The NUS Education and Learning Blog

Month: May 2019

The Essential Elements of an Excellent Essay

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College essays give more freedom than any other form of academic writing, yet still, they are basically linear. That means you have to organize all your ideas into a string of coherent argument. A successfully structured essay is like a case of stairs leading to a total persuasion of your reader – each paragraph is a step, perfectly measured and on its place. Although there is no set formula, there are some commonly recommended elements. If I were to ask you to write my paper for me, I would expect you to include the following.

Thesis statement

Usually stated somewhere in the first paragraphs of your essay, this is your main proposition. One should not confuse the thesis statement with the theme, which is merely a subject matter – a topical area of your research. The thesis statement must be specific and arguable. That means there is a way to disagree with it and intelligently argue about it. If there is no way anyone would disagree with your thesis statement, that’s an established fact (or trivial observation), and therefore your entire essay makes no sense. Why would one strive to prove something obvious?

Research problem

Problem is why your thesis statement matters. To demonstrate it, you should provide some context. Show how the issue is misunderstood in the scientific community, or overlooked, or obscured by some other issues. Your essay must aim to clarify the issue, solve the problem, or at the very least deepen it and shed some light on some of its aspects. If your essay fails to do so, it is probably lacking relevance. Therefore it is important to decide on a problem and outline it at the beginning of your essay.


Evidence is the material with which you work to prove your thesis statement. It may come from your independent research or from the body of evidence collected by your predecessors. In the latter case, you must provide the source of your evidence in the form of quotations.

Since your thesis is an arguable statement, it is a good practice to consider counter-evidence as well. Of course, your aim is to prove that it has no bearing on your issue, resist it, and disprove it. Yet you must do it logically and on good grounds – not by simply denying the facts.


As you can see, the evidence must be processed and analyzed to create the argument for or against the thesis. When it comes to academia, data never speak for themselves – they must be interpreted. Interpretation of the evidence has two levels – analysis and reflection.

Analysis, as a rule, relates directly to the evidence, whereas reflection is made based on the observations you derive from the analysis. Reflection is an integral part of a strong essay, but it is especially important in the conclusion, where you must arrive at some new, not obvious facts. Consideration of the counter-arguments also constitutes reflection.


The structure is a pattern of your essay, a way in which evidence, analysis, and reflection are presented and tied together in one coherent argument. Two most wide-spread types of organizing an essay used by college students are the repetitive and chronological models.

The repetitive model consists of uniform paragraphs that follow the same pattern – statement of the evidence/fact, brief analysis, and a conclusion made from the stated fact. The chronological model presents the evidence in the same order as it appears in the sources or the work of literature that’s being analyzed.

Both models have their merits, being particularly convenient for students who are not yet experienced in essay-writing.

However, the strongest and most successful essays present evidence logically. Every new piece of information deepens the argument, propelling it further towards the inevitable conclusion. Moreover, sentences of reflection serve to tie different pieces of evidence together, making a transition between the sections of the essay smooth and seamless.

Of course, there are some other aspects that can make your essay even better, for example, rhetorical devices, visual structure, and relevant quotes. Yet those described above are the compulsory elements. Without them, there can be no good essay.

How Important Is a College Application Essay?


Many college hopefuls are afraid of application essays. They see them as another obstacle on the way to the school of their dreams. Instead, they should see it as an opportunity to show their real self, to be memorable, to be more than just scores and numbers.

Grades, tests, courses, and extracurricular activities will always be important – I am not suggesting that the essay alone will make or break your admission. However, its importance grows together with the selectivity of a college you’ve targeted. If everyone who applies submits excellent scores, how do you decided who goes in and who gets the we-regret-to-inform-you letter?

How can you make your essay not too boastful but not too shy? How do you sell yourself without sliding into pompous self-promotion? This dilemma seems too complicated for many young people, so they choose to get professional admission essay writing help instead of striving to balance all this on their own. However, the important thing is to know the rules. You can try to win the system or you can try to break it, but first, you must know it inside out.

Often young people think that there will be one writing assignment – THE essay. Instead, however, a college may want you to write 3 to 5 different essays. Usually, this bunch follows more or less the same pattern.

The personal statement

Who you are, in a nutshell. Background, identity, accomplishments, what you value and why. Here you can address your experiences as an international student, a multilingual person, someone of a non-traditional age for a college newbie, a member of a minority group, an athlete, or write about your special skills, beliefs, hardships and experiences that shaped your personality and influenced your worldview.

The significant activity

This one is not about an extracurricular you’ve received the highest number of accolades for. This one should be about something significant in motivating you, making you grow and develop. Make it about something that relates to a personal aspect of your life or something you are truly passionate about.

Your academic interests

The key with this one is to go beyond the obvious. “I always loved math” or “I am interested in history” isn’t going to make it for you. Why it matters to you? What specifically fascinates you? Add some context – how and when did you decide that this is the field that interests you the most? Show how you acted on your interest, how it motivated you.

Your reaction to an honor code

This one can be given to you in the form of a creative task but it always aims to elicit your values and your code of conduct. Themes might be as various as “A letter to my future roommate”, “Tell us about a person who influenced you the most”, or “If I were a President for a day”.

“Personal space” essay

Something humorous and quirky, where you can be 100% yourself. Topics may include “Design your own rejection letter”, “Number 215 page of your 300-page autobiography”, etc. Do not underestimate this opportunity to make an unforgettable impression.

One student wrote a creative ironic reply to the standard MIT email. Although he never attended MIT, his reply is circulating the web for more than two decades now as an example of witty nonchalance that wins hearts. By the way, he is a self-taught programmer and a consultant for software and pharmaceutical companies with a BS in Chemistry from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from UC San Diego, so his story did had a happy ending.

“Why this college” essay

This one must be creative, but also involves a great deal of preparation and research. Best way to prepare for this one is to take a campus tour, meet college representatives, or at least do some thorough research online.

In this essay, they want you to show why you and their college is a perfect match. There is no room for error. You must demonstrate that this college is on top of your list (even if it’s not). You must highlight the classes they offer are just what you wish to study; point out that the extracurricular activities they offer are just ones you are dying to join. You may recycle one essay for different colleges, but make sure you do all necessary tweaks to your template so everything fits.

Usually, the vetting process is shrouded in mystery. The more selective is the college, the less information is available on how the decision is ultimately made. However, one thing is certain – under no circumstances should you make a slapdash work on your admission essay. Even if you are certain that your sky-high scores, impressive accomplishments, and an immaculate record is enough to land you admission, a hastily written essay can seriously hurt your

Education in Transformation of Thought and Practice: Issues, Solutions and Innovation


Life has a delicate balance that tolerates minimal disturbance and in order to keep such a balance, one needs to have an open and educated mind. Education therefore is an issue that is not solely limited to learning subject matter but also developing a perspective on life that favors progress through stability. However, standard education in the world is strictly focused on academic achievements and therefore it is not possible to succeed in such systems without outside support such as taking private lessons, receiving paid tutoring services or getting help with essay writing. The general approach to today’s education divides the system into two main modes: the innovative and personal education and structural and collective education. It can be stated that the innovative mode of education pushes for personal development while the structural mode seeks to develop a collective identity that reserves a spot and function for the individual in society. Again, balance is everything.

College life is an experience worth a lifetime for all but not everything goes as smoothly as one expects it, with issues such as physical, psychological and sexual assault remaining as significant threats to peace and harmony on campuses. Swarthmore College, one of America’s best liberal arts colleges, has banned Greek life on its campus “after leaked documents showed one fraternity joked about sexual assault, made anti-LGBTQ remarks and harbored a ‘rape attic’ in its house.” After bringing an end to fraternities and sororities at the college, the administration in their announcement stressed that Swarthmore has strict standards and rules for maintaining the quality of its residential liberal arts environment, which the mentioned fraternities and sororities were apparently violating. The process that led to the decision was initiated by the ‘Task Force for Student social Events and Community Standards’ at Swarthmore, following the organizations report regarding inappropriate misconduct on campus that disturbed several members of the student body, leading the administration to cancel the leases for such houses. The only sorority to remain on the Swarthmore campus will be Kappa Alpha Theta, which will be allowed to operate until the end of the 2022 but the sorority will not be allowed to recruit new members.

The new age of education brought in fresh methods of interactive learning to classrooms and a new game called ‘Mystery Skype’ is helping eighth-graders learn about geography, history and culture as well as communication skills with ease. The game consists of several questions that are exchanged between students at different locations in the US or in some cases the world, with the students being expected to guess each other’s locations based on each others’ answers. About 45 minutes into the game, students begin to guess the locations correctly, which seriously pleases their teachers as it shows that they are learning fast in an educational environment where “73% of eighth graders are less than proficient in geography” according to a National Assessment of Educational Progress report. The current geography education in America relies on memorization of names on a map but teachers believe that Mystery Skype teaches students geography within a comprehensible context while also teaching them skills such as “critical thinking, leadership and collaboration” and enabling them to meet people from different parts of the country and the world.

A common issue in today’s educational systems is bullying and violence, which decreases students’ motivation and disturbs the harmony within campuses. However, according to Federal Data published by the US Departments of Education and Justice, the rates of bullying, violence, crime and drug use are on the decline in schools following the Columbine High School shooting that took place twenty years ago. The data reveals that the reports of bullying by students of ages 12 to 18 was at an all-time low 20% for the 2016-17 school year and the rate of weekly occurrence for such acts was 12% for the 2015-16 school year, decreasing significantly from 29% during the 1999-2000 school year. The percentage of reports of being threatened or injured with a weapon on school grounds decreased to 6% in 2016-17 from 9% in the 2000-01 school year, while 4% of students of ages 12 to 18 reported that they were afraid of being attacked or harmed at school in 2017-17, comparatively lower than 6% in the 2000-01 school year.  9% of such students reported the existence of gangs at their schools during the same school year, decreasing from a staggering 20% in the 2000-01 school year. Overall, it is seen that the new security measures implemented at public schools are showing significant effect in reducing the rate of occurrence for the mentioned issues and the continuation of such measures will probably yield even better results in the future.

Writing A College-Level Persuasive Essay: Expectation Vs Reality


Persuasive pieces of writing, commonly titled as “Argumentative Essay,” is all about convincing the readers. Some students consider this as less challenging but, in reality, it is a tough nut to crack. Readers comment on every minute details and counter, till they are fully swayed. Hence, your composition needs to be powerful and incredibly evidential.

If things are crumbling up, anytime you can approach a reliable professional offering write my paper help. However, there’s only advantage in learning all the true-facts particularly for self-education. You will find some realities, here, in contrary to the expectations a student build in their mind. Be part of this guided tour and land up with some solid inherent insights.

Expectation: Choosing a topic from your area of interest eases the task

Reality: You still have to perform extensive research to find details

Often, experts suggest picking a topic from your fields of interest. This is true in every aspect, but, this never eases the task. Having a theme of your choice, only, encourages the writers to perform the extensive factual study. A persuasive essay is impossible to pull up if you skip the investigation and analysis step. Readers prefer statistics, diagrams, graphical representations, analytical reports when they are reading an argumentative essay. To let your arguments stand apart and hold a position, your research should be deep-rooted.

Expectation: Persuasive essays can be written on any random topic

Reality: Topic selection for persuasive essays is the toughest chore

Inducing readers on any random subject isn’t possible as every individual have their own analyzing power. Normally, the person who is reading tends to perform a self-research besides going through the document. This lets them judge what you have written and detect if some information is fraudulent. To avoid such circumstances, it is important to choose an idea from the list of trendy persuasive essay topics. Make certain that you pick a concise, fascinating and popular theme in order to ensure excellence in the further development.

Expectation: “Facts are there. Wow, let’s start with the writing!”

Reality: Don’t forget there’s an intermediate step of outlining the essay

Do you think assembling the data is the last step before penning the persuasive essay? You’re certainly not aware of outlining, being the intermediate step. The probability of getting out of track is high when you are lacking a proper essay structure. Decide on the numbering, paragraphs, headings, sub-heading, and every other detail before starting with the main discussion. Persuasive essays can be written either of the two ways – alternate arrangements of argument and counter-arguments or set of arguments followed by the set of counter-arguments. Choose your type and abide by the structure as you progress with the facts.

Expectation: The only challenge is starting the essay with a hook

Reality: The whole persuasive essay appears to be a new challenge

You may find several blogs and recommendations yelling about the essay introduction being a challenge. But, the lesser known facts is that the whole idea of composing a persuasive essay is a dare in itself. With lots of integral steps, the process is quite thought-provoking and requires more assistance in writing a paper than usual. Everything from taking a position, deciding the arguments, building the counters, to putting them in order is a time-consuming matter. So, bid goodbye to procrastination before diving into the assignment.

Expectation: Only arguments are enough to convince the readers

Reality: Persuasive essay is incomplete without counter-arguments

If you believe that arguments, supporting your position, are sufficient to persuade the audience, then you are living in a different world. A persuasive essay is about perceptions, opinions, and views. Think it in a way as for why will someone believe your words till the time you prove them wrong! That’s the role played by counter-arguments. It points to the reader’s opinions and prove those wrong with proper shreds of evidence. However, your responsive opinions must not harm someone’s emotion or hurt other’s sentiments.

Actualities are now in front of your eyes! Forget the falsifying ideas that you have been holding onto and prep up for the next persuasive essay assignment. If you rely the facts and work accordingly, you will certainly end up with a wining persuasive essay. And it will evade all the baffles in between your aptitude and A+ grades – good luck on your upcoming compositions.

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