Basic High School Essay Outline
Writing an essay is an important basic skill that you will need to succeed in high school and college. While essays will vary depending on your teacher and the assignment, most essays will follow the same basic structure. By supporting your thesis with information in your body paragraphs, you can successfully write an essay for any course!
basic high school essay outline
An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.
You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay. Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.
An essay outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them. In some cases, a decimal outline may allow you to organize your details better. Writing an outline with an alphanumeric structure is another very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay. It also helps you develop a strong argumentative essay.
Conclude your essay writing with a summary of the thesis and persuasive arguments. Brainstorming details that support your point-of-view is a great way to start before creating your outline and first draft.
Jill Staake is a Contributing Editor with WeAreTeachers. She has a degree in Secondary English Education and has taught in middle and high school classrooms. She's also done training and curriculum design for a financial institution and been a science museum educator. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she often works on her back porch while taking frequent breaks for bird-watching and gardening.
Writing essays is a common experience in high school and college. Even research papers are just expounded essays. Students who can present their ideas in an essay using clear writing and careful thought can do very well in school.
Here is a closer look at the basic essay formats you may see in academic settings. Each one has its own rules, from extra spaces to Oxford commas, and knowing these will help you craft winning essays.
The standard essay has three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction is typically one paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence. The body is multiple paragraphs that cover the outline points. The conclusion summarizes the outline points and any concluding thoughts.
The introduction section of a basic essay introduces the problem or concern, then gives a thesis statement. The thesis statement limits the topic and defines the course of the essay, similar to what it does in a research paper. The difference is that an essay is much shorter than a research paper.
The expository essay asks a student to investigate an idea or evaluate evidence. The main goal is to communicate factual information. This essay is common in high school and middle school classrooms where students are still learning to write.
Chicago-style essays follow the basic essay structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The last page of the essay is the Bibliography, with references written based on the Chicago Manual of Style.
Your process should always start with an outline. Even if you have limited time, creating a very basic outline will benefit your writing. Aside from the immediate sense of accomplishment that comes with getting some words on paper, an outline essentially gives you the skeleton for your essay. If you have a good outline, the actual writing of the essay will mostly involve filling in the muscles and organs of that skeleton.
The more you practice outlining essays of any type, the easier the outlining and writing processes will become. Use a simple essay outline template to create a few outlines, then the process will become habitual.
Writing an essay that has a logical flow and clearly conveys key points is a critical skill to master in English Language Arts class, and is a part of the Connections Academy virtual school curriculum. Learning how to write an essay will also help you on your journey beyond virtual high school.
Jot down the facts, anecdotes, and statistics that support each of these arguments. For example, you might cite the number of disposable water bottles recovered from campus grounds last year in your section on how water fountains reduce plastic waste. These supporting points are part of your essay outline.
Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support yourthesis in the rest of the essay. Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but italso gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.
Answer this prompt by reflecting on a hobby, facet of your personality, or experience that is genuinely meaningful and unique to you. Admissions officers want to feel connected to you and an honest, personal statement about who you are draws them in. Your love of superheroes, baking chops, or family history are all fair game if you can tie it back to who you are or what you believe in. Avoid a rehash of the accomplishments on your high school résumé and choose something that the admissions committee will not discover when reading the rest of your application.
The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.
The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.
That pressure may be amplified as many colleges have gone test-optional in the past year, meaning that ACT and SAT scores will be considered if submitted but are not required. Other schools have gone test-blind and don't consider such scores at all. In the absence of test scores, some admissions experts have suggested that more attention will be paid to other parts of an application, such as the essay.
Students can go online to review essay requirements for the colleges they want to apply to, such as word limits and essay topics. Many students may start with the Common App, an application platform accepted by more than 900 schools.
In addition to the main essay, some colleges ask applicants to submit one or more additional writing samples. Students are often asked to explain why they are interested in a particular school or academic field in these supplemental essays, which tend to be shorter than the main essay.
Students don't have to discuss a major achievement in their essay, a common misconception. Admissions officers who spoke with U.S. News cited memorable essays that focused on more ordinary topics, including fly-fishing, a student's commute to and from school and a family's dining room table.
"Your writing process is your own," she says. Newhouse encourages students to use whatever process worked for them in the past when they completed writing assignments for English and other high school classes.
The availability of and level of feedback from free essay advising services vary. Some college prep companies offer brief consultations at no charge. Free essay workshops may also be available through local high schools, public libraries or community organizations. Khan Academy, a free online education platform, also offers a series of videos and other content to guide students through the essay writing process.
The most daunting part of essay writing for most middle schoolers is knowing how to get started. In middle school, most essays are centered around narrative or opinion writing, so organization is the key component to creating a solid groundwork for the prompt. The following steps will help the student organize his or her thoughts and ideas, and ensure an excellent outline. This, in turn, will lead to an excellent essay.
By the time high school graduation comes around students should have acquired a solid working understanding of the basic essay structure. Unfortunately, not all high school English departments are created equal, and some students may find the prospect of writing their college admissions essay more than a little daunting. But if we take some time to review the basic essay structure, and consider how to approach your admissions essay, you will be well on your way to a successful submission.
Before we delve to deeply into the process, let's review the basics. The standard essay format that you have been writing in high school, and will be expected to write in college, has a basic structure of five paragraphs. A standard essay consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a final paragraph presenting your conclusion. Obviously, you can have additional body paragraphs depending on the breadth of your argument, but the five paragraph essay is a working model best suited to our current purpose. It is through this simple essay structure that you will present, defend and conclude your argument in a neat and cohesive manner.
When you are preparing the outline for your essay, you will want to briefly jot down the supporting points for each paragraph, and list examples or research points you want to include that will prove your original thesis statement. When you look over your outline, you should recognize the skeleton of your finished essay. Your outline will also allow you to see and address any holes in your argument, and to take note of any supportive points that are either too light or too heavy on information.
Preparing for your college admissions essay may seem daunting at first. But with an understanding of an essay's basic structure, and a detailed outline, you will be able to present the college admissions board with a cohesive essay that will impress the judges and move your application at the top of the acceptance pile.