Comprehensive Essay Checklist for Students

Essay checklist is one of the best helpers students could count on in their academic pursuits. When you are writing a paper, especially with no solid experience in it, a lot of different things could confuse or perhaps intimidate you. Essay length, its formatting and content, the structure of paragraphs, research and styles of writing — everything feels foreign and complex. It is very easy to make mistakes, get a bad grade, and ruin your overall academic score. Even if one part of an essay suffers, the results will reflect it, which is something no student wants. For avoiding this unfortunate situation, having a checklist that outlines all tricky moments and general requirements is essential. You’ll be able to consult with it before, during, and after the work on an essay. This is what it’s going to include.

General Tips For College Essay Checklist

Let’s start with more general tips before narrowing the scope down and focusing on specific essay aspects. There are four major things young writers should keep in mind as they’re getting ready to start. Be sure you put a “check” across each one.

Understand what type of essay you’re writing

All papers are divided into different kinds. Some are similar while others differ from each other. From the most common types, students are usually assigned argumentative, expository, and reflective works. Find out which type of an essay has what goal. In argumentative essays, fight to prove your point of view. In expository papers, explain an issue or object by painting a clear detailed picture of it. Reflections should express an opinion on something you read or watched by presenting your reaction to it. Check the required type out— this will make an essay goal clear to you!    

Choose a topic you like

Choice of essay topic idea is rarely awarded points in professors’ essay criteria, but students’ success still depends on it to a big extent. Do you like what you’ll be writing about? Try to come up with something that you find truly interesting. If it is not an option, look for an angle that you’d like to explore — even the most boring topics have one.

Maintain academic language throughout

There are several rules to follow here: don’t use first-person pronouns unless required. Never apply contractions; rely on more advanced vocabulary. High school, college, and university all have their own level of acceptable words. Seek them out online to make sure that your paper is written appropriately.    

Use evidence

Every paper needs evidence, even if it has personal nature. Be sure to find credible academic sources created within the period of the last 5 or 7 years. Cite all claims that the general audience wouldn’t know — for instance, when mentioning specific numbers, years, or facts. Explain your line of thought with direct examples.

Structure Checklist: Three Major Elements

Within essay writing checklist, structure of essays plays a relevant role. There should be introduction, body, and conclusion, each of them having a specific size and vital components. This is what students should remember: intro and conclusion should take between 7-10% of the overall word count. Introduction should tease, not overwhelm readers with details. It must end with a strong thesis statement that reveals the purpose of work. Conclusion shouldn’t have new facts, so don’t present them there: simply restate information mentioned previously.

Every good paragraph checklist has special points for essay body. It has to take at least 1 paragraph, but in most cases, there will be 3 of them. College papers are a little longer while those assigned in universities could take even 10 pages, which basically makes body length unlimited. Each paragraph should have thoughtful opening and closing sentences (no direct quotes can be present), and you shouldn’t regard more than one content point in it.   

Points for Formatting and Works Cited List

Formatting is an often unpleasant but vital part of assignments. In this checklist for writing, we’ll settle on the key aspects that deserve your attention.

  • Ask for formatting template. Students could write papers in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard formats, etc. Ask for templates if they weren’t given and follow them closely.
  • Check useful citing sites. Before citing a source, check how reliable sites suggest doing it. For example, when adding citation for a book in MLA format, look how it should be done for in-text as well as bibliography instances.  
  • Mention all details. In most formats, you’ll have to mention authors’ names, date of publication, title, journal along with volume if available, DOI or link, publishing agency, etc. For more specific info, check out templates we discussed above.

Final Tips For Revision Checklist

The time for final essay checking and re-checking has come. The more attentive you are here, the more chances of succeeding you’ll stand. Take note of the following steps:

Take a break and re-read what you wrote

If you read essay again immediately, you risk losing objectivity. At this point, it is difficult to detach yourself from your own writing. So, wait for a few hours or even days and look at this work with a new pair of eyes.   

Watch out for grammar

Start editing and correcting your essay. Watch every sentence attentively, preferably reading it out loud. Look at punctuation, tenses, missing words, and so on.

Evaluate the flow

Content should be subject to scrutiny as well. Do all your ideas sound strong? Is there enough evidence presented to support them? Have all claims been cited? Paragraph flow is equally important. Pay attention to transitions between them: you cannot end a paragraph with one idea and jump toward another with no warning or hint. Everything should flow smoothly.

Start Getting Used to Academic Success

As you can see from our essay checklist, there is a huge number of points that require writers’ close attention. But don’t let it scare you: with practice, you will learn to do everything automatically. Consider your time carefully. It is always better to start working early than let the deadline approach and plunge into panic. Conduct detailed research, consult with professors or other students, and seek writing help online if you need it. During the first times you’re working on a paper, keep essay writing checklist close. Look at it from point to point, making sure you cover everything. Editing is always needed: never think that you’re done when you finish writing. As long as you remain attentive and thorough, you won’t face any serious issues.    

Elizabeth Baldridge

Elizabeth provides educational materials, conducts research, explores and solves student challenges. Her posts are always helpful, innovative, and contain interesting insights.

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