Author Archives: Steve Aedy

Grant Application: How to Write a Grant Cover Letter

a student writing a grant request letter sitting at the desk

Many students rely on educational grants. Getting one is a great accomplishment and an exceptional opportunity to graduate without debt. That’s why it’s important to understand which type of grant you can apply for and how to do it properly.

What Is a College or University Grant?

Grant is an option that allows you to study for free. What this means is that you don’t have to pay anything back even after graduating from college, as all of the costs will be covered by the Federal Government.

There is a significant difference between a college loan and college grant. A loan has to be paid back after graduation, and grant, in its turn, is non-repayable.

There are a lot of different grants that students can apply for, depending on the type of school program or specific conditions, such as low income, single motherhood, etc.

What to Do if You Want to Apply for a Grant?

If a student decides to apply for a grant, first of all, he or she has to conduct research on the preferred learning institutions and types of grants they offer. After that, one can start an application process which may vary for different learning institutions. For example, some colleges accept emails, others require letters. So, make sure to find out the procedure for the desired college or university.

Why should you write a letter?

Writing student grant application letters is a common practice in learning institutions. They represent information about:

  • The applicants
  • The programs they want to apply for
  • The reasons for getting a grant

Learning institutions get a lot of applications each year. So, they have to decide which students deserve to receive a grant.

In your letter, you need to provide convincing arguments on why you deserve receiving the grant. You have a chance to explain your situation and provide reasons for a learning institution to pick you. If you’re not sure whether you can do that properly, you can always turn to a professional writing service for help.

How to Write a Request Letter for Grant

Many students ask “How to write a grant proposal for education?” and “What are the specifics of a request letter for a grant?” Like any other formal letter, this one has a similar structure:

  1. Contact information.
  2. Greetings.
  3. Brief information about the program you want to apply for and why.
  4. An explanation of your current situation (for example, financial) and why you need a grant for studying in a particular learning institution.
  5. The showcase of your strongest arguments on why you deserve a grant.
  6. The complimentary close.

Keep in mind that this letter will be the first communication between you and the representatives of a learning institution. So you need to be specific but brief and explain your situation in a laconic and informative manner.

Such a letter is an essential part of your application, just like an application essay. Therefore, you should definitely check our tips on how to write a scholarship essay without struggling.

How to Write Letters for Your Grant Applications?

To make the process of writing such a letter easier, we have prepared a sample grant request letter. Use it to provide your arguments and support your application for the grant.

Sample cover letter for proposal submission:

To: X

[contact information]

From: Y

[contact information]

Dear Dr. X

My name is Y. Currently, I’m a student of [your high school]. I’m really interested in the [desired program] and the opportunities that your learning institution provides.

I’m writing to ask you to consider me for [the name of the grant or scholarship program] award. You can find all the needed materials, such as transcripts, recommendation letter, and financial statements, enclosed. [Also add other evidence that you need to attach. For example, if you are a single mother or you are a veteran, etc.]

Becoming a [type of professional] is my big dream that I work hard to make come true. [List your achievements in studying, participation in sports, community service or volunteering projects and any other facts that emphasize your strengths and diligence]. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue studying and get a degree that will allow me to make my contribution to [the sphere of your specialization].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

Details are essential

Consider who will read your application letter for funding support and keep your language clear and understandable. Avoid writing ambiguous and vaguely formulated sentences. This is one of the most important pieces of advice for writing any letter to a learning institution. For example, this is one of the rules which you have to stick to when writing your personal statement.

In your letter of the grant request be sure to also mention that:

  1. You want to study at this particular learning institution.
  2. You are interested in the chosen program.
  3. You have conducted research and know a lot about the opportunities that this learning institution provides their students with.
  4. You appreciate the time of the representatives of a learning institution.
  5. You are willing to provide any additional documents if they are needed.

Also, be sure to find ouе the receiver name. Usually, you can find contact information on the website of the learning institution.

Of course, make sure to proofread your letter and fix the mistakes as grammar is important in any type of writing, especially in the formal one. If English is not your first language, you might find our tips on writing in English as your second language useful.

These were our tips on how to write your letter of the grant proposal. We hope that you find them useful. Good luck!

 

A Complete Guide on How to Write an Autobiographical Essay

a girl writing in the notebook sitting on the grass

One of the most common types of essays that students have to write is an autobiographical essay. Some students don’t find this task that difficult while others struggle with the basic requirements that need to be followed in the writing process.

Many students get confused asking the same question: “How to write an autobiographical essay about myself for a scholarship?” To help you with that, we have compiled several guides that will lead you through every step of the work and will provide you with useful tips. After reading this article, you will know what types of an autobiography essay are and how to complete each of them in properly.  

By the way, have you seen our guide for writing a scholarship essay? Open it in the new to tab, so that you won’t forget to read it.

What Is an Autobiographical Essay?

Every assignment that your teacher gives you has its purpose. In the case of an autobiographical essay assignment, it is meant to teach you:

  • How to describe events, characters, and atmosphere
  • How to put your emotions into your writing
  • How to be more genuine in your writing

When you are writing an autobiographical essay, you don’t need to make up a story, analyze literature or historical facts or compile statistics. This is the assignment which can really show your writing skills, as you need to describe one of the stories that happened in your own life.

The choice of the story, as well as the emotions that were put into writing, can tell a lot about your personality. If you struggle with writing this or any other type of essay, you can also check out our useful tips on how to improve your writing skills.

How to Pick the Topic

There are two types of autobiographical essays which high school students have to perform. The first one implies describing a single story from your life or a significant event. The second one requires writing a brief description of your life from your birth.

If you need to choose only one story to describe in your essay — pick the one that:

  • You have a vivid memory of
  • You have a lot to say about
  • Brings a lot of emotions while thinking about it

Examples:

  • Your accomplishments – winning the competition, getting exceptional feedback on your achievements, creating the best piece of something (so far), meeting certain goals in studying, sports or hobby, etc.
  • Entertaining or unusual stories of your life – a funny or an interesting situation that has imprinted in your memory.
  • Some meaningful and significant event that happened for the first time in your life – meeting your soulmate, riding a bicycle or getting a pet.

You can make up some minor details to make your autobiographical essay sound more exciting, but the topic itself should genuinely and honestly describe some true story from your life.

How to Write an Outline

Every essay requires an outline. Before actually writing your essay, write down the main points of the story that you are about to tell and significant details that should be included.

Organize your ideas in the order in which you want to evolve them and start building your essay around this basis. If you are writing a complete autobiography, it’s necessary to use chronological order. But if you write about a particular event, you are not obligated to do this.

How to Write an Introduction for an Autobiographical Essay

Start an autobiography with a catchy sentence. The way you begin your story always defines the following content, so you need to get the reader’s attention and make your introduction interesting and exciting.

The first sentence of an autobiography might be:

  • An anecdote
  • A quote
  • An intriguing question
  • A short introductory sentence

You can also start from the end of the story and tell your readers about its finale first and then about previous events.

For example: “It was the day when I met my best friend and my soulmate.”

Don’t make your introduction part too long. The best option would be to jump in the actual story as soon as possible. This way you can keep your reader interested in the plot of the story.

A tip: Don’t forget that you should use a first-person narrative mode for an autobiographical essay. Use prepositions “I,” “me,” “my” when telling your story.

How to Write Your Story in a Compelling Way

If you struggle with the style of your essay and the number of details that you need to include, don’t worry, we can help you.

  1. Don’t be afraid of using vivid details as they help to make your story more interesting for the reader.
  2. Use the description of the setting and environment to help your readers imagine the situation better.
  3. Use the description of characters or yourself in the story. For example, the description of clothes, hair, mood, etc.
  4. Add a little humor to the text.
  5. Describe your emotions when talking about some significant events. For example, “When my father walked into the room holding a golden retriever puppy in his hands, I burst into tears of happiness.”

When writing an autobiography, it’s essential to define the key moments or individuals who had a significant role in your life. You need to make it clear why you choose to describe particular events – write about what you’ve learned from this experience or how your life has changed after that.

If you are going to write an autobiographical essay that covers the story of your life from birth to the current moment, speak about the most significant event or stages of your development. In this case, your essay shouldn’t be as detailed, but the chronological order and the reasons for mentioning particular events should be clear for the audience.

Do you find it challenging to focus on finishing your essay? We have a few pieces of advice for students who want to procrastinate less.

How to Write a Conclusion to Your Autobiographical Essay

When you need to finish your essay, it’s important to give a good impression as a conclusion is the most memorable part. Finish your story with the conclusion you made out of the story. For example, you can end your story about getting your first pet with:

“This puppy grew up fast and became my defender and companion, following me everywhere I go. I’ve never thought that I could get such a loving and devoted friend.”

After finishing your essay, proofread it and make your edits. No matter what type of paper you need to complete, each one has to be thoroughly checked for grammatical and punctuation errors, as well as for plagiarism. So don’t forget to perform these steps or ask a professional writing service to do that for you.

 

The Most Effective Tactics to Improve Your College Writing Skills in No Time

the girl writing in her notebook at the table outdoors

It’s hard to imagine a modern education without hundreds of written assignments for students each year. So, can we say that writing skills are one of the most important for a student in order to be successful in studying? Definitely, yes.

How can one improve the ability to write literate and thoughtful pieces? We are sure that this skill can be trained like any other. So, while you might be working on your muscles in a gym, let’s work on your “writing muscle” here.

Here are a few tactics and tips on how to improve writing skills in college:

  1. Use the right vocabulary
  2. Be laconic
  3. Don’t be afraid to rewrite your drafts
  4. Follow the instructions of your professor
  5. Read academic works
  6. Use quotes
  7. Work on the introduction
  8. Ask yourself a question

Let’s take a look at each one of these simple tactics that every student should use in their academic or creative writing for college or high school.

1 – Use the Right Vocabulary

Picking the right words is not always an easy task for a student but not for our writing service. We have some tips for you on how you can create your pieces using the perfect vocabulary for your college writing.

Simplify

Of course, some scientific terms can’t be replaced with simpler words. But when you have an opportunity to avoid complicated and nerdy words – do that. For example, “modern” instead of “contemporary,” “fit” instead of “accommodate,” etc.

The simpler your language is, the more readable and understandable your text will be. Moreover, when one uses abstruse and complicated words, the chances of making a mistake are getting higher.

The active voice

Using primary active voice is a common rule for academic writing as it is more preferable and easy to understand. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid using passive voice. But try to build your sentences sticking to the sentence formula “Subject-Verb-Object.”

Present tense

This tip is primarily applied to the literature reviews and reports for English classes but can be used in any type of assignment. The trick is to use present tense instead of past.

For example:

“The interior of the room is modest and neat. It represents the ascetic lifestyle of the character as well as his good manners and tidiness.”

This is a general rule, and your professor will appreciate you knowing it.

2 – Be Laconic

Using short and laconic sentences is, as one would say, the most concise way to more effective and professional writing.

Avoid repetitions

You might think that paraphrasing can help you increase your word count without actually using different ideas and claims. But, actually, repetitions are way more apparent for a reader than you might think. Try to diversify your writing and use a proper amount of evidence, examples, and claims in your work.

  • Avoid using the same word regularly through your paper, find synonyms or substitutive words.
  • If you need to write a massive paper but you lack ideas, search for works that might give a hint of what to write about.
  • Evaluate your ideas further in the text using examples from similar works or literature.

Use short paragraphs

When you have too much text cluttered in big chunks, it’s hard to look through the text and perceive information. Short paragraphs are preferable just as short sentences. They help your professor to read your work faster and grade it higher.

3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Rewrite Your Drafts

There are a lot of students who are afraid to “ruin the work” and edit their drafts. Of course, they don’t want their time being spent in vain. So they leave the draft the way it is.

Edit your drafts without any regret even if it means that you have to edit significant parts of the text and spend a few more hours working on your piece.

Every writer would say that drafts are usually junk. Only after polishing them and editing, you can receive something valuable. Anyway, your professor will see if you don’t put enough effort in your assignment.

4 – Follow the Instructions of Your Professor

Never neglect the guidelines that your professors provide you with. Make sure to check out the advised sources, requirements, etc. They might be a useful source of ideas and words that you might use in your writing process. Especially, when you have to write, for example, IELTS essay which we also have some tips for.

Pay attention to the writers’ style and try to analyze how you can use it when writing an essay, a lab report or a research paper. While reading, notice if it is hard for you to read certain work or not. If it is hard to follow the idea of the writer, try to understand what makes it so hard for you. Your professor might be feeling the same confusion while reading your work.

5 – Read Academic Works

The more you read, the better understanding of the basic rules of writing you get. It’s a known fact that the best writers are also eager readers. When you read a lot, writing seems like an easy and natural thing to you. It’s just as well as grammar and punctuation which one can remember or make into a habit of literate writing.

So, reading a lot of literature and academic works will definitely boost your writing skills. If you are not a fan of studying materials, then fictional literature will also work.

6 – Use Quotes

Professors encourage students using quotes in their academic writing. But why? What is so great about quotes? You can use them for almost any type of assignment as:

  • A beginning sentence of the introduction
  • An example or evidence to support your claim
  • A transitioning sentence at the end of the paragraph

Using quotes in your work can give you ideas for the evaluation of your thought, reduce the amount of the mistakes as you take the piece of the edited text and give you an understanding of how to build your piece around them.

Cite sources

If you take any piece of someone’s work or base your claims on someone’s material, it’s obligatory to use citation and cite the sources that you used in your work. There are a few styles of citation (Chicago, MLA, APA style, etc.) that have certain specifics, so be sure to get acquainted with them. You can also require assistance and get work with the proper citation.

7 – Work on the Introduction

If you struggle with the writing of your assignments, it might be because you start from the wrong side. You might ask: “What does it mean? There is only one way to start writing – from the beginning!” Actually, it’s not so true. When writing even a one-page critical response essay, you have to provide a work that consists of:

  • Introduction and your thesis
  • Body paragraphs
  • The conclusion

Starting with an introduction seems logical. However, if you start with your body paragraphs first, you will see that the introduction and conclusion are easier for you to come up with. As you already have your main part, it’s easier to create a thesis statement and exciting introduction to your further thoughts.

So, starting your writing main part is always a good idea.

8 – Ask Yourself a Question

There is also one more tactic that one can successfully use in academic or any other type of writing. When creating an outline, write down questions that you need to answer in your work. This tactic is called “journalistic method,” as it implies asking yourself questions and finding answers to them. It is a kind of brainstorm which helps to start your work easier and structure your paper better.

Wrapping Up

The importance of the writing skills is on-going as it is used in academic, business and everyday life spheres. Developing your writing skills while you are in college will give an advantage for the future job. Moreover, better writing skills will lead to higher grades, and that’s what every student needs.

We hope that you have found our writing tips for college students useful and will use them when writing another assignment.

8 Awe-Inspiring Writing Strategies Famous Writers Used

a man typing on typewriter keyboard

Creating a decent piece is not an easy thing to do. Whether you need to write an essay, a review, a short story or a blog post, you might face the same difficulties as other professional writers do. So, we have prepared some useful tips from the best authors that will help you to improve your writing skills, beat writer’s block and increase your productivity.

Here are 8 strategies for developing writing skills from the best and the most productive authors in the world.

#1 – A “Daily Writing” Strategy of Steven King

Steven KingPhoto credit: Evan Agostini

If you don’t know who Steven King is, then you probably live under the rock. Being the king of the horror genre and one of the most productive writers of the 20-21 centuries, Steven King is glad to tell the story of his writing career. Moreover, he gives useful pieces of advice in his book On Writing. One of the most significant lessons from him is his strategy of daily writing.

A “Daily writing” strategy is all about constant practicing. King says that when you start your project, you shouldn’t stop for a single day until you are satisfied with your draft. Only by writing every single day, you can keep your skills strong enough. As writing skills can be trained like muscles, you have to keep them toned up.

Try to write at least one small piece a day. It doesn’t matter what it would be – a blog post, a letter to your girlfriend, etc. If you keep practicing every day, you will get used to writing and following your creative plan.

#2 – A “Cocoon” Strategy of Roald Dahl

Roald DahlSource: The Times

Dahl was commonly described by his friends as an “odd fellow.” While he was writing, he was sitting in his armchair with his legs wrapped in a sleeping bag. He could stay in this position all night long.

The setting around you is very important, so finding the most comfortable place and position is key to get your imagination free and stay productive for a long time. Some people love working while laying in bed, for others it’s crucial to have fully prepared stationary.

Not only Dahl was weird about his writing habits. For example, Gertrude Stein was writing only in the driver’s seat of her Ford and Hemingway wrote all his works while standing.

You should also find a special place or atmosphere which will awake your talent. If you want to stay more focused while studying or working, check out our article about the art of concentration.

#3 – A “Small Steps” Strategy of Graham Greene

Graham GreenePhoto credit: Yousuf Karsh

“In the old days, at the beginning of a book, I’d set myself 500 words a day, but now I’d put the mark to about 300 words.” Graham Greene

This writing strategy for struggling writers is all about the goals and methods of achieving them. Of course, you could set a plan of writing just as fast as Steven King (King writes about 10 pages or 2,000 words per day), but you would quickly realize that this tactic leads to exhaustion of your imagination.

Take slow steps, and establish manageable goals for each day of writing – you will see that the quality of your writing is much better when you’re not in haste.

#4 – A “Last Line” Strategy of Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne PorterSource: Hulton Archive

A lot of writers start working on their pieces as soon as a plot idea hits them. But sometimes it leads to a block when one can’t figure out how to end a story. In order to avoid such a situation, Porter did other way round – she wrote the ending first. When she had an idea for her another piece, she wrote the last line and after that the last page of her piece. Only then she began working on the whole plot.

It’s a brilliant tip for every piece of writing, not only for stories and novels. When you start working on your essay, the first thing you should do is to formulate your thesis – a quick summary of your paper’s purpose. So, basically, you write your essay starting from the end of it.

This is one of the best writing strategies for students who are working on their papers and need help with formulating a thesis statement.

When you know how your piece will end up and what the whole plot leads to, you can be more comfortable with writing the rest.

#5 – A “Don’t Look at It Again” Strategy of Neil Gaiman

Neil GaimanPhoto credit: Rich Polk

It’s hard to fight the temptation of revising your written piece before it is finished. But Neil Gaiman advises the opposite method – writing till the end without looking at your work.

Don’t come back to recite the pieces that you have already written the previous day – write what comes to your mind. And when you are finished, compile all of the parts and edit the whole thing. You might find some pieces surprising as you have already forgotten about what their content is.

Moreover, Gaiman suggests looking the piece through after some time:

The best advice I can give on [revision] is, once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.

#6 – A “Wait for It” Strategy of Hilary Mantel

Hilary MantelSource: The Daily Beast

Sometimes you get stuck. Instead of sitting with your piece in front of you, do something else. Draw, clean, listen to music or go to sleep. Sometimes you just need to take a little break and wait for a good thought to come.

She also recommends avoiding chatting or going to the party in this situation, as “someone’s words will pour in where your lost words should be.” Many students also find this advice one of the most useful among all of the writing techniques and strategies. And while you are waiting for your muse, check out our tips on essay writing.

#7 – A “ Writing Ritual” Strategy of Toni Morrison

Toni MorrisonPhoto credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sander

As we talked about the atmosphere and habits of writers, there are also some strange rituals that could be helpful to anyone who wants to get used to writing. Morrison claims that she didn’t realize it before one conversation with another author in which they talked about the things they do before writing. Morrison observed that she always got up before the dawn, made herself a cup of coffee and watched a sunrise.

You might also have some ritual that helps you to set up the right mood for work. Pay attention to the things you usually do before writing or establish new traditions.

#8 – A “Question” Strategy of Mary Lee Settle

Mary Lee SettleSource: AZ Quotes

A National Book Award-winner Mary Lee Settle said that she always started with a question and then tried to answer it. This way you will never run out of ideas as you can ask yourself about anything in the world and then evaluate your thought. For example, “What if I wake up in another universe?” “What if Shakespeare lived in our time?” “What if the gravity disappeared for a second?” etc.

Wrapping up

Students don’t have to be professional writers, but they can find the authors’ experience helpful as they commonly face the same difficulties. So, we hope that you have found our list of writing strategies that authors use helpful for your studying routine. Try out these tips to find ones that work for you.

Tips and Tricks on How to Focus on Homework

someone's hands open a poetry book

Being tired and annoyed after a long day in school or college is absolutely normal. In such a mood, it’s hard to motivate and force yourself to start working on your assignments for the next day. Many students can’t cope with procrastination looking for the answer to the question “How to focus better?” and end up using study drugs which is not recommended.

Fortunately, we have a few tips that will help you to stop procrastinating, increase your productivity and get to work. Keep reading our article to know more.

Find a Comfortable Place

It’s easy to feel distracted and unfocused when your setting doesn’t match the task that you have to complete. That’s why setting the right atmosphere is the first thing you should do when starting working on your assignments.

Here are a few things that you need to take care of before you actually start doing your homework:

  1. Your working place has to be a desk (or a table) with a comfortable chair. Now, many of you would say “What’s wrong with doing your homework while lying in bed?” Actually, everything. When you sit or lay on the couch or bed, it relaxes you too much and makes you sleepy. A comfortable table and a chair will be the best option for sitting straight and keeping yourself toned.
  2. Open your window to get fresh air. When your brain lacks oxygen, it can’t work correctly, so it makes you a slower thinker. Fresh air and deep breathing will help you to keep your mind sharp and avoid headaches.
  3. Bring some snacks to your working place. You will probably want to have a snack during this study session, so grab them beforehand. Otherwise, you will have to walk outside the room to grab something to eat, and it will negatively impact your concentration. Staying in the room where you are studying is the best tip on how to concentrate on study continuously for long hours.
  4. Find a place where the rest of your family or your mates won’t bother you to study. The best option would be a separate room with a door closed. If you have someone at home, ask for privacy and silence. Try to avoid doing your homework in the living room, because it will be much harder to focus with a talk show on TV or chatting family members in the background.

The atmosphere and the place you are studying at are very important for setting up the right mood for a cram session and keeping yourself focused.

Eliminate Distractions

This is the most important and the hardest step. When you need to focus on your assignments – which can be quite boring, let’s face it – it’s hard to keep away from the temptation of using your phone, checking social media and watching TV shows. But you can do that, you just need to follow easy steps:

  1. Block your phone or give it to someone while you are learning. It is a simple rule for anyone who wants to succeed in studying – not using your cell phone. To make it easier for you, you can log out of your social media accounts, to turn off the Wi-Fi on your phone or to switch to the airplane mode. This way you won’t receive messages, calls or annoying notifications and will be able to stay focused. If you know that you won’t be able to keep yourself away from your phone, give it to a parent, a friend or use an app that blocks your screen for a preset time – Flipd, Offtime, etc.
  2. Avoid listening to music with lyrics. When you are trying to understand information that you are reading or to formulate a thought that you need to write down, the side noises can hinder. Especially when someone is talking or singing. It happens because your brain is trying to process the information it receives by hearing. If you need some background music, choose some tracks without lyrics. Classical music will do the best.
  3. Don’t watch TV. It distracts you just like music. Avoid watching it; otherwise, your productivity will severely decrease.

All of these tips are great for school and college students who get distracted easily. The less you interrupt your studying process, the more focused you will be while completing homework.

Organize Your Time

Time management is one of the most essential college skills. If you can productively organize the time you spend on doing your homework, you can change your studying routine and spend less time every day working on another assignment.

What does it mean? Time management in studying means that you need to create an action plan first and then follow it without messing the time limits you established.

For example, your plan for the evening might be:

3.00 PM – 4.00 PM – Math assignment
4.00 PM – 4.30 PM – Rest
4.30 PM – 5.30 PM – Science assignment
5.30 PM – 6.00 PM – Rest
6.00 PM – 7.00 PM – Literature assignment
7.00 PM – 8.00 PM – Dinner
8.00 PM – 9.00 PM – Art assignment

As you can see this plan implies an alteration of studying and small 30 minutes breaks to help your brain rest and get ready for the next assignment. You can have snacks, use your phone, listen to music or do some exercises during these breaks. Just give yourself some reward for the amount of work that you completed. You would also be surprised how easily you can manage your time in college.

  • If you set up the schedule for studying at home, it will be easier for you to get to work faster. The mind gets used to certain actions that repeat from day to day. So, just like you are used to going to school in the morning, you will be used to getting to work when the homework time comes. Not everyone can establish such a schedule. But you surely ought to try it.
  • Start with the most time-consuming and challenging assignments. As soon as you get to work, your concentration is much stronger than at the end of studying session. Dedicate the time when you are focused the most to the assignments that require more time and effort.
  • Establish the priority of each assignment that you have to complete. Give the main priority to the assignments that are urgent or value more and start with these tasks. If all of your tasks are important and you don’t have enough time to finish all of them, consider turning to a professional service for help.
  • Cross out finished assignments from the plan – you will see your progress and feel more satisfied with your productivity. Moreover, such a tactic helps boost your motivation to do homework.
  • Don’t try to be multitasking. When you try to complete a few assignments at the same time, your concentration gets worse due to the variety of information that your brain needs to process. Focus on one assignment at a time. After finishing it, you can have a break and then start a new assignment.

As you can see, the time that you spend on your assignments is as important as the time you give yourself to relax between your study sessions. Such breaks not only help your brain to keep concentration for a long time but also provide you with an opportunity to avoid the temptation as you know that after completing another assignment you can enjoy the things you like – music, social networks, etc.

We hope that you found our pieces of advice useful and will feel more focused the next time you have to start your homework assignment.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Critical Response Essay

colored papers anchored to the whiteboard with magnets

Students have to write different types of essays all the time. However, they face many problems when it comes to writing a critical response essay. Why is it so hard to manage? What are the main components of it? We will answer all these questions in our complete guide to help you learn how you can write this type of essays quickly and easily.

What Is a Critical Response Essay?

First things first – let’s find out what a critical response essay is and what components it includes.

It is an assignment that is based on your analytical skills. It implies the understanding of the primary source, such as literary work, movie or painting (its problematic, content, and significance), and the ability to perform critical thinking and reflect your opinion on the given subject.

The aim of critical response essay is to get familiarised with the subject, form your opinion (the agreement or disagreement with the author), reveal the problematic of the piece and support your claims with evidence from the primary source.

For example, your task might be to analyze the social structure in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

How Is It Different From Other Essay Types?

Every essay you write has a very similar structure that consists of an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. While this type is not an exception and is quite similar to an analytical essay, it still has differences. One of those is the fact that it contains two parts. The first part includes a quick summary of the analyzed work. The second part is a critique – a response to the author’s opinion, facts, examples, etc.

What Should You Pay Attention To?

Before we dive into the guide and the steps of crafting your critical essay, let’s take a look at some of the most common pitfalls that often occur during the writing process of a piece like this.

Not knowing what you are writing about.

This makes no sense, right? So, be sure to read the piece that your topic is based on and make sure you understand what it is about.

Not understanding what your task is.

Be attentive to the task and make sure you understand what is required from you. You would be surprised if you knew how many essays are written without even touching the main question or problematic.

Being in a hurry.

A lot of students start working on their essays at the very last moment and do it in haste. You can avoid a lot of mistakes if you are attentive, focused, and organized. If you have too little time to write a strong response essay yourself, you can always get the assistance of a professional writing service. This will help you to be on time with your assignment without sacrificing its quality.

And now let’s begin your journey of writing an essay.

Step 1. Examine the Primary Source

Before starting actually writing your critical essay, you need to get acquainted with the subject of your analysis. It might be an article, a book or any other type of text. Sometimes, this task is given for pieces of art, such as a painting or a movie.

So, the first step would be to gain as much information about the subject as possible. You might also search for some reviews or research papers on the subject. Be sure to examine the primary source thoroughly and read the complete text if it is a piece of writing.

Advice: make notes while you are working with your primary source. Highlight the main points that will build a basis for your analysis and which you can use to form your opinion on. Notes will also help you to structure your essay.

Checklist:

  • Did you read the whole text or examined your primary source thoroughly?
  • Did you find information on the topic of your assignment?
  • Did you write down the key points that you are going to use for your essay?

Step 2. Analyze the Source and Your Notes

After you finished with your primary source, try to analyze and summarize all of your findings. Identify the problematic of the piece and find the appropriate notes that you have made to structure your future essay.

Formulate your opinion – are you agree or disagree with the author? Can you support your statements with evidence?

Checklist:

  • Did you examine all the notes you have?
  • Did you form your opinion on the subject?
  • Did you find the arguments to support your main point?
  • Did you succeed to define the strengths and weaknesses of the work?

Step 3. Write Your Essay

After you have all of the needed materials next to you, you can start working on the text of your essay.

  1. First of all, write a critical response essay rough draft.
  2. Reread your draft and make your edits.
  3. Proofread and edit your final version.
  4. Check for plagiarism, grammatical and punctuation errors.
  5. Write a Works Cited page or bibliography page (if required).

Now, we will look at each part of your essay in detail. Keep in mind that you have to follow the guidelines provided by your teacher or professor. Some critical response essay examples will come in handy at this step.

How to Write a Critical Response Introduction

Your introduction is the part where you have to provide your thesis statement. Once you have your opinion and your thoughts organized, it’s pretty easy to make them transform into a statement that all your essay will be built on. Express your agreement or disagreement with the author.

For example, your thesis statement might be:

“Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare is a masterpiece that raises the problem of social inequality and classes differentiation which aggravates the drama culmination.

Advice: make sure you have evidence to support your thesis statement later in the text.
Make your introduction in the form of a brief summary of the text and your statement. You need to introduce your reader to the topic and express your opinion on it.

Checklist:

  • Did you embed your thesis statement?
  • Is your thesis statement complete and suitable for the topic?
  • Can you support your thesis statement with evidence?
  • Did you summarize the analyzed subject?
  • Did you start your introduction with a catchy sentence – a powerful statement, fact, quote or intriguing content?
  • Did you include a transition sentence at the end of your introduction?

How to Write Critical Response Paragraphs

Explain each of your main points in separate body paragraphs. Structure your text so that the most strong statement with the following supporting evidence is placed first. Afterward, explain your other points and provide examples and evidence from the original text.

Remember that each of your statements should support your main idea – your thesis statement. Provide a claim at the beginning of the paragraph and then develop your idea in the following text. Support each of your claims with at least one quote from the primary source.

For example:

To distinguish the division between classes and express the contribution of each social class Shakespeare used different literary methods. For example, when a person from a lower class speaks, Shakespeare uses prose:

NURSE
I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes
(God save the mark!) here on his manly breast—
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse,
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaubed in blood,
All in gore blood. I swoonèd at the sight. (3.2.58-62)

At the same time upper-class characters speak in rhymed verse:

MONTAGUE
But I can give thee more,
For I will raise her statue in pure gold,
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet. (5.3.309-313)

Checklist:

  • Did you support your thesis statement with claims?
  • Do your claims appeal to critical response questions?
  • Did you provide evidence for each claim?

How to Write Critical Response Conclusion

The best way to conclude your essay is to restate your thesis statement in different phrasing. Summarize all of your findings and repeat your opinion on the subject. A one- or two-paragraph conclusion is usually enough if not requested more.

We’ve also prepared some critical response essay topics for you:

  1. Explain the changes of the character throughout the novel: Frodo from Lord of the Rings/Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  2. Examine a setting and the atmosphere in the novel Gone with the Wind/Jane Eyre.
  3. Investigate the cultural or historical background in Romeo and Juliet/Macbeth.
  4. Describe the impact of the supporting character: Horatio in Hamlet/Renfield in Dracula.
  5. Describe the genre of the work and its influence on the mood of the piece: To Build a Fire/ For Whom the Bell Tolls.

This was our step-by-step guide to writing your perfect critical response essay. We hope our tips will be useful to you!

How to End a Personal Statement to Impress the Admissions Committee

a young girl is writing in a notebook with the mountains in the background

Every personal statement is a hard, long-term, and painstaking work. Every student would agree that when it comes to writing a piece like that, it’s hard to start and it’s hard to finish as well.

A conclusion is a significant part because it gives that aftertaste that stays after reading it and affects the final impression about your personality. That’s why many students are looking for the answer to the question “How to conclude a personal statement for graduate school?”

Fresh Essays is here to help you write a suitable and convincing conclusion that will make a good impression on the admissions committee.

1. Make Reference to Your Opening

It is a widely known literary method – to end in the same manner as you started. Many students say that this simple trick helped them write a perfect personal statement.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should copy and paste your introduction part, but you can emphasize your point of view by making reference to your opening. So, you can briefly touch the points that you were talking at the beginning of your personal statement.

For example, if you started your personal statement with speaking about your passion for studying environmental sciences, you can end your statement with words like:

“As I am highly concerned about declining species, I am determined to fight against poachers and other human impacts which ruins the planet. Therefore, I want to study environmental sciences in [the name of the university], as I know that I will meet many allies here, and together we will work hard to protect the environment.”

2. Write About Aspirations and Plans for the Future

Every piece of writing has its logical evolution. The best way to make through the personal statement is to make it logically flow step by step, developing a theme:

  • What do you want to study and why?
  • What is your motivation?
  • What are your qualities and achievements?
  • What are your plans for the future?

Every step leads to another one and helps to build your text in the logical and intelligible way. If you end your statement with plans for the future, you give an impression of a purposeful and positive person.

Speak about what you want from your life, future, and education in particular. You can include in your conclusion something like:

“I admire how the principles of democracy are valued in your country. My goal is to fight for democracy in my country, and I need to be aware of tools and techniques which can help build a democratic society.”

3. Pull Together Your Key Points

Admissions committee members have tons of personal statements to look through. Sometimes they lack time to read the whole text you wrote, so they try to catch the main points such as:

  • Your experience
  • Your study accomplishments
  • Your knowledge of the particular course and learning institution
  • Your motivation

That’s why your conclusion can be the part of the whole text that will briefly tell about all of these points of your personal statement. By the time you need to start writing a conclusion for your personal statement for a university, you have probably looked up for the criteria the learning institution is looking for in applicants. This is a perfect place to remind them that you are a total match.

So you might use the following tip to end your personal statement which is to summarize all the previous information. Don’t be afraid to restate your ideas. For example, you can speak again about your positive qualities and your work experience or significant study achievements. Put it together in a few lines and make it brief but informative.

For example:

“Many journalists who I highly respect for their unbiased materials and deep analysis of the issues, such as [name], [name] and [name], have graduated from [the university]. As far as I know, in [the university] objectiveness is a high value which corresponds with my personal views on which principals journalists should follow. This is the reason why I long to study here and why I will be able to work regarding all the values [the university] supports.”

4. Keep It Simple And Honest

Many admission officers confirm that honesty is the most essential characteristic of a personal statement with a strong conclusion. The experienced committee members can clearly see if your statement is too embellished in order to impress. Being truthful is much more important for them than polished statements with stolen phrases.

Sometimes it’s just enough to give a positive ending, like:

“I like the educational program of [the university], as it contains the most interesting aspects of [the subject] for me. At this point in my life, I am fond of studying [the subject] and, as you can see from my scores, I am doing well with it. So, I am excited to enter [the university] and learn [the subject] deeper.”

or

“I know that [the university] provides students with much opportunities to get practical skills. I think it’s more important today than theoretical knowledge. Therefore, I am eager to study here and hope that you will deem my skills and aspirations are good enough to get a chance to study in [the university] .”

You can also talk not only about subject areas but also about extracurricular activities that this institution holds and which you will love to take participation in. This will show that you are interested in the university and have read about it a lot.

Quick Tips:

  1. Do not use slang.
  2. Do not use the same personal statements to apply to different learning institutions.
  3. Check your personal statement for plagiarism using specific software.
  4. Do not include irrelevant information or abstruse words.
  5. Please proofread your personal statement.
  6. Know the exact name of the program you’re applying to and include it in your statement.
  7. Address your best qualities but try to incorporate them into the story, rather than just giving it in a list.

So, these were our tips for your perfect personal statement. Give yourself some time to write and don’t rush. Remember that this piece can be your winning ticket and might get you into the college or university of your dreams even if your grades are not that great. Hope, you liked these personal statement ending examples and found them useful. Good luck!

Using Study Drugs to Earn an “A”: Why You Should Think Twice

In pursuit of academic excellence, it has become a common practice among college students to take study drugs. Between classes, clubs meetings, games and summer internships, students have little time to study. And to get a boost of energy for those all-nighters, many decide to take stimulant drugs.

“Smart drugs” like Adderall or Ritalin are prescription stimulants that are often used inappropriately to enhance the mental performance while studying. They are usually prescribed to treat ADHD, but in fact, about 1 in 5 college students use them without prescription to increase productivity. On many college campuses, they are easily attainable, that’s why they are so appealing to the overwhelmed students.

Risks Versus Rewards

Study drugs help to focus on the tasks and improve motivation to study, but the short-term benefits come along with the risks.

For people who suffer from ADD or ADHD, these drugs may have a calming effect. However, for those without the symptoms of a mental disorder, they are more likely to cause nervousness and euphoria.

Study drugs have different short-time risks like increased heart rate, blood pressure, irritability and insomnia. Sometimes they can cause paranoia and even hallucinations. After all, the misuse of such drugs can be really dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol and other drugs.

In addition to the health risks, a student who uses study drugs may face the legal consequences, such as fines and suspension from college. Misusing the prescription drugs is against the law and increases the chances of committing a crime when you are under the influence of substances. However, the most disturbing risk of using the study drugs is an addiction. Apart from the serious health problems, it may even lead to death.

Healthier Alternatives to Study Drugs

Despite the serious consequences, the use of “smart drugs” is alive on campuses. The highly competitive academic environment increases the risk of drug abuse. However, the study drugs shouldn’t be an answer to the students’ stressful life. There are many healthy alternatives that will help you manage your academic and social life.

To beat the stress, it is important to rest each day, without your phone, Facebook or friends. Eat the healthy food, get plenty of sleep and practice some relaxation techniques. Yoga, for instance, has been proven to reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The key to productivity is also having fun. That’s why don’t forget to take breaks and spend time with friends. It’s extremely important to re-energize for the next study session. You may also consider drinking coffee, Red Bull or Mountain Dew instead of taking pills. These are not the healthiest strategies, but at least they are legal and not dangerous.

Surely, college is competitive and you want to excel in academics. But it’s not worth becoming dependent on a drug and experiencing all side effects, especially when there are great alternatives.

Prepare a Persuasive Speech in 5 Easy Steps

Prepare a speech in 5 stepsTalking comes naturally to us and we don’t even give our conversations the second thought. But when faced with the prospect of speaking in front of the audience, this seems a burden. By far, the best way to learn how to write persuasive speeches is to read the great ones. But if you are looking for some quick tips, here are a few steps to follow.

1. Learn about a Topic

A major part of the difficulty about writing a persuasive speech is choosing a topic and learning about it. You need to know as much as possible about the subject you need to speak on. Spend some time doing a research and learn all the sides of the issue. You may read academic books in a library or find relevant articles online but make sure to use only reliable sources. To find out what other people think about a topic, use radio talks or editorials, but don’t rely on them as your only source of information as they may be biased.

2. Define Your Goal

You have to understand what you need to achieve with your speech. Do you want to present your own opinion on the issue? Make a sale? Persuade your audience to vote? Or perform some other action? Once you define what you expect from the audience, you’ll be able to easily craft your message. It is also important to understand the views and knowledge of your audience about a topic. People who know little about the subject need some background information and simpler language. However, the experts on the topic may find this kind of speech boring.

3. Write a Strong Opening

Before you can start persuading your audience, you have to attract their attention. A strong and effective opening has the following elements:

  • An attention grabber – this can be a little startling or dramatic statement that will get your audience’s attention instantly.
  • A link to the audience – you need to emphasize that you have something in common with the audience.
  • Your goal – explain what you hope the speech will accomplish.
  • A road map – present the main points of your speech.

4. Offer Persuasive Evidence

The main body of your speech should include several convincing reasons to support your point of view. Arrange these points logically. Make sure to use credible sources from your research to back up these points. You may use the real life examples that the audience can relate to. Even the argument based on facts and logic should relate to the audience’s interests and lives.

5. Conclude with a Call to Action

The conclusion of your speech should remind your audience of what you have told them. But don’t just restate your point of view, instead, use this as a chance to present a clear call to action. Use concise and strong sentences that elicit confidence. You don’t want to sound as passive or timid. Don’t be afraid to use some humor in your speech. It will connect you to the audience and make your topic easier to hear about.

Write like you talk and remember that practice makes perfect!

IELTS Essay Writing Tips

IELTS essay writing tips

Without a doubt, essay writing is the most challenging section of IELTS. Writing 150 or 250 words in the time allowed is the biggest concern of many students. Indeed, it is quite hard for people from a different cultural background to get high scores on the exam because of the another thinking mode. But with the right preparation, you can make sure that your essay will be good enough to attract the score you really want.

There is a lot to remember: you have to manage your time, keep to the word limit, use great vocabulary, avoid mistakes and find solid points to make about the topic. It may look impossible but it is all attainable if you know the main tips and tricks.

1. Keep your introduction short

Remember that you have only 40 minutes to write an essay, and some of this time should be spent for planning. That’s why you need to write your introduction quickly so you can start developing the body paragraphs. You just have to do two things: state the essay topic using some basic facts and present what you are going to write about.

2. Choose a controlling idea for each body paragraph

Your IELTS essay should contain 2 or 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph should present one main idea and include several sentences to support it. You need to give enough facts, examples and arguments to answer the essay question. Make sure to stay on topic because you will be penalized if you stray off subject matter.

3. Be clear and straightforward

You need to write clearly and get to the point. English essays reflect a straightforward way of thinking, so make sure you develop your ideas precisely. Choose your words deliberately, pay attention to the sentence length, avoid unnecessary explanations, rewrite or delete needless phrases, eliminate redundancies.

4. Be logical

Logic is one of the most important factors of a good IELTS essay. Your sentences and paragraphs should have a clear reasoning, which aims for supporting your point of view. To build logical connections in your essay, you need to use transitions. They are important tools that will help you connect your ideas properly.

5. Use rich vocabulary

IELTS exam is the time to show what you know. Stay away from the over-used adjectives, such as “good” or “bad.” Instead, use more expressive words, such as excellent, wonderful, or horrible. The more precise words will make your language alive and help you get higher points for your essay.

6. Avoid slang and contractions

Find the best way to express your thoughts without using the slang or colloquial expressions. You need to show off the best English you know. Also, make sure you don’t use contractions in your essay. Academic tasks demand formal writing, so don’t write in a style that is improper to use.

7. Add the personal touch

An essay should reveal your personal feelings and opinions. It has to show your individuality. If this personal touch is lost, the essay will be colorless. Therefore, don’t be afraid to express your own point of view.

These techniques are key to producing a powerful IELTS essay. Keep these tips in mind and try your best!