SparkNotes Blog

How to Write an Essay in College

As the end of the school year rapidly approaches, you’re bound to have a few final essays to write. In fact, you’re probably in the middle of writing an essay right now. Get back to work!

But seriously, I thought I’d share with you the method I’ve developed for essay writing. I’ve deviated a bit from how they teach you to write essays in high school, but as a current college kid, I think it’s a pretty good process to follow.

Open a blank word document.

Read the essay description.

Drink coffee.

Spill a little on your yoga pants.

Let it dry. Whatever.

Make a bulleted list of things you’re going to write about. Feel pretty good about your bulleted list.

Watch a couple episodes of a TV show.

Return to your word document. Begin writing.

Spend 30 minutes writing the first paragraph.

Hate it. Backspace everything.

Regret watching that TV show.

Check Facebook.

Get back to work.

Rewrite the first paragraph.

Realize you have already covered all your bullet points in the first paragraph.

Check the required length. Single Spaced? Seriously?

Read a Wikipedia article on the subject.

Reread your first paragraph 8 more times.

Do jumping jacks.

Rewrite the first paragraph. Again.

Feel hungry. Heat up Easy-Mac. Eat Easy-Mac.


Look at how little you’ve written.

Decide that some music will inspire you. Spend the next hour watching cat videos on YouTube.

Get back to your essay.

Panic when you see how late it is.

Drink coffee.

Spill a little.

Attempt to write again. Manage to complete 2-3 more paragraphs. Realize they aren’t very good but refuse to care.

This next step can only occur between 1:00 and 1:30 am: Have 10-30 minutes of pure inspiration. Write 90% of your essay during this time. It’s incredible. It’s beautiful. It’s…. a page too short.



Cat pictures.

Feel sleepy. Decide to wake up early the next morning to finish it. Don’t wake up early the next morning.


Drink coffee.


Add in a long quote.

Create a conclusion paragraph by copying your introduction and changing a few words.

Realize you’re still half a page short. Change font to Ariel 11. Make periods size 14. Justify low. Increase margins.

Reread essay requirements.

Forget how to add page numbers. Spend 10 minutes trying to add page numbers.

Reread essay. Realize it’s not as good as you thought it was last night.

Don’t care. Proof-read one time.

Hope you didn’t miss anything important.

Print it out. Go to class.

Realize you spelled the Professor’s name wrong. Seriously though, whose name has like 6 y’s and an x in it? Hope he doesn’t notice.

Wait an obscenely long time for the professor to grade the essays.

Get an A-. Feel pretty good about overcoming mediocrity.

That’s my method and I’m sticking to it! Anyone else write essays like I do? Tell me in the comments!

Faye 🙂