High School Essay Writing Guidelines

Students face various types of academic assignments throughout their studying years, and while some of them, such as essays, are comparatively easy, case studies and lab reports may be way trickier. Every new assignment prepares the high school student for the challenges they will face further on when attending university. Naturally, you will need all the research and writing skills you picked up in high school to cope with the college tasks.

In high school, students usually get assigned the following types of homework:

  • Essays of different types.
  • Research papers.
  • Literature reviews.
  • Lab reports.
  • Book reviews.
  • Annotated bibliographies.
  • Reflective journals.
  • Critical reviews.
  • Case studies.
  • Project reports.

The most popular kind of high school writing is the essay, which comes in many different types. They are all more or less similar as far as the structure is concerned. However, there may be some differences regarding the topic, purpose, and tone.

For example, if you wish to define a word, you should pick the definition essay and provide a dictionary meaning of the word, as well as your own interpretation of it. When your task is to describe something, you'd be better off opting for the descriptive essay, making sure not to include too many elaborate details because otherwise, you'll end up with the narrative essay.

Please, keep in mind that there are also expository essays that come in different types:

  • Cause and Effect Essays.
  • Problem/Solution Essays.
  • Classification Essays.
  • Comparison and Contrast Essays.
  • Process Analysis Essays.

What is the difference between them? Once again, they have contrasting goals. In the cause and effect paper, the student should discuss reasons for something to happen and describe the consequences of it. In the problem/solution paper, their task is to identify and describe an issue, suggesting all possible ways of resolving it. The classification paper requires you to categorize something and provide examples of things that can be included in each category according to their common aspects, features, or characteristics. When dealing with the compare and contrast essay, the writer is supposed to find differences and similarities between the chosen topics to show how similar and yet different some things regarding them can be. In the process analysis assignment, the writer should develop a detailed, step-by-step how-to guide in order to inform the reader about how some processes are done. This type of high school essay is only considered successful if the reader can repeat the same steps and achieve the desired result. If you decide to share an event from your life or describe something personal, that would be the reflective essay, but teachers rarely take them seriously and almost never assign them.

So, these are the basic types of essays high school students have to deal with every now and then. There are also some minor assignments, such as character analysis writing, but you should focus on mastering the specifics of the abovementioned papers first.

Planning Your High School Writing Assignments

High school essay writing is not as time-consuming as college research paper writing, but it still requires some effort, so you'll need some pre-writing advice to succeed.

Before getting down to the actual composing, it is critical to select a topic. Some teachers give their students a free choice of the issue they want to explore, which is why it's always a good idea to brainstorm it with your fellow students or do an online search.

Here are some small tips that will help you cope with the task more effectively:

  • Conduct research.
    Collect information on the chosen topic. Make sure that the sources you choose are credible, up-to-date, and relevant.
  • Take notes while studying.
    Put down all useful ideas and quotations you will use in your work on a separate sheet of paper. List the sources you use and provide information about them - it will minimize the time you spend on referencing.
  • Consult with your teacher to confirm the instructions.
    It will be a pity to have to redo the whole work if you get something wrong.
  • Come up with an outline reflecting the structure of your essay:
    1. Title page (optional)
    2. Introduction
    3. Body paragraphs (3-5)
    4. Conclusion
    5. Works cited

The final structure depends on the kind of your academic assignment, citation format, topic, purpose, and some other nuances. Once all of the above things are taken care of you can start working on the first draft. After writing the discussed sections one by one (do not forget about the thesis - the central argument of your work), proofread and edit the text before submitting the final version to your teacher.

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