Essay Writing Guide

  • Brainstorm topic ideas
  • Choose a good topic
  • Do a research for sources
  • Write a catchy introduction
  • Structure the essay body
  • Summarize the essay in the conclusion
  • Proofread and edit

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Wrapping-up Your College Essay


The Closing Paragraph Makes or Breaks the Essay

So you’ve written the bulk of your essay, but you’re not quite sure how to bring the writing to a close. Ending an essay on a strong note that ties all the themes together can be the most challenging part of all, and a good closing can make all the difference between a mediocre essay and one that earns a top grade and tons of instructor praise. Even after you’ve done all the work of penning a catchy introduction and several compelling, organized body paragraphs, you can feel just as lost as you were at the start. Far too often, students resort to very rote, dull essay closing paragraphs that add nothing to the work as a whole, and the essay itself comes across as less satisfying and polished as a result. Here is some advice for finding a strong ending to your essay that brings the work to a higher level.

Use Parallelism

If you can, try to infuse your closing essay with elements of all the preceding sections, not just the intro. Have call-backs to every element of the paper that was of importance. If possible, pepper these callbacks in the order that they appeared in the paper. That is to say, begin with a reference or a turn of phrase that will remind the reader of the introduction, then say several short things that are relevant to each of the body paragraphs.

If you used an anecdote, quote, witticism, or other hook in your introduction, try to bring the closing paragraph back to this element. But don’t just repeat the element or restate it in a simple, dull way. Instead, use the information and argumentation you have included in the body paragraphs to add a new level of insight, irony, or interest to the topic.

Begin Specifically, and Get Broad

Begin your closing paragraph with a discrete, particular statement that is relevant to the topic at hand. Use a transition that takes the topic of the final body paragraph, and then turn it into a broader discussion of the topic as a whole, or about some broader topic altogether. Picture your closing paragraph as an equilateral triangle, with the point at the top representing the first sentence, and the broad, wide base of the triangle representing the final sentence. Use what you have learned or revealed in the body paragraphs to open up a broader discussion about a larger issue.

Don’t be Afraid of Flourishes

The concluding paragraph is the place to pull out all the stylistic stops. Don’t be afraid to use a witty turn of phrase, alliteration, assonance, parallelism, metaphor, or even a light, appropriate joke. If you are talking about an important issue or topic, don’t be afraid to take a firm, powerful stance in the final sentences. Give the reader something powerful or entertaining to walk away with. Remember: the closing paragraph of the paper will influence how the reader remembers the whole essay, so go for broke!