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Types of Essays Assigned in College

written by: Barbara•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 6/22/2011

Whether you are completing your high school experience or transitioning into the college of your dreams, you will write a lot of essays during the next four years. Knowing the types of essays required in your college studies will provide you with hours of enjoyable writing.

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    Know the Type of Essay You Are Assigned

    In the pile of books, college schedules, room assignments, book receipts and box of brownies from your parents are syllabi for each class that you downloaded from the Internet or purchased from the bookstore. In each syllabus is an assignment list that calls for you to write at least 10-20 pages during the quarter, semester or school year. Before you can begin writing any one of the paper assignments listed, you have to be clear on what type of essay you are being asked to produce for your first graded essay assignments in college.

    There are six types of college essays that you will have to write during the next four years and beyond into graduate school if you choose to continue your college studies beyond the traditional four years of undergraduate studies.

    1. Research Essay
    2. Expository Essay
    3. Book Report/Summary
    4. Literary Reflection Essay
    5. Critical Analysis Essay
    6. Technical Essay
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    Types of Essays

    · Research essay: A research essay contains cited information in a report that you have gathered from researching (for example, library, Internet, newspapers etc.) a specific topic area of interest or assignment. The written report includes a title, format of writing (APA or MLA), thesis statement and supporting researched evidence that will be cited (quoted) in your essay, specific number of pages with headings and a reference page.

    · Expository essay: There are two types of expository essay directives provided in a brief essay: one that provides information on a topic and one that defends the information in a topic. Both essays include a topic sentence that builds to a thesis statement from a personal reflective viewpoint. Expository essays provide more of a discussion of a topic with personal experience input and subjectivity with an ending that is more generalized and open-ended.

    · Book Report/Summary- When the assignment is for a book report, the assumption is that you have read the entire book and can provide a well-thought out and comprehensive report on the book contents. A summary on the other hand is a more condensed version or excerpt of the book where you as the reader will explain the author's objectives of the book content.

    · Literary reflection essay: In this type of essay, your writing can be more reflective in analyzing or providing commentary on a more personalized interpretation of a specific piece of work or a whole body of work (for example poems, art genres etc).

    · Critical analysis essay: When asked to evaluate or provide a critique of an author's work, you can provide a thesis of support or refute a premise with cited evidence on a book or specified topic area.

    · Technical essay: Used primarily in scientific inquiry or engineering classes, this type of essay is used to formally and informally record observed data, note procedural steps, and provide explanations of terminology.

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    Making the Grade

    Whether you are taking one type of college course or another, almost every course requires a writing assignment and you will be writing an essay. Defining the type of essay you will need to write will save you time and energy in creating the content and the context from the research. So, knowing the type of essay to formulate is the key to successful completion of an essay that says A+.

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