Essay writing is one of the most widely used types of writing among students. This is because most students (starting from high school and ending in college or university) tend to write essays regularly on all kinds of topics.
But why exactly do teachers assign essays? Why not simply rely on quizzes or other types of homework? Well, there are multiple reasons why essay writing is prioritized. Here’s everything you need to know about the role of writing essays in high school and how you can improve your essay writing skills.
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What Is Essay Writing?
Essay writing is exactly what it sounds like. It is the type of writing where the author produces an essay. The essay can be an academic one and can be written at different levels of education (e.g. middle school, high school, college). It can also be an essay meant for publication in a journal or in a collection of essays.
Essays are generally categorized into four main types: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive. Depending on your assignment, you may need to write one or another type of essay, but most students will be writing expository essays in high school.
When Do Students Write Essays?
Students can get assigned to write essays on different topics and as a part of completing different courses. In most cases, students have to write essays for language and literature classes as well as classes in different humanities (e.g. history).
As mentioned earlier, students normally start writing essays in middle school and then go on to write more complex essays in high school. Depending on the program the student chooses for higher education, they might get assignments to write essays while in college or university.
The Benefits of Essay Writing
Like any other type of writing, essay writing is useful for intellectual development. But what exactly makes this type of writing so valuable to high school students? Here are some of the biggest benefits of essay writing you shouldn’t overlook:
#1 Strengthen Creativity
The most obvious benefit of essay writing is that you will develop your writing skills. And while doing so, you can expect to strengthen your creativity. Doing any kind of creative task will help you become more creative – and essay writing is perfect for that.
Just think about all the topics you can research and write about. You can approach them from different sides and provide different opinions on them in your essays. This constant stimulation that encourages you to be more creative will eventually lead to more creativity in all the other tasks you do in your daily life.
#2 Learn to Focus
Studying is not always fun as it can require students to spend hours and hours learning about a single topic. Luckily, by writing essays, high school students can learn to focus better and concentrate on one thing without getting distracted.
Today, a lot of young people and teenagers spend their time on social media which has been linked to shortening attention spans. This makes the ability to concentrate particularly valuable, so high school students will definitely benefit from writing essays regularly and developing their ability to focus.
#3 Develop a Useful Skill
A lot of people don’t wait to finish their studies before getting their first job. Indeed, it’s quite common even among high school students to get summer jobs or even part-time jobs during the academic year. Interestingly, students can develop their essay writing skills and use them for professional purposes.
For instance, you can get in touch with the writing service Trust My Paper and talk to their professional academic writers. These specialists use their essay writing skills to create essays for students who need help with their academics. You can learn a lot just by reading their samples or looking at the way they do their jobs.
#4 Master Researching
Much like writing skills, research skills can also be extremely useful for professional purposes. But even for personal needs, being able to do research well can be quite valuable. If a student wants to learn about something, they will be able to find information about it and look at the different perspectives experts have on the matter at hand.
The first stage of writing an essay is research which is precisely why students start learning how to do research at school. Finding information online, reading physical sources like books or journals, and performing their own research sometimes – all of these are valuable skills.
#5 Become Persuasive
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of essays that students generally write. While most of the time students are tasked with writing expository essays, argumentative essays are quite common too.
Writing argumentative essays stimulates students to become more persuasive in their daily lives as they learn how to present their arguments correctly and prove their point. Knowing how to be persuasive is important for students to develop as individuals. These are some of the most important years for the formation of their personalities, so learning such skills is critical.
#6 Structure Thoughts
Speaking of learning how to present arguments in a persuasive way. By learning how to write essays, students also learn how to plan them out by creating outlines before they write the essays themselves. This allows students to learn how to structure their thoughts in a more logical and coherent way.
For example, students learn to structure their thoughts in chronological order or from something general to something more specific. Obviously, it depends on the topic the student is writing about, but structuring thoughts the right way is essential to writing comprehensive essays.
#7 Think Critically
Critical thinking skills are something everyone should possess. They allow us to analyze the information we see in a more critical way rather than believing everything we see or hear about. For students, critical thinking skills are particularly important as they are necessary to complete all kinds of assignments.
When students write essays, they inevitably develop their critical thinking skills and can then apply them both in their studies and in other spheres of their lives. They will be useful at work, for personal purposes, and in other circumstances.
#8 Apply Knowledge
Additionally, by writing essays, students learn to apply the knowledge they acquired during studying. Essentially, when high school students get an assignment to write about a particular topic, they are meant to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic and apply it in the essay.
For example, students might need to analyze a novel, discuss a concept, or present their arguments to support a particular perspective on a topic. All of these require students to apply the knowledge they have about whatever they are writing about in their essays.
How Can You Improve Your Essay Writing?
Now that you know why essay writing is important, you likely want to improve the skills you already have. Here are some tips and techniques you can use to start writing better essays:
#1 Understand the Topic
First and foremost, you need to understand the topic you will be writing about. If you don’t understand your topic, you can’t write about it well. You can’t analyze or evaluate it, you can’t research it, and you certainly can’t describe it or challenge it properly.
This is why the very first step of essay writing is understanding the assignment and the topic you will be writing about. If you don’t know much about it, then performing research and learning more about it will be critical for your success in writing your essay. If you can choose your own topic, try to find something you are fairly knowledgeable about.
#2 Get Professional Help
Some students may already have a lot of experience writing essays yet still struggle with them every time they get assigned to write another one. If this is the case, then getting professional help might be the right solution.
You need to find the best essay writing services and get in touch with the one you like the most. You can then work with an experienced academic writer to complete your essay and learn from the way the writer approaches essay writing. It’s always great to have a mentor who can guide you and explain how you can improve your own essay writing skills.
#3 Use Various Sources
Variety in the sources you use can be a good way to better understand the topic you are writing about and learn about the different perspectives on the topic at hand. Moreover, by using multiple sources that don’t look like each other, you can demonstrate that you truly studied the topic you are writing about.
Of course, high school students don’t usually have particularly strict requirements when it comes to sources (these are stricter for college and university students). That being said, learning to find and utilize multiple sources already is a great way to upgrade your essay writing skills.
#4 Revise Grammar Rules
While you may be confident in your essay writing skills, you might not be so good at grammar, vocabulary, or punctuation. This is why it’s a good idea to revise grammar rules (as well as vocabulary and punctuation rules).
When writing your essay, don’t try to use grammatical forms you aren’t particularly knowledgeable about. You won’t sound smart if you make mistakes. Better stick to what you know – in your grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation.
#5 Find New Vocabulary
Speaking of vocabulary, you should actively try to enrich your vocabulary by finding new words and phrases to use in your essays. Once again, don’t try something you aren’t confident in – but don’t be afraid to learn more vocabulary and start using it one word or phrase at a time.
The best way to learn new vocabulary is by reading books with slightly more complex language than you usually use in your daily life or for school assignments. You can also keep a dictionary or thesaurus by your side when writing essays so that you can always look up words or phrases.
#6 Analyze and Think Critically
It goes without saying that you should think critically to be able to produce well-written essays. And yet, a lot of students don’t actually analyze the topic they are writing about and don’t try to think critically about it.
Keep in mind that thinking critically is not about critiquing everything you learn. It is about questioning things and not perceiving everything as “common sense”. It is about finding answers or interpretations that may not be obvious at first. It’s about being able to analyze things and see their true meanings.
#7 Rely on Logical Structure
Structure is one of the most important things for an essay which is why the planning stage of essay writing is crucial. If you don’t create a logical structure for your essay, you will not be able to present your thoughts and ideas in a coherent and comprehensive way.
Moreover, logical structure is the backbone of your essay. It allows you to create a complete piece of writing rather than a mess of words and sentences. You can’t talk about one thing and then jump to something completely different. The way you write about a topic should have meaning and make sense.
#8 Proofread and Edit
Last but not least, don’t forget to proofread and edit your essay. The first draft is definitely not good enough, no matter how well-written it looks to you. Before you submit your essay, you should always read it at least once to find and correct mistakes. In most cases, you will need to edit some things here and there, but having multiple drafts before you arrive at a final version isn’t unusual either.
At the end of the day, the way you write essays depends entirely on your own style. However, if you are a student, you will likely have to adhere to strict standards and requirements set by your teacher. Try to stick to them as closely as possible while developing your own style of essay writing and improving your skills over time.