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By Alfred Taylor. Why do instructors assign essays? Instructors don’t assign essays because they enjoy it. They assign them because they need to know.

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Presentation on theme: "By Alfred Taylor. Why do instructors assign essays? Instructors don’t assign essays because they enjoy it. They assign them because they need to know."— Presentation transcript:

1 By Alfred Taylor

2 Why do instructors assign essays? Instructors don’t assign essays because they enjoy it. They assign them because they need to know how well their students are absorbing or understanding the information presented in the course. An essay isn’t a burden. It is an opportunity to show the instructor what you’ve learned.

3 Understand the Assignment It is rare for an instructor to dump an essay assignment on students at the last minute. Usually essays are assigned on the first day of class with due dates later in the semester. Be sure to mark the essay due dates on your calendar and read the assignment carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask your instructor.

4 Don’t wait until the night before Writing a well developed essay requires time to conduct research, narrow topics, and edit drafts. It is better to work on an essay a little bit at a time than it is to try and write it the day before it is due. Procrastination is a grade killer.

5 5 Begin by Doing the Assigned Reading. Keeping up with the assigned reading is an important part of any college course. In a humanities class, it will help the student to understand what essay topics are available and to choose a topic he or she will enjoy.

6 Narrow the Topic A typical assignment might be “write a thousand word essay on the Greek and Roman period.” This topic is extremely broad and must be narrowed. The best way to narrow a topic is to look through the assigned reading and see if anything interests you.

7 So an essay about the Greek and Roman period could be narrowed to a discussion of a Roman shield, a sword, a Greek play, a mask, or even the Venus De Milo.

8 Do Research Now that the topic has been narrowed, spend a few minutes in the library to look for sources. Essays that only have internet sources indicate laziness on the part of the writer. A few minutes in the library can yield a wealth of information. Don’t forget to use your textbook as a source.

9 Outline The next step is to create an outline. An outline will help organize the facts in the essay separate your ideas from those of your sources, and help develop the thesis statement. See my power point on outlines at

10 Drafting the Essay When writing the essay, it is important to remember what you learned in English class and utilize strong paragraph development, sentence variety, and cite all outside sources.

11 Avoid Circumlocution When students write essays, they often focus too much on the word count. They will start using five words when one will do. This is called circumlocution, and it will lower the essay’s grade. Instructors don’t want to have to work to dig out the essay’s content.

12 Use the Tutoring Lab Most colleges offer free tutoring. Take advantage of it. Taking your essay to a tutor and getting feedback on it can make a huge difference in your grade.

13  Understand the assignment.  Don’t procrastinate.  Do the assigned reading.  Narrow the topic.  Do research.  Outline  Avoid Circumlocution  Use the tutoring lab.

14 The End


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