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The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing Essay

The art of writing well often seems a very mysterious skill. It is hard to answer why a particular combination of words may stir the audience’s emotions to the point when the readers believe the author completely, while a different arrangement of the same words only raises a few eyebrows.

Knowing what makes a good writing and especially a good undergraduate essay is crucial for not only getting a good mark, but also for succeeding in future by developing the skill of being convincing, as well as being capable of getting their message across: “writing is concrete and unambiguous” (Dr Sullivan’s undergraduate essay guide n. d., p. 2).

Although there are a number of factors that may affect the quality of an undergraduate essay and make it sound very impressive even if it does have a few flaws, unless the basic elements are included in an undergraduate essay, its author is doomed to failing.

According to the existing standards, to create a well put together work, it is crucial to bear such elements as conceptualization, methodology and the facts regarding the actual topic in mind. Taking a closer look at them will help define the key elements of an undergraduate essay.

The conceptualization is, perhaps, the first and the most significant stage of creating an undergraduate essay and, therefore, the key hallmark to be mentioned. Much like the process of brainstorming, the idea of conceptualization is related to linking key facts and ideas together in order to navigate within the research field relatively freely.

For instance, in an undergraduate essay devoted to the problem of influential people and the way in which these people have affected the author’s life, it will be reasonable to comment on the key aspects of a person’s life, i.e., the personal, social and academic one.

As soon as the author of the essay to be has a kind of a mind map created from the paper, it will be easier to tie in a number of ideas that might have seemed not quite compatible at first.

Though seemingly the least exciting element of an undergraduate essay, methodology makes a huge chunk of the paper.

While the body of the paper shows a step-by-step process and the conclusion displays what has been achieved and learned in the course of the research, the methodology section shows how it was achieved. Therefore, methodology is definitely a hallmark of a well written graduate essay. In addition, the research of the topic should be mentioned among the key hallmarks of an undergraduate essay.

It is remarkable that an undergraduate essay combines such demands as the necessity to follow the guidelines strictly and yet encourages that the author of the essay should be original and inventive in their method of representing the material. As Mounsey put it, coherence of the argument is “the most important part of the essay” (Mounsey 2013, p. 104).

The style is another important hallmark that clearly should be born in mind when creating an undergraduate essay. It is highly inappropriate for a student of an undergraduate level to joggle styles without actually knowing how each of these styles affects the writing.

Saying that styles cannot be mixed in an undergraduate essay is quite a stretch – to make the paper leave an impression, it will be required to resort to stylistic changes and highlight certain elements of the paper. Still, it is imperative that a student should know what each of these styles contributes to the paper.

The last, but definitely not the least, the references and their arrangement in the essay should be touched upon: “you will need […] to correctly reference your assignment” (Guide to assignment writing and referencing 2013, p. 11). As a rule, it is generally appreciated that the facts stated in the essay, and an undergraduate one at that, should be supported by a vast amount of evidence.

However, cluttering an essay with a ton of references to other people’s works brings the accomplishments of the essay author down a few notches.

At some point, it is important to make one’s own conclusion and even question the validity of an authoritative opinion; when providing articulate and reasonable justifications for one’s viewpoint, one is likely to land the essay on a very high note: “The clarity and progression of the argument being made should be of high quality” (WIF undergraduate essay guidelines n. d., para. 4).

If at least a single element is missing from an undergraduate essay, it is unlikely to become a success. The given rule is especially important to keep in mind for those who prefer to be creative in writing their assignment; indeed, it is rather upsetting to see a number of promising and inspiring ideas to be wasted for nothing.

While the content is the essence of an undergraduate essay, the arrangement of this content, as well as the tone and the mood of the essay, also plays a major part in the way that the target audience perceives it.

Once an undergraduate essay is written with all its key elements aligned in a proper manner and the major messages conveyed in a clear, concise and neat manner, the originality of the essay ideas will shine through, making the key messages more palatable and the paper more cohesive.

Reference List

Dr Sullivan’s undergraduate essay guide n. d. Web.

Guide to assignment writing and referencing 2013. Web.

Mounsey C 2013, How to write: successful essays, dissertations, and exams. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

WIF undergraduate essay guidelines n. d. Web.

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Barr, Adonis. "The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing." IvyPanda, 23 July 2019,

1. Adonis Barr. "The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing." IvyPanda (blog), July 23, 2019.


Barr, Adonis. "The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing." IvyPanda (blog), July 23, 2019.


Barr, Adonis. 2019. "The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing." IvyPanda (blog), July 23, 2019.


Barr, A. (2019) 'The Hallmarks of a Good Undergraduate Essay: The Art of Writing'. IvyPanda, 23 July.

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