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Writing is a skill that takes time to build. Essays force you to practice research, critical thinking and communication skills – college is the perfect time for you to practice these. However, there’s only so much you can learn about writing through preparation. If you’ve been assigned an essay on mental health, you may not be sure where to begin. You might also wonder if you should choose mental health as a topic for a college paper. Here’s how to write a “mental health in college students” essay.
- What Not to Do
If you’re trying to choose a topic for a college application essay, mental health is usually not the way to go. Your personal statement should show colleges why you’re the best candidate to attend their school. Because many students write about mental health, your essay may get lost in the crowd. In addition, your mental health journey is only a part of who you are.
It can be difficult for many students to write about personal mental struggles without seeming overdramatic. Unless mental health struggles have shaped your whole life, it’s best to discuss other topics. If you mention mental health, stay brief and matter-of-fact. Don’t let it become the whole point of your essay.
- Review the Instructions
If you’re writing this essay for a college course, start by looking over the assignment instructions. Don’t just listen to what your teacher says – look up the assignment on the syllabus to see if you can find a rubric or other relevant information.
Highlight the important points to make sure you know what matters to your professor. The instructions are parameters you can operate in to create an essay you enjoy. Make sure you check word count, essay structure and review corrections on past essays. If you’re confused about something, don’t hesitate to ask your professor for clarification.
- Do the Research
Regardless of what class you’re writing for, this is the kind of topic that requires hard numbers. You don’t want to make general claims about rates of student anxiety or mental illness – to be credible, you need specifics. Be careful with your wording to avoid all-or-nothing statements. Everyone experiences mental health differently.
Your professor may or may not allow you to pick the specific mental health topic you write about. However, you can ensure that your paper is well-researched and organized clearly. Before you start writing, create at least a basic outline showing the flow of ideas. This will make the writing phase much faster because you’ll always know what to say next.
- Write It Out
Writer’s block often stems from perfectionism. This paper won’t be perfect the first time, so don’t worry about writing it perfectly! Start with an interesting line that gets your reader’s attention and make sure you have a clear thesis statement. Taken by itself, this sentence should describe the contents of your entire paper.
Build your paragraphs to the right word length by using specific examples. You should start each paragraph with a topic sentence that takes your reader one step in your paper’s argument. Then, describe a specific example that further explains this idea. You can find specific examples in your research or simply explain more about what you mean.
- Edit Your Work
Editing is an important final step before you turn an essay in. It gives you an opportunity to look at your writing as a whole and ensure everything makes sense. If possible, you should set your first draft aside for a while before you reread it. This will help you see your work with fresh eyes so you can edit it.
Editing involves strengthening your paper’s organization, rewriting specific sentences and checking for errors. You should make major edits first and then do a final read-through to catch punctuation and spelling mistakes. It can be helpful to read your paper out loud or have a friend look it over as well.
One Key Takeaway for Writing a Mental Health in College Students Essay
Many students struggle with mental health while in school. Whatever topic you choose and however you organize your essay, make sure to write it with a sensitive tone. This topic is nuanced and shouldn’t be treated as a black-and-white issue. Write from an informed and compassionate point of view and offer your readers hope.
Use this guide to write an essay on mental health in college students that astounds and delights your professor. Putting in the work will build research and communication skills you’ll use for years – whether you’re a psychology major, a premed student or studying the arts at school.