Nothing describes an outline better than calling it simply ‘a plan.’ And no matter what type of academic paper you are supposed to write, this plan will come in handy to collect and organize your ideas for further writing and building the information flow. Despite you may consider an outline as an unnecessary and time-consuming work, it is assigned by teachers as a separate task to ease the process of writing for you but not take your time for no reason. So, let’s see how to make the most use of it with the least time spent.
Usually, no groundbreaking practices have to be applied to write an outline for a college essay. We’ll show you the general rules to follow to get a good outline, making all the points easy to memorize and implement. These are also the basics used by our experts to help students write their outlines, this is why we know that they really work well.
And yet, it may sound weird but better prepare your outline before writing a paper.
What to start with
Create a catchy title for your essay or research paper if you don’t have the one given by the teacher. For this, you can paraphrase some famous phrases or give the allusions to other famous titles, connecting them to the topic or just summarize the essay in a couple of words. Be brief, the title should not become a long sentence: make fewer words convey more meaning. The next step is identifying your audience and purpose of writing. Based on these two factors, you can easily choose the tone for your essay and its outline, the language, and style.
Create a convincing thesis statement
As soon as you are ready with the purpose of your essay, start composing a thesis statement, which should be a strong and arguable, well-formulated claim, supported by the arguments throughout the essay and restated in conclusion. It often happens that teachers want to see this sentence at the top of the outline to make sure you’ve correctly interpreted the given topic. Later it is usually placed at the end of the introduction, which is your first section. Here it’s also important not to waste the reader’s time by writing a bag of words like “This paper is going to dwell on…”, “This essay will cover the importance of…” etc., none of the teachers like it in a standard 5-paragraph essay.
Make up a list of sections
The two integral sections in any high school, college or university paper are the introduction and the conclusion. And here comes the brainstorming. Apart from the mentioned two, for an essay outline, each new body paragraph with its own argument should also make a new section which is best to start with a topic sentence (the main sentence in your paragraph). Pay attention that all arguments should be directly connected with the thesis statement. Besides, the section names should not necessarily correspond to the headings since sometimes the latter are either optional or not obligatory, that is, as they are required by your instructor. However, the introduction and the conclusion as the first and the last sections should be separated by headings.
Point out the supporting details
Every section further has to be an umbrella for a number of subdivisions – brief key ideas for you not to forget to mention. A citation or two from your literature sources may be used within the essay, so add it to your outline along with the explanation of how it is related to the topic and supports the argument. Therefore, the introduction should provide the main points from the overview of your topic (but don’t be too detailed here) and explain your goals, while the conclusion should summarize your objectives and reasonings, highlight their importance and probably ahistorical value to make your thesis statement more persuasive.
Work on the organization
Not to mix up anything in the outline, use Roman numerals (I, IV, XI, etc.), Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3), lowercase and/or uppercase letters (a, b, c, A, B, C), dashes, bullets. Decide if you want to give the whole sentences or the brief phrases in it (stick to either one or another).
Proofread the final product
When you have mentioned everything you wanted, you’re already out of ideas, and it seems like you’re finishing your essay outline, don’t hurry to turn it in, since you may easily forget to proofread it while being focused on so many things at a time. Imagine yourself an editor, look at these hacks and take your time to thoroughly review the work and eliminate a risk of a lower grade due to some missed minor issues. Another option is to give the outline to your mate to check for he or she may notice some obvious mishaps with a fresh eye at once.
Another way to get an outline
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