By CARI BENNETTE
There are many factors that make a good essay: a compelling introduction, a strong thesis statement, solid research, evidence and analysis and a thought-provoking conclusion. Not to mention grammar, structure, and the dreaded bibliography
To many students, essay writing is a difficult task, made more difficult by the curious fact that some students seem to excel at it without even trying. Anyway, there’s nothing so good that it can’t stand a little improvement. So, whether you’re looking for a massive overhaul to your essay writing or just fine-tuning a skill you think you’ve already got down, there are resources to help you with your goal.
Time4Writing offers an 8-unit essay writing course that teaches students the mechanics of essay writing:
- pre-writing techniques – students learn how to organize their research and outline their essay’s main points;
- thesis statement – how to construct a solid thesis statement;
- introductory paragraph – developing ways to introduce an essay;
- body paragraphs- developing arguments and providing evidence;
- concluding paragraph – leaving the reader with curiosity and a desire to explore the topic further;
- revising, Editing and Proofreading – how to make sure your essay is error-free;
- persuasive essays – techniques for mastering the persuasive essay;
- publishing – how to approach a forum to have your work published.
Tutor.com is an online tutoring forum that’s available 24/7 to tutor students in their essay writing. Sessions are one-on-one and tailored to student’s particular needs. Tutors help identify weaknesses in student’s essays and build on strengths. From brainstorming a topic to fine-tuning the tone and structure to checking grammar and spelling, their team helps students improve their essay writing skills.
Essay Writing Guide is an iOS application that offers students assistance in mastering several types of essays from 5 paragraph essays to college application essays and more. Praised by educators, this app offers several features:
- complete literary terms glossary;
- examples taken from literary texts;
- easy-to-use interface.
The app prides itself on its simplicity and the ease with which students can find what they’re looking for. Check out this youtube video to see how it works.
JetWriters.com is a writing service that helps students when they need a quick help with essay writing and proofreading. Their professional writers and experienced editors will provide high-quality assistance with any type of essay or research paper. Also their 24/7 support team will answer your questions and help with writing/editing issues timely.
Grammarly. Even if you’ve done incredible research and mounted persuasive arguments in your essay, it doesn’t count if the grammar is lacking. If you know you have issues with grammar, this tool will check the grammar in your essay against 250 grammar rules to make sure you get it right.
You’ll be given instructions on subject-verb agreement, passive voice, adverb, dangling modifiers and more. Grammarly also provides style, structure and word choice advice. Their advanced spell check considers the context in which the word was written to see if it really needs correcting.
They check your essay against 8 billion pages to make sure your words are original and plagiarism-free. You can download their app or add their plug-in to MS Office and Chrome for even easier access to their support.
Hemingway Editor is a foolproof way to edit your essays. It uses a simple color-coding system to show you what’s wrong with your essay:
yellow = the sentence is too long and complex;
red = the sentence is too complicated and hard to understand;
blue = adverbs;
purple= there’s a simpler word for the same idea;
green = passive voice.
It also gives your essay a readability grade.
RefME is a free bibliography tool that you can use on your mobile or computer. Though you’ll probably be sticking with the standard Harvard, APA, MLA or Chicago referencing styles, it does boast over six thousand referencing styles to choose from:
- cites websites in your bibliography in just one click;
- if you’re using a book as a reference, it has a scanner to scan barcodes;
- stores your bibliographies in a cloud and syncs with your devices for complete access whenever you need it;
- compatible with Microsoft Word, Evernote, Email and more.
Whether your issue is crafting an argument, doing research, editing for grammar mistakes or writing the bibliography, these resources and tools will help you write better essays.
Cari Bennette is a freelance writer, author and editor. She writes about education, career, content creation and everything related to writing. You can reach her on Twitter.