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10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Home » Blog » 10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Do you have an essay writing task? Are you looking for an example of essay writing which is the absolute best? We understand how essay writing can feel very daunting at first. It can take time to research, understand the material, plan what you want to write and have the creativity and confidence to produce the work. There are some great books for essay writing to help you out!

At Summer Boarding Courses, we recommend you take the time to work through the format for essay writing step-by-step. Many of our courses, including our Creative Writing Course at  Oxford College , can help you with this.

We advise you to keep practicing. Listen to feedback from your friends and teachers. Most of all, do not give up! Soon enough you will be able to deliver excellent work.

To help you become a better writer, it’s essential to have the best instruction too. Whilst you’re waiting for our Summer Boarding Courses to start in Oxford, why not read up on our favourite books on essay writing?

Here are our Top 10 Books for Essay Writing that will have you creating unique and captivating essays for your school assignments!

smiling student looking at camera out of focus students in background lowres

Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students  – Stephen Bailey

If you’re one of our ESL international students wanting help for essay writing at University, this is a great book to start with! We recommend reading this before you attend University in the UK as there are many an example of how to write an excellent piece inside. Many exercises are included that you can try, which is perfect for self-study in your own time.

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay  – Ethan Sawyer

Are you applying to a College or University? Do you need to write a personal statement ( check out our personal statement guide here )?

Writing your application to enter the school you’re dreaming of may be making you feel very anxious, but college counsellor Ethan Sawyer has written a fantastic guide to help you through it. He will help you bring your personal experiences to life and show you that this application is not too scary after all.

We particularly love his advice in answering these two very important questions:

Have you experienced significant challenges in your life?

Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

College Essay Essentials has lots of essay writing tips, tricks, exercises and real-life examples to reassure you. Good luck! You can do it!

smiling students sat in classroom working lowres

Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation  – John Seely

If you want to produce good essay writing, you need your English Grammar to be clear and correct. At Summer Boarding Courses, we understand that English Grammar can sometimes be very confusing and unintuitive.

For a clear, simple and easy-to-understand pocket grammar book, John Seely’s Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation is extremely helpful.

Whether you are writing a professional piece, a school paper or a fun personal letter to a friend, this book will give you straightforward advice – and it’s small enough to easily fit in your rucksack!

Study with us in the UK!

Take your English writing to the next level.  Find out more about our courses here. 

How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps  – Inklyo

Do you need a short and easy introduction to essay writing? We recommend you start with this. It is 58 pages long, not a difficult read and covers all the basics that you need to know. The authors take you through your essay writing step-by-step and help you minimise your anxiety, even if it is the night before your project is due!

We love their recommendation about how to make your instructor happy:

‘Demonstrate that you have understood the course material and write intelligently about your subject’.

A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing  – Dr. Jacob Neumann

Dr. Neumann is straight-talking. He believes that the plan for any type of essay is the same but how you approach essay writing is critical. The only thing that changes for each essay is the length and complexity of the project.

This book covers every aspect of academic writing for College, University and Secondary (High School) students. We love how simple, honest and clear his instructions are and believe you will complete your writing task much more confidently with his advice.

student pointing at work other student looking lowres

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing  – Gary Provost

This book may have been written in 1985, but it still a fantastic resource for the best essay writing! It does not matter if you are a student or an established successful writer. This easy-to-use guidebook will inspire you to write even better than before.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing includes many writing examples and plenty of straightforward writing tips. It’s also easy to dip in and out of. Read through it all in one go or pick a chapter or two when you are feeling inspired!

GCSE English Writing Skills Study Guide  – CGP Books

For our younger learners aged 14 to 16, this is an excellent guide for students to refine their writing skills in essays, non-fiction, creative writing and more. There are clear, helpful exercises throughout the book for students to complete and understand the best English topics for essay writing.

The content is also written for students studying GCSE English: if you are taking this exam, you’ll have a much better chance of passing!

How to Write Better Essays (Palgrave Study Skills)  – Bryan Greetham

We all want to be confident when we are writing our essays. This step-by-step guide will help you analyse concepts, consider different arguments about a subject, and argue your ideas well. The chapters are easy to read and digest and will show you how to research ideas, take notes, write productively in exams and be engaging in your writing.

laughing students relaxing with computer on sofa lowres

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present  – Phillip Lopate

It is by reading other writers, that we develop our own ideas and unique style. Discover how your own writing can progress and grow through gaining an insight into other writers’ minds and lives.

The Art of the Personal Essay is an excellent collection of essays, from old to new, that are highly entertaining, creative and reflective. Make sure to have this text on your bookshelf or in your bag, so that you can take it out whenever you are seeking inspiration for your next essay. Enjoy!

The Oxford Book of Essays  – John Gross

For the ultimate essay writing book, this is the collection of work that you need to read. There are 140 essays in here by 120 writers. You will find every kind of style; from poetry and fantasy to serious arguments. Some pieces are old, others are incredibly modern. Read through the essays at your own leisure, so that your ideas about how to write gently expand alongside your imagination and creativity.

Do you feel ready to write with our recommended books for essay writing?

Essay writing is an essential skill for English students but just getting started can be difficult! You will need to think about what type of essay you are being asked to write. You will have to plan your outline in essay writing – considering the introduction, the main body of the essay, an excellent conclusion and references.

Having excellent research skills, avoiding plagiarism, and making your essay stand out from the rest of the students in your class are key things you need to know.

We hope our recommendations have inspired you and lead you to writing excellent essays in the future. Good luck and get started. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Boarding Courses in Summer, where you can receive the best writing tips from our teachers in the UK!

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4 Books for Essay Writing You Need to Know About

It’s hard to write brilliantly without reading voraciously! To be a good academic writer and maintain writing skills, students need to accumulate tons of information and knowledge from reputable, authorized sources. And, given how unreliable the information from the web may be, the safest option to polish your writing is reading books by professional essay writers – from seasoned essayists, to young and talented writers from a popular essay writing service .

In this article, we’ll show you some of the best essay writing books available.

essay writing books for college students

“ A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing ” by Dr. Jacob Newman

Emphasizing the importance of a proper approach to the writing process as the key aspect of writing itself, the author contends that an essay’s success doesn’t lie in the plan or theme, but how you view the process of its development. Throughout the book, Newman teaches the reader how to find a professional approach to essay writing and stick to the right vector during the process.

“ 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing ” by Gary Provost

This incredible handbook was written in 1985 but still hasn’t lost its impact and popularity with writers. In this helpful source, you’ll find all necessary tips and recommendations on academic writing , an insider’s facts and suggestions, and other useful tricks you can use in your writing. In addition, this book contains examples of noteworthy writing pieces. Despite being deemed slightly outdated and irrelevant, the book has proven to be a great help in learning how to craft an outstanding academic paper!

“ College Essay Essentials ” by Ethan Sawyer

Acclaimed writing mastermind Ethan Sawyer introduces the reader to the fundamentals of paper writing, providing vital knowledge for successfully developing college essays. In his book, Sawyer guides readers through every key stage of the writing process, from introduction to finale, teaching them how to arrange their thoughts and statements into an accurate and comprehensive piece of writing. “ Essay Becomes Easy ” by the EssayShark team

Essay Becomes Easy is of the best handbooks to dissect academic writing to the bone! EssayShark, one of the leading writing services, offers you a hands-on guide on how to write like a pro and learn the intricacies of academic writing with the highest efficacy. With the professional insight from the experts of EssayShark, the process of writing gets easier!

In Conclusion

Expert handbooks on academic writing serve as useful tools for aspiring writers who are in dire need of guidance from acknowledged academics. With the ultimate list of essay writing books that we have covered in this article, you will sharpen your writing perception and obtain effective armor for crafting first-rate science papers.

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essay writing books for college students

Books for College Students: Your Ultimate Summer Reading List

essay writing books for college students

Among college students who participate in regular reading beyond their coursework, a staggering 90% report experiencing enhanced academic performance and remarkable personal growth. The impact of reading on their success cannot be underestimated. As you embark on your college journey, the books you choose to read can play a pivotal role in shaping your future.

Books for College Students: Short Description

In this article, we have meticulously curated an essential list of books to read in 2023. This collection spans a wide array of subjects and genres, all with the aim of not only bolstering your academic achievements but also nurturing your personal development. Within these pages, you will uncover invaluable insights, profound wisdom, and inspiration to embark on a transformative voyage of learning and self-discovery. So, join us on this literary expedition, and let these books become your steadfast companions in your pursuit of excellence and growth, creating unforgettable memories along the way with your best friend by your side.

Boost Your Reading: Books For College Students 2023

As you navigate the hectic world of higher education, finding time for leisure reading might seem like an elusive dream. But hold on because 2023 holds the promise of turning that dream into a reality. Reading isn't just a pastime; it's a powerful tool that can boost your college experience and personal growth. Beyond the academic rigors, immersing yourself in books can be a stress-relieving escape, a brain-strengthening exercise, and a vocabulary-expanding adventure.

So, let's make this year the turning point! Embrace the wonders of reading and kick-start the new year with a collection of the best books meticulously curated for college students like you. In this guide, our research paper writing service will explore the myriad advantages of reading, unveil our handpicked selection of must-reads, and provide practical tips to carve out time for reading amidst your busy schedule. Get ready to embrace the magic of literature and embark on a transformative journey through the written word in 2023!

The Power of Reading: Unveiling the Top 5 Benefits of Books

Embarking on a literary journey can unlock a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond the pages of a book. Whether you are an avid reader or someone looking to rediscover the joy of reading, the transformative power of books cannot be underestimated.

Books for College Students

  • Cognitive Enhancement : Reading books stimulates the brain, fostering improved cognitive functions such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and enhanced memory retention.
  • Stress Reduction : Delving into the pages of a book provides a tranquil escape from the stresses of daily life, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety levels.
  • Vocabulary Expansion : Regular reading exposes you to a vast array of words and phrases, enriching your vocabulary and enhancing communication skills.
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence : Through engaging with diverse characters and narratives, reading fosters empathy and emotional intelligence, enabling a deeper understanding of others' perspectives and emotions.
  • Lifelong Learning : Books are a treasure trove of knowledge, offering an avenue for continuous learning and personal development, even beyond formal education.

Recommended Books for College Students

While we all love a good pride and prejudice book summary , there's so much more to explore in this treasure trove of the summer reading list handpicked for college students. Within these pages, you'll find a captivating blend of savvy tips, inspiring insights, and thought-provoking topics that go beyond classic literature. Whether you're seeking guidance to navigate college life with finesse or eager to foster personal growth and broaden your understanding of the world, these recommended reads are an indispensable addition to your bookshelf.

Books for College Students

‘175+ Things to Do Before You Graduate College’ By Charlotte Lake

'175+ Things to Do Before You Graduate College' by Charlotte Lake is an exciting and comprehensive guidebook tailored for college students seeking to make the most of their academic journey and a fantastic source of graduation speech topics . Packed with a diverse array of activities, this book offers a myriad of inspiring ideas to enrich your college experience. From exploring new hobbies and joining clubs to undertaking internships and studying abroad, the author covers it all. Whether you're looking to create unforgettable memories, build meaningful connections, or develop crucial life skills, this book serves as your ultimate companion, ensuring you make the most of your college years and graduate with a well-rounded perspective and a multitude of experiences to cherish for a lifetime.

‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho

'The Alchemist' takes readers on an enchanting and philosophical journey through the eyes of Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd who dreams of hidden treasures. Written by renowned author Paulo Coelho, this timeless novel explores the pursuit of one's dreams and the significance of following one's heart. With profound insights on destiny, perseverance, and self-discovery, this captivating tale has inspired millions worldwide and continues to leave a lasting impression on readers, encouraging them to reflect on their own life's purpose and embrace the magic of the journey.

‘Educated’ by Tara Westover

'Educated' is a powerful memoir penned by Tara Westover, earning its well-deserved spot among the top 50 books that captivate readers with its extraordinary journey. Recounting her upbringing in isolated rural Idaho, Tara's relentless pursuit of knowledge and academic success defies all odds. Growing up without formal education, she faces numerous challenges, yet her determination leads her to prestigious universities and a transformative education. Through themes of resilience, self-empowerment, and the pursuit of truth, this gripping narrative offers an unforgettable tale of courage and determination, inspiring readers to believe in the transformative power of education and the strength of the human spirit.

‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg

In 'The Power of Habit,' Charles Duhigg unravels the fascinating science behind habits and their impact on our lives, making it an essential addition to any summer reading list. Drawing from cutting-edge research, real-life examples, and engaging stories, Duhigg explores how habits shape our behavior and influence personal and professional success. With practical insights on how to form and change habits, this book empowers readers to take control of their routines and leverage the power of habits to achieve lasting positive change. Whether you want to boost productivity, improve well-being, or enhance personal development, this insightful book offers a compelling guide to understanding and harnessing the power of habit.

‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman

In 'Thinking, Fast and Slow,' Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman takes readers on a captivating journey into the two systems that drive human thought: the fast, intuitive, and emotional system and the slow, deliberate, and analytical system. Through decades of research in psychology and behavioral economics, Kahneman illuminates the biases and heuristics that shape our decision-making processes. This thought-provoking book challenges our understanding of human rationality and provides valuable insights into how our minds work. As readers explore the intricacies of human cognition, they gain a deeper understanding of their own thought patterns and acquire the tools to make more informed and rational decisions in all aspects of life.

Books for College Students

‘Atlas of the Heart’ by Brené Brown

In 'Atlas of the Heart,' renowned author and researcher Brené Brown delves into the complexities of emotions and vulnerability, guiding readers on a transformative journey of self-discovery and emotional resilience. With her signature blend of storytelling, research, and empathy, Brown explores the myriad aspects of the human heart—love, belonging, joy, grief, and courage. Through powerful insights and practical tools, she encourages readers to embrace their emotions, cultivate empathy, and build authentic connections with others. This profound exploration of the human experience empowers readers to navigate the ups and downs of life with courage and compassion.

Eager to Absorb Knowledge Without the Marathon Reading?

Say no more! Grab your book summary, and let's dive straight into the genius without the eyestrain!

‘Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?’ By Dr. Julie Smith

In 'Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?' Dr. Julie Smith offers a refreshing and candid perspective on life's crucial lessons and practical advice that many wish they had received earlier, making it a highly recommended book for college students. Drawing from her professional expertise and personal experiences, Dr. Smith shares insights on self-awareness, relationships, career, and personal growth. With wit and wisdom, she provides practical guidance to help readers navigate life's challenges, make informed decisions, and cultivate a sense of purpose and fulfillment. This empowering book serves as a compass for young adults and beyond, guiding them toward a more meaningful and intentional life.

To get a glimpse of the valuable insights within, here's a brief book review example : 'Dr. Julie Smith's 'Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?' offers a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone seeking a fulfilling and purpose-driven life. With humor and heartfelt anecdotes, the author imparts valuable life lessons that resonate with readers of all ages. This book is a must-read for those embarking on their journey of self-discovery and personal growth.'

‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear

In 'Atomic Habits,' James Clear presents a groundbreaking guide to understanding the power of small habits and their transformative impact on personal and professional success, making it one of the best books to read for students. This exceptional book has sold millions of copies worldwide, captivating readers with its powerful insights and practical approach. By drawing on the principles of neuroscience and behavioral psychology, Clear explains how tiny changes in behavior can lead to remarkable outcomes over time. This young man offers a practical framework for building and breaking habits, making it easier for readers to adopt positive behaviors and eliminate negative ones. With actionable strategies and real-life examples, this book empowers college students to create a solid foundation of habits that propel them toward their goals and aspirations.

‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown

'Essentialism' by Greg McKeown is a powerful manifesto for simplifying life and focusing on what truly matters, and it's a must-read for college kids seeking clarity amidst the chaos. Emphasizing the importance of saying 'no' to non-essential distractions, McKeown encourages readers to prioritize their time and energy on activities that align with their core values and long-term objectives. By eliminating the clutter and noise that often inundate our lives, readers can free themselves from the trap of busyness and gain greater clarity in their decision-making. This book serves as a guide to unlocking a life of purpose, fulfillment, and greater impact.

‘Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World’ By Cal Newport

In 'Digital Minimalism,' Cal Newport explores the concept of digital decluttering and advocates for a more intentional and mindful approach to technology use, making it one of the must-read books for college students. Drawing on research and case studies, Newport highlights the adverse effects of constant digital distraction on mental health and productivity. He offers a compelling argument for regaining control over our digital lives by cultivating habits that prioritize meaningful and focused engagement while reducing mindless scrolling and digital noise. This book provides practical strategies to build a healthier relationship with technology, allowing college students to reclaim their time, attention, and overall sense of presence in an increasingly noisy world.

In the ever-changing landscape of college life, books remain steadfast companions, offering keys to unlock the doors of academic triumph and personal enlightenment. So, my dear college student, embrace the wisdom, inspiration, and knowledge within these essential reads, for as Mark Twain once said, 'The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.' So, let these books to read in 2023 be your guides to a fulfilling and successful college experience. And if you ever need help on how to write a reflection paper , you can always hire a college essay writer . Happy reading and thriving!

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Essay books for school students that are great for reference (November, 2023)

Essay books for school students that are great for reference (November, 2023)

151 Essays Paperback by SC Gupta

Up-to-date school essays, letters, applications, paragraphs and stories by s.s. bhakri and anand sagar, modern essays by arihant experts, junior's handbook of essays, letters, paragraphs and precis writing by a k chaturvedi, school essays and letters by arihant experts, col essay essentials: a step-by-step guide by ethan sawyer, mtg 101 essays book, school essays, comprehension and letters for juniors by b.r. kishore.


Want to order a bunch of copies at a discounted rate? 

5 star.jpg

“A very helpful guide for all of those completing college applications, I couldn't recommend this book enough. It's entertaining, informative, and it includes detailed instructions and exercises to help you brainstorm your perfect essay topics as well as great examples of completed essays. It truly is a great resource to have in your writing arsenal.”

- Brenda Zhao (Amazon Customer)

5 star.jpg

“For every student out there who says they're not are great writer, doesn't know where to start, or doesn't have amazing things to write about (perhaps even a combination of the three), this is the book for you. And even if you're not one of those people but are writing your college application essays, this is still the book for you. Ethan's guide demystifies the "mystery" of the college essay. It helps readers discover who they are and find fresh, unique ways to write about it in their personal statement. The true gems of the book are the beautiful essays Ethan encloses and the commentary he includes to show what makes them so memorable. The analysis has made me look at writing my essays in a completely different way; rather than writing for the sake of writing, I write with an intent and a purpose, communicating essential values and qualities about me within each paragraph. I write in a way that garners the reader's attention - one that makes them stop and think and ponder and perhaps even reflect upon themselves. In essence, this book has transformed writing college essays from a grueling and daunting activity to a rewarding art and a craft.”

- Curt H. (Amazon Customer)

Let the College Essay Guy help you write your college admission essay.

Packed with brainstorming activities, personal statement samples and more, this book provides a clear roadmap to writing your best admission essay.

Writing a college admission essay doesn't have to be stressful. I will show you that there are only four (really, four!) types of college admission essays. And all you have to do to figure out which type is best for you is answer two simple questions:

1. Have you experienced significant challenges in your life? 2. Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

With these questions providing the building blocks for your essay, I’ll guide you through the rest of the process, from choosing a structure to revising your essay, and answers the big questions that have probably been keeping you up at night: “How do I brag in a way that doesn't sound like bragging?” and “How do I make my essay, like, deep?”

College Essay Essentials  will help you with:

The best brainstorming exercises

Choosing an essay structure

The all-important editing and revisions

Exercises & tools to help you get started or get unstuck

College admission essay examples

Packed with tips, tricks, exercises, and sample essays from real students who got into their dream schools,  College Essay Essentials  is the only college essay guide to make this complicated process logical, simple, and (dare I say it?) a little bit fun. The perfect companion to  The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020/2021 . For high school counselors and college admission coaches, this is an essential book to help walk your students through writing a stellar, authentic college essay.

5 star.jpg

”It gives you activities to help students brainstorm for their essays and clear writing strategies to help students. He takes a complicated process and makes it simple. Thank you Ethan!”

- Sarah M. (College counselor)

4 star.jpg

“Even as an experienced college admissions consultant who already felt capable in guiding students through the essay-writing process, I learned a lot and discovered many tools I can use. Ethan's coverage of the "montage structure" is especially helpful. For a student who is willing to really put in some time and work, it would be hard to beat this book.”

- Big Tex (Amazon Customer)

Here are some questions I answer in this book:

How do I figure out what to write about?

How do I structure my essay?

Is there a step-by-step process for writing the essay?

Are any topics off-limits?

How much sharing is too much?

How do I revise my essay?

How do I make my essay not-boring?

Any tips for how to start the essay?

How do I demonstrate my intelligence?

How do I brag in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m bragging?

How to do I make my essay, like, deep?

How do I end my essay?

How do I write a great last line?

How do I make my essay amazing?

How do I know if my essay is good?

What do I do if my essay is just “okay”?

Should I share my essay? With how many people? When? 

essay writing books for college students


What other people are saying.

IT’S THE REASON WE GOT ACCEPTED SINCE OUR TEST SCORES WEREN’T THE BEST. |   ★★★★★ - “I'm writing to you to thank you, specifically for your book, College Essay Essentials. My twin brother and I were just accepted to Dartmouth College Class of 2022 and it wouldn't have been possible without your help. Your book revolutionized the way we both wrote and I think it's the reason we got accepted since our test scores weren't the best. Additionally, your words struck a chord within me and I want to be someone like you, who makes the essay writing portion fun and adventurous just like you did for me. I'm certain you get many emails like this and I just wanted to let you know that you changed our lives for the better.” – Anonymous Emailer

this is the BEST |   ★★★★★

"I purchased 3 different college essay books and by far, this is the BEST and really provides a step by step approach for students to come up with ideas to write a college essay based on two questions - if you have faced challenges or not and if you know what you want to do for career or not. Most other books focus on the basics or what not to write and to write from your heart and make it personal - this goes in a lot more details than any other book I've come across. Definitely a great book to have as reference. "

-Mom of Two, Amazon Customer

Ethan Sawyer is the College Essay Guy   |   ★★★★★

“That kind of says it all. While he may have named himself that, he has earned the title. His passion for writing essays that is conveyed in this book, will help any student get through the somewhat stressful and daunting process with fun and ease. As a college counselor, I have used some of Ethan’s methods to help my own clients write their essays. The great thing about this book is that it brings the College Essay Guy and his methods, brainstorming exercises, structures and ideas to everyone. Ethan is inspirational and College Essay Essentials is a must have for any student (or counselor) who is looking to be inspired to write a successful college admissions essay.”

– gonzo14, Amazon Customer

Magic Bullet for College Essays  |  ★★★★★

“College Essay Essentials is a close to a "magic bullet" that students are going to find to help them produce meaningful and powerful college essays. Besides being an easy to follow, step-by-step guide, Ethan Sawyer injects the right amount of humor to make the essay writing process fun and rewarding. Following the advice in the book will not just produce thoughtful writing, but if done right, will allow the students to really get to know themselves on a deeper level. After all, the college process is as much about getting to "know thyself" as it is about getting into and going to college!” 

–C.B. McMeekan

I absolutely love this book   |  ★★★★★

"I read about 10 different books on writing essays for college applications to help prepare my son for his senior year. This book was by FAR the best. I had my son read it (the only one I had him read) and he grudgingly agreed to work through the process that Ethan lays out in the book. The step by step approach was instrumental in helping him figure out how to structure his essay and what sorts of topics might lend themselves to an effective essay. It was brief enough that he could read it, get it, and then utilize it for his essays in short order. If you are just getting started on the application process, you might really appreciate this point. I know we did.

Now that the apps are in, he is hearing back. All acceptances so far (6 schools with 8 still to go) and multiple merit financial aid awards that I attribute, at least in part, to the strength of the essay he managed to write. The process is laid out nicely for me to help him get to his deepest story, an essential piece of the essay that MUST be done in order for the essay to be effective at setting the student apart from others.” 

–JohnP387, Amazon User

An Essential Source for College Essay Writing Advice   |  ★★★★★

“Ethan Sawyer has managed to distill all the wonderful information he provides in his classes and consultations into this highly informative and entertaining book. The only thing missing is the twinkle in his eyes as he connects with his audience! I highly recommend this book to parents, students and college counseling professionals who want to help students write compelling essays as part of the college admissions process. The exercises are engaging, and the step-by-step instructions are designed to create deep and insightful essays. I have tried these tips with my students, and they work extremely well.” 

–Wendie Lubick

If there's one book you need, this is it.   |   ★★★★★

“This is THE BOOK for writing your college essay. It has everything I need, from planning my essay to specific strategies on structure and idea implementation. It's also very easy to read and formatted very neatly, with great annotation space and well-organized chapters. But what I love about this book most is its ability to help me find myself in the process - instead of churning out a formula for writing a solid essay, this book helps you dig deep into the things which are truly important to you with thought-provoking questions and brainstorm strategies. I felt like the author was sitting next to me, probing my brain and asking me questions about my life and the threads that connect the different themes in my life. If you want to write a college essay that is personal, insightful, and truly revealing, this is the book for you.”

–pinendlz, Amazon User

essay writing books for college students

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essay writing books for college students

  • Written by: Katherine O. Acheson
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815517 / 1554815517
  • 232 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Writing Essays About Literature: A Brief Guide for University and College Students – Second Edition

  • Description
  • Authors/Editors
  • Key Features

This book gives students an answer to the question, “What does my professor want from this essay?” Using a single poem by William Carlos Williams as the basis for the process of writing a paper, it walks students through the processes of reading, brainstorming, researching secondary sources, gathering evidence, and composing and editing the paper.

Writing Essays About Literature is designed to strengthen argumentation skills and deepen understanding of the relationships between the reader, the author, the text, and critical interpretations. Its lessons about clarity, precision, and the importance of providing evidence will have wide relevance for student writers. The second edition has been updated throughout and provides three new complete sample essays showing varying approaches to the final essay.

“I’ve been using Writing Essays About Literature in my courses for years now because it is by far the clearest, most direct, and most engaging explanation of the processes of literary analysis. It explains through demonstration, taking readers through each step with the genuine curiosity we want to encourage in our students. The revisions to the second edition clarify the steps students struggle with most: developing the thesis statement as part of the introduction and then revising the thesis after writing the body of the essay.” — Kylee-Anne Hingston, St. Thomas More College

“I was especially impressed by the lively and approachable authorial voice in Writing Essays About Literature . Where students might be accustomed to start with a thesis and write an essay straight through from beginning to end, the book demonstrates a more nuanced writing process that is both inductive and recursive. It gives students the tools to do higher-level research and thinking, and it concludes with sample essays that model those outcomes.” — Sunny Stalter-Pace, Auburn University

Praise for the first edition

“I am a student studying English and American Studies, and this may be a bit unorthodox, but I wanted to say that Writing Essays About Literature was one of the best textbooks I have ever read … You have done a brilliant job making essay-writing easy, structured, and actually enjoyable!” — Lauren Gaylor, University of Kansas

Section One: Introduction

  • Communication
  • Subjectivity
  • How to Use This Book
  • Review Questions

Section Two: Research and Analysis

  • Taking Notes about Literature
  • Do I Like the Work?
  • What Words Stand Out?
  • What Feelings Does It Give Me?
  • Do I Identify with Any of the People Represented?
  • Is There Anything about How It’s Written That Stands Out?
  • What Is the Work about?
  • Definitions
  • Examples of Usage
  • Scholarly Editions
  • Encyclopedias
  • Topics for Research: Social Phenomena and Literary Movements
  • Useful Resources
  • Using Your Findings
  • Assessing Publications
  • Using Bibliographies
  • Reading Critical Works
  • Taking Notes from Critical Readings
  • Reviewing Your Labeled Evidence
  • Categorizing Your Evidence
  • Charting Your Evidence

Section Three: Composition

  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Writing the Subtopic Sentences
  • Composing the Body of the Introduction
  • Concluding the Introduction
  • A Variation: An Essay without Secondary Sources
  • The Body Paragraphs
  • Features of Strong Paragraphs
  • The Conclusion
  • Revising the Introduction

Section Four: Polish and Presentation

  • Connecting Words
  • Apostrophes
  • Demonstrative Pronouns
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Comma Splices
  • Sentence Fragments
  • Subordinating Conjunctions
  • Conjunctive Adverbs
  • Documentation Practices
  • Layout and Order
  • Illustrations
  • Exemplary Illustrations
  • Complementary Illustrations
  • Supplementary Illustrations
  • Last-Minute Checks

Section Five: Conclusion and Review

  • Collecting Evidence (Chapters 2-5)
  • Categorizing Evidence (Chapter 6)
  • Writing Your Thesis Statement (Chapter 7)
  • Troubleshooting the Thesis Statement (Chapter 7)
  • Writing the Body Paragraphs (Chapter 8)
  • Concluding Your Essay (Chapter 8)
  • Proofreading (Chapter 9)
  • Documentation and Presentation (Chapter 10)

Sample Essay One

Sample Essay Two

Sample Essay Three

Works Cited

Permissions acknowledgment

Subject Index

Katherine O. Acheson is Professor of English at the University of Waterloo and the editor of the Broadview Edition of Lady Anne Clifford’s Memoir of 1603 and Diary of 1616–19 .

  • • Enthusiastic, encouraging tone and lively, direct language
  • • Makes repeated reference to William Carlos Williams’s “This Is Just To Say” as the basis for the process of writing a paper about a piece of literature
  • • Walks students through the processes of reading, brainstorming, researching secondary sources, gathering evidence, and composing and editing a paper
  • • Focus is on the strengthening of argumentation skills with particularly fine guidance in close reading and gathering evidence
  • • Step-by-step instructions on building arguments from evidence
  • • Clarifies the relationships between the reader, author, text, and critical interpretations
  • • Includes review questions, exercises, and discussion topics
  • • Includes a summary of the writing process at the end of the book
  • • New edition includes three complete sample essays showing different theoretical approaches in practice

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Best books on writing college essays? Answered

I'm working on my essays and though I am looking at essay samples, I still feel a little lost. Any good books on writing essays?

Earn karma by helping others:

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe is incredibly good in telling you what to do. Although it is just 50 more samples, they give structured feedback on why they are good and even why they are bad. Hack the College Essay by John Dewis is equally good because although it is short, it helps you brainstorm ideas while also giving you examples on how to write college essays.

If you want general writing improvement, I highly recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. Whatever edition works but even though it is entirely about grammar and how to remove fluff, it is not boring as he incorporates jokes and sometimes passive aggressive remarks that makes it entertaining. Also read autobiographies like Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. They help you learn how to use imagery and can even teach you some useful vocabulary.

Hi there! I don't know of any books in particular, but our ultimate guide to college essays may be helpful: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-your-college-essay-the-ultimate-step-by-step-guide/.

It's a compilation of blog posts on the entire process of writing essays, including why they're important, the different types of essays, how to format and structure your essay, and successful examples.

Hope this helps!

I strongly recommend "50 Successful Harvard Application Essays.". It is a great one for breaking down and analyzing the college application essays with a good variety of successful Harvard accepted applications.

Writing college essays can be a daunting task. It's important to know what the expectations are and what resources are available to help you create a successful essay. To that end, there are a number of great books available to help you learn the craft of writing superior college essays. I have read a lot of essay books, but sometimes I ask for help here norfolkhomelearning.com These books contain essential advice, tips, and strategies to help you craft an essay that will stand out from the crow

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Essay Writing: The Small Book of Big Tips for First-Year Liberal Arts Students

By Margaret Cake

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About this ebook

Essay-writing advice and instructions for first-year college students from former university tutor (and college-course addict) Margaret Cake. A helpful and quick read! Priced low for students.

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essay writing books for college students

The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Killing It At School

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All About Summaries

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Find Your Inner Swot

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My Kid Can’t Write an Essay Without Having a Meltdown

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Kill With Your Critique … the Good Way

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Creative Convalesence

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Seize The Day

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essay writing books for college students

Aim For The Target

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I’m not normally a fan of targets. Back when I had a ‘day job’ (my current job has no such parameters – I write at all hours, even in my head) and being told I had to reach such-and-such an achievement by such-and-such a time was something that didn’

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How To Be A Good critique Partner

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What Not to Expect From a Grad School Workshop

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Pitch Perfect

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essay writing books for college students

New Year, New Goals

Nov 14, 2020

Well, January is going to be the month you start. Sound good? Here’s how to apply some structure to the situation. Ask yourself: What’s stopping me from writing this? Fear? Is it not knowing where to start? Not knowing how to start? If it’s fear: Loo

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The Time and Energy Game

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Ways To Level Up

essay writing books for college students

Edit Like a Surgeon

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Most writers know the importance of self-editing their work before submitting it to an editor or publisher. However, even established writers sometimes struggle to understand exactly what the editing process should entail, and how to know when they’r

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How to Deal With a Nightmare Edit

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Comprehension Tests

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Now, Where Was I?

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essay writing books for college students

Notes From The Margins

Welcome to Notes From the Margins, WD’s new column about the traditional book publishing business. In this column, we’ll consider the ins and outs of how books are made and what book editors really do all day. We’ll cover topics such as comp titles,

essay writing books for college students

GOING ONLINE: How To Run Your Own Digital Writing Workshops PART 2

Apr 1, 2021

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Reading & Phonics

Reviews for Essay Writing

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  • Rebesweety Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 Direct, very well explained, brilliant examples (the fact that it was explained with one author and one subject in particular, made it far much easier to understand) Read more

Book preview

Essay writing - margaret cake.

I have been taking college courses for 22 years. I have taken more than 100 liberal arts classes and have written about twice as many essays. Yes, that is weird, but the fact remains that after almost three undergraduate university degrees (I’m just about finished my third), I know how to put together an A+ essay.

In the early days, I did fail, and quite miserably. I didn’t do well in high school, and my poor study habits resulted in bad grades during my first few years of college. But over time, I figured out how to write a solid essay – and to do it every time. I know what makes a professor happy; and I know where they’ll give points or take them away.

It’s not just dazzling content that will impress your professors. You must also pay attention to form. If you’re serious about becoming a B or an A-range student, I can get you started.

You can get good grades

If you are willing to follow my instructions and put in the effort, you will be able to achieve decent grades and you will steadily improve with each essay you write.

Remember: this book is about more than just the content of your essay. It’s also about the presentation, your work ethic, and how to make a favourable impression on your professor from the get-go.

If you want the odds to be in your favour from the start, here

Books for Academic Writing

Writing for academic and work purposes is a developing skill, and most of all, a practical one. For this reason, it is not always easy to develop this skill just by writing on your own. Ideally you will need a lot of feedback from your tutors, friends and colleagues, and a lot of writing practice, in order to develop your skills and to improve them.

If you really want to develop your writing by working on your own, there are a number of books available to help you. It is certainly worthwhile dipping into these for reference purposes but don't allow them to become dominating. Remember that communication and regular feedback , above all, are the keys to success. Some books have very useful appendices and reference sections which will help you to develop your knowledge of how to construct an academic essay or assignment. It would be a pity to discount the use of books altogether, although no book will contain everything that you need to become a perfect academic writer (if such a concept of 'perfect writer' ever exists).

1. Why is it hard to develop writing skills on your own?

2. How to develop your writing skills?

3. Recommended books for developing academic writing skills

Why is it hard to develop writing skills on your own?

There are a number of reasons why it is hard to develop writing skills on your own. Some of these reasons are as follows :

  • Writing is an interactive skill , which relies on an audience (reader) to provide feedback ;
  • Written style develops as the writer reads more and gains more experience;
  • Writing can be a lonely, demotivating and unproductive discipline if it is undertaken in isolation;
  • Everyone approaches writing in a different way; there is no 'set formula' for writing an essay, dissertation or thesis;
  • Some people feel anxious when they write, or may experience ' writers' block', feeling they have nothing interesting to say .
  • Writing is a difficult process for anyone who has a disability such as dyslexia (although many students with dyslexia are good writers) .

How can you develop your academic writing skills?  

As well as studying writing from textbooks, it is worth trying the following methods for developing your skills:

  • Set up a blog, and get used to jotting down your thoughts and ideas quickly ¡V you may get useful feedback from other readers, which can be very motivating;
  • Get used to brainstorming, planning and writing quick first drafts. Any first drafts can always be polished up later on;
  • Read plenty of academic texts, and keep a written note of some of the turns of phrase that you particularly like;
  • Don't try to write like a famous philosopher. But being clear and interesting are two key qualities that you are seeking in your writing;
  • Try not to see writing as a personal 'secret'. Get used to sharing and exchanging you writing with others. so that you can gain lots of different views of your work;
  • No-one ever likes to be criticised. But be philosophical and accepting of criticism, and try not to be too resistant to change. Early criticism of your writing by peers, tutors and other readers with more experience than you will often make you into a better writer in the long run;
  • Make sure you know exactly what you are aiming for. Try to look at examples and models of good academic writing in your discipline, written by students as well as specialists. If you are doing a PhD, try to look at examples of theses in your discipline in your university library.
  • Try to familiarise yourself with the genre of your chosen discipline. Academics in education studies, for example, will write very differently from those in English literature. Be clear about the sort of style that is required when you are writing in your subject.
  • Try to avoid reducing your writing practice sessions to IELTS practice tests. If you do, not many people will enjoy reading your work very much. Try to write about something interesting, with a real audience in mind, and in a way that you think they will find interesting.

If you are a post-doctoral writer, send off a paper for publication and see what happens! Even if your paper is rejected, which it may be, you will still get some useful feedback that will help you in the future.

Recommended books for developing academic writing skills

We particularly recommend the books below. Many of them are the sort of books that are used in class with the teacher, but all of them are widely available. And all of them contain references, examples and models that may help you to write better English.

Bailey. S. 2015. Academic Writing : A Handbook for International Students . London and New York: Routledge.

This is the book that we recommend for the Warwick pre-sessional course in English . It has a lot of useful practice exercises covering all aspects of academic English, and it has an answer key so that the book can be used as a self-study tool.

Craswell, G. 2004. Writing for Academic Success . Sage Publications.

This book provides some very useful suggestions on the process of writing, such as time management techniques, and also provides hints on writing theses and examination answers.

Murray, N. 2012. Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics , Cambridge University Press.

This is a clear and authoritative guide to essay essay, project and report writing at university level which we would strongly recommend. It will be of value to students as a self-study tool, both for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 'try it out' sections are particularly helpful for anyone wishing to develop their writing at a practical level.

Creme, P. and M. Lea. 2008. Writing at University: A guide for students . Open University Press.

This book is particularly helpful for familiarising students with what tutors are looking for in writing at university, and what is meant by 'critical' writing.

Jordan, R.R. 1999. Academic Writing Course. London: Nelson/Longman.

This book has been well used over the years but it is still very useful because it contains helpful appendices which students can be directed to for out-of-class study (for example, spelling, punctuation, irregular verbs, etc). There is a particularly useful section on linking words and connectors.

Hamp-Lyons, L. and Heasley, B. 2006. Study Writing. Cambridge University Press.

This book introduces you to a large number of key issues in academic writing, and has an answer key for the exercises.

Oshima, A. & Hogue, A. 2005. Writing Academic English , Addison-Wesley, New York

This book is a very popular classroom textbook for teachers, but it also has useful exercises that can be undertaken at home. It is particularly useful for looking at the structure of paragraphs, essays and longer texts.

Swales, J.and C. Feak. 2012. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Skills and Tasks. Michigan University Press.

This book provides some very good models of academic writing and some useful hints on academic style. It is especially useful for anyone who needs to write up a research paper.

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