented below each point of supporting evidence briefly cite one or two pieces of introspection. The introspection is derived from your personal perspective, or what you have deduced based on this evidence.

Step 5: Write your hook as a bullet underneath your thesis.

Step 6: Write the first sentence of your conclusion at the end of your outline.

Step 7: Add content. Include a few sentences as bullet points indented under your thesis, stating generally what you wish to write about. Then, do the same for your conclusion

 

Once you have written your outline, you are ready to start writing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing an outline is the best way to ensure that you have a clear, structured, and well- organized essay in which key information is accessible and easy for the ...
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