This handout will help you determine what your college instructors expect once they give you a writing assignment.

This handout will help you determine what your college instructors expect once they give you a writing assignment.

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

What is a five-paragraph essay?

Senior high school students in many cases are taught to publish essays with a couple variation for the five-paragraph model. A five-paragraph essay is hourglass-shaped: it starts with something general, narrows down in the centre to discuss specifics, and then branches out to more general comments by the end. The first paragraph starts with a general statement and ends with a thesis statement containing three “points”; each body paragraph discusses one of those “points” in turn; and the final paragraph sums up what the student has written in a classic five-paragraph essay.

Why do high schools teach the five-paragraph model?

The five-paragraph model is a good way to learn to write an academic essay. It’s a simplified version of academic writing that needs one to state a thought and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your alternatives and forces you to definitely master the basics of organization. Furthermore—and for most senior high 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 proceed with the five-paragraph essay format.

Writing a five-paragraph essay is like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it’s a device that helps you learn. That doesn’t mean you should forever use it. company As soon as you can write well you can cast it off and never look back without it.

The way in which college instructors teach is probably different from that which you experienced in twelfth grade, and so is exactly what they expect from you.

While senior school courses tend to focus on the who, what, when, and where regarding the things you study—”just the important points”—college courses ask you to look at the how as well as the why. Can help you very well in senior school by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect one to know the facts, they really worry about the manner in which you analyze and interpret those facts and why you would imagine those facts matter. Once you understand what college instructors are looking for, you can observe a number of the main reasons why five-paragraph essays don’t work very well for college writing:

  • Five-paragraph essays often do a poor job of setting up a framework, or context, that will help the reader know very well what the author is trying to say. Students learn in high school that their introduction should begin with something general. College instructors call these “dawn of time” introductions. For example, a student asked to discuss the causes of the 100 years War might begin, “Since the dawn of the time, humankind happens to be plagued by war.” The student would fare better with a more concrete sentence directly pertaining to what she or he is going to say in the rest of the paper—for example, a sentence such as “In the first 14th century, a civil war broke out in Flanders that could soon threaten Western Europe’s balance of power. in a college course” 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 on this subject, see our handout on introductions.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack a quarrel. Because college courses focus on analyzing and interpreting rather than on memorizing, college instructors expect writers not just to know the facts but additionally to create a disagreement concerning the facts. The very best essays that are five-paragraph do this. However, the conventional essay that is five-paragraph a “listing” thesis, for instance, “I will show the way the Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul by examining military technology, religion, and politics,” in place of an argumentative one, for instance, “The Romans lost their empire in Britain and Gaul because their opponents’ military technology swept up along with their own at precisely the same time as religious upheaval and political conflict were weakening the sense of common purpose on the home front.” For more on this subject, see our handout on argument.
  • Five-paragraph essays tend to be repetitive. Writers who stick to the five-paragraph model tend to repeat sentences or phrases through the introduction in topic sentences for paragraphs, rather than writing topic sentences that tie their three “points” together into a coherent argument. Repetitive writing doesn’t make it possible to move an argument along, also it’s no fun to learn.
  • Five-paragraph essays often lack “flow.” Five-paragraph essays often don’t make smooth transitions from one thought to the following. The “listing” thesis statement encourages writers to treat each paragraph and its own main idea as a entity that is separate instead of to attract connections between paragraphs and ideas so that you can develop a disagreement.
  • Five-paragraph essays often have weak conclusions that merely summarize what’s gone before and don’t say anything interesting or new. Inside our handout on conclusions, these“that’s are called by us my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusions: they do nothing to engage readers while making them glad they browse the essay. Many of us can remember an introduction and three body paragraphs without a repetitive summary during the end to aid us out.
  • Five-paragraph essays don’t have any counterpart within the real life. Read your favorite newspaper or magazine; look through the readings your professors assign you; tune in to political speeches or sermons. Is it possible to find something that looks or appears like a five-paragraph essay? One of several important skills that college can show you, far beyond the niche question of any course that is particular is how to communicate persuasively in just about any situation which comes your path. The essay that is five-paragraph too rigid and simplified to fit most real-world situations.
  • Perhaps most crucial of all: in a five-paragraph essay, form controls content, when it ought to be the other way around. Students begin with a strategy for organization, and they force their tips to fit it. On the way, their perfectly good ideas get mangled or lost.

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

    Compare and contrast the reasoned explanations why the North and South fought the Civil War.

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

    A war that is civil when two sides in a single country become so angry at each and every other that they move to violence. The Civil War between North and South was a major conflict that nearly tore apart the young united states of america. The North and South fought the Civil War for a lot of reasons. In some instances, these reasons were exactly the same, however in other cases they certainly were very different. In this paper, I will compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.

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