The Correct Essay Structure Format
Writing a college essay is no easy task, especially when you have to do several in limited time. Even more daunting is formatting your essay to look professional and logically communicate your ideas. Using the wrong format for an essay may prevent others from understanding you and can also attract low grades for the subject. However, essay assignments will come along with formatting guidelines more often than not. Below are the items you should have in your essay format structure.
- A title
Except for limited cases where the professor exclusively states that the essay does not require a title, you should always have a descriptive headline for your wring. The headline is vital since it gives the reader an overview of what you will discuss. The APA style writing guidelines require that each essay has a dedicated title page containing identifying information of the essay, the student, and the supervisor. However, the case is different from MLA writing, where the essay's body begins immediately after the title rather than on a new page.
In most cases, this section does not need the "Introduction" subheading. It is assumed that every essay begins with an introduction, but you must show this using language. A good introduction paragraph captures the reader's attention, provides any necessary background, and then states the topic of discussion. Take care not to write a lengthy introduction by including every bit of information.
- Body paragraphs
After writing the introduction, next, you should write informative body paragraphs. Conventionally, an essay should contain five body paragraphs, but these can be varied depending on the topic and your creativity. An effective body paragraph has a topic sentence, at least two support sentences, and an inference/conclusion sentence. Additionally, the body paragraphs should be arranged in the most logical order possible. You can have a minimum of three paragraphs and a maximum of eight if that applies to your school.
Every well-written essay should make inferences to the thesis statement. This is done towards the essay's ending, where you highlight the key points in your writing. Additionally, you are allowed to argue for or against your thesis statement with reference to the topics covered in the body paragraphs.
- References/works cited
The sources used for your essay usually appear on a separate page after the conclusion part. In this section, reference sources are listed in alphabetical order, and like the rest of the essay, this page should also be double spaced. In APA writing, the items must begin on a hanging indent.
General Essay Formatting Guidelines
- You should always cite works done by others and which you used to develop your ideas.
- Unless otherwise stated by your professor, use the 12-point Times New Roman font throughout the essay.
- The APA, Chicago, and MLA writing guidelines recommend that each essay uses the double-spacing style.
- APA and MLA style essays should have a one-inch margin on all sides of the page while Chicago style essays have a one-inch margin on the right side.