How to Write a Basic Essay With Ease – The Soap Method

When I write an essay, I learned a long time ago to break up my essay into parts. The normal essay should have an introduction, at least 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. But when you are not used to this, even writing the introduction can seem like an impossible task. That is where the SOAP method comes into play. This is an extremely helpful tool to anyone needing to write an essay. What the SOAP method does, is break down your essay so that you can figure out what your thesis is, because every essay needs a thesis. Once you have your thesis, the essay can be formed easily.

S-Subject

Think about the subject you are writing about. For example, let’s pretend I was writing about the benefits of ballroom dancing. My subject would be the benefits of ballroom dancing.

O-Occasion

What is the occasion that you will be writing about? Why are you writing the essay in the first place? If I use my last example, I would say that the occasion of my essay is to inform readers the health benefits of ballroom dancing.

A-Audience

Who are you writing your essay to? Who do you want to read it? This plays a big part of your essay because if you don’t know who you’re writing to, it will be pretty hard to come up with what to write. In my example, my audience is anyone who is wondering how to lose weight, and also anyone who is interested in ballroom dancing. When you know who you are writing to, you can figure out what kind of tone to take with the essay.

P-Purpose

What is the purpose of your essay? Are you trying to persuade someone, simply inform someone, or describing something? If you don’t know the purpose of your essay, you can easily get confused and lost. In my example, I am trying to persuade readers to use dancing to lose weight. That is my purpose.

Once you have these 5 things filled out, you have effectively figured out your thesis. With your thesis, you can start writing your essay. In my example, using this, I could do my introduction, and in the three body paragraphs I could explain three benefits of ballroom dancing and then write my conclusion. Pretty simple, right?

Tips For Writing a University-Level Essay

When you take the bold step to commence a university undergraduate course you are moving into a new realm of education, which in turn requires you to deliver a new level of academic work. This will involve giving presentations, completing research and writing university level essays. In order to meet the requirements of these essays there are a number of tips that you should follow which should set you on the track to academic success.

Firstly, remember that university essays should be well researched and contain lots of supporting evidence in terms of other people’s previous findings. This supporting evidence could be in the form of a literature review or just quoting others’ work throughout your essay. Any references to other resources must be credited appropriately. Be sure to follow your university’s specific guidelines in this respect as valuable marks can potentially be lost just by not applying the correct referencing method, or by applying the right method incorrectly. It may pay to familiarise yourself with whichever style your university uses, before you even begin writing. A common referencing style is the Harvard system of referencing which has very strict rules about crediting authors, research papers and journals etcetera but your University should be able to provide you with tailored guidance.

Secondly, a university level essay should try to delve deeper than a college level essay necessarily would. It should stretch and question theories and allow you to add your own knowledge and opinions in order to draw conclusions, some of which may never have been drawn before. This means you can’t just recite your lecture notes, there must be some individual application of knowledge, and this is a challenge that many new undergraduates struggle with.

As with all essays a university level essay should have a sound introduction, a thorough research and analysis section and sound conclusions. This should then be followed by a full reference list and a bibliography. Within all of these elements you should make sure that you format your work according to your university guidelines, this is good practice for when you come to writing your dissertation, as correct formatting and adherence to style guidelines could mean the difference between a first and a 2:1, in the same way, any essay, whether written at university or college should be proofread, preferably by a third party, to ensure that it is free from any spelling or grammar mistakes. Following all of these tips will allow your university level essays to achieve the grades you deserve and give you a good foundation for when it comes to writing your dissertation.

7 College Essay Writing Tips to Blow Their Socks Off!

1. Write your college application essay before your senior year begins. Senior year is very busy, and you don’t need another distraction from concentrating on what’s more important: your studies. Get it brainstormed, drafted, corrected and finally written before September 1.

2. Find a topic that you know better than anyone. For example, you’re a dancer because you use dance as a way to express with your body what you cannot express with your vocal cords. Who knows the language of your body better than you do? Who knows more about what you say with your dance than you do? You’re the expert, which is why it’ll be a whole lot easier for you to communicate what you want to say. Read: your essay can be one easy task!

3. Keep it simple. By way of illustration, let’s say you’re standing on a street corner and you witness a car crash in front of you; you were the only one who witnessed the crash, and the police have asked you to write a description of what you saw. Why did the police ask you? Because they know you are the expert in what you experienced in that brief moment of the car crash. You could write about a brief moment in your life that had some positive impact on you because you are the expert on how that moment affected you. Keeping it simple also means using simple words, so throw away the thesaurus.

4. Make your first statement of the essay the most powerful. Readers in a college admissions office believe 80% of the essays they read are a waste of time. So make your first statement a “hook” – a pleasant surprise that catches their attention from the get-go. Here are some example first-sentences of what some of my students wrote last year:

“I was suddenly surrounded by rifles pointing at me.” (theme: paintball) “It was clear that I was completely cut off from civilization.” (theme: wilderness hiking) “I had nowhere to go but down.” (theme: overachieving) “Pain was a requirement for me to succeed.” (theme: dancing/ballet)

5. Read your essay out loud. Besides your eyes use your ears to hear what you’re saying. Reading out loud gives you another sense of how the essay is moving, and you’ll be able to tell if it sounds right or needs improvement. Then get friends and family members to read and listen to what you’re saying. Ask for comments and suggestions.

6. Essays should be no longer than 500 words. Give the admissions reader another reason to LOVE you – keep it shorter than 500 words. The 500-word limit has been a standard for years, and the Common App now allows you to write more than 500 words. With short attention spans in a college admissions office, do you think colleges are excited that the Common App allows you to write more than they want to read? Less is more, or quality beats quantity every time.

7. Keep your essay upbeat and positive. My favorite college essay requirement comes from the College of William & Mary: “Surprise us!” What they’re asking you to do is write something that’s positive. Why? Like most colleges they’re so used to reading the seven deadly topics they don’t like: divorce, disabilities, death, dysfunctional behavior, trips, sports injuries, and boyfriend/girlfriend breakups. Not to write about these topics would be a huge surprise.

Alan Simpson’s "The Marks of An Educated Man" – A Review

In his essay, “The Marks of An Educated Man,” Alan Simpson writes that the training of the mind will help an individual achieve higher knowledge skills. The best results of liberal education cannot be achieved until the mind is trained to think clearly. Without proper brain-training a true liberal education cannot take place.

Since everyone’s brain does not function the same, the same amount of knowledge may not be present in two different individuals. Simpson talks of utilizing everyone’s capacity to think and examine life firmly, therefore making a true liberal education possible, which in turn allows for progress and reform in our educational system.

One of the main thoughts that Alan Simpson presents is the idea of not being afraid to make changes, especially if they will lead to progress in our traditional systems. Simpson goes on to state that a characteristic skill of an educated man is his ability to recognize phony doctrines. A certain amount of skepticism is needed to combat the fact-filled scam artists and fools that populate the earth today.

Without a proper education, we make ourselves more gullible to false teachings. The educated man has tried to develop a critical faculty for general use, and likes to think himself an excellent judge of phoniness. Having doubt allows a person to expand his or her insights on a subject. A person who seeks after a good education will usually ask questions and make sure he or she is given a good answer before being taken in by something false.

The fools, scam artists, and frauds in this wold can mislead others by presenting false messages. The majority who practice this are nothing more than blatant liars, but feel they have a sanctity about them that puts them above everyone else. These so called “authorities” are nothing more than fact finders and very often end up getting caught in their own traps.

Without a liberal education they cannot combine knowledge, skills, an standards. They are for the most part affected by the environment and the media. Lacking a liberal education makes them very open to scams and they are definitely not analyzing, praying, or thinking over situations as they should. These are the victims of prideful scam artists.

Having good liberal education skills can be a preventive device against highly educated scam artists. Shams are a reality to us even in higher education brackets. They surround us everywhere. From the professor to the scientist, both have been known to use invalid and shameful speech. Although persons at the university level can be taken in by shams, people who have little or no educational background are especially prone and will almost certainly fall prey to shams.

University students are influenced by professors and clergymen, but people in the outside of college world are largely influenced simply by what they read, view, and hear.

Simpson’s essay reveals that possessing liberal education skills enables a person to recognize false doctrines. Non-educated people will allow an individual to influence them negatively more than liberally educated persons. Educated persons help to keep the fools and scam artists in their place and away from the follies of human nature within shams.

Alan Simpson concludes his essay with a riveting and arousing statement: “We are none the better for not recognizing a clown when we see one.”

Parents Guide to Writing Private High School Application Essays

Your teenager’s entrance into private high school cannot be taken for granted. With public schools beset with a variety of problems – discipline, poor test results, safety – private high schools offer your child a quality education in a safe environment.

When you request an information package from a private high school, you will discover that essays and short answer essays are required from both you and your teenager. Your teen, who should be comfortable with answering essay style questions will be asked about his academic strengths and weaknesses, his desire to attend the private school and about his hobbies and extra-curricular activities. Questions directed to parents, however, often have a different focus and are designed with different purposes in mind.

Usually, the essay questions directed to parents are analytical in nature. Instead of asking for facts, these questions ask you to speak about your teens character, to discuss family dynamics and to gauge your role as a supporter of the private school. Private high school admittance directors recognize that teenagers who are brought up in a stable, education focused home, are much more likely to succeed than their peers who have less support at home.

Similarly, private school administrators look at your essay answers to determine whether you can be counted on to support the high school financially or through volunteer work. As you might imagine, administrators cannot legally or ethically ask some of these questions but they can draw inferences based on your answers to application questions.

Analytical Questions

For example, an entrance application question may ask what you believe your child can contribute to the XYZ school. This type of question is really asking you to speak to your child’s academic, social, athletic and out-of-school interests. If you have visited the school, reference your visit to show that you have made an effort to learn more about the school. Your answer should address each of your child’s areas of interest and strength. Here is a sample answer to this question:

During our recent visit to the XYZ School, Tommy pointed out to me the well equipped science lab and asked a number of questions about the science curriculum available to students at the school. Tommy has a long standing interest in studying science and he has performed well in elementary school and we believe that he will bring that interest and aptitude to his high school studies. His current teachers note that Tommy regularly asks thoughtful and insightful questions in class. In addition to working hard to perform well academically, Tommy will be an willing participant in the school’s baseball team and/or its marching band. Tommy keeps a busy schedule during the school year and as a well rounded and serious young man, he will represent the ideals and message of the XYZ School now and in the future.

Family Stability and Religious Questions

Other questions will more directly ask you about your future participation in school fund raising and other activities. These questions are designed to evaluate the stability of your home life and your future financial support potential. For example a religious school application might ask about the role your religion plays in your life. A non-religious school might ask why you are considering the XYZ School. Here is a sample answer to this type of question:

Our family is an active member of XYZ church. We are active members of the social action committee and every Thanksgiving, our entire family, including Tommy and his two sisters, volunteer at the XYZ Church gently used clothing center where we help distribute gently used clothes to homeless people. Tommy and his sisters have been greatly impacted by this activity as well as other church related functions. With a hands-on opportunity to minister to the less fortunate, Tommy has a personal understanding of the message of XYZ religion. We try to reinforce that message at home by attending services regularly and making daily prayer a part of our routine. At the XYZ Private Elementary School, both my husband and I have served on the Board of Directors and we are active participants in the school’s Feed the Hungry annual campaign.

Answers like the ones set out above are designed to send a message to school administrators that both you and your teen are serious, dedicated and stable people who will fit in well with the community that develops within a particular private school. If you make an effort to study the type of community that exists within a particular school and you model your entrance questionnaire essay to that community, you greatly enhance your child’s chances at gaining admission.