How to Write an Essay in 1 Day

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H ave you ever written an essay in 25 minutes? You have if you have ever sat for the SAT. While the stakes may be higher for a last-minute academic essay, the point is this: do not panic! Instead, read this six-step guide to writing an essay in a day:

1. Understand your goals

Whether you are writing a personal statement for a college or graduate school application, or an essay for a high school or college class, your assignment will have specific goals. Before you begin to write, review these goals. Clearly understanding your objective is essential when working with a shortened timeline.

2. Choose a topic

Under normal circumstances, you might devote several days to brainstorming a promising topic, and then you might write a detailed outline before writing and revising your essay over a week or two. When you are on a tight schedule, this is not possible.

So—write down the first three or four ideas that occur to you. If you cannot think of an appropriate topic, ask a parent or a friend to review the assignment with you. Do not spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on this part of your essay, as the execution ultimately matters more than the idea itself.

In addition, do not stress yourself about selecting the “perfect” topic. Without a topic, you will have no essay to turn in, and any essay is better than no essay. (It naturally follows that any topic is also better than no topic at all.)

3. Set deadlines

Establishing deadlines for a one-day essay is key. Budget 5-10 minutes for brainstorming, 15-20 minutes for creating an outline, and several hours for writing. You can also set aside an hour for feedback and review, and another hour for any necessary revisions. You should also allow for an hour-long break to recharge your mind. Finally, plan to submit your essay several hours before the deadline. A schedule with some flexibility will allow you to adapt to any unforeseen complications.

4. Arrange for reviewers in advance

Whenever possible, arrange for reviewers (such as your parents or friends) first thing in the morning, and let them know when they can expect a draft. When your deadline is in several days or weeks, you have the luxury of finding reviewers after you have finished your draft. With a shorter deadline, you will not have this ability. Be clear on the short turnaround time to ensure as smooth a review period as possible.

5. Outline your essay

There are many resources that can advise you on how to write a wonderful essay, but the purpose of this article is to shape that advice to the demands of a very short timeline. This includes resisting the urge to abandon the outline. Having an outline is even more important for a one-day essay than for a week-long project with a similar word count. A strong outline will keep your essay focused and organized from the start—which is critical when time constraints will limit your rewrites.

Your outline should not be detailed, and it should take no more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete. Determine your hook (see below for more information), and then jot down the threads that connect this moment to your central argument or idea.

6. Stay organized

When you are under pressure, your tendency may be to start writing and to see where your essay goes. Try instead to use a brief anecdote or emotional impact statement (i.e. the “hook” in your opening paragraph) to set the stakes for your essay. This is essentially your opportunity to state why your argument or idea is worth your reader’s attention.

Finally, remember that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Manage your expectations. Your goal should be to write a good essay, not a perfect one. If you have a compelling hook and a well-organized flow of ideas, check your writing for errors, and then send it in.

Brian Witte is a professional SAT tutor with Varsity Tutors , a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington and holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University

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essay writing overnight

A student protester's guide to last-minute essay writing

I f those trips down to the demos in Westminster have left you behind schedule for your end-of-term assignment, you may well be forced to write in the small hours this week. Here's how to pull it off safely and successfully.

12am: Get as far away from your bed as possible

Before you begin, avoid warmth and soft furnishings. Propped up on pillows in the glow of a laptop may feel like savvy ergonomics, but your keyboard will start to look pillow-like by midnight, and 418 pages of the word "gf64444444444444444444" will detract from the force of your argument. You could try the kitchen. Or Krakow. But your industrially lit 24-hour campus library should do the trick.

12:25am: Take a catnap

Thomas Edison used to catnap through the night with a steel ball in his hand. As he relaxed and the ball dropped, he would wake up, usually with fresh ideas. "Caffeine and a short nap make a very effective combination," says Jim Horne, director of the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre. "Have the coffee first. This takes about 20 minutes to work, so take a 15-minute nap. Use an alarm to wake up and avoid deep sleep kicking in. Do this twice throughout the night."

12.56am: Reduce your internet options

Temporarily block Twitter, Spotify, Group Hug, YouTube, 4od and anything else that distracts you. Constantly updating your word count on Facebook may feel like fun, but to everyone else you'll look like you're constantly updating your word count on Facebook.

1-3am: Now write your essay. No, really

You've widened your margins, subtly enlarged your font and filled your bibliography with references of such profound obscurity that no one will notice you're missing 3,000 words. It's time to brainstorm, outline, carve words, followed by more words, into that milk-white oblivion that taunts you. Speed-read articles. Key-word Google Books. Remember texts you love and draw comparisons. Reword. Expound. Invent. Neologise. Get excited. Find a problem you can relish and keep writing. While others flit from point to point, your impassioned and meticulous analysis of a single contention is music to a marker's eyes.

3-5am: Get lost in your analysis, your characters, your world Write like you're trying to convince the most stubborn grammarian about truth, or heartless alien invaders about love. Don't overload with examples – be creative with the ones you have. Detail will save your life, but don't waste time perfecting sentences – get the bulk down first and clean up later. "The progress of any writer," said Ted Hughes, "is marked by those moments when he manages to outwit his own inner police system." Outwit your own inner police system. Expect progress. Ted says so.

5:01am: Don't cheat

It's about now that websites such as easyessay.co.uk will start to look tempting. And you may sleep easier knowing that a dubiously accredited Italian yoga instructor is writing about Joyce instead of you. But the guilt will keep you up between now and results day. And you'll toss and turn the night before graduation, job interviews, promotions, dinner parties, children's birthdays, family funerals . . . you get the idea.

5.17am: Don't die

Sounds obvious, but dying at your computer is definitely trending. And however uncool it may seem to "pass on" during a five-day stint at World of Warcraft, it will be much more embarrassing to die explaining perspectivism to no one in particular. So be careful. Stay hydrated. Blink occasionally. And keep writing.

5.45am: Eat something simple

"There are no foods that are particularly good at promoting alertness," says Horne. "But avoid heavy and fatty meals in the small hours. Avoid very sugary drinks that don't contain caffeine, too. Sugar is not very effective in combating sleepiness." Fun fact: an apple provides you with more energy than a cup of coffee. Now stick the kettle on.

5.46am: Delight in being a piece of living research

If you happen to be "fatigue resistant" you should now be enjoying the enhanced concentration, creative upwelling and euphoric oneness that sleep deprivation can bring. If not, try talking yourself into it. "Conversation keeps you awake," says Horne. "So talk to a friend or even to yourself – no one will hear you."

6am: Console yourself with lists of writers who stuck it out

Robert Frost was acquainted with the night. Dumas, Kafka, Dickens, Coleridge, Sartre, Poe and Breton night-walked and trance-wrote their way to literary distinction. John and Paul wrote A Hard Day's Night in the small hours. Herman the Recluse, atoning for broken monastic vows, is said to have written the Codex Gigas on 320 sheets of calfskin during a single night in 1229. True, he'd sold his soul to the Devil, but you're missing out on a live Twitter feed, so it's swings and roundabouts.

7am: Remember – art is never finished, only abandoned

Once you accept there's no more you can do, print it off and get to the submissions office quick. Horne: "You're not fit to drive if you've had less than five hours sleep, so don't risk it. Grab some exercise." Pop it in with the breeziness that comes from being top of your marker's pile. Back home, unblock Facebook and start buffering The Inbetweeners. And then sleep. Get as near to your bed as you can. Euphoric oneness doesn't come close.

Matt Shoard teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.

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How to Write an Essay in One Day: An Ultimate Guide

writing a uni essay in one day

Writing a one-day essay might sound like a hard task to do, but with the right strategy, one can achieve this. Be it a procrastinator or someone with insufficient time, this article will teach you how to beat it with maximum efficiency. It covers everything from brainstorming ideas, constituting a solid thesis statement, and organizing your thoughts for a well-written essay. Through a little bit of focus and determined effort, you will be amazed at your abilities.

Understanding the assignment requirements

Understanding the assignment’s requirements is crucial to writing a successful essay as fast as possible. 

  • Read the essay prompt carefully . It might seem a bit corny, but to get all the details right to the point, you need to comprehend what the essay is asking you to do. Seek keywords intended to provide you with the approach to use, such as “analyze,” “compare,” or “discuss.” If you have difficulty understanding the prompts for essays, you can turn to the quick essay writing service FastEssay. This company processes students’ “ write an essay for me ” requests and provides fast online help for all types of papers. Do not worry, the experts working there are always happy to help and can write an essay even today.
  • Identify the main topic. Know the primary subject of your paper, which can be the theme of the essay. This will prevent you from being distracted and save you from runts.
  • Note down any specific instructions. Make sure there are any particular directions given by your teacher or professor, such as format guidelines, word count limit, and/or recommended sources.
  • Pay attention to deadlines . Note down promptly when the essay is submitted in order for you to arrange the time properly. Look into breaking up the writing process into separate pieces to avert panic at the end.
  • Clarify any uncertainties. If you are unsure about one of the steps of the task, do not be shy of asking your teacher or professor for clarification. Prevention is better than cure. Seeking help early is better than trying to manage an issue later on.

Then, by doing so, you will be ready to overcome the assignment and build a paper that is logical and precise.

Conducting research and gathering information

It is highly recommended that, prior to the writing of your essay, you collect some information that will enable you to strengthen your opinions and ideas. Here’s some advice on how you can conduct research effectively.

First, find out the essential components or subject areas to be discussed in your essay from the prompt. It will save you time and greatly increase your ability to focus, allowing you to find all the essential information for your work. As an introductory stage, refer to your textbook, class notes, and any necessary readings provided by your instructors.

Second, the aim is to use credible materials that can be found in books, academic journals, and reliable websites. Make sure to test the trustworthiness of each resource on which you are working by confirming that its author is reputable, and its publication date is recent. Start searching for reliable sources that are neutral, recent, and applicable to your argument.

Third, write down the main ideas contained in what you learn while citing all the sources from which you get each piece of information. Doing so will ensure the efficiency of bibliography generation, which will help you understand the sources later on when writing a paper.

Finally, to present a balanced perspective, you will have to incorporate various viewpoints and debates related to your topic. It will assist you to go beyond a single perspective and reinforce your own side.

Creating a solid thesis statement

Creating a strong thesis statement lays the foundation for your essay and tells your readers what to expect.

  • Understand the purpose. Your thesis statement will be the main point in your paper. The introductory part of the persuasive essay should precisely give the main argument or position you will address.
  • Analyze the prompt. Go through the prompt again and determine what the crucial issues or queries are that are lying behind it. Those aspects determine the focus of your thesis, which should be put in line with them.
  • Take a clear stance. Choose whether you take the position against or the position supporting the issue. Do you oppose or undermine a concept? The thesis sentence of your article should correspond to the position.
  • Make it specific. Avoid general or nondescript statements. You should make your thesis statement specific and purposeful, stating what the essay will be about covering in your paper.
  • Provide a roadmap. The thesis statement can also be used to introduce the topic of discussion and the areas you will be covering in the subsequent paragraphs.

Make sure you get a good, balanced statement that covers key points, and in that way, it is easy to follow the storyline in general.

Developing supporting arguments

Once you have your thesis statement, it’s time to build your essay around it with strong supporting arguments.

Identify key points. Split your thesis up into minor points or paragraphs that serve as evidence of your main idea.

Provide evidence. Utilize the numbers, instances, quotations, or some statistics to defeat each of your supporting positions. As a result, the argumentation makes the essay more convincing and solid as well.

Organize logically. Paragraphs should be arranged in a logical sequence to make your support arguments easily understandable. Sentence connections provide ease of reading for your reader and ensure that the plot of your composition flows smoothly.

Stay focused. Make certain that all the supporting pieces of your argument are directly and logically related to the thesis statement and serve to expound your beliefs.

Introduce incontrovertible points to defend your thesis. They can be foundations so that your readers are inclined to agree with you.

Refining and polishing your essay

Once you’ve written your essay, it’s important to refine and polish it to ensure it’s clear, coherent, and well-organized. 

  • Edit for clarity. During the final step, go through your essay and check to make sure the ideas that you want to express are clear and presentable. For any verbiage or sentences that add more than what is indicated.
  • Check for coherence. Make sure that every paragraph logically comes in as a continuation of the rest, having a connection with one another and arguments that are coherent and compatible with each other. Make use of transitional clauses to advance coherence between various elements of the writing.
  • Proofread for errors. Check proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation and target an improvement in sentence structure and vocabulary, especially the use of active voice. 
  • Seek feedback. Incorporate your friend’s, family member’s, or teacher’s commentary for feedback into your essay. Such tests could help you to find things that you haven’t thought about before and are definitely worth trying.

Through skillful editing of your essay , it is possible to raise the level of writing and, therefore, make it more exciting and convincing to the reader.

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writing a uni essay in one day

How to Write a Last Minute Essay

←What If I Don’t Have Anything Interesting to Write About in My College Essay?

8 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block→

writing a uni essay in one day

Ooops! You waited until the very last minute to begin the college application process, and it’s probably stressing you out. But never fear – CollegeVine is here to make sure that your procrastination impacts your essay as minimally as possible.

We’ve included a guide for the 30-day essay, the 15-day essay, and the 3-day essay. If you have multiple essays to write in a short time, you can follow the appropriate guide for multiple prompts simultaneously, or offset it by a few days.

The 30-Day Essay

At this point, you want to focus on ideas. You have the freedom to spend a few days figuring out which direction your essay is going to take, so take your time to think about what you want to convey in your essay. Find four to five topics to begin with—you can ask your parents, friends, and teachers about what they find interesting about you in order to speed this process up. Try to choose anecdotes from your life that, in retrospect, you learned from, and these stories will inform your topic. Even the shortest, most insignificant moment can make a great essay if it shaped you in some way. If you are writing a “why this school” essay, make a list of reasons why you are applying. Do appropriate research to find strong reasons that show your genuine interest in the school. 

Now that you have a few potential topics, think about how each one would respond to the prompt. Spend 15 minutes outlining each one, using your prompt to guide the outline. In essays that ask you to tell a story, a good topic should write itself and finding a strong essay idea will nearly always be more productive than forcing a story to respond to the prompt. For “why this school” essays, focus on the structure and connection between your reasons. Giving this step the necessary hours now will pay off later. Narrow your list of potential topics to your top one to three choices.

Now it’s time to put pen to paper. If you’re having a hard time, try writing in different environments—coffee shops, your room, or a library, for example—and alternate between topics, and remember that at least at this stage, more words is better than fewer; there will be a step to polish your writing later. 

By day 14, you should have written one rough essay for every “top choice” topic you decided on during day 5. This means that you should now have anywhere between one to three potential essays for a single prompt.

If you do have more than one essay written, it is now time to choose a single essay. Out of the two or three essays you have written in the past couple days, there is probably one that speaks to you more than the rest. If you’re having a hard time, think about which of the topics you’d like to spend another two weeks with, and try to figure out which one says the most about you. Essays with twice the number of words allowed or more should be ruled out; the anecdote is probably too long, or the topic requires too much detail to be effective.

Break days! Distance is important when writing. Take a break from your essays so that you can continue to edit with a fresh mind. These are great days to give your essay to other people to edit—school faculty members who know you well, a coach/music teacher, your parents, and one or two friends. If you are over the word limit, ask specifically for these editors to help you cut down the essay.

Reading your essay with a fresh mind should help you catch big, structural edits. Your first round of edits should involve content edits; you’re looking for what the essay really says about you as a person, and whether that was what you were trying to get across. How does the sentence flow? Does the essay move itself?

Break day! Get some more distance from your writing.

At this point, you might have received some edits back from the people you handed your essay to. Go through each of the edits and decide which suggestions you plan to take, and which seem to alter your personal voice or which don’t match the essay stylistically. Try to stay objective as you review these edits—some of them will be detrimental. If you can’t see why the change was made, it’s probably best to ignore it. If multiple people give you the same feedback, however, you may want to give it some thought.

Implement the edits that you liked. Then read through the essay again and make sure that there are no structural edits or content edits that still need to happen.

These days are the middle stage of your editing process. You’re looking for words that don’t fit the style of the essay, or which could be improved, as well as sentence flow problems. Are all your sentences the same length? Is one paragraph not as well written as the rest of the essay? This should also be the time that you cut words. If you are still more than 70 words over, try to cut full sentences. Otherwise, start by cutting unnecessary phrases and words.

Start doing smaller grammatical edits. A great way to catch edits is to record yourself reading your essay aloud and then listening to the recording. As you go through this process, highlight, mark, and comment on your essay. Afterwards, go through and use your notes to fix word flow, word choice, and grammatical mistakes.

Break day! It’s close to the deadline, we know. Take a break anyway – you need and deserve it.

Last minute edits! Spend some quality time with your essay by just reading it every few hours. Try to catch any small mistakes or random sentence flow problems. (If you suddenly realize that you hate your essay, reference the 3-Day Essay below. Be sure that you aren’t being hyper-critical, though—you may just hate the essay because you’ve spent so much time on it).

Congratulations! Your essay is done! It’s time for you to catch a break. 

The 15-Day Essay

Spend a few hours working on a list of ideas that could become potential essays. Choose one and make an outline.

Write your essay!

Ask a few people who you think would give constructive comments to read your essay— teachers, parents, and  friends. Spend some time doing content and structure edits. Figure out what you want the essay to convey about your personality, and determine whether your essay actually gets this across.

Do some structural editing. Pay attention to sentence flow, the length of paragraphs, overall organization. If your essay is too long, try to cut down on unnecessary information. Pay close attention to the way that you have structured paragraphs and make sure each one makes sense.

Take a break!

Synthesize the comments you received on your essay. Decide which suggestions you want to use and which ones you don’t. If you can’t figure out why a particular suggestion was made, ask the person who gave it. After you’ve gone through all the feedback, edit your essay accordingly.

Cut your essay down to the word limit – ask yourself which anecdotes, details, and adjectives are truly necessary. If you’re having trouble, reference the editors that you spoke to previously.

Work on grammatical and other small edits. Look for minor things that need to be corrected, such as punctuation and word choice. This process requires a few dedicated hours. Aim to really spend some time polishing your language. Reading your essay aloud can be a productive way to accomplish this.

Take a break from your essay!

Spend the whole day with your essay. Every few hours, do a reread and see if you can catch any small last minute edits. Don’t try to change anything major—you don’t have time!

Submit the essay and take a good nap. You’ve finished! 

The 3-Day Essay

Don’t panic. This is doable, but it’ll be a busy few days. Spend the morning coming up with ideas for your essay. Choose one, and use the afternoon to write it. Email this draft to teachers, and show it to your parents. Then, take a few hours off, and later at night, read it through to edit for content. Does the essay say what you intended it to?

Check your email throughout the day. When you get edits back, start incorporating those into the essay. Be picky about which ones you choose to include because you don’t want to take your own voice out of the essay. Spend the day doing structural edits. Every hour, take a thirty minute break from editing. By the end of the day, you should have an essay that fits within the word limit and also has a strong flow. The organization should be good, and you should be able to see how the essay builds upon itself.

DO NOT OPEN EDITS. If any of your readers have replied to your email, don’t open them at all. At this point, the extra edits will just freak you out, and you don’t have time to do major fixes. The name of the game today is small edits; look for grammar, word changes, and minor sentence structure changes. When you’re finally done, take a breath; you can finally relax. 

The 1-Day Essay 

Of course, writing a college essay the day before it’s due is far from ideal, but we know there are probably some of you out there who will find yourself in this situation. Don’t worry, it is not hopeless. Instead of trying to fit a step-by-step plan into a tight timespan, we’ve compiled some general tips to help you churn out that essay in one day. 

Choose your prompts strategically.

If you already know what you’re going to write about, great! Move on to the next tip. If not, see if you might have already written an essay to any of the available prompts. Especially if the prompts are open-ended, you may have already addressed a potential topic in previous school papers. Look through your files to see if you have any essays that you might be able to recycle. The key here is recycle : it goes without saying that you shouldn’t use a previously-written essay word for word for your college submission. You should still take time to tailor it to the prompt and make sure that it conveys your message clearly, whether it’s illustrating your strengths or expressing why you wish to attend that particular college. 

Make an outline. 

Yes, you may feel that you don’t have time for extensive planning, and that you should just jump in and get everything on paper. Try to rein in this urge and take one hour to make a brief outline, spelling out your “thesis” and all the points you want to address. This will help keep your thoughts in order as you write, especially in such a time-constricted context. 

Get that distance, re-read, and edit. 

It’s always tempting to just click submit once you’re done with a project you worked long and hard on, to feel that relief when you know it’s done. However, especially given the rushed nature of a last-minute essay like this, the revision and editing process is crucial, even if it’ll be minimal. Blatant errors will reflect poorly in your application! 

So when you’re done writing, set it aside for a few hours. Then, reread it, and make any necessary corrections—grammar mistakes, typos, sentence flow. When you’re sure it sounds they way you want it to, then you can submit. 

Wrapping it Up

Procrastinating on your college essays isn’t the best way to go, but it can be saved. If you haven’t started applying yet, start your college essays as early as possible! Longer breaks between editing sessions will allow you to get the distance necessary to be objective, and to produce the best quality essay you can.

Want help with your college essays to improve your admissions chances? Sign up for your free CollegeVine account and get access to our essay guides and courses. You can also get your essay peer-reviewed and improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

writing a uni essay in one day

Student sat writing at a table. Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Essay and dissertation writing skills

Planning your essay

Writing your introduction

Structuring your essay

  • Writing essays in science subjects
  • Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
  • Writing extended essays and dissertations
  • Planning your dissertation writing time

Structuring your dissertation

  • Top tips for writing longer pieces of work

Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations

University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions. 

You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:

Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.

However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:

Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’

Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:

The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.

  • Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
  • References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline. 

Essay writing in science subjects

If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:

A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.

Short videos to support your essay writing skills

There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:

  • Approaching different types of essay questions  
  • Structuring your essay  
  • Writing an introduction  
  • Making use of evidence in your essay writing  
  • Writing your conclusion

Extended essays and dissertations

Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.

Planning your time effectively

Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.

Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.

The structure of  extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:

  • The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
  • Explanation of the focus of your work.
  • Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
  • List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.

The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.

The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources. 

Tips on writing longer pieces of work

Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.

For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work . 

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The writer of the academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence. The beginning of the essay is a crucial first step in this process. In order to engage readers and establish your authority, the beginning of your essay has to accomplish certain business. Your beginning should introduce the essay, focus it, and orient readers.

Introduce the Essay.  The beginning lets your readers know what the essay is about, the  topic . The essay's topic does not exist in a vacuum, however; part of letting readers know what your essay is about means establishing the essay's  context , the frame within which you will approach your topic. For instance, in an essay about the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech, the context may be a particular legal theory about the speech right; it may be historical information concerning the writing of the amendment; it may be a contemporary dispute over flag burning; or it may be a question raised by the text itself. The point here is that, in establishing the essay's context, you are also limiting your topic. That is, you are framing an approach to your topic that necessarily eliminates other approaches. Thus, when you determine your context, you simultaneously narrow your topic and take a big step toward focusing your essay. Here's an example.

The paragraph goes on. But as you can see, Chopin's novel (the topic) is introduced in the context of the critical and moral controversy its publication engendered.

Focus the Essay.  Beyond introducing your topic, your beginning must also let readers know what the central issue is. What question or problem will you be thinking about? You can pose a question that will lead to your idea (in which case, your idea will be the answer to your question), or you can make a thesis statement. Or you can do both: you can ask a question and immediately suggest the answer that your essay will argue. Here's an example from an essay about Memorial Hall.

The fullness of your idea will not emerge until your conclusion, but your beginning must clearly indicate the direction your idea will take, must set your essay on that road. And whether you focus your essay by posing a question, stating a thesis, or combining these approaches, by the end of your beginning, readers should know what you're writing about, and  why —and why they might want to read on.

Orient Readers.  Orienting readers, locating them in your discussion, means providing information and explanations wherever necessary for your readers' understanding. Orienting is important throughout your essay, but it is crucial in the beginning. Readers who don't have the information they need to follow your discussion will get lost and quit reading. (Your teachers, of course, will trudge on.) Supplying the necessary information to orient your readers may be as simple as answering the journalist's questions of who, what, where, when, how, and why. It may mean providing a brief overview of events or a summary of the text you'll be analyzing. If the source text is brief, such as the First Amendment, you might just quote it. If the text is well known, your summary, for most audiences, won't need to be more than an identifying phrase or two:

Often, however, you will want to summarize your source more fully so that readers can follow your analysis of it.

Questions of Length and Order.  How long should the beginning be? The length should be proportionate to the length and complexity of the whole essay. For instance, if you're writing a five-page essay analyzing a single text, your beginning should be brief, no more than one or two paragraphs. On the other hand, it may take a couple of pages to set up a ten-page essay.

Does the business of the beginning have to be addressed in a particular order? No, but the order should be logical. Usually, for instance, the question or statement that focuses the essay comes at the end of the beginning, where it serves as the jumping-off point for the middle, or main body, of the essay. Topic and context are often intertwined, but the context may be established before the particular topic is introduced. In other words, the order in which you accomplish the business of the beginning is flexible and should be determined by your purpose.

Opening Strategies.  There is still the further question of how to start. What makes a good opening? You can start with specific facts and information, a keynote quotation, a question, an anecdote, or an image. But whatever sort of opening you choose, it should be directly related to your focus. A snappy quotation that doesn't help establish the context for your essay or that later plays no part in your thinking will only mislead readers and blur your focus. Be as direct and specific as you can be. This means you should avoid two types of openings:

  • The history-of-the-world (or long-distance) opening, which aims to establish a context for the essay by getting a long running start: "Ever since the dawn of civilized life, societies have struggled to reconcile the need for change with the need for order." What are we talking about here, political revolution or a new brand of soft drink? Get to it.
  • The funnel opening (a variation on the same theme), which starts with something broad and general and "funnels" its way down to a specific topic. If your essay is an argument about state-mandated prayer in public schools, don't start by generalizing about religion; start with the specific topic at hand.

Remember.  After working your way through the whole draft, testing your thinking against the evidence, perhaps changing direction or modifying the idea you started with, go back to your beginning and make sure it still provides a clear focus for the essay. Then clarify and sharpen your focus as needed. Clear, direct beginnings rarely present themselves ready-made; they must be written, and rewritten, into the sort of sharp-eyed clarity that engages readers and establishes your authority.

Copyright 1999, Patricia Kain, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

Want free help with your college essay?

UPchieve connects you with knowledgeable and friendly college advisors—online, 24/7, and completely free. Get 1:1 help brainstorming topics, outlining your essay, revising a draft, or editing grammar.

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Writing a strong college admissions essay

Learn about the elements of a solid admissions essay.

Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes

Learn some of the most common mistakes made on college essays

Brainstorming tips for your college essay

Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.

How formal should the tone of your college essay be?

Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.

Taking your college essay to the next level

Hear an admissions expert discuss the appropriate level of depth necessary in your college essay.

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Student Story: Admissions essay about a formative experience

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Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity

Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact

Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.

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Top tips for writing your first university essay

28 October 2021

Moving from A-level (or equivalent) standard of writing to the expectations required for a degree might seem a little daunting, so to help, UCL student Saumark Bhaumick lists her top tips for writing effective essays.

Hand typing on a laptop

1. Set the standard 

Understanding your academic discipline in relation to your year is the first step to writing a great university essay.  A final-year history essay is going to be very different from a biology essay set for a first-year student.

You should identify what the basic requirements of essays in your field are. This includes common essay structure, tone, and referencing.

If you’re not sure on the answers to these, ask your module tutor for essay examples from previous first year students with similar work from relevant sources. 

2. Understand structuring

Now that you’ve identified what the expectation is for your first essay, you can begin to think about your structure.  To do this, consider what the word limit is. Using essay examples from step 1, allocate a rough percentage for each section in your structure.

For example, you may decide to give 20% of the word count for each main body paragraph, and 10% each to the introduction and conclusion.

3. Plan your essay

At this stage, creating a plan and allocating the appropriate time for each of the stages will really help you. Here’s an example:

  • Research two points for my main argument (3 days)
  • Research two points for my counter argument (3 days)
  • Write the main argument (1 day)
  • Write up the counter argument (1 day)
  • Write my introduction and conclusion (1 day)
  • Referencing and asking someone for feedback (1 day)

4. Research your sources

The research stage will most probably be the most interesting, and the most time-consuming.  Here you should focus on learning and building up your notes, so that when it comes to writing, you can simply reword what you’ve already found.

To do this, know which websites to use for sources (journals, papers etc.) such as UCL Explore , Google Scholar , JSTOR . You can also do this by asking your Module Tutor for recommended sites and databases.

Make sure to read through sources efficiently and track what parts are relevant to your essay question by making your own notes from these sources.

5. Write from your sources and reference correctly

Now you can use the most relevant parts of your research notes to write the essay.

Make sure you don’t copy your notes (created from the sources) word for word! You don’t want to plagiarise for a number of reasons, and UCL’s Turnitin System will find out. 

Add in the sources for each relevant idea to get references. You can reference properly at the end or as you go – both are fine – but make sure you have a rough way to keep track of which sources you’ve used!

Having identified which style of referencing you should use (e.g. Harvard, Vancouver etc.), you can use websites such as Mybib , Citethisforme or Mendeley to easily create a proper, error-free Bibliography and In-text citations.

Find out more about academic integrity at UCL

6. Get feedback 

If you have enough time for this stage, you’ve done well! It would be wise to send your essay draft to your Module Tutor or Personal Tutor and ask for some feedback. 

Nice job! You have written your first university essay. The good news? Every time you write one it gets easier, and you get better!

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash  

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Tips To Write A Good Quality Essay In A Day

28 Nov 2022

Have you left your university essay until the last minute? Don’t worry, it is possible to write a good quality piece of work within a day.

It might not be an enjoyable experience but with the right tips and tricks, it can be done.

With our help you’ll have your essay submitted on time!

Although, we wouldn’t recommend getting into the habit of doing this too often.

Carry on reading to find out our top tips to writing an essay within a day…

Writing a university essay

1. Maintain A Positive Outlook

Possibly the most important thing to do before trying to complete an essay to a tight deadline is to get yourself in the right mindset.

It’s hard to keep the positive vibes flowing when you’re stressed out about completing your university essay.

However, if you can, try your best to remain calm and have a can-do approach.

Telling yourself it’s not possible or you haven’t got enough time isn’t going to help.

Instead, hype yourself up and take some deep breaths.

Whilst is isn’t an ideal situation to be in, it’s possible for you to complete your essay in a day – believe in yourself, you can do it!

After all, you will have completed exams within a set time frame, so this is something you have experience in doing.

You should also remember that stress can be a great motivator when it comes to completing uni work.

Although, a little stress is great, a lot of stress can be a recipe for disaster.

Positive outlook university essay

2. Choose Your Working Environment

Our next tip for getting an essay done in a day is to think about your working environment.

Such as, are you going to work on your essay at home or the library?

It’s best to think about where you work best, and which space will have the least distractions.

The last thing you want to do is get distracted by your flatmates partying so find a quiet place you can focus in!

Plus, if you’ve only got a few hours until the submission time, you don’t want to waste time getting to the campus library, or vice versa, heading to your student accommodation from uni.

You should also think about which place has the strongest Wi-Fi connection.

There’s nothing worse than trying to complete uni work and your internet keeps cutting out – it will just stress you out even more!

Once you’ve chosen your study session base, get everything you need ready whether it’s your laptop, books, pen, paper or bottle of water.

If you work well with music on, get your study playlist ready too.

This way you’ll be nice and organised so you can focus on the task at hand with minimal distractions.

If you’re short on time, don’t waste time procrastinating getting everything ready!

Studying environment

3. Fuel Your Body & Mind

You may be running on short time to write your essay in a day but you still need to ensure you fuel your body and mind.

So, make sure that you’ve eaten a healthy breakfast and you’ve drank enough, this way you’ll have the energy you need to get your essay done.

We’re not saying you should spend an hour in the kitchen cheffing up a full English if your essay deadline is fast approaching, just make sure you eat at least something and keep yourself hydrated.

Try to be careful with caffeinated drinks too, you may think the only way you’ll get your essay done is by chugging back tons of energy drinks or cups of coffee.

However, you’ll end up crashing after a few hours and feel super fatigued if you knock back too many red bulls.

Instead, just go for the one or two energy drinks or cuppas and you’ll have enough energy to get your work done!

Healthy breakfast studying

4. Create An Essay Plan

Next within our guide to tips to write an essay in a day is to create a plan to follow and refer back to throughout the process.

As you know, for any piece of academic writing, you should always spend time beforehand planning.

Whilst you may be short on time in this instance, it’s still important to research and understand what your essay topic is about.

Even if you just spend half an hour researching and planning what you’re going to discuss within your essay, this is better than no planning at all.

If you dive straight into writing, you won’t have gathered enough material and information to write your essay to a high standard – we don’t want that!

One tip we have for you is to create your plan within the document you’ve created for your essay.

This way you’ll have bullet points and notes to follow for your key ideas so you won’t suffer from writer’s block.

Plus, it will save you a little more time and that’s exactly what you need, ay?

Essay plan

5. Set A Schedule

When it comes to writing an essay quickly, you should try to set a schedule to follow for the day.

You may struggle with time management, but try your best to plan your time for the day and set a schedule to follow.

If you give yourself a certain amount of time to get different sections of your essay written up you’ll ensure that you hit the word limit and get each section complete in the time required.

You don’t want to submit a half finished essay because you spent too long on the introduction and didn’t have time for a conclusion which contains all the information you need for a good mark!

For example, if you’ve got a essay which has a word count of 2000 words, spread it out throughout the day so that the task is more manageable and more like mini-tasks per hour, rather than one massive essay.

We would recommend being realistic about your essay writing though, as it may not be possible for you to hit the word count within a certain time frame – quality over quantity!

Remember to also also ensure you fit in breaks within your daily schedule, you’re not a robot, everyone needs some time to re-charge even if your deadline is just hours away.

This way, you’ll stop yourself from feeling completely drained and you’ll boost your productivity levels!

Study schedule

6. Switch Off From Technology

This next one might seem obvious, but if you’re working against the clock you need to limit as many distractions as possible.

Switch off your phone, your TV or anything else which may distract you before starting to write your essay.

The last thing you want to do is spend an hour scrolling through TikTok rather than writing your essay.

If you feel like you’ll be tempted to keep checking your messages or checking your socials, give your phone to your flatmate or keep it out of sight.

If you like having your phone nearby to you, put it on do not disturb or airplane mode to limit any notifications coming through.

Your time is precious, so try your best not to check social media and procrastinate!

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from your work and then checking your phone, just don’t do it too much otherwise your essay won’t get done.

Switch off from technology studying

7. Reach Out For Help If You Need It

If you’re reading this guide, chances are you’ve left your essay to the last minute as you don’t have a clue what to write about, or you’ve been too busy to get it done.

Whatever the reason is, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from your lecturers if you are struggling.

Whilst you may think they’re going to judge you for your lack of time management, we’re sure they’d rather you ask for support if you need it.

Your tutors are there to help you, drop them an email or arrange a video call to ask any questions you have if they’re available.

Bear in mind if it is the day of the deadline, they may not be free and could have tons of other people asking them things too, but it’s worth asking!

You could also speak to your course mates and see if they can help you with anything you’re unsure about.

University essay help

8. Save Time Referencing

No matter what type of essay you’re writing or the subject, you’ll need to include at least some academic sources.

We know, it’s the most dreaded part of any essay even if you have all the time in the world.

It’s something we all hate doing but it’s an important aspect of all good quality articles.

Our first tip is to not leave your referencing until the last minute.

Try to cite your sources as you go through your essay to ensure you don’t leave yourself too much work to do.

Otherwise you’ll have to go back and find the quotes and sources which can be a NIGHTMARE.

If you’re writing your essay using Microsoft Word, make use of their referencing tool to save yourself time spent creating your bibliography.

You can also use helpful referencing building tools like Cite This For Me .

Referencing essay

9. Make Sure To Proofread

Our last tip to write an essay in a day is to make sure you proofread.

As you know, writing an essay is a process with many different stages, with the final stage being proof reading and editing.

Chances are, you probably won’t have much time at all to proofread your essay once you’ve finished writing.

However, if you can, spend the last few hours before the deadline to just go through your essay and check for mistakes.

Take a re-read of your essay and check for grammar or spelling errors, as well as sections you may need to re write.

The editing stage is essential and is just as important as the writing part itself.

So, spend at least some time checking over and making amendments before you hit that submit button!

If you’re able to, ask someone else to quickly go over your essay to check for any errors you may have missed.

Don’t spend too long checking your essay if your deadline is quickly approaching as you don’t want to lose marks for submitting it late.

Remember, uploading your essay online can sometimes take a while, so bare this in mind!

Proof reading article

Hopefully our tips to write an essay in a day have been helpful for you – we believe in you.

The power is now in your hands to get your essay done, stop procrastinating and go and get it done!

One final thing to takeaway is to remember that you can ask for a deadline extension if there are genuine reasons why you couldn’t submit your essay or any piece of work on time!

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Hacks How to Write a 10 and 20 page Paper in One Night

Updated: July 15, 2022

Published: April 19, 2020

Hacks-How-to-Write-a-10-and-20-page-Paper-in-One-Night

It’s the night before a big paper is due. For whatever reason, you find yourself needing to write an entire research paper in a very short amount of time. While procrastination isn’t ideal, extenuating circumstances may have caused your timeline to get pushed back. So, here you are, looking for how to write a 10-page paper or how to write a 20-page paper in one night.

It goes without saying the best way to write a paper is to give yourself enough time to outline, draft, and edit. Yet, it’s still possible to write in less time. Take heed of these best tips and tricks to organize your thoughts and get your thesis on paper as fast as possible.

Photo by  Adolfo Félix  on  Unsplash

How to prepare before you write, 1. create a schedule to maximize your time.

You’ve likely already spent time panicking. Once you calm yourself of the anxiety of having to finish a 10- or 20-page paper in one night, organize your plan of attack. First, you should designate an area free of distractions so that you can focus. Aside from a few breaks and snacks, it’s best to set up a comfortable place to write. Give yourself some time to outline and find/cite research . Once you know how you’re going to approach the subject, then you can start drafting.

2. Determine your Main Topic

If you’ve been given a prompt, then your topic is clear. However, sometimes you have the freedom to choose what your research will be about. In this case, it’s smartest to choose a topic that you are already knowledgeable about. That way, you will save yourself key time that would have otherwise been spent on research. If you don’t feel strongly about any particular topic, then at least try to pick one that has a lot of information available.

3. Perform Research

Start looking up sources to cite that support your thesis, or main argument. As you research, be sure to take notes. One of the best ways to do this is to use a word processor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word to copy and paste URLs. For each source, it would be best to copy/paste one main sentence that covers its point.

Then, you can write brief notes in your own words that summarize what you have read from that source. While you are performing research, you can start to put together an outline, or the flow of how you will present your ideas broken down by topic and argument.

4. Outline 3-5 subtopics

Once you’ve chosen your topic, then try to pull 3-5 subtopics from it. Each sub-topic should be juicy enough to be able to write a lot about it. The subtopics are your supporting paragraphs which fill the body of the research paper. They should basically be mini essays within themselves.

Writing in One Night

Writing a long research paper in one night isn’t ideal, but it is doable. Some of the best ways to get it done is to follow these 5 tips:

1. Plan and Outline

Take those few extra moments to plan and outline your paper. While it may feel like a waste of valuable time, it is going to help you stay on track. When you have an outline and you get to the middle of your paper, you won’t feel lost as to how to continue. An outline will be useful to you like a map is on a journey.

2. Use Specialized Search

Take advantage of search tools that are designed for scholars. For example, a few of these include: Google Scholar and Elsevier .

3. Leverage Tools

There are citation management tools that will help you find sources for your topic. Mendeley is just one of them. You can type parts of your paper into the tool and find quotes of value. Be sure to cite everything you use to avoid plagiarism .

4. Proofread and Edit

Once you complete writing 10 to 20 pages, you may feel like throwing in the towel and going to sleep for a few hours. However, it is crucial to power through and proofread your paper. If you have anyone available who can read your paper over, that would be best because it’s hard to catch mistakes when you’ve been looking at the same thing for so long. But, if no one is available, try to read your paper back to yourself out loud. This way, you may be able to catch typos better.

5. Check Formatting

Every research paper needs to adhere to a particular format guideline. Whether it’s APA, MLA, or another standard formatting practice, be sure to double check that your layout adheres to the guidelines.

Photo by  Christin Hume  on  Unsplash

When to start writing.

If you have yet to find yourself trying to write a paper at the last minute and all the notes above are scaring you out of procrastination, then that’s a good start! Perhaps you were recently assigned a research paper. In this case, the best way to tackle the project is to do the following:

Start Early

Get started right away. Even if it means just performing early research or writing an outline, starting early is going to save you from having to write a paper in one night down the line. When you start early, you benefit greatly because you can: leverage peers for ideas, take the necessary time to edit and rewrite, and you lower your risk of picking a topic with too little information and having to change topics at the last minute.

Writing in Stages

Starting early also affords you the opportunity to write in stages. You can think of writing as a cycle when you write in stages. First, you can create your outline. Then, you can write the introduction, edit it, and rewrite anything you may need to before moving on to the next piece (or the first body paragraph, in this case).

Use a Timeline

Create a timeline for your writing in stages. If you start four weeks in advance, for example, you have time to do all of the following:

  • Fully understand the assignment and ask any questions
  • Start to read and document sources
  • Create notecards and cite books for sources
  • Write a summary of what you’ve discovered so far that will be used in some of your paper
  • Create 3-5 subtopics and outline points you want to explore
  • Look for more sources on your subtopics
  • Start writing summaries on each subtopic
  • Write some analysis of your findings
  • Start to piece together the research paper based on your notes and outline (almost like completing a puzzle)
  • Edit and proofread / ask for feedback

The Writing Process

The actual writing process is a little different for everyone, but this is a general overview for how to write a 20-page paper, or one that is shorter.

  • Start with a Thesis: Your thesis is one sentence that clearly and concisely explains what you are going to prove with research.
  • Include a Menu Sentence: At the end of your introduction, you will briefly outline your subtopics in what is often referred to as a “menu sentence.” This allows the reader to understand what they can expect to learn about as they continue to read your paper.
  • Create a Detailed Introduction: Your introduction should be detailed enough so that someone with little to no knowledge about your subject matter can understand what the paper is about.
  • Keep References: Be sure to write your references as you go along so that you basically can create your bibliography in the process of writing. Again, this is where a tool like Mendeley may be useful.
  • Write First: Write first and edit later. You want to get all your ideas down on the page before you start judging or editing the writing.
  • Save Often: Create the draft on a cloud platform that is automatically saved (i.e. Google Docs in case your computer crashes) or email the work to yourself as you go.

The Breakdown of a 10-Page Paper

The Breakdown of a 10-Page Paper infographic table

Sources to Consider Using

When writing your research paper and finding sources, it’s best to use a mix of sources. This may include:

  • Internet: The Internet is filled with limitless possibilities. When you use the Internet, it’s best to find credible and trustworthy sources to avoid using fake news as a source. That’s why tools like Google Scholar can be so helpful.
  • Textbooks: It’s more likely than not that you’ll be able to use your class textbook as a source for the research you are conducting.
  • Books: Additionally, other books outside of those you read within your class will prove useful in any research paper.

Final Steps: Editing and Formatting

Once you’ve written all your ideas on the page, it’s time to edit. It cannot be stressed enough that editing is pivotal before submission. This is especially true if you’ve been writing under immense pressure.

Writing a 10- or 20-page research paper in one night is not easy, so there are bound to be mistakes and typos. The best way to catch these mistakes is to follow these tips:

  • Take a break before you edit so you can come back to the page with somewhat fresh eyes and a clearer head
  • Read it out loud to edit and catch mistakes because sometimes your brain will override typos or missing words to make sense of what it is reading
  • If possible, ask someone else to look it over
  • Consider using footnotes or block quotes
  • Format according to how your university asks – MLA or APA, etc.

The Bottom Line

Life throws curveballs your way without warning. Whether you are holding yourself accountable for procrastinating or something out of your control came up, you may find yourself needing to write a big research paper in one night. It’s not the best-case scenario, but with the right tools and tricks up your sleeve, you can surely get it done!

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College Essay Writing

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Write a compelling essay for the Common App and a supplemental essay for a college of your choice, under expert guidance and with a structured process that takes you from start to finish in 30 days. 

The college essay is the most personalized part of a college application. It’s an opportunity for you to share your unique stories and showcase the valuable experiences and qualities you would bring to a school’s campus. In this four-week course, you’ll be guided through the writing process for your own essays to set you apart in the competitive landscape of college admissions. The course will focus on the essay required for the Common App, the application used by 1,000+ colleges and universities, in addition to how to approach and write the supplemental essays specific to each school. 

The course begins by exploring what is required of the Common App essay and essays that have been successful. By the end of the first week, you’ll create an outline for your essay. In the second week, you’ll draft your essay, learning how to write captivating introductions and compelling body paragraphs with personal anecdotes and vivid imagery. In the third week, you’ll work on polishing your essay with a focus on strengthening your voice in it and adding details. In the final week, the course turns to supplemental essays and how to write targeted responses while conveying authenticity.

All throughout the course, you’ll work directly with your instructor and receive personalized feedback on your work. You’ll also have opportunities to participate in peer sharing sessions to receive additional perspective and recommendations on how you can revise and strengthen your writing. By the end of the course, you’ll have completed your essay for the Common App and at least one supplemental essay that resonates with admissions officers.

What you will learn:

✔ Write your Common App essay and one supplemental essay for a college or university of your choice  ✔ Tailor your essay responses to specific colleges' values and mission statements  ✔ Craft attention-grabbing introductions and well-balanced body paragraphs using effective narrative techniques and specific sensory details  ✔ Revise your writing by following a comprehensive checklist

Register Now

What you need to participate:

  • Computer or mobile device with Internet. Internet speed must be at least 1.5Mbps download and 800Kbps upload. For students using a mobile device, download the Canvas mobile app and select “Interlochen Online” as your school.
  • Word processing program, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word, that can create PDF files
  • Airbuds/headphones
  • Review Essays That Worked for John Hopkins University

How the course works:

Interlochen Online courses are designed to be inspiring and flexible with weekly learning units that combine video segments and guided instruction that you can complete on your own schedule during the week. You will interact regularly with your teacher and peers inside the learning environment. 

You can also participate in an optional weekly hour-long video class meeting, where you can learn from the teacher and interact with your classmates in real-time. At the beginning of the course, you will complete a survey indicating your preferred times for the class meeting. The teacher will make every best effort to identify a meeting time that works for everyone. The teacher will also post recordings of the meetings and you can view them when it is convenient. 

The goal is that you walk away not only with practical skills and friendships but that you are inspired and motivated to pursue your art and realize your potential.

Next session begins July 15

Tuition: $299

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This program includes:

✔ 5 hours of learning each week 

✔ Self-paced, expert instruction 

✔ Weekly class meetings with your instructor 

✔ Personalized feedback on your work 

✔ Completed project for your portfolio 

✔ Course completion badge 

Program Snapshot

Upcoming course dates.

July 15 - Aug. 9, 2024 | Teen and adult sections

Sept. 16 - Oct. 12, 2024 | Teen and adult sections

Teens: Grades 7-12

Future Sessions

Academic Calendar

Meet the Faculty

Cassandra Anouthay

Instructor of English & Humanities

Questions? Speak with an Advisor.

Email : [email protected]  

Phone : 231.276.5990  

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

University of Liverpool hosting 'Tay Day' for Swifties to debate Taylor Swift and Eras Tour

  • University of Liverpool
  • Taylor Swift
  • Tuesday 21 May 2024 at 1:05pm

writing a uni essay in one day

Academics are preparing for Taylor Swift 's arrival by holding a conference - to “debate and deconstruct” the star’s work.

The Shake It Off singer will bring her Eras tour to Liverpool for a three-day run of sold-out shows at Anfield Stadium from 13 June.

In anticipation of her appearances, the University of Liverpool is hosting Tay Day, which it describes as a “symposium for fans, students and academics to engage with the cultural phenomenon that is Taylor Swift”.

The day will culminate in a session of 'Critical Karaoke' - where researchers will perform one-song essays to their chosen Swift track.

The conference is part of a number of Swift-related events being held in Liverpool in the hope of maximising the singer’s boost to the city economy.

Organised by the university’s Institute of Popular Music, Tay Day will take place on 12 June and see academics from across Europe speaking on topics such as Swift’s place in feminism.

Dr Sam Murray and Dr Amy Skjerseth, from the Institute of Popular Music, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting an event to bring together academics, students and fans to debate and deconstruct the work of one of the world’s biggest musical sensations on the eve of her performances in Liverpool.

“The musical, social and economic impact of Taylor Swift is undeniable and that’s why we’re really looking forward to starting a conversation about how Taylor is both Miss Americana and an anti-hero, to understand her style and her wildest dreams and to discuss her reputation.

"We’ll also discuss her reputation for flying private jets, as well as inspiring countless people, whether they’re queer people or young girls, to let them know they can have varied careers."

The University also reached out to the pop-icon herself and, while she's yet to respond, organisers hopes the conference will catch her attention.

Dr Amy Skjerseth said: "We have not heard from her, but we think this week is going to be really important as we start to spread the word. We think that’s going to generate enough buzz that she may find out about it very soon."

Elsewhere in the city in the run-up to the concerts, fans will be able to follow the Taylor Town Trail – made up of 11 art installations, all inspired by a different Era.

The artworks, curated by the city council’s Culture Liverpool team in partnership with social enterprise Make CIC, will include a moss-covered, grand piano to represent the evermore era and giant hearts to depict the Lover era.

Swift-themed craft workshops are also due to be held.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “For more than a year we’ve been watching the impact Taylor has had at every location on her tour date - wherever she goes, an entourage of adoring fans follow, and latest figures show they are traveling from across the globe to enjoy the European leg of the tour.

“We’re a city well-versed in welcoming visitors from across the globe - Eurovision being a prime example - and we wanted to use the unrivalled creative talent in this city to develop a unique trail which will attract people to the city centre, give them an experience they won’t get in any other location and, as a result, encourage them to spend time making the most of our hospitality and leisure offer.

“This is all about using that Team Liverpool approach which works so well and has a tangible impact when it comes to boosting the local economy and supporting local businesses – and even though Taylor may only be in town for a matter of days, we hope the sector feels the impact for months to come.”

The Eras tour, which kicks off its UK leg in Edinburgh on 7 June before going to Liverpool, Cardiff and London, is expected to provide a £997 million boost to the UK economy, according to the Barclays Swiftonomics report published.

Revisit Congress Avenue in 1914, where revelers in cars crowd out horse drawn buggies

writing a uni essay in one day

You don't have much time before Father's Day, which falls on June 16 this year, to match the magnificent gift given by a Texas man, originally from Marlin, who came close to immortalizing his father.

Jack Robertson, 81, uncovered a treasure trove of old Texas documents, essays, letters, photos and other ephemera in a box of memorabilia that had belonged to his father, Rupert Robertson (1895-1968).

A University of Texas professor emeritus of accounting, Jack recognized the historical value of Rupert's descriptive essays written for his English classes at UT from 1914 to 1916, as well as the evidence from his military service during World War I, when Rupert was a balloonist.

Since the elder Robertson starred on the Marlin high school track team and earned his track letter at UT in Austin, his son Jack wanted to preserve his father's writing at the university's Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, a marvelously eccentric museum and archive tucked into the north end of Royal Memorial Stadium.

Terence "Terry" Todd, the late director of the Stark Center, and his wide, Jan Todd, current director, welcomed Rupert's personal papers, many from more than 100 years ago.

"Terry asked me to include a biography of my father, so independent researchers could add the personhood of the author to the context of the stories," Jack says. "Ten months and 62 pages later, I delivered the biography."

You read that right, the dutiful son produced a biography of his father that weighs in at 62 single-spaced pages, which, while short of being a book, is much more than a bio sketch.

I can't pretend to have read every word of this opus, but combined with Rupert's own writing, the world of Texas in the early 20th century became incrementally clearer to me through this gift from Jack Robertson.

A choice essay on Austin from Rupert Robertson

In 1914, Rupert Robertson wrote the following essay about a night on Congress Avenue, one of many he executed for English classes at UT. Note the keen details as Rupert's attention wanders — through various sentence structures — from one sensation to another. This was a time when most of the city's commercial traffic and entertainment venues were concentrated on Congress, but before the Paramount Theatre opened as the Majestic Theatre in 1915.

This particular personal anecdote — and others like it from all over the state — is available digitally to the public at thestoryoftexas.com through the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum as part of the "Help Us Tell the Story of Texas" project.

"The rain is coming down slowly, and it wets the street so that it glistens under the big arc lights like a large mirror.

"The red and yellow drays are bespattered with mud. The streetcars, automobiles and other vehicles are rumbling down the street with such a terrible drum that I would think I was by myself if I could not see the throng of people moving up and down the street.

"Some are gazing at the beautifully lighted show windows which contain various shades of the latest styles of clothing; some are on the inside of the store purchasing articles, and some are looking at the red, white and green moving picture signs, and debate with themselves whether to go in or stay outside and parade the street with the "mob."

"The crowd is composed mostly of university students, but they are not in a hurry tonight. This is unusual, because as a general rule, these fellows are restless, and always go with push and vim wherever they are. But the college spirit is here, for every now and then I hear the jolly laugh of some young man at the joke or remark of one of his companions.

"Boys and girls in couples, clad in their grey and brown rainproof garments, are present in great numbers. There is an air of happiness and success among them as they go down one side of the street and come up the other; the thought of the green-back English book and the brown cloth-covered mathematic text is left behind and forgotten.

"The crowd is divided into groups which represent different fraternities, clubs and various other organizations. Each individual bunch has a characteristic of its own. The Rusticusses wearing big hats, the Phi Gamma Deltas grey mackinaws with a blue stripe, the Sigma Nu's ties, and the other organizations have some similar distinction.

"The rest of the crowd is compiled of town girls and boys; brown (Mexican American); Negro men and women; and a great part of the Jewish population. Here and there, and at every corner, I see a policeman watching the crowd as a cowboy on horseback watches a herd of cattle.

"The street is as crowded with vehicles as the sidewalks are with people. Along the curbing are many automobiles with their radiators pointing toward the crowd and the rear ends toward the middle of the street. At intervals are found horses and buggies, but not many because automobiles are rapidly taking their place.

"Then there are the candy vendors in their dingy clothing, selling brown peanut and pecan candies. The popcorn man has his wagon driven close to the curbing, and is selling chewing gum, peanuts and pink popcorn. The whole scene has an atmosphere of relaxation and freedom in spite of the gloominess of the weather."

Rupert Robertson the athlete

"After starting the biography," Jack Robertson writes, "I needed to continue to the end."

Rupert Cook Robertson was born March 31, 1895 in the rural town of Kosse, Texas (pop. 500) in southern Limestone County. His father, Charles Onward "C.O." Robertson was born in Alabama in 1867; his mother Martha Adeline "Mattie" Price Robertson, was born in Blue Ridge in Falls County in 1872.

Rupert was known as a "city boy" in Kosse, where his family owned a general store, but he spent much time on his grandfather's Price's farm in Falls County, where "all activity revolved around the fields and seasons."

Even in the early 20th century, rural Texas remained closer to the rhythms of the 19th century. "His transport was shoe-leather and horse-and-buggy," his son writes. "His water came from a well. His sanitation was the outhouse. His entertainment was outdoors with family and friends."

Socially, this was the "segregated South," with scant interaction between the races, other than the employer-worker relationships, Jack reminds readers.

Rupert was not the only Kosse native to make it big in sports. David E. "Kosse" Johnson Jr. starred as a halfback on the Rice Institute team during the 1950s and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.

Another nearby exposure to big-time sports: Pro baseball teams — such as White Sox, Cardinals, Reds, Athletics and Giants — held spring training camps in nearby Marlin, which attracted flocks of tourists because its mineral water that promised reputed healing properties.

Rupert attended Marlin High School from 1912 to 1914. He lived in a boarding house operated by his Aunt Clara Belle Price. Even today, one can walk by blocks and blocks of sizable Victorian and farmhouse-style homes in Marlin.

Since his father disapproved of football, Rupert ran track. State high school track meets were held at UT's Clark Field beginning in 1905. The big four regional teams were Belton, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. According to University of Texas Interscholastic League records, Marlin competed strongly from 1910 to 1915, and the school earned the top spot in 1914. As usual, Rupert won individual and team medals. (Jack's documents on these events are startlingly detailed.)

When Rupert entered UT in 1914, Austin was home to about 30,000 people, and 2,300 of those were members of the university's student body. His freshman class, for which he served as secretary-treasurer, counted 674 members.

Rupert said he wanted to study business in order to take over the family general store in Kosse. Jack always imagined that his father was recruited for his track skills, but he also turns up evidence of family and friends who had attended UT, and would have supported Rupert collegiate aspiration. He belonged to that generation of Texans whose families had survived pioneer life in the country and saw brighter horizons for their children in the cities and through higher education.

Rupert joined an athletic fraternity, Sigma Delta Psi, as well as Kappa Alpha, which includes among its brothers athletes who were Rupert's friends. Sports were already big on campus and getting bigger. Folks like Billy Disch, L. Theo Bellmont and Clyde Littlefield led what was becoming a dominant college power in football, basketball, track, tennis, gymnastics, wrestling and soccer — Rupert played wing on the soccer team. In track, he did well in high hurdles, mile relay and other events.

Life in the military and its aftermath

UT sports hollowed out, however, once the U.S. entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Athletes were among the first to enlist and the campus opened military training centers, which were later badly stricken by the flu epidemic in 1918-1919.

Rupert enlisted in the Army on Aug. 5, 1917 in Houston. Much of what he wrote about his first months is fairly anodyne but still illuminating about Austin and San Antonio, where he trained at Camp Travis, during the war. (For instance, Rupert did not pause his habit of dating campus beauties.) After basic training, he was assigned to Fort Omaha, Nebraska, on March, 26 1918 to enter the balloon school. He qualified to be a spherical balloon pilot.

Rupert's family expressed concern whenever the press reported balloon any accidents and explosions, but young man made it through two years in the corps unscathed. He skipped the flu, too, at a time when the military was among the hardest hit sectors in the U.S. by the pandemic. Aug. 30, 1918, Rupert was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Service. After a series of service flights, he was honorably discharged on Aug. 11, 1919 with bronze victory button.

The rest of Rupert's young adult life was spent working in real estate, insurance and various other Kosse businesses, as well as farming citrus fruit and working for firms in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and California. In the Valley, he met and married widow Lois Lucille Rose Bartlett; they produced Sara Ellen Robertson Moore and Jack Robertson.

Rupert suffered from various medical conditions, including diabetes and depression, some of them traced to his military service. Lois taught school and the family eventually moved to Marlin, where Jack grew up. A good deal of the remaining personal history consists of Jack's childhood memories of his family while growing up there. (We'd need another column or two to do that part justice.)

Rupert died Jan. 10, 1968 at age 72.

Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. He can be reached at [email protected]. Sign up for the free weekly digital newsletter, Think, Texas, at statesman.com/newsletters, or at the newsletter page of your local USA Today Network paper.

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    Taylor Swift last performed in the UK for her Reputation Stadium Tour in 2018. Credit: PA Images Organised by the university's Institute of Popular Music, Tay Day will take place on 12 June and ...

  27. Much of Rupert Robertson's story focuses on athletic and military life

    A choice essay on Austin from Rupert Robertson. In 1914, Rupert Robertson wrote the following essay about a night on Congress Avenue, one of many he executed for English classes at UT.