How to Write a Standard Five Paragraph Essay

     You will be writing essays in high school. When you begin writing, you will be starting out with a standard five paragraph essay. This will help you understand the development of thought processes that leads to a greater depth  of research and new ideas you will articulate and explain  about the topic. You will more than likely be required to write on literature including books and poems, along with other extraneous topics your teacher may choose. You will also be required to write five paragraph essays on standardized tests and you will more than likely have to take an entrance exam in college requiring five paragraph essays. When you are given a prompt, stay calm and focused. As you approach analyzing the topic, make sure to read through it several times underlying key phrases and ideas. Focus the most on the last statement because that will be the main point your thesis will be answering. You can annotate in the margins interrogating the main issues that ask yourself questions about the topic you would like to explore, Once you have decided to focus on one main idea that specifically answers the last statement of the prompt, write a brief outline before starting on your essay. The outline should include the main points you will introduce in the thesis that answers the prompt followed by a thesis statement that contains three main points interrogating the main point you are making. You will begin the statement with “therefore” or “in conclusion.”  You will then state the three main points that will be the basis for the next three paragraphs you will write. Each main point will be explained in every paragraph. The outline should proceed to ask questions and interrogate each main point you will make. These main ideas will build your argument and will lead to the end of the paragraph. Once you have completed an outline, begin writing your introduction. Think of an attention getter that will draw the readers interest into what the topic is you are writing about. You can begin with an interesting question or perceptive statement that will lead into the main ideas in the paragraph. Write one sentence describing each main point and then conclude with the thesis. The introduction should not contain any material that should be used to support your main ideas later in the paper. Make sure to define all of your terms if you are using any terms that need to be explained for the reader to understand your topic. This should be done specifically, if it is a topic most readers would not be acquainted with.

     When you begin the first body paragraph, along with the other two paragraphs you will be writing make sure to introduce the point you are making. Use an interesting lead in that addresses the topic in an open ended way that lead to more detailed thoughts in the rest of the body paragraph explaining the topic. In the other two paragraphs, make sure to transition by connecting the main idea in the last paragraph to the next main point you are making. Make sure to have a sentence introducing at least two to three main ideas that argue the main point you are making in each paragraph. Make sure to make your arguments clearly stated before you use logical appeals to substantiate and explain your ideas. Make sure that you do not get off topic and only discuss the one main idea using sub points to explain your idea. You should have at least three sentences per sub point within the paragraph. Your main points that describe your argument should build to the final conclusion you reach at the end of each paragraph. You will then conclude by linking the main idea that you discussed back to your thesis.

     The conclusion should present an overview of the main ideas discussed. Do not repeat the introduction. Go into more detail that was illustrated in the body paragraphs. Make sure to call to action. Offer an explanation as to why your research is of useful in a larger context such as your field of research or how your research is useful to the world. Then make sure to conclude. If you follow these steps, you will write a well developed essay.

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.


Avoid Three Things on Your College Application Essay

During the summer before a student’s Senior year of high school, students and parents work hard on college applications. Some college deadlines start in the beginning of August! This is a time that students and parents are understandably nervous about applying to college. Students wonder if their junior year shows both their academic rigor as well as their commitment to activities outside of school. Students want to get into their “dream school” but they often do not know what to do every step of the way. Students often struggle with writing a thoughtful essay to

Submit to colleges to demonstrate their character. Here are some specific
take-aways that I find help my students:


  1. Make sure to answer the prompt!

One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is that students don’t address the question laid out in the prompt. This demonstrates one of two things: either the student did not understand the prompt or the student was not capable of answering the prompt. Both faults can be detrimental to a student’s overall application. Admissions committees ask specific questions for a reason. They want to know if you will fit into the culture of the college, and that the student’s values align with those of the college. They need this information to make the best decision, for you and for

college. Don’t jeopardize your admission by not answering the prompt directly.


  1. Don’t write in clichés

Writing in clichés is something that tutors, teachers, and admissions committees dislike vehemently. Why? A couple of reasons: Clichés come from popular culture and are often only understood by a particular group. Your essay should be clear and concise – anyone and everyone should be able to read it and understand your thoughts. Furthermore, using clichés shows that the student didn’t actually take the time to think about the prompt and answer the question from his or her own experience. The admissions committee will question if the information you include in your essay is exclusively your own thinking, or if you are borrowing

work from someone else.


  1. Maintain your tense

When writing an essay, students sometimes jump from the past tense to the present tense to the future tense, not realizing the havoc it wreaks on the reader’s mind. My advice to students is to pick a tense and stick with it throughout the essay. You do not want your admissions committee reader to be confused about when something happened. Don’t allow verb tense errors to take over your paper.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

rachel-close-up-good-pic (183x200)

About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.