Making your essay look more academic involves using a formal structure and developing your ideas well. It’s likely that you have been given instructions on how to construct your essay, such as what you should write about, what font to use, etc. If not, try these tips.
Make your essay visually appealing
Use easy-to-read fonts and consistent spacing, margins, and indentations. Times New Roman, Palatino, Century Schoolbook, Georgia, Arial, and Helvetica are some of the most recommended fonts for academic essays.
Pick font size 10 or 12. Set double spacing for your lines, and create one inch margins all around the page. Indent the first sentence of each paragraph by five spaces. These actions will polish the look of your essay.
Have a thesis
An academic essay deals with a thesis, which is the main idea that you will explore or defend. The thesis statement is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph. This serves as an overview of what the essay is about.
Do your research
People expect an academic essay to contain details and reasons that support your thesis. Prepare for what might be said against your thesis. You should provide convincing evidences, examples, and explanations to defend your opinion or claim.
You should also refer to credible sources and cite them within the paper – if you don’t, you might be accused of plagiarism. You may be asked to cite sources in the MLA or APA format; the rules vary among these formats so learn about these.
Set a framework for your ideas
Having a framework or outline for your essay will help you organize your essay. This will serve as a map that will tell you what you have already covered and what you still need to explore. You may revise your outline according to your research; for example, you may add some subtopics that will help support your thesis, or delete those that are irrelevant to it.
Follow a logical format
The structure of your essay should follow a logical format. This means having an introduction, a body that develops your main idea, and a conclusion that summarizes the essay’s points.
As mentioned before, your first paragraph serves as your introduction to the essay, so it should contain your thesis. Introducing the topic means giving your readers a brief background of your topic. You may use a ‘hook’ to captivate attention such as an anecdote, quotation, question, or trivia but make sure that it’s relevant to your thesis.
Avoid giving long-winded introductions; provide just enough background information to orient the readers then go straight to the essay’s focus.
The essay’s body is where you will defend or prove your main idea. This section is composed of one or several paragraphs. Write at least one paragraph for each of the essay’s subtopics.
Start each paragraph with one of the main ideas of your essay
Let the next sentences center on that idea. Ensure that the last sentences summarize the paragraph, link the paragraph’s conclusion with your thesis, and connect the paragraph with the next one.
In the essay’s conclusion paragraph, you mention your thesis again but in a restated form. You also summarize the body and relate it to the thesis. You may close the essay by presenting your essay in a larger context, mentioning the implications of your thesis, or delivering a memorable line.
Keep words simple
In writing an academic essay, aim for clarity and persuasiveness. Keep words simple and sentences direct. Try your best to follow spelling, punctuation and grammar rules. Do not simply rephrase the information you have gathered and write them down according to how they were written in other sources.
Instead, arrange them in a way that makes it easy for the readers to digest what you’ve written. You should also put facts and insights together so that they will strengthen your position. All these things will help your essay be considered as academic.