10 Tips for Writing a Top-Grade College Essay Anyone can write a top level essay who follows these ten steps to success in writing Allow yourself enough time: Good writing cannot be done overnight—really. You must leave time not only to write the essay but to let the essay sit for awhile so that you can take a break from it and return to it with fresh eyes. Pick your topic carefully: Pick a topic you know at least a little about. This makes some of the extemporaneous writing easier—that is, the writing that you dash off during the free write portion. Work on your essay a little bit everyday. This is much less intimidating than trying to write it all in one fell swoop. Write about a topic you would love to read more about. Let’s say you’ve been wondering about the formation of stars. There is no better topic to pick than one you would simply love to learn about, as a great amount of writing goes into every single paper. If it is a research paper—never every make a copy of an article without first printing off a copy of the citation and stapling—not clipping it – to the first page. This way, you will never lose your citation. Make your works cited first—get it out of the way. Every time you use a quote from one of your collected articles, take one to three minutes to create your citation which must accompany every quote or paraphrase from another work. The more fleshed out your works cited page is, the more work obviously went into your work. Structure is important – follow one basic structure for all essays. All essays have the same basic elements in the same basic order. First, there is your introduction. Somewhere at the end of that introduction, you need a thesis statement, telling the reader what your paper will “do” exactly. Then you need paragraphs of evidence that all reinforce your thesis and a strong, original closing paragraph. Writing creative introductions is not hard. After some time, you will learn certain tricks for intro and closing paragraphs. It never hurts to begin with a reference to something recent involving your topic – something recent on the news perhaps. Read everything important you can on your topic. When you revise, read your paper aloud to catch all errors.