You have no doubt written many essays while in high school, but you’d be surprised how many people have not gotten the whole basic essay structure down yet. Now don’t go cower in the corner! If you are unsure about how to structure an essay, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find all you need to know about how to create an outline for your admissions essay. Don’t worry. It won’t hurt too bad!

Sample of a Basic Template Structure

So before we delve too deep into this process, let’s review the basics. The standard essay that you typically write in high school and even in college is the five paragraph essay. It consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. You can always add additional body paragraphs if need be though. The point is, it is a very simple structure that allows you to present, defend and conclude your argument in a neat and tidy fashion.

Introduction Ideas

The typical introductory paragraph for an essay will include your thesis statement. The thesis statement is a sentence that describes what the essay will be about. For instance, a simple thesis might be, “Switching to a paperless office will not only help a company save money, but it will also reduce company waste, create a more efficient workspace and help the environment.” It’s not the greatest thesis in the world, but you get the picture. The thesis should probably be the last sentence of the paragraph. When you start the paragraph, however, you should try to broadly approach the topic at hand and then bring it in to focus quickly. By the time you reach the thesis, readers will be guided right into your frame of mind.

Formal Body Paragraphs

Moving on in your essay, you should include a paragraph for each major point that you make. So, if you go the traditional route, you should wind up with three paragraphs, one for each of your supporting points. Remember: your supporting points should be listed in order in your thesis. Each paragraph should include some combination of research and your own ideas, if applicable. If you are writing an essay about your personal life, you will still have an argument of some sort, or at least a consistent sequence of events.
When you are in the outline stage of your essay, you’re going to want to just briefly write out your supporting point for each paragraph and then list the research or the examples you want to use to prove the point. That way, when you look over the outline, you can see if there are any holes in your argument or if any one point is too “heavy” or overloaded with information.

Short or Long Conclusion?

The conclusion portion of the essay is where you wrap it all up. However, you should not just restate everything that you’ve already stated. Rather, you should summarize your argument and then come to a conclusion about it. The standard format for an essay’s conclusion is to restate your thesis, in new words, of course, and then to concisely show how your supporting points proved your thesis. In the end, you want to show your readers that your essay works together as a whole. That’s really important, because the reviewers want to see that you know your topic. A weak conclusion only shows that you may not be as familiar with your argument as you’ve led on.
In the end, it comes down to good organization. Creating an elaborate outline for your essay can help you keep your thoughts in order and help you avoid dead-ends in thought. The end product will result in a cohesive essay that impresses the judges and gets you a spot at your college of choice