Now that you have written a specific thesis and have considered the main points you wish to make, you can proceed to the next step: organizing your essay.
If you are haveing trouble organizing the information generated by your thesis, outlining the information may help. An outline requires you to think about supporting details and helps you to understand the logical flow of your essay. Try writing an outline before youbegin your essay as part of your freewriting or brainstorming exercises, or even after you have written a draft or two. Do not write the outline after you have finished writing the final draft of your essay. That defeats the purpose of the outline. These are some points to remember when outlining:
An essay has three major parts:
You can develop these parts in any way you like when writing an essay, but it is helpful in most instances to know two standard patterns which usually work when writing a good essay:
Begin your introduction with a general, broad statement about the subject of your essay. Narrow the subject, sentence by sentence, until you get to the thesis of your essay—the narrow, special topic you want to make some particular point about. Thinking of this pattern as an upside-down triangle may help you envision this process. Here is an example:
Educating Black Athletes
For decades, student athletes, usually seventeen- to nineteen-year-old freshman, have informally agreed to a contract with the universities they attend: athletic performance in exchange for an education. The athletes have kept their part of the bargain; the univerisites have not. Universities and athletic departments have gained huge gate receipts, television revenues, national visibility, donors to university programs, and more, as a result of the performance of gifted basketball and football players, of whom a disproportionate number of the most gifted and most exploited have been black.
While blacks are not the only student athletes explioted, the abuses usually happen to them first and worst. To understand why, we must understand sports' impact upon black society: how popular beliefs that blacks are innately superior athletes, and that sports are "inherently" beneficial, combined with the life circumstances of young blacks, and with the aspirations of black student athletes, to make those students especially vulnerable to victimization.
The final sentence of the above paragraph is the thesis for the essay. Now list some main points you would expect to see in the essay.
The second pattern you can use when writing your essay is less commonly seen, but can be effective when used in certain instances, such as when writing a persuasive or argumentative essay. In this pattern, a specific thesis is stated first, at the beginning of the essay. The remainder of the essay is used to support this thesis with details that expand your main point. The two paragraphs from pattern one have been rewritten to demonstrate this pattern. Notice that the changes entail more than simply reversing the structure.
To understand why black student athletes are so easily victimized by the college sports system, we must first understand sports' impact upon black society: how popular beliefs that spots are "inherently" beneficial combine with the life circumstances of young blacks and with the aspirations of black student athletes to make those students especially vulnerable to victimization. Universities have not hesitated to take advantage of this vulnerability. As a result of the performance of gifted basketball and football players, of whom a disproportionate number of the most gifted and most exploited have been black, universities and athletic departments have gained huge gate receipts, television revenues, national visibility, donors to university programs, and more. All this is possible because athletes have kept their part of an informal contract witht he universities: athletic performance in exchange for an education. The universities, unfortunately, have not kept their part of the bargain.
The conclusion's purpose is to wrap up the essay. The first sentence of the conclusion can restate the main idea of the essay. Be sure you do not use the same words that you used in your thesis statement when restating the main dea in the conclusion. The remainder of the conclusion can consist of a broader perspective on the main idea, maybe with a prediction, a warning, or a point to ponder as a close for the essay.