Understanding the Five Different Essay Types

Published on 2nd December 2019

Most high school and college students feel overwhelmed when asked to write essays and other academic papers. Getting assigned different types of essays is normal in the academic world and it is pretty normal for this to make students frustrated. Some of them don’t enjoy writing and having to remember the details about these different essay types makes it worse.

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To help you understand the five main types of essays a little better and remove any ambiguities to help make writing easier, I have defined each of them separately.

Descriptive essays

A descriptive essay is based on heavy details about the topic at hand. Whether it is a person, feeling, object or event, you must use sensory language to explain it. The goal of descriptive writing is to enable the reader to see, hear, feel, smell and taste what you are describing.

Persuasive essays

Persuasive writing, as the name suggests is about persuading the audience to agree with your point of view. It is a bit challenging to write, as you are required to analyze both sides of an argument, determine your stance and provide evidence to prove it. Not only that, you will need to discuss the opposing side and refute it with the help of strong facts and examples.

Narrative essays

Narrative essays are similar to short stories that give students a chance to share their experiences and/or imagination. Narrative writing has a single focus point that is defined by the writer's point of view.

Expository essays

The purpose of expository writing is to investigate a topic in depth. There are four different types of expository essays: compare and contrast, cause and effect, problem and solution essay and process essays.

College application essay

A college application essay or a personal statement is written by an applicant applying to a college or university. It is reviewed by the admissions committee and the applicant gets admission on its basis. In a college application essay, you share details about your personality, your skills, and achievements. The challenges you faced and how you overcame them, your interest in the course that you’re applying to and why you are the best candidate for it.

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