Writing the Perfect Essay

Hey First Years! We are less than a week from Thanksgiving, can you believe it? This fall semester flew by, and we are coming up on the dreaded Final Exam season. In addition to studying for those exams, you probably have an essay or two due soon, right? I know I have a few due dates looming over the horizon!

Writing a good essay can be difficult, especially research papers that have a lengthy word count or page requirement. So, I’m going to direct you to some resources and give you some tips to help you write the perfect essay!


  • The Writing Center: located in the library, the writing center has tutors ready to help you write any essay you can think of. You can walk in to set up an appointment, or call 978-542-6491. Typical tutoring sessions will help you overcome writer’s block, identify your audience and their needs, develop and organize ideas, or even help you start and plan a paper if you just have no clue what to write about. Here are their hours: Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.09.33 AM.png
  • Databases: Salem State has a huge amount of research sources, journals and documents available through online databases, which can be accessed via salemstate.edu! Click on the library tab at the top right side of the page, and then click research in the drop down menu. From here, you can click links directing you to the type of works you are looking for, including books, e-books, journals and articles. If you have trouble navigating these databases, there are research librarians who are experts in researching specific subject areas who can help you find the perfect source! wikipedia-blog-week-4.jpg


  • Identify Your Purpose: it is important to know what you are trying to do in your essay. Are you answering a question? What is the question you are answering? What is the argument you need to make? If it is unclear to you why you are writing, ask your professor to please explain further.
  • Brainstorm: get all of your initial ideas down on paper before you start researching and reading. This way, you know what you are looking for when it does come time to research.
  • Outline: Figure out what order you are going to write your paper in. Often times, teachers will ask multiple questions or ask for multiple components for your essay in their prompt – Here’s one I’m working on right now:
    Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.26.55 AM.png
    Here’s where we open Microsoft Word, and make an outline for our paper – an outline is sort of like a fill-in-the-blank template you can work on as you find the information you need! Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 11.43.25 AM.png
  • Research: Now it’s time to find all of the information you need, using the databases we talked about before. Even though online sources are great, actual books can be very helpful too, so don’t forget about them! Once you fill in all of the information you need in your outline you can …
  • Write a Draft: the first draft is the hardest one to write, but once its done you can only get better from there. Turn your bullet points and listed information from your outline into complete sentences and boom – you have your first draft complete! Make sure you cite your information as you go! 
  • Edit and Revise: this you can do a countless amount of times. I always suggest reading your paper out loud, so you can hear weird grammar and spelling mistakes you may have missed while reading over your paper. Have a friend read your paper, or even a classmate, to help improve your work!

Congratulations! You just wrote an amazing paper! grade
FYM Kelly


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