3 Essay Tips for High Schoolers

It can be hard to start high school and have a lot of new academic expectations set on you. Writing your first few essays can be especially overwhelming when you’re not sure where to start or how to get the information you need. But not all hope isn’t lost. Here are a few tips that you can use to help you get your essays done without stressing out.

1. Time It Out

When you get an assignment, your first instinct may be to immediately start working on it and save any outlining or research for later. But you’ll end up doing more work and taking up more time that you don’t need having to go back and figure out the specifics of what you want to cover, or what you can cover in the page limit you have. Instead, look over the requirements and choose a couple of topics you may want to write about, then do some preliminary research to figure out if it’s worthwhile to write about or not. 

But unfortunately, sometimes personal issues or other classes may take more time than you planned. If you’re lacking time, look at this list of the best essay writing service Reddit users like. 

2. Take Good Notes 

Something that will help you both in high school and even in your career is to take quality notes. The first step is to start by getting down the main ideas, as without those you won’t be able to gain an understanding of the material or have something to reference when you’re writing your paper. 

But the main ideas aren’t all you should be focusing on. The second step is getting into the specifics as much as possible, especially with any caveats or exemptions that will be useful to you. For example, for literature and history essays, if you want to write a paper comparing two countries or texts it can be useful to highlight not only a summary of the ideas but the specifics on how they’re different from one another, and your notes can be a great reference. 

The third is to write down any questions you might have. These will be useful if you need to talk to your teacher or go to tutoring for more help as you’ll have specific examples or concepts to bring up, and they can also be a launching point for an essay. Not only does it make for a more interesting and potentially interesting essay to start with a question that you’re seeking the answer to rather than starting with an answer or suggestion that you’re attempting to prove, but you’re likely to gain a deeper understanding of the material if you have to research the topic on your own and write about it in your own words.

A general note-taking tip is to write in shorthand, as you’ll be able to use more space on the information if you cut down on words and use symbols or individual letters instead of writing everything out. You should also take notes with your essay in mind. If you know you want to write about a specific idea regarding the topic, make sure you focus on the topics in class or in your meetings that are most relevant so you’ll have a good starting point, rather than having to use the text exclusively. 

3. Take Advantage of the Library & Other Resources

Your best resource is the library, whether that be the one at your school or the public library. Either way, the library has a number of resources that you can use to help you with your essays. The books are the most obvious, especially if you’re writing about literature or another subject that’s been well-documented over the years. This includes encyclopedias, which are useful if you’re writing about a scientific or historical subject, and other nonfiction like memoirs and books about historical analysis. Using books is a great way to get information from experts in the field who have done the research beforehand to collect knowledge from sources you may not have access to or may be able to connect some dots in a way that you haven’t and help you write your essay. 

But that isn’t all the library is good for. If you don’t have a computer at home or have spotty internet, the library has you covered. It’s likely formatted with several computers that will give you access to news articles, educational resources, and other sources that will help you write your papers. 

Boost Your Essay Writing Process

Writing papers doesn’t have to be a difficult task if you think proactively. Making sure that you use proper time management skills, think about your topic while you’re taking notes, and use all of the resources available to you, both physically and over the web, can make the essay writing process a lot easier. 


BSAY / DEFY @ Yale