How to Write an Outline for College Essay?


To many students, a college essay is a different breed. It requires more thought and effort than papers that students wrote in the past. Because of this, learning the process of writing a college essay outline can be a massive learning tool. Not only does it save time in the long run, but it helps students to better organize thoughts and paper as a whole. Moreover, you can always use our college essay service to ease the assignment for you.

Two Purposes of an Outline

 For You as a Writer (this is the “working outline”): You may draft a working outline in order to organize the sections of your paper as you list the major ideas/topics you plan to discuss. You may add minor topics and supporting details as your research continues. In the research and drafting processes, you may need to revise the information included in your working outline as new information comes to light.

 For Your Instructor (this is the “final outline”): A formal outline is often required as part of your assignment. The most important aspect of the final outline is that it is truly representative of your actual paper. If a topic is in your outline but not adequately discussed in your paper, revision is necessary. To serve as a guide for the reader, the final outline must accurately reflect the content of your paper. The formal outline to be submitted with your paper must follow MLA formatting.

About the Working Outline

The working outline does not need to be written in any specific format. It is for your own use, an informal rough draft of tentative information that you may use or discard later. You may write a working outline in whatever form seems most helpful for you. By the time you have finished your research and begun your paper, you should have a nearly complete outline to edit and use as your final outline.

What is a College Essay Outline and Why is it Important?

A college essay outline is a basic guide to follow so that the structure of the paper makes sense. Even when students are concerned with what should a college essay be about, an outline helps the process. In writing a college admissions essay, it is important that all thoughts and ideas are presented in a logical manner. Without that logic, it is possible that those in admissions will not see the value of having the student at their university. Understanding how to outline a college essay is the beginning of presenting a student’s best self.

How to Write an Outline for College Essay?

The perfect college essay outline exists, and it is as easy to follow as any other. By following the guidelines of a college essay template Argumentative essay writing service, a student can complete the task without the need to buy custom college essays. A basic essay outline has all the capabilities of working for a university admissions paper as well. The basics include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Things to Consider About Outlines

 Thesis Statement: Most outlines begin with the thesis statement, aligned to the left and placed directly below the heading (Title) of your outline.

 Sentence Outline OR Topic Outline: Consistency is the key to writing your outline. If your outline is in sentence form, all parts of it (major topics, minor topics, supporting details) must be in sentence form. If your outline is written in words, and phrases, all of it must be in that form. The main point to remember is that your outline will be one or the other, all sentences or all words and phrases, not a combination of both.

 Paired Headings: If you have an I., you must have at least a II. If you have anA., you must have a B. If you have a 1., you must have a 2. There is never a division without at least two headings, although you may have several more than two.

 Comparable Numerals or Letters: Like headings are also of equal significance to your paper. The B or C following an A is of comparable importance to the A. If the paired headings do not seem aligned, one being a minor point and the other a major area of discussion, you may need to move headings and subheadings around in the working outline to create a smooth transition of ideasand information.

 Coherence: Your outline will reflect the progression of ideas in each section of your paper, from major topics to minor topics to supporting details or further information. In organizing your outline, you should find that you have grouped topics in a logical order, and you will be able to see at a glance if you have done so.

How Should an Introduction be Structured?

A college application essay should start with a wonderfully written introduction. While the topic may vary from school to school, an introduction is important no matter what the subject matter is. Whether it is a personal statement for college or a response to a modern social issue, one thing remains true. Writing a college essay outline starts with the first aspect: the introduction.

The first part of the introduction is responsible for getting the attention of the reader. This is known as the hook or attention grabber. In the middle of the introductory paragraph, the writer should inform of the main points in the body paragraphs. The last sentence is typically the thesis statement – the single sentence that summarizes the purpose of the paper.

What is Included in the Body Paragraphs?

The body of a paper is the most important part, as it contains the details of the topic. Most usually, the body paragraphs are split up into three sections. Each section has its own main idea that is explained and analyzed throughout the paragraphs. The best body paragraphs in a college essay begins with a topic sentence that identifies what that section is about. That sentence is then expanded upon to build up the section.

What Information Belongs in a Conclusion?

A conclusion is often the easiest part of a college paper because it simply revises the wording surrounding the body. It typically starts with re-explaining the thesis statement, which reminds readers of the overall takeaway of the piece of writing. Then, the conclusion branches out into a brief explanation of the body paragraphs. The last sentence should wrap things up nicely and make it clear that the document has come to its end.

What is a Good College Essay Outline Template?

There are a couple of versions of a college paper outline template that can come in handy for an aspiring college student. The basic essay outline is a simple template that can help with any number of topics.

Key Parts of an Essay

Put them all into your essay outline:

Introduction. Here you’ll mention the topic of your essay and its thesis. As you know, essays can’t live without a thesis; so, a thesis statement in your outline will help you support it in each paragraph of your essay body.

Body paragraphs. There will be a minimum of three paragraphs in your essay’s body, so make sure to include each one in the outline. For each paragraph, write down a topic sentence with an argument relating to your thesis and mention all the support: data, facts, examples, and other evidence you’ll use to prove the topic sentence of this paragraph.

Conclusion. Wrap up your essay here. Restate your thesis and summarize the goal of your paper.

First college essay outline example:

  • Introduction
  • Attention grabber
  • Foreshadow body main points
  • Thesis Statement
  • Body Paragraph #1
  • Topic Sentence
  • Evidence
  • Body Paragraph #2
  • Topic Sentence
  • Evidence
  • Body Paragraph #3
  • Topic Sentence
  • Evidence
  • Conclusion
  • Restate Thesis Statement
  • Rehash body points
  • Close
  • The above is the most basic essay outline.
  • Second college essay outline example:
  • The second style of the outline has a way of working just as well, but also includes a level of creativity.
  • Introduction
  • Main Thought – Thesis
  • Importance of Thesis
  • Preview points
  • Body Paragraph #1
  • Point 1
  • Evidence
  • Relation to Thesis
  • Body Paragraph #2
  • Point 2
  • Evidence
  • Relation to Thesis
  • Body Paragraph #3
  • Point 3
  • Evidence
  • Relation to Thesis
  • Conclusion
  • Rehash points from the body
  • Relate points to the Thesis as a whole

Explain why it is important

By using one of the two outline examples from above, a college essay is sure to include all of the relevant data and thought processes. In a multi-faceted paper, using an outline to construct a logical document is key.

What is the Proper Format for a College Paper?

Choosing between the multiple formats and styles for citations can be difficult if the basics are not understood. However, if the prompt fails to notify the writer of a preferred format, there is a standard. MLA and APA are most common for this kind of writing, but it varies depending on the specific topic. Keep in mind the list of topics to avoid in college essays. APA citations are generally used in Psychology and the Sciences and MLA is preferred by Humanities topics. Chicago is most commonly used for business.

Creating an outline to follow prior to drafting the actual college essay is huge in finding success as a student. A basic essay outline can shine a light on any gaps in thought and also save time within the writing process. When writing a college admissions essay, it is smartest to put an outline to use. Acceptance into a quality college may depend on it. If you have any difficulties with writing college essays, you can always ask us “write my college essay” and we will help you!

Introductions and conclusions are important components of any academic paper. Introductions and conclusions should also be included in non-academic writing, such as emails, webpages, or business and technical documents.

The following provides information on how to write introductions and conclusions in both academic and non-academic writing.

Introductions for academic papers

An introduction is the first paragraph of your paper. The goal of your introduction is to let your reader know the topic of the paper and what points will be made about the topic. The thesis statement that is included in the introduction tells your reader the specific purpose or main argument of your paper. These can be achieved by taking your introduction from “general” to “specific.”

Think of an introduction paragraph in an academic paper as an upside-down triangle, with the broadest part on top and the sharpest point at the bottom. It should begin by providing your reader a general understanding of the overall topic. The middle of the introduction should narrow down the topic so your reader understands the relevance of the topic and what you plan to accomplish in your paper. Finally, direct your reader to your main point by stating your thesis clearly.

y moving from a general subject to a specific thesis, your audience will have a more concrete understanding of what your paper will focus on.


This refers to the broader topic you will address in your paper and its significance for the reader. For example, it might let your reader know you are writing about “climate change.” Example: Climate change caused by humans is having a drastic effect on the world.


This is where you guide your reader to see your purpose for this particular paper. These sentences should give the reader an idea of what the context is for the topic. For example, it’s not that you want to merely discuss climate change in general, but instead, want to discuss the effects on yearly temperatures and how citizens can act. Example: However, the damage is not only affecting glaciers and rivers. Temperatures are starting a noticeable shift in cities and neighborhoods that have been otherwise consistent for centuries. Addressing the issue may require challenging decisions by individuals who have grown comfortable with their lifestyles and may be unaware of how their choices contribute to climate change.


This is where you narrow the focus to your argument or your Thesis Statement. It is no longer about “climate change” or “human action,” for example, but taking the argument all the way to your specific point. Example: While it has long been convenient to ignore how small changes may have a compounding effect on slowing climate change, it is vital to consider the extent to which measures such as eliminating single-use plastics can provide meaningful help.

Conclusions for academic papers

An academic conclusion paragraph reminds your reader of the main points of your paper and summarizes the “takeaway” or significance of the conversation.

Think of your conclusion as an upside-down introduction paragraph. Returning to the triangle analogy from academic introductions:


Begin with your rephrased thesis statement to remind your reader of the point of your paper. Since it is the specific point you aimed to support, it is the best way to begin a conclusion. Example: While no single action is going to reverse centuries of unregulated degradation to the atmosphere, something as minor as lessening societal reliance on plastic appears to be a reasonable first step toward progress.


Summarize the points you made in your paper and show how they support your argument; tie all the pieces of your paper together. This is how you broaden the scope of your thesis one last time. Example: Reducing greenhouse emissions will play a huge part in keeping our atmosphere balanced from a climate perspective. The extent to which such factors help will have a direct correlation to the sacrifices citizens of the world are willing – and able – to make. Over time, small changes such as this may add up to a restored consistency in the climate, fewer natural disasters, healthier water, and happier people.


Tell your reader what the significance of your argument might be. Why is the discussion important? Do you want your reader to think differently, question something, or perform some action? Make a recommendation of what your reader should “do” with the information you just gave them, or share the importance of the topic. This is where you look into the general future, hoping your reader can take something from your paper. Ex: Whether such seismic shifts in societal behaviors are feasible is a separate discussion, but the evidence suggests that doing so could lead to a future where it can be said that climate change was solved, not made worse, by humans.

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