This handout shall help you figure out what your college instructors expect if they give you a writing assignment.

it’s going to inform you how and why to maneuver beyond the essays that are five-paragraph learned to publish in senior high school and start writing essays that are more analytical and much more flexible.

What exactly is a five-paragraph essay?

Senior high school students are often taught to create essays with a couple variation for the model that is five-paragraph. A five-paragraph essay is hourglass-shaped: it begins with something general, narrows down in the centre to go over specifics, and then branches out to more general comments by the end. In a classic five-paragraph essay, the very first paragraph starts with an over-all statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses some of those “points” in turn; while the final paragraph sums up what the student has written.

How come high schools teach the five-paragraph model?

The five-paragraph model is a great method to learn how to write an essay that is academic. It’s a version that is simplified of writing that will require you to state a thought and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your choices and forces you to master the fundamentals of organization. Furthermore—and for many senior school teachers, this is the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams such as the SAT II writing test reward writers who stick to the five-paragraph essay format.

Writing a five-paragraph essay is like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it is a device that can help you learn. That doesn’t mean you really need to forever use it. Once you can write well you can cast it off and never look back without it.

The way in which college instructors teach is probably not the same as that which you experienced in senior school, and so is exactly what they expect from you.

While senior high school courses tend to focus on the who, what, when, and where associated with things you study—”just the important points”—college courses ask you to think about the how and the why. You can certainly do very well in senior high school by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect one to know the facts, they really care about the manner in which you analyze and interpret those facts and exactly why you believe those facts matter. Once you understand what college instructors are looking for, you can view a number of the main reasons why essays that are five-paragraph work so well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a poor job of setting up a framework, or context, that will help the reader understand what the author is trying to express. Students learn in twelfth grade that their introduction has to start with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of time” introductions. For instance, a student asked to discuss what causes the Hundred Years War might begin, “Since the dawn of time, humankind happens to be affected by war.” In a college course, the student would fare better with a more concrete sentence directly linked to what she or he is planning to say in the other countries in the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the first 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that would soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power.” Before you turn in the final draft if you are accustomed to writing vague opening lines and need them to get started, go ahead and write them, but delete them. For more with this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack a disagreement. Because college courses focus on analyzing and interpreting in the place of on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not just to know the known facts but additionally to create a quarrel in regards to the facts. The most effective essays that are five-paragraph do that. However, the typical five-paragraph essay has a “listing” thesis, as an example, “I will show how the Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul by examining military technology, religion, and politics,” in place of an argumentative one, for example, “The Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul because their opponents’ military technology swept up making use of their own on top of that as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the feeling of common purpose in the home front.” To get more on this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays tend to be repetitive. Writers who proceed with the five-paragraph model have a tendency to repeat sentences or phrases through the introduction in topic sentences for paragraphs, instead of writing topic sentences that tie their three “points” together into a coherent argument. Repetitive writing doesn’t assist to move a quarrel along, also it’s no fun to read through.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack “flow.” Five-paragraph essays often don’t make transitions that are smooth one considered to the second. The “listing” thesis statement encourages writers to treat each paragraph and its own main idea as a separate entity, rather than to draw connections between paragraphs and ideas so that you can develop a quarrel.
  • Five-paragraph essays often have weak conclusions that merely summarize what’s gone before and don’t say anything interesting or new. In our handout on conclusions, these“that’s are called by us my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusions: they do absolutely nothing to engage readers and also make them glad they see the essay. Most of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary during the final end to simply help us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart into the real life. Read your newspaper that is favorite or; look through the readings your professors assign you; pay attention to political speeches or sermons. Is it possible to find something that looks or appears like a five-paragraph essay? One of the important skills that college can show you, far beyond the topic case of any course that is particular is how to communicate persuasively in every situation that comes your path. The essay that is five-paragraph too rigid and simplified to match most real-world situations.
  • Perhaps most crucial of most: in a essay that is five-paragraph form controls content, with regards to should be the other way around. Students begin with an agenda for organization, and additionally they force their ideas to fit it. As you go along, their perfectly good ideas get mangled or lost.

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Let’s take an example based on our handout on thesis statements. Suppose you’re taking a United States History class, and you are asked by the professor to create a paper about this topic:

    Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War.

Alex, getting ready to write her first college history paper, decides to write a five-paragraph essay, similar to she learned in senior high school. She begins by thinking, “What are three points i could speak about to compare the good reasons the North and South fought the Civil War?” She does a brainstorming that is little and she says, “Well, in class, my professor talked in regards to the economy, politics, and slavery. I suppose a paper can be done by me about that.” So she writes her introduction:

    A civil war occurs when two sides in one country become so angry at each and every other which they turn to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a conflict that is major nearly tore apart the young United States. The North and South fought the Civil War for several reasons. These reasons were the same, but in other cases they were very different in some cases. In this paper, i shall compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.

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