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Master the Five-Paragraph Essay

types of university essay

The five-paragraph essay is one of the most common composition assignments out there, whether for high school or college students. It is a classic assignment because it presents an arena in which writers can demonstrate their command of language and punctuation, as well as their logic and rhetorical skills. These skills are useful not only for classroom assignments and college application essays, but even in the business world, as employees have to write memorandums and reports, which draw on the same skills.

Mastering the five-paragraph essay is doable, and here are some tips.

Components of a Good Essay

The five-paragraph essay lives up to its name, because is has five paragraphs, as follows: an introductory paragraph that includes a thesis, three body paragraphs, each which includes support and development, and one concluding paragraph.

Its structure sometimes generates other names for the same essay, including three-tier essay, one-three-one, or a hamburger essay. Whether you are writing a cause-and-effect essay, a persuasive essay, an argumentative essay or a compare-and-contrast essay, you should use this same structure and the following specifics.

Keys to Introductory Paragraphs

Any introductory paragraph contains from three to five sentences and sets up the tone and structure for the whole essay. The first sentence should be a so-called hook sentence and grabs the reader. Examples of hook sentences include a quote, a joke, a rhetorical question or a shocking fact. This is the sentence that will keep your readers reading. Draw them in.

What Makes a Thesis Statement

The last sentence should be your thesis statement, which is the argument you are going to make in the essay. It is the sentence that contains the main point of the essay, or what you are trying to prove. It should be your strongest claim in the whole essay, telling the reader what the paper is about. You should be able to look back at it to keep your argument focused. The other sentences in this paragraph should be general information that links the first sentence and the thesis.

Content of Supporting Paragraphs

Each of the next three paragraphs follows the same general structure of the introductory paragraph. That is, they have one introduction sentence, evidence and arguments in three to five sentences, and a conclusion. Each one of them should define and defend your thesis sentence in the introduction.

The first body paragraph should be dedicated to proving your most powerful point. The second body paragraph can contain your weakest point, because the third body paragraph can, and should, support another strong argument.

Concluding Paragraph Tips

Your concluding paragraph is important, and can be difficult. Ideally, you can begin by restating your thesis. Then you can recall or restate all three to five of your supporting arguments. You should summarize each main point. If you have made similar arguments multiple times, join those together in one sentence.

Essentially, in the concluding or fifth paragraph, you should restate what your preceding paragraphs were about and draw a conclusion. It should answer the question: So what? Even if the answer seems obvious to you, write it down so that your reader can continue to easily follow your thinking process, and hopefully, agree with you.

A Note on Compare and Contrast

Let’s look a little more closely at the compare-and-contrast essay, which is a very common assignment. It can be a confusing one due to the terms used. Comparing two items is to show how they are alike. Contrasting two items is to show how they are different. One way to approach this essay is to make a grid for yourself that compares or contrasts two items before you start writing. Then, write about those characteristics. Do not try to write about both. The name of the essay is actually misleading.

Keep these pointers in mind when you need to write a five-paragraph essay, and your end result will be clear in its argument, leading your reader to the right conclusion. Often, that conclusion is to agree with you, and who doesn’t like to be right?


types of university essay

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10 Great Essay Writing Tips

types of university essay

Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.

Prepare to Answer the Question

Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.

types of university essay

Plan Your Essay

Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.

Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable

You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

types of university essay

View It as a Conversation

Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.

types of university essay

Provide the Context in the Introduction

If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.

types of university essay

Explain What Needs to be Explained

Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.

types of university essay

Answer All the Questions

After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.

types of university essay

Stay Focused as You Write

Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.

types of university essay

Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread

When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.

types of university essay

Avoid Filling the Page with Words

A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.


types of university essay

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How to Write Common Types of College Essays

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The types of essays you’re likely to encounter in college are a little more advanced than what you may be used to writing. In general, international students might have a harder time than domestic students with writing essays as English might not be your first language. But when it comes to writing, practice makes perfect and our tips can help you get on the right track!

Common Types of Essays

There are many types of essays but these will be the ones you’ll likely see the most:

  • Definition Essay
  • Persuasive/Argumentative Essay
  • Analytical Essay

Personal Essay

Research paper.

Of course, the essay prompts you are assigned will also depend on your major. Different majors will likely have different writing styles and essay topics.

Definition Essays

Definition essay prompts will ask you to define and explain a concept, term or a set of terms. Definition essay topics can be about anything general or specific. No matter what your major is, chances are you will end up writing one of these during your time in college.

For example, your instructor may prompt you to define climate change based on an assigned reading. For this kind of prompt, you would need to refer to the reading in question in order to come up with a response. Once you can define the term, you can start the essay process.

Like any essay, you’ll need to follow the Introduction, Thesis Statement, Body, Conclusion structure. You won’t need much for your introduction; 2-3 sentences will be just fine. The last sentence of your introduction should be your strongly written thesis statement stating the definition in question. The body paragraph(s) will be the supporting details for your thesis and here you’ll want to state facts that back up your claim. Finally, the conclusion should tie all of these parts together by repeating your thesis statement and wrapping up in a few sentences.

Persuasive/Argumentative Essays

Persuasive essay prompts will ask you to respond with your point of view on a topic and convince the reader that your point of view is legitimate. Sometimes persuasive essays are called argumentative essays but for the purposes of this how-to page, we’ll refer to them as persuasive. Topics for persuasive essays are often polarizing issues that force you to choose a side to argue. For example, your instructor could prompt you to answer a question about the death penalty, gender equality, etc.

First, you’ll want to choose what position you would like to take on the topic in question. If you don’t want to pick a side, you can choose to take a neutral position. However, this route is far more difficult to argue, and it is best to choose one side or the other even if you don’t necessarily agree with either side. This way, your argument will be as strong as it can possibly be. After you’ve taken a position, come up with at least three claims that support your main argument. These claims will be presented in the thesis and supported by specific details in the body paragraphs. It might be tempting to write “I think” or “In my opinion” since this kind of essay is largely opinion-based. Avoid these, however, because they will weaken your argument. It’s best to make your opinion seem like fact to make your argument strong. You should also make sure to be as specific as possible and provide sufficient evidence to back up your claims. In the conclusion, you should repeat your thesis and tie all of the claims you’ve made together.

Analytical Essays

For analytical essay prompts, you will be asked to respond to a piece of writing through a critical lens. This means that you will need to offer your thoughts and opinions about the piece in question. You could be asked to respond to a book, essay, article, etc. This essay is most commonly assigned to English or History-related majors but it could be assigned to any major.

Before you even begin an analytical essay, you need to be sure to fully understand what you’ve read. It’s a great idea to take notes, underline or highlight key words and phrases, write in the margins, and reread the text. Organization is key in writing an excellent analytical essay. Once you’ve made sure to fully understand the text and all of its elements, you should form your opinion. Determine if you agree or disagree with what’s been written and how it’s been written. Then write your response. Like a persuasive essay, you should back up your claims with specific details and avoid “I think” and “In my opinion”.

Your thesis should express your viewpoint of the piece in a clear and concise way. Use the text in the body of your essay by quoting and paraphrasing and then respond directly to it. The conclusion should repeat your thesis and tie together all of your thoughts and opinions.

College professors and instructors have a lot of students, making it very difficult to remember every one of them by name and face. As a result, they may ask you to write a personal essay describing you and your experiences in the narrative style. Usually, prompts for this kind of essay will come at the beginning of each semester. You could be asked to talk about your summer or talk about something that makes you interesting. Regardless, the point is to stand out to your professor or instructor so they will have a name to put with your face.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just how personal this essay should be. It is really up to you and what you are comfortable with sharing. It’s important to note that you might be required to share your personal essay with your class as a “get to know each other” activity, so don’t write about anything that’s top secret to you. The best advice we can give you is to just be yourself and have fun with this kind of essay. They should be taken seriously, but the rules aren’t as strict here as in an academic essay. Don’t be afraid to use personal pronouns like “I” and “my” here.

Finally, the most dreaded but possibly the most common kind of essay you’ll have to write in college is the research paper. A research paper is a kind of academic writing which requires you to do thorough research on a specific topic and present your research findings. Most of the time, these essays will be worked on throughout the course of an entire semester because they have many stages and require a lot of effort and time. These stages are:

  • Choosing a topic
  • Doing research and creating a bibliography
  • Creating a thesis
  • Writing a rough draft
  • Writing a final draft

For a research paper, your professor or instructor may assign a topic to research or give you the opportunity to choose a topic related to the course. If you are given the opportunity to choose your own topic, choose wisely. Challenge yourself, but don’t reach beyond your means. Generally, it’s great to choose a topic about something you’re interested in learning about that relates back to the course you are taking.

Once you have your topic, you can start researching. There is a wide variety of academic sources that you can utilize from your school’s library database which are perfect for research papers. You’ll want to make sure to get with a librarian to learn about how to properly use the database to its full potential. Common sources you’ll find within the library database are academic journals, newspaper articles, books, Ebooks, etc. As you find sources, you should make citations for the bibliography. A bibliography is a list of all the sources you have referred to in your research. Check the essay prompt to make sure you are citing in the required format. The most common citation formats you’ll use in college are MLA and APA, but it varies by major and instructor. Web tools such as EasyBib will even complete citations and organize them for you.

Now that you’ve completed your research and bibliography, you should craft your thesis. Make it a strong argument for the information that you are conveying. Then, you should complete a rough draft. Give the draft to your professor or instructor for feedback and make changes based on what feedback they give you. Finally, when writing the final research paper you should take the time to reshape the thesis based on feedback and provide ample evidence to back that thesis up in the body paragraphs. Use quotes and paraphrases from your sources and cite them properly. Then, repeat the thesis tie together all of your claims in the conclusion.

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The Ten Most Common Types of College Essays and How to Approach Them

College Essay Questions

It’s time for high school senior to get started on their college essays! Beyond the personal statement, which is required for The Common App, most schools require college specific supplements. If your student is applying to 10-12 schools, that could mean writing upwards of 30 supplemental essays. Before you and your student freak out about having to write 30 essays, fear not — you will discover that most schools ask a variation of a few different questions. And, once students craft their answers, they will be able to adapt them for each school. 

1. The Personal Statement

This essay, sent to all schools via The Common App , is your student’s chance to introduce themselves to the admissions committee, tell your story, and what makes you unique beyond your grades and scores.

2. Why “This School” Essay

These essays are looking for details that show in depth knowledge of the school, program curriculum, school life, and how it might be a good fit for your student. It’s a good idea for your student to mention specific courses they are interested in taking and programs in which they’d like to be involved. 

Ex: Please describe why you are interested in attending Tulane University (50-800) – Tulane

3. Academic Interest Essay

These essays require your student to write about an area they wish to study. Since 80% of students change their major at least once, don’t worry that your student will be required to study what they write about. 

Ex: For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the areas of study that you previously noted in the application. (200 words or fewer) – Columbia University

4. Community Essay

There are lots of versions of this essay question, but in general colleges want to understand the impact you have made on your community (be it family, activity, job, school etc) to better understand what type of community member you will be at their college.

Ex: Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it (300 words) – Michigan

5. Interest/Activity Essay

Colleges want to know how your students spent time outside of school and how you have been challenged and grown from the experience. Depth and longevity are key. Besides sports and school sponsored activities this essay includes anything meaningful or time consuming for your student, e.g.part-time jobs, family responsibilities, hobbies, etc.

Ex: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (150-400 words) – Vanderbilt

6. Personal Challenge Essay

These essays ask students to discuss a challenge and how they have overcome it (It doesn’t matter what the challenge is)

Ex: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? – UC PIQ

7. Social Consciousness Essay

These essays include questions about how you have embraced, faced, taken action or been exposed to issues of social justice, diversity and inclusion. 

Ex: Villanovans are known for “holding doors open” because inclusion is at the core of who we are. Take us on a journey through your background and describe how your life experience has shaped your understanding of the word “inclusion” (250 words). – Villanova

8. Interpersonal Essay Questions

These essays often ask students to describe themselves as a roommate and seek to understand how they would fit into the campus life. 

Ex: Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your roommate – and us – get to know you better (250 words)  – Stanford

9. Totally Unique Essays

Some schools like University of Chicago and Georgetown have out-of-the-box and often wacky questions designed to understand how students think. 

Ex: What can actually be divided by zero? —Inspired by Mai Vu, Class of 2024 (1 or 2 page response) – University of Chicago

10. Program Specific Essays

If you plan to apply to a specialized college or program within a university like Business, Film, Performing Arts, Music, Engineering, you should be prepared for specific questions, requirements and possibly a portfolio supporting your interest. Double check the admission requirements pages for these additional essays. 

Ex: Choose a current event or issue in your community and discuss the business implications. Propose a solution that incorporates business principles or practices. The review panel will look for creativity, drawing connections, and originality. Please limit this response to approximately 500 words. – Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

We hope this early insight into college applications help you and your student plan meaningful and fulfilling experiences that will serve as the foundation for their essays. 

If you would like to schedule a free thirty minute consultation to discuss the college admissions process, please contact [email protected] ..

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Types of academic writing

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The four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, persuasive and critical. Each of these types of writing has specific language features and purposes.

In many academic texts you will need to use more than one type. For example, in an empirical thesis:

  • you will use critical writing in the literature review to show where there is a gap or opportunity in the existing research
  • the methods section will be mostly descriptive to summarise the methods used to collect and analyse information
  • the results section will be mostly descriptive and analytical as you report on the data you collected
  • the discussion section is more analytical, as you relate your findings back to your research questions, and also persuasive, as you propose your interpretations of the findings.


The simplest type of academic writing is descriptive. Its purpose is to provide facts or information. An example would be a summary of an article or a report of the results of an experiment.

The kinds of instructions for a purely descriptive assignment include: 'identify', 'report', 'record', 'summarise' and 'define'.

It’s rare for a university-level text to be purely descriptive. Most academic writing is also analytical. Analytical writing includes descriptive writing, but also requires you to re-organise the facts and information you describe into categories, groups, parts, types or relationships.

Sometimes, these categories or relationships are already part of the discipline, while in other cases you will create them specifically for your text. If you’re comparing two theories, you might break your comparison into several parts, for example: how each theory deals with social context, how each theory deals with language learning, and how each theory can be used in practice.

The kinds of instructions for an analytical assignment include: 'analyse', 'compare', 'contrast', 'relate', and 'examine'.

To make your writing more analytical:

  • spend plenty of time planning. Brainstorm the facts and ideas, and try different ways of grouping them, according to patterns, parts, similarities and differences. You could use colour-coding, flow charts, tree diagrams or tables.
  • create a name for the relationships and categories you find. For example, advantages and disadvantages.
  • build each section and paragraph around one of the analytical categories.
  • make the structure of your paper clear to your reader, by using topic sentences and a clear introduction.

In most academic writing, you are required to go at least one step further than analytical writing, to persuasive writing. Persuasive writing has all the features of analytical writing (that is, information plus re-organising the information), with the addition of your own point of view. Most essays are persuasive, and there is a persuasive element in at least the discussion and conclusion of a research article.

Points of view in academic writing can include an argument, recommendation, interpretation of findings or evaluation of the work of others. In persuasive writing, each claim you make needs to be supported by some evidence, for example a reference to research findings or published sources.

The kinds of instructions for a persuasive assignment include: 'argue', 'evaluate', 'discuss', and 'take a position'.

To help reach your own point of view on the facts or ideas:

  • read some other researchers' points of view on the topic. Who do you feel is the most convincing?
  • look for patterns in the data or references. Where is the evidence strongest?
  • list several different interpretations. What are the real-life implications of each one? Which ones are likely to be most useful or beneficial? Which ones have some problems?
  • discuss the facts and ideas with someone else. Do you agree with their point of view?

To develop your argument:

  • list the different reasons for your point of view
  • think about the different types and sources of evidence which you can use to support your point of view
  • consider different ways that your point of view is similar to, and different from, the points of view of other researchers
  • look for various ways to break your point of view into parts. For example, cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, scope of real-world application.

To present your argument, make sure:

  • your text develops a coherent argument where all the individual claims work together to support your overall point of view
  • your reasoning for each claim is clear to the reader
  • your assumptions are valid
  • you have evidence for every claim you make
  • you use evidence that is convincing and directly relevant.

Critical writing is common for research, postgraduate and advanced undergraduate writing. It has all the features of persuasive writing, with the added feature of at least one other point of view. While persuasive writing requires you to have your own point of view on an issue or topic, critical writing requires you to consider at least two points of view, including your own.

For example, you may explain a researcher's interpretation or argument and then evaluate the merits of the argument, or give your own alternative interpretation.

Examples of critical writing assignments include a critique of a journal article, or a literature review that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of existing research. The kinds of instructions for critical writing include: 'critique', 'debate', 'disagree' and 'evaluate'.

You need to:

  • accurately summarise all or part of the work. This could include identifying the main interpretations, assumptions or methodology.
  • have an opinion about the work. Appropriate types of opinion could include pointing out some problems with it, proposing an alternative approach that would be better, and/or defending the work against the critiques of others.
  • provide evidence for your point of view. Depending on the specific assignment and the discipline, different types of evidence may be appropriate, such as logical reasoning, reference to authoritative sources and/or research data.

Critical writing requires strong writing skills. You need to thoroughly understand the topic and the issues. You need to develop an essay structure and paragraph structure that allows you to analyse different interpretations and develop your own argument, supported by evidence.

This material was developed by the Learning Hub (Academic Language and Learning), which offers workshops, face-to-face consultations and resources to support your learning. Find out more about how they can help you develop your communication, research and study skills .

See our Writing skills handouts .

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16 Types of Essays You Will Write In College

03 Jul 2021

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📑Popular Types Of Essays

☝️Choosing Type Of An Essay

Essays are an essential part of attending school, and college essays serve as a means of expressing one's thoughts, ideas, and arguments in a clear and organized manner. Significantly, academic writing is an official type of final or entrance exam for many schools and universities. In most schools, it doesn’t matter the subject area, the course or the class. You have to write an academic essay to pass the exam.

There are several types of essays, each with its unique purpose, structure, and style. We will explain to you what is the difference between common types of college essays. Our essay classification guide is here to help you.

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16 Popular Types Of Essays In College

College Essay is a prosaic, shorter, free composition expressing individual views on a particular case or problem. Any genre of the document suggests freedom of creativity. It could be any topic, and it could be written in any style, about anything, because the composition is your way of thinking about what you have heard, read, and seen. Writing essays is extremely useful, as it allows the author to clearly and correctly formulate thoughts, structure information, increase analytical skills, win arguments, and master the scientific style of speech.

There are several types of college essays. Here you can check the list of the most widespread formats.

5-paragraphs Essays

This particular type of assignment consists of five paragraphs: an introduction, three parts of the body and a concluding part you may find among them. A thesis statement is the core of the introductory paragraph. The first has to contain a "reverse hook". In other words, the strongest argument of the whole text. The second is used as a transitional part between the previous and the third one. The last contains the weakest argument and concluding hook, showing the reader that this is the last major statement in the composition. The fifth paragraph is an element of the text that includes the conclusions made in the three upper sections.

Admission or Application Essay

This format is part of the college admissions process. It's used to learn more about the students’ reasons for college applications and their ability to benefit from and contribute to them. The purpose of a college application essay is to convey a sense of your unique character to the admissions committee or admissions officers. (Also, we have some examples of admission essays )

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  • Topic: Declaration of Independence
  • Language: English
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Writing essays

Argumentative Essays

This type of paper can’t be called the best-written essay for students because, with this piece of writing, you have to ensure the potential readers that your position has merit. In other words, this is more accurate and complete than competing arguments. (Also, we have some examples of argumentative essays )

Analytical Essays

An analytical essay is a type of essay that requires the writer to analyze and interpret a text, concept, or phenomenon. Writing an analytical essay aims to break down a complex topic into smaller, more manageable parts and provide a detailed analysis and interpretation of them. As an analytical essay writer, you are expected to focus on specific details: the methodology, findings, or conclusions of previous researchers. Conclude your research with a summation of the results. Then recommend the framework for further study on the issue.

Cause and Effect Essays

Cause and effect compositions are related to which factors things are caused and the effects of these reasons. Cause and effect is a general method of organizing and discussing ideas. (Also, we have  examples of cause and effect essays )

Classification Essay

A writer organizes examples that fit into main categories. The most important thing during the writing process of such papers is to find the necessary types to classify things correctly.

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Critical Thinking Essays

The adjective "critical" in the nomination describes the author’s perspective when reading the article. This subjective point of view can be described as a "detached evaluation". It means that the college student weighs the coherence of the reading and the completeness of the data before accepting or rejecting it. A critical composition or review begins with an examination of the text and proceeds to write a critique of it. (Also, we have  examples of critical thinking essays )

Deductive Essays

Anyone can write an informative essay , but not everyone can make it logical. This is a college format to calculate the students’ knowledge. In other words, deductive reasoning is a phenomenon including a set of circumstances and previous statements that one can draw a reasonable assumption as an answer to the state of the matter.

Expository Essays

The objective of this text is to describe a situation or event and express a certain (author’s personal or public) opinion about it. Expository writing, or exposition, presents a subject in detail without criticism, argument, or development. The author clarifies a topic by examining it.

Exploratory Essays

The focus of an exploratory essay is a question rather than being thesis based. The college student should start writing without the ending in his mind. Whether they know the subject or not. The purpose of this writing is to improve one's way of thinking.

Informal Essays

This is a less formal statement than a free expression of opinion. The informal qualitative composition has an unconstrained style but retains a solid structure. Do not worry about how to sound academic but avoid carelessness. You can ask to help me write my college essay .

Narrative Essays

Also known as a descriptive essay, this paper tells a story based on the author's personal experience. A descriptive essay is the best chance for the author to express his own opinion according to any question concerning him. As it is a story, it has to contain all structural elements of storytelling: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending. The purpose of a narrative essay is to engage the reader through vivid details, sensory descriptions, and emotional connections.

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Editors on PapersOwl can edit your paper and give recommendations on how to improve your writing:

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Personal Essays

A personal essay is a particular type of paper that aims to grab the reader’s attention from the first paragraph. The personal essay should include personal statements and represent people you intend to have an interest in your point of view.

Persuasive Essays

As in the argumentative article, a persuasive essay must always sound reasonable and demonstrate solid evidence by stating facts, giving logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts. If you are well informed about your topic, you will succeed in writing a persuasive essay..

Scholarship Essays

It is a presumption of individual experience and topic requirements. To get the highest grade for the text, you need to mention everything, and everyone that influenced you, your views, and what characterizes you as a personal statement.

Choose The Type Of Your Essay Correctly

When it comes to essays, there are many different types of essays that one can write. Some of the most common types are descriptive essays, expository essays, persuasive essays and narrative essays. In addition to these, students can also buy custom essays online that are tailored specifically to their needs. Custom essays come in a variety of formats and can help fulfill any assignment requirements more efficiently than traditional essays.

When writing a college essay, it is important to determine each paragraph's topic, desired length, and goals. Begin with writing the first draft main idea or a bright phrase. The only task for various college essays is how to grab the reader's attention immediately and make him feel interested.

Choosing the right type of essay is crucial for effective essay writing. It is essential to understand what type of essay are a college essay and the purpose and requirements of each essay type to select the most appropriate one for your assignment. Here are some useful tips to help you choose the type of your college essay correctly:

Understand the Essay Prompt

The first step in choosing the right essay type is carefully reading and understanding the essay prompts. They usually provide specific instructions, such as the topic, purpose, audience, and word count. This will help you determine the type of college essay you need to write.

Consider Your Audience

Consider your audience when choosing the type of essay to write. Consider who your readers are, their interests and knowledge levels, and what you want them to take away from your essay. This will help you choose an appropriate tone and level of formality for your paper.

Know the types of essays

Familiarize yourself with the different types of college essays, their structures, and requirements. Read examples of each type to understand their structure, tone, and purpose, and practice writing. This will help you choose the most suitable type of essay for your topic and purpose.

Know your strengths

Play to your strengths as a writer. Choose a type of essay that aligns with your skills and expertise. Are you better at telling stories or analyzing data? Are you comfortable with a formal or informal tone? Do you have a strong argument? Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you how to choose the types of essay that best suits your writing skills.

When it comes to writing an essay, there are various types of essays available, such as narrative, descriptive, expository, argumentative, compare and contrast, and more. To write any of these types of essays, one needs to have good writing skills. Those who are not confident in their writing skills, they can always avail of the services of academic essay writers to help them create an outstanding essays.

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7 Most Popular Types of College Essays

  • Dec 06, 2016
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types of research papers and college essays

Writing essays can be a tough assignment for many students. It may seem easy but when you think of the instructions, the requirements, and guidelines needed to pass an  essay , you will find out it requires lots of works. To be able to write a perfect essay, you must know at least the 7 most popular essay types. 

The ability to write different types of essays is critical to academic success. In most cases, your lecturer or supervisor will ask you to write an essay as a test, choosing the correct type of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is key to getting the question right. You must understand the difference between different essay types. There are over a dozen types of essays, but we are going to look at the 7 most popular essay types:

1. Narrative essay

2. Descriptive essay

3. Expository essay

4. Persuasive Essay 

5. Argumentative essay

6. Analytical Essay

1. narrative essay .

A narrative essay is the same as writing a story. When you are asked to write a narrative essay, you should bear in mind that the examiner is trying to ascertain your story-telling ability. This may sound easy but it is not; you have to think and write about the story in such a way that the person reading it will get the feel of the story like he is there. Your essay must be able to capture the reader's attention. You should explain things in detail instead of being vague. Most students that don't have time or find it difficult to write this type of essay usually get the help of custom  essay writing  services to help them write and pass the narrative essay writing test.

2. Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is almost like a narrative one. The difference here is that you are expected to give a detailed account of your topic. If you are writing about a car, you must tell the color, the brand, the driver, and every other thing that has to do with the car. Your job here is to paint a picture with words. The objective of a descriptive essay is to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. You are expected to know what you are talking about and tell it to the reader using colorful words and sensory details.

3. Expository Essay

This type of essay is an informative  academic writing  that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. When you are asked to write an expository essay, the examiner needs you to explain a topic using real facts, statistics, and examples. This type of essay encompasses a wide range of essay variations such as the cause and effect essay, the comparison and contrast essay, and the "how-to" essay. In most cases, students find it difficult to write this type of essay, this is where they normally use the services of research paper writing service to ensure they come out on top.

4. Persuasive Essay

Like the name sounds, the objective of this type of essay is to use facts and samples to convince the reader to accept your view and opinion about a certain topic. You must be able to build a solid case using logic and facts as well as sound reasoning, examples and expert opinion. Persuasive essay involves a lot of research. You must be able to perform in-depth research to write an essay that will be strong enough to convince your reader to believe in your view.

5. Argumentative Essay

This type of essay usually present two sides of a controversial issue in one paper; you are expected to present a valid argument towards each side without bias and also come up with the pros and cons of each argument. Your analysis of the topic must be un-emotive and factual and include both sides of the argument. 

Analytical essay involves getting a range of information from different sources and analyzing the different viewpoints from a factual rather than opinionated standpoint. Analytical essay writer is expected to focus on the methodology, findings, or conclusions of previous researchers and conclude his own research with a summation of the findings and then make a recommendation of the framework to use for further study on the issue.

A report is another type of academic writing that you may come across in college. This type of academic writing follows the business format and is often written in order to outline a case-study situation. For instance, you could be asked to describe the key issues in the workplace scenario. When asked to write this type of essay, you must include an identification of main use, a breakdown of elements that made up the issue and solutions on how to resolve the issue.

Essay writing is not easy especially when you are in college and have little or no time for yourself. One way to overcome the challenges of essay writing and come out on top is to get the service of professional essay writers. With such a service, you can focus your attention on other assignments while the experts ensure that you excel with your essay.

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Frequently asked questions

What type of essay is most common at university.

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

Frequently asked questions: Writing an essay

For a stronger conclusion paragraph, avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the main body
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

Your essay’s conclusion should contain:

  • A rephrased version of your overall thesis
  • A brief review of the key points you made in the main body
  • An indication of why your argument matters

The conclusion may also reflect on the broader implications of your argument, showing how your ideas could applied to other contexts or debates.

The conclusion paragraph of an essay is usually shorter than the introduction . As a rule, it shouldn’t take up more than 10–15% of the text.

An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

Let’s say you’re writing a five-paragraph  essay about the environmental impacts of dietary choices. Here are three examples of topic sentences you could use for each of the three body paragraphs :

  • Research has shown that the meat industry has severe environmental impacts.
  • However, many plant-based foods are also produced in environmentally damaging ways.
  • It’s important to consider not only what type of diet we eat, but where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Each of these sentences expresses one main idea – by listing them in order, we can see the overall structure of the essay at a glance. Each paragraph will expand on the topic sentence with relevant detail, evidence, and arguments.

The topic sentence usually comes at the very start of the paragraph .

However, sometimes you might start with a transition sentence to summarize what was discussed in previous paragraphs, followed by the topic sentence that expresses the focus of the current paragraph.

Topic sentences help keep your writing focused and guide the reader through your argument.

In an essay or paper , each paragraph should focus on a single idea. By stating the main idea in the topic sentence, you clarify what the paragraph is about for both yourself and your reader.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

In rhetorical analysis , a claim is something the author wants the audience to believe. A support is the evidence or appeal they use to convince the reader to believe the claim. A warrant is the (often implicit) assumption that links the support with the claim.

Logos appeals to the audience’s reason, building up logical arguments . Ethos appeals to the speaker’s status or authority, making the audience more likely to trust them. Pathos appeals to the emotions, trying to make the audience feel angry or sympathetic, for example.

Collectively, these three appeals are sometimes called the rhetorical triangle . They are central to rhetorical analysis , though a piece of rhetoric might not necessarily use all of them.

The term “text” in a rhetorical analysis essay refers to whatever object you’re analyzing. It’s frequently a piece of writing or a speech, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, you could also treat an advertisement or political cartoon as a text.

The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to explain the effect a piece of writing or oratory has on its audience, how successful it is, and the devices and appeals it uses to achieve its goals.

Unlike a standard argumentative essay , it’s less about taking a position on the arguments presented, and more about exploring how they are constructed.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.

The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.

If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

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You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .

Academic Writing

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At Sheridan, you are likely to come across four types of essays. Each essay types has different requirements and produces different outcomes. In this section, you will find descriptions of the four essay types: Expository, Argumentative or Persuasive, Reflective, and Descriptive.

Expository Essay

The purpose of an expository essay is to inform, describe, or explain a topic. It requires you to help the reader understand a topic through your own insights and ideas. Using information from credible sources, your essay should provide definitions, facts, explanations, and details about the subject. The essay may also include examples, comparison and contrast and analysis of cause and effect.

Many academic and workplace writing assignments are expository. These topics, for example, often require expository type of writing:

  • A medical or biological condition.
  • A social or technological process.
  • A marketing strategy.
  • Life or character of a famous person.

Argumentative or Persuasive Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade readers on a certain point of view, opinion, or position on a topic. It requires you to identify key issues, present the common or existing arguments about the issues, evaluate evidence behind these arguments and argue why your position on the topic is more convincing or stronger than the opposing view. The subject you choose for an argumentative or persuasive essay needs to be debatable.

An argument is an evidence-based opinion supported and explained by sound, credible sources. "To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way" (Warkentin & Filipovic, 2019, p. 207). A well-thought-out argument is one that considers facts and various opinions, some of which may be opposing to each other, and analyzes strengths and weaknesses in each. An argumentative essay should not present only evidence on the position you are supporting. It is more convincing when the information presented is not biased towards a position.

Reflective Essay

This type of essay is more personal because you have to consider or "reflect" upon your own experiences and perspectives on the topic you are writing about.

Experiential reflection is commonly assigned in college courses. It involves reflecting on an experience by connecting theory and practice. For example, in an essay about a field placement experience, you may be asked to assess a theory or concept based on your observations and interactions. This type of writing is common in fields such as social work, health care, and business.

Another type of reflective writing involves examining what shapes your perspectives on an issue. The process helps you examine how your thoughts are shaped by your assumptions and environmental factors and may help you understand and appreciate the experiences of other people. Also, you may be challenged to re-examine your preconceived ideas and judgments.

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay allows you to describe something, usually an experience, in details so that the reader can get a good impression of it. Similar to the reflective essay, this type of writing is more subjective although information or data from sources may be incorporated to provide more context and support your descriptions. This type of essays tends to be brief. For example, describe an observation in one to two paragraphs.

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8 Types of Essays in College: All You Need to Know

This article describes 8 main types of college essays.

Even if you already have a topic for your essay, it may still not be enough to write a good paper. Also, you need to clarify the type of essay you are supposed to write. Please make sure to define the kinds of essays your teachers want you to write before working on them.

We’ve prepared an excellent guide on eight types of college essays for you! Here, you can find a detailed explanation of different types of essays. Also, enjoy excellent tips and get inspired for your paper! Let’s dive in!

  • 📝 8 Types of College Essays
  • 📑 3 Extra Types

🔗 References

📝 8 types of essays in college.

There are eight types of college essays that you should pay attention to. In this section, you can find useful guides for all types of essays. We’ve explained what each type is about. Also, you can find specific recommendations for all kinds of essays.

The picture contains a list of 8 college essay types.

8 Types of College Essays

  • Descriptive essay
  • Analytical essay
  • Argumentative essay
  • Persuasive essay
  • Definition essay
  • Classification essay
  • Compare & contrast essay
  • Cause & effect essay

1. Descriptive Essay

You might be wondering what a descriptive essay is. And what is its purpose?

A descriptive essay aims to describe the main traits of an obj ect, process, phenomenon, or something else.

The answer follows from its name: to describe the main traits of an object, process, phenomenon, or something else. When writing such an essay, you dive into an experience that you or another person had.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

In this section, we’ve prepared for you excellent tips! We believe they’ll help you to understand how to write a descriptive essay.

  • Don’t be laconic. In writing a descriptive essay, you should apply imagination to create a particular feeling. Use all five senses and add lots of details!
  • Create an exact feeling! You should leave a potential reader with clear emotions. So, you need to plan what feelings you want to evoke.
  • Use colorful and memorable language. Your central aim is to recall an experience and describe your feelings. Thus, you need to employ expressive language to get there.
  • Take enough time for brainstorming. It is crucial when writing a descriptive essay. We recommend you choose wisely adjectives and think out what your aim is.

Descriptive Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 descriptive essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Autism: description and causes of the rise
  • Brief description of autism spectrum disorders
  • Alzheimer’s disease description
  • How to describe evidence-based practice?
  • Information Technology professional job description
  • Describe a nursing informatics course
  • Description the life cycle of stars
  • Lyme disease description and analysis
  • Project cost manager: describe the job
  • What is leadership in nursing?
  • Description of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
  • Nursing career: description the profession and its future
  • Purchasing manager: describe the job
  • The United Arab Emirates: describe the country
  • Process description – manufacturing of float glass

2. Analytical Essay

What is an analytical type of essay ? This type of college essay implies that you critically analyze and evaluate a topic.

An analytical essay aims to provide an argument and then to support it by evidence.

The primary purpose of an analytical essay is to provide an argument and then support it. You need to be able to interpret given information and come to conclusions.

How to Write an Analytical Essay?

Let’s have a look at useful tips for this type of essay ! We hope you find it helpful and get inspired to start writing.

  • Be clear and logical! It is essential when writing an analytical paper. You should remember the following structure: argument →evidence(s)
  • Don’t forget to use linking words. It will help readers to follow your thoughts. And, thus, to understand the text better!
  • Don’t confuse analytical essays with descriptive essays! The distinctive feature of an analytical essay is its focus on interpretation . In comparison, descriptive essays summarize existing information.
  • Remember that your analytical essay should benefit the potential reader. Think about what you can bring and how it is best to clarify a subject.
  • Don’t forget to add contrasting opinions . To make your essay more substantial, you should mention an alternative point of view. It will make your argument persuasive.

Analytical Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 analytical essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Analyze the effects of the foreign direct investment
  • Air New Zealand company’s external analysis
  • Analyze autism and its symptoms
  • Nike: case analysis and problems
  • Alibaba company’s external analysis
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis
  • Analysis of Amazon’s environment
  • Coca-Cola: company analysis
  • Analyze Apple’s Competitive Strategy
  • Childhood obesity research: data analysis
  • Analyze Johnson & Johnson company
  • Analysis of the pharmaceutical industry
  • Analysis of inaugural speeches
  • Tobacco-related death: issue analysis
  • Self-care: a concept analysis

3. Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are probably the most typical college essays. You aim to persuade the potential reader by presenting and proving a point of view.

An argumentative essay aims to persuade the readers by presenting and proving a point of view.

In this type of essay, you take a position on the issue and argumentatively prove it.

You might be wondering how to write an argumentative essay. In this section, we’ve prepared a few great tips for you . Let’s dive in!

How to Write an Argumentative Essay?

  • Evidence is key! For argumentative essays, evidential support is essential. You should include evidence that proves your point of view in each paragraph of the body.
  • Your conclusion should support the thesis based on the evidence. In conclusion, it is vital to restate the thesis and support it with evidence.
  • Research is significant! To produce distinct arguments, you need to spend enough time researching the topic. Your evidence can be based on factual, logical, statistical, or other data.
  • An argumentative essay is a decent piece of writing. This type of essay implies thorough research. Besides, it is usually a relatively long paper.

Argumentative Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 argumentative essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Abortion: arguments for the defense
  • Scholarly discussion in an online environment
  • Discuss child obesity condition
  • Health-care reform debate
  • Argument about “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder
  • Argument for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide
  • The postpartum case study discussion: Margaret O’Gorman
  • Consumer-driven health care and arguments against
  • Discussion of burnout among nurses
  • Euthanasia: arguments for and against
  • Discuss the issue of domestic violence
  • Cosmological argument: St. Thomas Aquinas and Kant
  • Euthanasia: types and arguments for and against
  • Discussion of nonverbal communication
  • Philosophy. Ontological vs. teleological argument

4. Persuasive Essay

This is a type of essay involving discussion . Instead of giving informative facts and a general view, your task is to persuade your readers to accept your ideas. Writing this essay, you can manipulate readers’ emotions using facts and logic.

A persuasive essay aims to persuade the readers by using facts as well as emotions & personal ideas.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay?

Please have a look at the great tips we’ve prepared for you . Get inspired and start your persuasive essay! Let’s dive in!

  • You need to persuade the readers that your opinion is viable. So, you need to think about how to make your ideas sound reasonable.
  • Study an opposing point of view. If you aim to persuade readers, you should be well aware of the opposite opinion.
  • Remember to use various persuasive techniques! It includes storytelling methods, repetition, presenting opposing views, and call-to-action sentences.

4. You should demonstrate full confidence in your point of view and arguments. If you doubt your thesis, it is unlikely that the readers will take your side.

Persuasive Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 persuasive essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Why shouldn’t people eat fast food?
  • Animals should be used for scientific testing
  • Must abortion be illegal?
  • Should animal experimentation be permitted?
  • Should euthanasia be legal in some countries and why?
  • Corporations must act responsibly
  • Should human organs be legally sold?
  • Marijuana must be legalized in America
  • Should Bisphenol-A be banned?
  • Smoking in public places must be banned
  • Who should teach children sexual education
  • Stem cell research should be encouraged
  • Abortion: must it be legalized?
  • Should capital punishment be abolished?
  • Why genetically modified foods should be banned

5. Definition Essay

When working on this kind of essay, you’re supposed to cover one specific term . Your primary role is to explain what exactly this term means. It is suitable to talk about the origins of the word and spheres of usage.

A definition essay aims to cover one specific term, explain its meaning and usage.

How to Write a Definition Essay?

You might be wondering what you should remember when writing such an essay. We’ve prepared for you several excellent tips! Get inspired and start writing!

  • Define an object or phenomenon. You should choose something that might be interesting for the readers and valuable for you.
  • The term should be complex and disputable . It is essential to write a distinct paper. Also, it brings value to the readers if the word is controversial.
  • Add dictionary definition(s). By doing this, you make your paper more trustworthy. Also, you’ll have a good basis for developing your argument.
  • Discuss the term’s origins. It will help you to tackle its complexity and make a strong argument.
  • It will be best if the term is connected with your field of knowledge. It means you’re familiar with the subject and able to produce a strong definition paper.

Definition Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 definition essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Infant reflexes defined
  • E-business: definition and models
  • Verbal expression: define the term
  • Corporate social responsibility: definition and benefits
  • End of life care definition
  • Correlation: definition and examples
  • Michael Porter’s Value Chain defined
  • Monetary policy: definition
  • Defining the professional health care practitioner
  • Definitions and typologies in public administration
  • Nursing science: definition and importance
  • Defining health within healthcare policies
  • Bipolar disorder definition
  • Globalization: definition and impact
  • Genetically modified foods definition

6. Classification Essay

A classification essay is a kind of paper to sort things into different categories . It is helpful when analyzing the differences between objects . The classification must be clear, and each point should be linked to the following one.

A classification essay aims to sort things into different categories & analyze the differences between objects.

Your primary goal is to classify a group of objects according to a specific criterion.

How to Write a Classification Essay?

Let’s have a look at excellent tips for this type of essay ! We hope you find it useful and start writing your paper. Let’s dive in!

  • Take enough time to determine the categories for your paper. There shouldn’t be too many of them in your essay. However, it is essential to mention all the main categories.
  • Make classification guided by a single principle. When you have a single principle for your classification, your paper follows some logic. It is important that your essay is decent.
  • Don’t forget to provide examples! It is essential to make your categories even more clear. Good examples will ease understanding for your readers.
  • It is classified according to
  • It is divided into
  • In this type of
  • It is categorized by the following principle.
  • It involves several kinds of

Classification Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 classification essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Health information systems: types and usage
  • Anxiety disorder, its types, causes, and incidence
  • Types of assets in the balance sheet
  • Managed care techniques, types, impact, benefits
  • Types and aims of the nursing research
  • Characteristics and forms of schizophrenia
  • Two ways of combating childhood obesity
  • Conflict management. The ways of solving conflicts
  • Different types of reflective models
  • Types of advertising – commercial and political
  • Types of thinking styles
  • Two forms of Diabetes Mellitus
  • Long-term care, its role and types
  • Types of business organizations
  • Signs of eating disorders: types and symptoms

7. Compare & Contrast Essay

This type of comparison essay is similar to the last one. But writing a compare and contrast essay, one could seek differences in general categories and two specific subjects: people, companies, universities, political strategies, and so on.

A compare & contrast essay seeks differences between several (usually two) categories of subjects.

Your primary goal is to discuss the main similarities and differences between the given objects.

How to Write a Compare & Contrast Essay?

You might be asking yourself what you should pay attention to when writing such an essay. In this section, we’ve prepared for you several beautiful tips! Get inspired and start writing your paper!

  • Historical events
  • Concepts, ideas, or theories
  • Books, art objects, etc.
  • Concentrate on particular similarities and differences. You will probably find lots of things to talk about. However, you should decide what is the most important for your paper.
  • In the same way
  • Compared to
  • Even though
  • In contrast

Compare & Contrast Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 compare and contrast essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • US healthcare system compared to world practices
  • Apple and Microsoft: marketing approach comparison
  • Scholarly vs. popular sources for medical research
  • The nursing theories comparison
  • Online shopping vs. in-store shopping
  • Education online compared to traditional education
  • Electronic vs cigarette smoking: comparative study
  • Comparative strategy analysis: the UK and Japan
  • Bottom-up to top-down modeling comparison
  • Apple vs. HP: integrated marketing communications
  • Comparison of leadership models and styles
  • Compare & contrast of nursing theorists
  • Southwest Airlines and Lufthansa comparison
  • Hamlet and Macbeth: contrast and comparison
  • Home vs. public school education

8. Cause & Effect Essay

Your primary goal here is to explain what factors lead to what results and why.

You may discuss one cause and several effects or one effect and several causes. This kind of essay is perfect for ecological and political topics.

A cause & effect essay explains what factors lead to what results and why.

Your paper can be focused more on the cause or effect side. It depends on the topic you choose.

How to Write A Cause & Effect Essay?

You might be wondering how to write a cause-and-effect essay. In this section, we’ve prepared a few excellent tips for you . We hope you’ll get inspired and start with your paper. Let’s dive in!

  • Don’t forget to check your essay for logic. Ask yourself: is it a cause or an effect? Can my arguments be called sufficient?
  • For this reason
  • On account of
  • Consequently
  • In addition to
  • As a result
  • This means that
  • Choose the following logic: a phenomenon ← main causes. You should focus on a chosen phenomenon, event, or anything you decide. Then you should look at the causes that lead to this particular event.

Cause & Effect Essay Topics

In this section, you’ll find 15 cause and effect essay topics for various study levels and fields. Each link leads to a page with an essay sample that you can use for inspiration.

  • Cause and effect of obesity
  • Male and female suicide statistics: causes and effects
  • Causes of juvenile delinquency
  • Depression development and its causes
  • Financial crises’ causes and consequences
  • Moving to the United States: causes and effects
  • Does violent media cause teenage aggression?
  • Causes and treatment of cancer
  • Factors that cause international migration flaws
  • Global warming causes and effects
  • Spanish flu: cause and effect
  • Globalization causes and drivers
  • Overpopulation: causes, effects, and solutions
  • Great Depression: domestic and foreign causes
  • The causes and effects of the popularity of fast food restaurants

📑 Types of College Essays: 3 Extra Types for You

We’ve prepared three additional types of college essays for you! Hope you find it helpful! Let’s have a look together!

Application Essay

Your central aim is to explain why you should be admitted to the particular college application essay. Usually, you write around a 500-word essay where you should be clear and persuasive.

How to Write an Application Essay?

Here you’ll find useful tips that will help you to create an excellent piece of writing!

  • Think about why you want to get into college. It is essential, to be honest with yourself for writing a great application essay.
  • Think about how you can benefit the college. Why are you a good candidate? What can you bring? What are your strengths?
  • Create an excellent intro! Your introduction should be compelling and catch your attention. It should be unique!
  • Don’t forget to stick to a plan! Before starting to write, you should create an outline. It is essential to follow your plan so that your essay remains clear.
  • Support your story with examples. For this type of essay, real-life examples are key. They will allow admissions officers to feel your story.

Personal Essay

This type of essay implies that you share an important or even a life-changing story. You write about your experience and the life lessons it brought to you. Personal essays can be written for different purposes. In college, you might often get this task to practice your writing skills.

How to Write A Personal Essay?

Keep in mind these excellent tips ! We hope that you get inspired and start your paper. Let’s have a look!

  • Create an outline. It is essential for you, as it helps to stay focused and ease the writing process. Also, you’ll not forget anything you wanted to mention.
  • Don’t forget to include what you’ve learned from the experience! It is something that the potential reader is interested in reading about.
  • Share your emotions. A personal essay should have the emotions you want to share with the readers.
  • Try to make your story beneficial for the potential reader. For instance, you might pose a rhetorical question. It can make readers think about your experience in a personal context.

Scholarship Essay

Your scholarship essay aims at persuading that you are the one deserving the scholarship. You should tell about your strengths, achievements, and other things you’re proud of.

How to Write A Scholarship Essay?

Pay attention to these excellent tips when writing your paper. Get inspired and start your scholarship essay! Let’s dive in!

  • Be personal. Your story should be worth remembering. It is key to getting a scholarship.
  • Be attentive: proofread! It is clear that in your scholarship essay, there is no room for spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • A sk for feedback. Share your essay with friends or family and listen to their advice. It might help you to understand how your essay sounds.
  • Read the scholarship essay instructions carefully. Don’t forget to check the number of words you need to write, the deadline, and other details.

As you can see, there are lots of different types of college essays ! But don’t worry! We are here to help you understand all the details. If you still have questions in mind, please comment below.

  • Essay Writing – Purdue University
  • Descriptive Essays – Purdue University
  • Writing A Descriptive Essay – Butte College
  • Cause-Effect Essays – National Geographic Learning
  • How to Write A Cause-and-effect Essay – Masterclass Articles
  • Tips for Writing Papers – Loyola University Maryland
  • Tips for A Great College Essay – Smith College
  • The Basics of Essay Writing – UNSW Sydney
  • Nine Basic Ways to Improve Your Style in Academic Writing – UC Berkeley
  • Tips & Tools – University of North Carolina
  • 3 Essay Writing Tips for Your OU Application – The University of Oklahoma
  • Essay Tips – Carleton
  • Essay Tips – Gettysburg College
  • Essay Tips – Oberlin College
  • Top 10 Writing Tips for Undergraduates – Walden University
  • Tips for Essay Writing – Union College
  • How to Write An Application Essay – Foothill College
  • Essay Writing Tips and Prompts – Dickinson
  • College Essay Writing Tips – The University of Maine
  • Application Essays – St John’s College

What are the seven different types of academic essay?

types of university essay

This is the third and final chapter about Essays . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Discuss why essays may vary in type

– Describe the seven different essay types

– Provide example essay questions for each type

Chapter 1: What is an academic essay?

Chapter 2: What are the six different essay lengths?

Chapter 3: What are the seven different types of academic essay?

Before you begin reading...

  • video and audio texts
  • knowledge checks and quizzes
  • skills practices, tasks and assignments

There are many different  essay types   that you may be required to write throughout your university education, and each type will generally depend upon the task you’ve been set – which is often indicated by the essay question . Of course, the type of essay you’re required to write can depend on the level of education you are in (secondary vs. tertiary) and the courses you are studying (skills vs. content, or arts vs. sciences). The following seven essay types are likely the most common types that you’ll find in academic writing courses.

1. Cause and Effect Essays

The purpose of a  cause and effect essay   is usually to explain to the reader the connection between an event or situation (the cause) and the result that such an event or situation has created (the effect). Such essay types may well include an evaluation of that cause as well as the general implications or wider impact of those effects – such as what would happen to a select group of people or a particular country in those circumstance. Below is one possible essay question :

About Essay Types 3.1 Cause and Effect Question

2. Compare and Contrast Essays

The main purpose of a compare and contrast essay  is to take two or more concepts, events or ideas and compare them for similarities or contrast them for differences. Such essays may cover any kind of topic, although are usually determined by the subject that the student is studying. One such compare and contrast essay question might be:

About Essay Types 3.2 Compare and Contrast Question

3. Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays are often described as being the essay type which brings a topic ‘alive’ for the reader by describing that topic in significant detail. The idea is that the writer explains a topic in such a level of detail that the reader will be able to hear, see or feel what’s being described. Such essays then will clearly draw on the five human senses and may be more poetic or reflective in nature (and perhaps therefore more restrictive in the types of essay question possible):

About Essay Types 3.3 Descriptive Question

4. Evaluative Essays

Evaluative essays are intended to help the writer present their opinion through criteria and evidence. Although similar to persuasive essays in that the writer will provide a stance on an argument, the focus of an evaluative essay is instead that the writer provides their overall opinion on a topic, a judgement of that opinion (such as its strengths and weaknesses), criteria for arriving at that conclusion, and evidence to support that particular viewpoint. Such essay questions for this essay type are varied, but might look somewhat similar to the following:

About Essay Types 3.4 Evaluative Question

5. Persuasive Essays

Persuasive (or argumentative) essays tend to demonstrate that there are two (or possibly more) opinions to any given topic and provide evidence for both sides of the argument. Commonly, the writer will take a stance in this essay type and provide more evidence for one side of the debate than the other. Despite the writer’s overall opinion, persuasive essays should always include counter arguments  to the writer’s argument so as to remain objective, as would be necessary for the following question:

About Essay Types 3.5 Persuasive Question

6. Problem-Solution Essays

The purpose of a problem-solution essay is so that a problem (which may be the writer’s choice or at the discretion of the tutor) may be identified and possible solutions determined for that issue. This essay type usually involves also providing an evaluation of those solutions (such as their strengths, weaknesses and viability) as well as evidence to support them. One such problem-solution essay question might be similar to the following:

About Essay Types 3.6 Problem-Solution Question

7. Process Essays

The final, and perhaps easiest, type of common academic  essay is the process essay ,  the purpose of which is to explain to the reader how something happens or how to replicate a process themselves. Also known as a ‘how-to’ essay, this essay type involves the writer explaining a particular process either through defining it, by showing the particular processes in a step-by-step manner, or by describing in detail how something works. Such essay questions for this type might be as follows:

About Essay Types 3.7 Process Question

Please note that although listed separately here, it is possible that an essay could have aspects of more than one of these seven essay types. Having an understanding of these types will therefore help you to utilise them and hopefully improve your writing. If you’d like to check comprehension of these concepts as explained in Chapters 1 to 3, consider downloading our beginner-, intermediate– and advanced-level worksheets for this topic.

To reference this reader:

Academic Marker (2022) Essays . Available at: (Accessed: Date Month Year).

  • Harvard Writing Center
  • Leeds University Library
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab


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