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Writing a persuasive essay: tips for college students

When writing a persuasive essay, it’s the student’s job to convince the reader to accept a particular point of view or take a specific action. Like most papers, persuasive essays require good amount of research, awareness of the readers’ biases, and a solid understanding of both sides of the topic (issue) at hand. The perfect persuasive essay doesn’t just demonstrate why the writer’s opinion is correct, but why the opposing view is incorrect. Here are some tips that can help you if you’re struggling to compose your persuasive paper.

  1. Pick from a selection
  2. If you’re able to, set aside a good amount of time to consider several positions that you would feel comfortable arguing. Being comfortable with something doesn’t mean “feeling comfortable,” but rather it should be a topic that you personally feel you have a strong understanding of, or something that interests you. If you decide to write a topic you don’t particularly enjoy, you may find yourself rushing or trying to cram the work into a very limited window.

  3. Brainstorm and Research
  4. Not matter how well-informed you believe you are on a topic, there’s always something else you can know (perhaps something more critical to the position you’ve decided to take). A good majority of your writing process will be spent researching your topic, so it’s good to have effective and efficient research habits. You need to be able to discern what is important in reference to your subject. Make sure that every point you bring up in your paper is going to be relative and important.

  5. Writing Your Paper
  6. Each paragraph of your paper is equally important. You want to start off with a very good introduction that will captivate your reader; use something that will make them want to continue reading. From there, you need to make sure you have a strong thesis and that your paragraphs transition well into each other. Don’t forget to add a counter argument; use that section to discredit the opposing opinion and reiterate why your stance is valid.

  7. Proofread and Edit
  8. You’d be surprised how many people skip this step. Your paper isn’t’ finished just because you wrote your conclusion. You need to take the time to refine your paper—edit and proofread it, and don’t hesitate to change things if you know they can be done better.

Top educational resources

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