Writing an essay can be a painful and seemingly never-ending process. It's especially terrible when you don't know where to start or get stuck somewhere in the middle. But with the right resources, you can churn out a stellar essay without pulling an all-nighter.
1. Shmoop Essay Lab
If you thought Shmoop was just an edgy version of Sparknotes, think again! Shmoop actually has a huge amount of resources that aren’t very well known. The Essay Lab is specifically designed to help you from brainstorming an essay to reaching the finished product. Though some of its content is geared towards high school writing, it can still be beneficial for college students.
Personal thoughts: I made a free Shmoop account and tried out the essay lab for myself. I found some of the resources really helpful, like the designated space for brainstorming and the “Shmoop tips” for each step; however, I found it to be a little too structured for me. I would definitely recommend checking it out and reading up on the tips, but don’t feel like you have to stick to its rigid writing structure.
2. Civic Institute
This site is great if you’re not sure where to start with your essay. It has a lengthy list of various topics such as sociology, history and music, with a brief guide of how to start researching for each topic.
Personal thoughts: I looked specifically on the page for writing analytical papers, and I thought it gave great concise advice on how to build an argument, create a thesis and find supporting evidence. This would be a great resource to use early-on in the essay writing process.
Chegg tutors is a site where you can chat with a live tutor, mostly fellow college students, who will help you improve you writing. You get a tutor based on what kind of help you need and, if you’re new to the site, they give you 30 minutes for free so you can try it out. After that, they charge by the minute.
4. The Organized Student
This beautiful blog has the cutest printables that will actually get you excited to write an essay. There are also a couple other printables and organizers that would be useful for all college students.
Personal thoughts: I’ve used these essay plan printables and it definitely helped me structure my thoughts into an organized, semi-cohesive fashion. Starting an essay is usually the hardest part, but these guides make it so much easier!
5. Skills You Need
This site has amazing, practical tips for essay planning and writing. Sometimes, we just need someone to write out a detailed roadmap of how to start and structure an essay. This site does exactly that.
Personal thoughts: I love the section that talks about essay planning. It really breaks down the components of an essay and helps you to see the big picture before you even start writing! It’s perfect for gaining a comprehensive understanding of what requirements you should strive to meet.
6. Essay Templates
This site has seven different essay templates for all essay-writing occasions. From analytical to argumentative, they’ve got you covered.
Personal thoughts: I thought this was really convenient because it lets you download the templates straight into a Google document. It's also a great place to start planning your essay because it provides you with a straightforward structure to follow.
7. QueText Plagiarism Checker
Plagiarism is a huge no-go in college. This site will keep you in check by making sure your essays are original. Just paste your writing in the box and the site will scan the entire World Wide Web for you in just a couple minutes.
Personal thoughts: Though the scanning did take a bit of time, the results were accurate and easy to decipher. Plus, the layout of the site is very navigable and pretty aesthetically pleasing.
8. Your University’s Writing Center
This one technically isn’t a website, but most universities have a writing center that provides top-notch essay feedback for students. Sign up for an in-person meeting with a writing expert who will give you effective tips on improving your personal style. Or, some schools offer a Google-hangouts-type session so you don’t even have to leave your room. You’re probably paying for these services in your tuition, so make sure you use them!
In addition to the ones listed above, there are so many resources online or on your campus. Seek them out because they will make your life so much easier! Just trust me, and you can thank me later.
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