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How to write an essay outline: your handy academic guide

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John Milovich
John Milovich
ScamFighter Expert
Former college customer turned freelance writer, shares insider insights on the essay industry.

Having a solid foundation before creating something, essay writing is no exception. This first move, which is usually omitted, establishes the foundation for a well-organized and convincing argument. This map takes you from the beginning to the end, ensuring that every part of your essay has a point and logically flows into the next. So, essays are a mixture of ideas that need coherence and clarity. Having mastered this primary stage, you can communicate your ideas convincingly. Here is how to write an essay outline like a pro!

What is an essay outline?

So, what is an outline for an essay? Here is the answer! An essay outline is the skeleton of your essay. It helps you arrange your thoughts and research in a logical order, thus breaking your essay into sections that are coherent and flow logically. Normally, the formatting process includes an introductory part, several body paragraphs, and a closing part.

The creation of a well-organized essay outline is crucial for the production of an interesting essay. It is a pointer that lets you stick to your thesis statement and ensures that each detail contributes to the development of your argument. Moreover, it makes writing easier as you have a structure to follow, which helps you avoid getting distracted. So, what is an outline in an essay? Now you know the answer!

Step-by-step guide to creating an essay outline

A system characterizes the process of organizing an essay outline. But you don't have to worry about that! This outline essay guide will help you organize your plan to make your essay coherent and persuasive.

Determine your objective

Do you want to know how to write an outline for an essay? Here you go! Before you start structuring, ensure you know your essay's purpose. Ask yourself, what do you want your essay to achieve? Does it inform, argue, persuade, or analyze? When you know your objective, it defines the course of your research and the design of your outline. Begin by creating a thesis statement summarizing your essay's central idea or main argument. This sentence acts as a polestar of your essay outline development, ensuring that every part of your essay concerns achieving your purpose. Think of your audience and what they should know to follow your argument. Now, start writing your outline for an essay!

Filter out the fluff

One of the key actions in developing an essay outline for your essay is to narrow down your research and thoughts to the most important elements. It critically appraises the available information and decides what directly supports your thesis and what does not. Start by writing down all your thoughts and potential evidence. After that, review each item and think if it supports the purpose of your essay. This selective strategy strengthens your argument and keeps your essay focused and to the point. Keep in mind that a concentrated essay is a potent essay. Now, you won't ask twice, "What is an essay outline?"

Identify the points you'll make in each paragraph

Here is the next step on how to write an outline for an essay. Once you have clarified your purpose and deleted redundant information, the second step is to arrange the remaining material into a coherent structure. This means determining what you will discuss in each paragraph of your essay. Begin by clustering similar concepts. These categorizations will become the core of your body paragraphs. Craft your outline for essay rubrics fearlessly! This major point will be the paragraph's topic sentence, directing the next content.

Do you want to outline essay assignments? Then, put these mentioned points in a proper sequence. The order may be determined by the power of arguments, a chronological sequence, or whatever structure suits your essay's purpose. Reflect on the relationship between each point and its relevance to your central argument. Here is how to write an outline fast!

Write your outline using a standard template

Writing your essay outline becomes easy when you have your main points. The introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion are usually a standard structure. Here's how to create an essay outline:


  • Hook: Start with an engaging sentence to draw readers in.
  • Background information: Provide context to your topic.
  • Thesis statement: Clearly state your main argument or point.

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence: Start each paragraph with a sentence that introduces the paragraph's main point.
  • Evidence: Include data, quotes, or examples that support your point.
  • Analysis: Explain how your evidence supports your point and connects to your thesis.
  • Transition: Conclude each paragraph with a transition sentence.


  • Restate your thesis in light of the evidence discussed.
  • Summarize the main points made in your essay.
  • Conclude with a statement that emphasizes the significance of your argument or suggests
  • implications for further research or discussion.

This template is the body of your essay, which you will clothe with your research, analysis, and insights. Here is how to craft an outline for an essay correctly!

Essay outline examples

Samples are useful in initiating the writing process, particularly for those new to essay writing. A model of how an essay outline is turned into an essay can take the veil of mystery off the process and give clear directions. Below, we present some outline samples for various kinds of essays that will be helpful for beginners to see how they can organize their work properly. Check each essay outline example carefully!

Narrative essay outline

Title: The journey to my personal freedom


  • Hook: Start with a compelling moment from the journey.
  • Background: Briefly set the scene of the story.
  • Thesis: State the journey's impact on your personal growth.


    • Paragraph 1: Describe the initial situation or challenge.

The setting, characters involved, and the challenges faced.

    • Paragraph 2: Discuss the journey's progression.

Key events, turning points, and personal reactions.

    • Paragraph 3: Reflect on the climax and resolution.

The moment of change or realization. Write how the challenge was overcome, or ask academic companies like Essaymarket.net to do that.


  • Restate the impact of the journey on personal growth.
  • Summarize the key moments of the journey.
  • Conclude with reflections on the experience and its lasting effects.

Argumentative essay outline

Title: The necessity of environmental education in schools


  • Hook: Present a startling fact or statistic about environmental degradation.
  • Background: Briefly explain the current state of environmental education.
  • Thesis: Argue that incorporating environmental education into the school curriculum is essential for a sustainable future. Such essay structure outline examples are very useful for newbies.


    • Paragraph 1: Present the first argument for environmental education.

Evidence and examples of successful programs.

    • Paragraph 2: Address and refute a common counterargument.

Use evidence to show why this counterargument is flawed.

    • Paragraph 3: Discuss the long-term benefits of environmental education.

Examples of potential environmental and societal impacts. Or you can reach out to companies like Speedypaper.com and ask for assistance.


      • Restate the thesis in light of the arguments presented.
      • Summarize the key points made.
      • Conclude with a call to action, encouraging the implementation of environmental education in schools.

Expository essay outline

Title: The impact of social media on teenage communication


      • Hook: Introduce an intriguing statistic about teenagers' use of social media.
      • Background: Provide context on the evolution of communication among teenagers.
      • Thesis: State that social media significantly impacts teenage communication positively and negatively.


    • Paragraph 1: Explore the positive effects of social media on teenage communication.

Examples of increased connectivity and understanding.

    • Paragraph 2: Discuss the negative consequences of social media use.

Issues such as cyberbullying, decreased face-to-face interactions, and misunderstanding.

    • Paragraph 3: Examine the role of parental guidance and education in mediating the impact of social media.

Strategies for healthy social media use.


      • Restate the thesis in this essay outline example, considering the discussed positive and negative impacts.
      • Summarize the key points about social media's role in teenage communication.
      • Offer suggestions for future research or policies on social media use among teenagers. As you can see, it is a typical essay structure for college students!

Descriptive essay outline

Title: A winter morning


      • Hook: Describe the first light of dawn breaking over a winter landscape.
      • Background: Set the scene more broadly, including the physical setting.
      • Thesis: Express the intent to capture the essence and beauty of a winter morning.


      • Paragraph 1: Detail the visual elements of the winter morning.

The play of light on snow, the shapes of trees and buildings under a white blanket.

      • Paragraph 2: Describe the sounds and smells of the morning.

The muffled world, the crispness of the air, and the sound of footsteps on snow.

      • Paragraph 3: Reflect on the emotions and memories the winter morning evokes.

Personal reflections, the sense of peace or nostalgia.


    • Restate the thesis in light of the described sensory and emotional experiences.
    • Summarize the key elements that define a winter morning's beauty and essence.
    • Conclude with a final reflection on the significance of experiencing a winter morning. Besides, you can always check the best services to delegate your essay outline!

Crafting a perfect essay outline

Creating an ideal essay outline is an important part of the writing process that paves the way for a captivating and well-structured work. By planning every section of your essay and ensuring that your thoughts are arranged logically, you set the basis for your argument. This preliminary step improves the clarity and power of your writing and makes the writing process more efficient and focused.


An essay outline comprises an introduction with a hook and thesis statement, body paragraphs, each with a main idea, evidence, and analysis, and a conclusion that reiterates the thesis and summarizes the essay.

When outlining, make sure that your ideas are arranged logically, that you maintain clarity and consistency in your structure, and that you are flexible enough to amend your essay outline as your essay progresses.

The essay outline is like a journey map for the essay, arranging ideas and ensuring that each part adds to the main thesis. It makes writing easier and improves the essay's unity and persuasiveness.