How to Write a Great 250-Word Essay
In college, there are many instances where you may be required to write a 250 word essay – your application, exam questions, small writing prompts, etc. A 250 word limit may seem like a novel to some, but others find it difficult to get their point across with so few words. In this guide, we will look at a 250-word essay example, along with tips on how to write a great 250-word essay.
The Basic Format of a 250-Word Essay
All essays consist of the same three parts: an introduction with a thesis, a body paragraph or body paragraphs that support the thesis, and a concluding paragraph that summarizes the overall essay. In 250 words, you will most likely have 3-4 paragraphs in total, each with 50-100 words. This will allow for 3-5 concise but detailed sentences per paragraph.
If you are writing a short academic paper, you may have an optional section at the bottom that includes references. This will not be necessary for most college application essays. If you are writing an answer to a test question, you may formally or informally cite your sources at the bottom of the essay, depending on what your professor requires.
A Step-by-Step 250-Word Essay Example
TOPIC: How has your family upbringing influenced your educational goals?
Parents are supposed to push you past your goals, or at least, that’s what I always believed. I was raised in the generation of “you can do anything if you put your mind to it.” My parents did not follow that philosophy, and they saw little value in a formal education. It was their lack of passion that led me to my educational goals.
The first sentence sets the tone for the piece. It is usually supported by a second sentence that leads into the thesis. The optional third sentence may pose a question that the thesis aims to answer, or it may prompt the reader to think about the topic in a different light. The final sentence of the intro paragraph clearly establishes the thesis.
My father barely graduated high school. He worked a series of odd jobs in his younger years that eventually led to a career in construction. My mother got pregnant during her senior year and became a stay-at-home mom after she graduated. Neither of them has ever set foot on a college campus.
I was taught to work hard, respect my elders, and stay away from drugs, but I was never taught the benefits of higher learning. In fact, my parents were shocked every year that I brought home a report card of A’s. Passing would have been plenty sufficient for their expectations.
Both body paragraphs should support the thesis and conclusion in some way. They may include anecdotal references, examples from history, quotes from valid resources, etc. You can choose the order of these examples, either by building-up to the biggest point of support or by starting with the strongest point and referencing that in the supporting paragraphs. No matter what, these body paragraphs should have their own introduction and conclusion sentences, like miniature essays within the larger essay.
Break into the next body paragraph when you have sufficiently covered your first supporting point. Then add the next supporting point while alluding to the thesis and the other topics you’ve covered. This should start leading into the conclusion while still providing the reader with a lingering question or statement to think over.
While many students would use this as an excuse not to succeed, I decided long ago that I was responsible for my own goals. I discovered my passion for architecture playing Legos as a small boy, and I knew I needed college to make that my career. My parents are proud of my continued accomplishments, but they do not share my vision of the future. Thus I strive every day to push myself past my goals, and I look forward to the milestones to come.
The final paragraph of your 250 word essay is the conclusion. Your intro posed some sort of question that this paragraph provides the answer for. You may start this paragraph with “To summarize,” “As evident by X, Y, and Z,” or a similar statement that highlights the biggest points in body paragraphs. Complete the essay with a follow-up question for the reader to think about or a definitive conclusion to the essay.
(The above 250 word essay example is 251 words total)
Should I Write More Than 250 Words or Less Than 250 Words?
When a professor or college entry application asks for a “250 word essay,” it typically means that 250 words is the minimum number of words to fulfill the prompt. However, some instructors may consider that a maximum word count. They could clarify the request with “In 250 words or less…” or “In 250 words or more…” but they will not always do that.
If this information is not specified on the prompt or in your class syllabus, politely ask the professor for clarification after class. As a general rule though, try to stay as close to 250 words as possible without going too far over or under.
250 Word Essay Writing Tips
Here are some quick tips for writing a great 250-word essay:
- Write the first draft from start to finish without any pauses. This will make the writing sound fluid, and you can make adjustments after that.
- Avoid over-editing your work. Ideally, you should take a long pause between editing sessions so you can clear your head and come back with a fresh perspective.
- Try not to think about the word count too much. Once you get in the habit of writing four 3-5 sentence paragraphs, you’ll find your words naturally get close to 250.
- Don’t throw fluff sentences in your essay. Professors see right through those. Instead, think of an additional sentence to enhance the support in your body paragraphs.
- If you feel like you have concisely and sufficiently answered the question below the word count, trust your gut. Most instructors will value quality over quantity.
The more 250-word essays you write, the easier they will become. Feel free to practice with free essay prompts online to train your brain to write with this rhythm. You’ll soon be able to whip out 250 words without checking your word count!
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