Every time we finish writing an essay for this class, we fill out a survey that measures the improvement of our writing skills. At the end, there is always the same question: “how close was your writing process for this paper to you ideal writing process?” My answer for the first assignment was ‘not very ideal’. I hadn’t done an outline, I started writing my essay really late, it had taken me a lot of hours to write a short paper, my essay was disorganized, and both the introduction and the conclusion had to be revised. Clearly this was not an ideal writing process.
For the next two essays, my answer to the survey question changed to “somewhat ideal”. I was now doing a rough outline before writing my essays and it was taking me less time to finish the essays, but I still struggled with creating big pictures on my introductions and conclusions. However, I consider that my writing process for this fourth assignment was ideal. For this assignment, I was asked to write a 6-7 paged argument with sources. I had to choose any topic regarding social class, and then write an argument supporting my position on the chosen topic using at least five different sources. First of all, it took me less time to write it than any of the other essays, even though this was the longest one. Also, both my introduction and conclusion were clear and created a big picture, and I didn’t have to revise them between the rough and final draft. In fact, the revisions I did were not extensive at all. I just had to expand some examples, fix some typos, and make sure that my paragraphs didn’t end with a quotation.
I believe that the reason why the writing process for this essay was so much better than the other was that for the first time, I created an extensive outline before starting to write my paper. My outline included my thesis statement and my conclusions. I also wrote down all my topic sentences and the supporting quotes and information for each sentence. In addition, I included my naysayer, the supporting quotations, and how would I defend my point of view. Creating an organized, detailed, and extensive outline was the most important skill I practiced in this paper. I had been stubborn on the first few assignments, arguing that I could write a paper without wasting time doing an outline. Yet, I realized that a good outline not only helps the introduction, conclusion, and organization of the essay, it also saves you time.
Extracurricular activities? What you did in the summer? Apply to 8 to 10 colleges? Is this really possible for everyone? Read my essay to find out!
To read my Assignment #4, click here: The Biased College Application Process