There are four major types of college essays that you will write. When you understand the major difference between each one your writing assignments will be that much easier. The four major types of college essays are: Narrative Essays, Descriptive Essays, Expository Essays, Persuasive essays. Through this article we will explore the differences between each one.
Writing a narrative essay isn’t much different than writing a story. This isn’t to imply that it’s the same as writing a short piece of fiction. In this case it’s more like a news story or a magazine article. You will tell a story about a real life experience – either yours or someone else’s. It is typically written in the first person perspective. At the end of the essay you will have delivered a personal statement or belief in a powerful and effective way.
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In the rush to stand out, some writers find themselves flirting with topics at the fringes of acceptable academic writing. This can take many forms and is not uncommon but the person grading your work is not mandated to excuse your eccentricity. If your intention is to make a name for yourself in academia, there are some types of topics you might want to avoid.
There have been many powerful essays that changed the course of history with groundbreaking revelations that were contrary to all established conventions. You too can write one of these for your own enjoyment or edification. In an academic setting, however, you may want to tone down some of your opinions and keep your writing palatable enough for a wider audience to comfortably review.
It may start off as a joke and then gain traction until suddenly you have hundreds of words written about an actor or singer that you happen to love or despise. Writing about celebrities from an academic standpoint is technically possible but very few people can manage it without coming across as gimmicks. It is the type of essay that can come back to haunt you when you try to address more serious topics in the future and relegate you to the ranks of “aspiring tabloid columnist”. If that was your actual intention then it could work out for the publicity but surely there are other ways.
Your writing can take a reader on an informative journey but a vague essay topic has no direction and will likely just cause your audience to ‘disembark’. Understand that you can’t write everything about anything and whittle your topic down to a manageable size that you can address in detail.
If you look at your essay and see only personal references or life experiences, it may be time to admit that what you are writing is an autobiography. You are undoubtedly a fascinating person and worthy of being written and read about. Academic writing just is not the correct arena for that to take place. Save your memoirs for after you have stunned the world of academia and people are clamoring for an insight into the rest of your life.
Take a good look at the topics you are considering and see if they happen to fall into any of these categories. If so, a little editing now can save you the pain of rewriting the essay completely later on.
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