To write an essay for a communications class, or for any other purpose, you must follow certain guidelines. The purpose of an essay is to communicate ideas to your audience in an organized and persuasive way. An important first step is deciding on the topic of your essay. What point are you going to make? This is the main idea, or thesis, of your essay. Once you have chosen a topic, you may have to conduct research to support this main idea. You then put the information you gather into an organized outline. At this point, you are ready to begin your first draft.
Before you begin your essay, you must put together a detailed outline. This outline will have an introduction, at least three body paragraphs and a conclusion. You can think of the essay as having a beginning, a middle and an ending. Your essay should have at least five paragraphs.
State your main idea or thesis very clearly in the introduction. You will also want to mention the important supporting points very briefly. These supporting points will each have their own paragraph as you write your essay. The introduction is the place to get your reader's attention, by asking a question, throwing out a startling statistic or making a bold statement. Make the reader want to read on to find out what else you have to say.
Your essay will have at least three body paragraphs. The main idea of each body paragraph will be an important point supporting your thesis statement. For example, if your thesis statement in the introduction says that New York City is an interesting tourist destination, your body paragraphs can be about Greenwich Village, Chinatown and Soho. In the body paragraph about Greenwich Village, you can discuss specific details about restaurants, shops and art galleries. The other body paragraphs can present similar information for Chinatown and Soho. Don't forget to use an introductory and concluding sentence for each body paragraph.
Restate your thesis statement in the conclusion. Sum up the main points of your essay, and connect these points to your original main idea or thesis statement in the introduction. Be sure to make a connection between your reader and your topic, so the reader can relate to what you have just "proven" to them. In the case of our example, your readers should want to jump in a car and drive straight to New York City to visit Greenwich Village, Chinatown and Soho.
An excellent idea for producing a well-written essay is to use the Writer's Workshop technique, where you find classmates with a similar assignment, and then select one or two to join you in the writing process. Write a first draft, double-spaced, and then edit for spelling and grammar. You may want to add more details, or switch things around a bit. Rewrite the essay with corrections. Then repeat the process by presenting the essay to your classmates, or workshop, for revision.