Step 3: Construct an initial essay plan
After you have generated some ideas, it’s important to write an initial plan before you head for the library. This can feel strange—after all, how can you answer a question when you haven’t done any research?—but starting with an initial plan helps you order your ideas and focus your reading. Without a sense of which direction to head in, it’s easy to get lost in the research process.
This initial plan will be provisional and might consist of:
- a provisional answer to the question (or thesis statement)
- a brief outline of possible main points
As you research and develop your understanding of the topic, your ideas will likely change, and your answers may change with them. Try to see your essay plan as something that evolves as you engage further with your topic.
While it’s a good idea to write an initial plan before you start researching, if you really know nothing at all about the topic, some initial skimming and browsing through recommended or assigned readings can provide a few ideas. However, the initial planning stage is not the time for a lot of intensive or detailed reading.
What elements should an essay plan consist of?
A plan should indicate the answer to the question. A clear and well-written thesis statement will help you to determine the direction and structure of your argument.
What is a thesis statement?
- a clear and direct answer to the essay question
- a claim that can be discussed and expanded further in the body of the essay
- one or two complete sentences
- part of the introduction
In the initial plan, the thesis statement is usually provisional. However, after you’ve done some research, you will need to work on your thesis statement until it is clear, concise and effective.
- Try introducing your thesis statement with the phrase ‘this essay will argue’ or ‘this essay argues’.
- Paraphrasing the assignment question can help ensure that you are answering it.
Once you have a thesis statement, follow it with a paragraph or a set of points that indicate the ‘reasons why’ for your answer. The ‘reasons why’ can be developed into the main points of your essay.
What are main points?
- Main points make up the body of an essay.
- Each point should be developed in a paragraph. These paragraphs are the building blocks used to construct the argument.
- In a 1000-1500 word essay, aim for three to four main points
In the initial plan, try to express the main idea of each point in a single, clear sentence. These can become topic sentences (the first sentence of each paragraph which establishes its central idea) when, in your second plan, you develop these points further.
Arrange your main points in a logical order and number them (is there one that would seem to go first or one that would seem to go last? Are there any two that are closely linked? How are the ideas connected to each other? Do the main points, when considered as a whole, present a unified discussion?).
A plan should follow the STRUCTURE of an essay (eg. Introduction, body and conclusion).
While you may not be ready to construct an introduction or conclusion, this three-part structure should be at least suggested in your plan.
For more about essay structure, see The Learning Centre's essay writing guide
A plan should include some indication of the sources you might use to RESEARCH the topic.
Make a few notes about how each main point might be developed. Consider and if possible, specify the evidence you might draw on and which texts you might refer to. Jot down titles, authors, page numbers etc.
A study plan is a well laid out schedule created by students listing their learning goals as well as study time. Similar to school and work schedules, students should come up with a study plan to help them effectively set times and days in devotion to their studies. Having a study plan is one important aspect that helps in an excellent organization as well as creating a sense of accountability in your learning process. Online learning students need a study plan for the purpose of instilling self-discipline and creating determination due to the absence of tutors and instructors who often act as reminders.
List of skills required for writing a Study Plan Essay:
- Why did you choose to study abroad in your accepted program?
This question allows for an explanation of the reasons why you wish to study abroad. It gives you an opportunity of explaining why a chosen destination is special and what attracted you there. It is a good platform of talking about a country’s valued education system and the cultural aspect that drove you to choose there.
- What is your utmost educational objective?
This question allows you to give your educational goal which may be an expansion of knowledge while taking postgraduate or masters degree or direct continuation of education after high school. Highlight your preferred filed study and reasons for choosing it and show how helpful continuing your education will be back at home. It is important on the type of job you desire and requirements for the filed so as to determine whether the plans for continued education meet up with your career objectives. Finally, you can explain why and how having your further education abroad will enable you to score your academic goals.
- Why are you not undertaking a similar course in your home country?
Here, you can say that studying abroad will help in improving your education. You may also say that your home country does not offer your preferred courses or the country you have chosen abroad have a perfect program that interests you. You can talk about the research you have taken to determine whether the program you want is offered in your home country or not.
- Have done research about studies in your country?
Here, you are supposed to base on various schools and programs offered in your country because your home country might have the same programs offered abroad. You will have to give reasons as to why you are choosing to study abroad and not at home. It is perfect to outline the difference between the education system abroad and home.
- Will the program you interested in enhancing employment opportunities in your home country?
Explain the job opportunities you have done a research on in your country and probably whatever interests you require a higher level of education than what you already have. You can explain how studying abroad will enable to get a specific kind of job back at home. You can state that after completion of your education, you will be able to apply for positions that deem you as unqualified without further education.
- What ties you to your country?
Here, you can talk about family, children if you have any or marriage to someone who is a citizen of your home country.
- What is your education history?
At this point, you are supposed to write on the various schools you have been to up to the present stating their start and end dates. You are supposed to give the full details of the schools attended and the programs completed in each of them. Your work history is also important where you can say the kind of jobs you have done and how helpful are they to your education.
You can finish your letter by summarizing the reasons for wanting to study abroad as well proving your educational goals. Don’t forget to thank the person on the receiving end.
How to write a Study Plan Essay | Statement of Purpose Writing Examples and Comparison
Students are required to provide a statement of purpose when applying for arts, science & engineering, law or medical subjects. These short essays act as support in the selection process where potential universities will have a chance to assess your English command, education goals, and motives. It is necessary to take heed of the below-given guidelines so as to provide a statement of purpose or study plan that will enable you to get a scholarship.
- Statement of Purpose Example for students from Faculty of Arts or Science & Engineering courses
The essay should range between 800-100 word count where you can clearly expound on various points.
The essay includes the following:
- Reasons for choosing a certain institution abroad
- How helpful the institution can be in achievements of your study objectives
- The positive influence the imparted experience and knowledge will impact your future on return to your home country
- Description of extra-curricular activities undertaken
- Study plan Example for Law or Medical Students
The study plan does not limit on length and it should include the following:
- Why you need to be a\on an exchange programme
- Your contribution to the exchange programme and your home country after returning
- A list of your planned courses at the institution hosting you
- Include any relevant information to support your application.
It is vital to note that both the science & engineering, law, medical and Arts subjects have similar demands for the short essay requirements. However, it is important to take note on their various emphases so as not to make a mistake when applying for any of the programmes.
What to Write and what to avoid in Study Plan Essay:
The Do’s of The Study plan Essay and Statement of Purpose
- To get a second opinion, show a trusted person such as family members or a friend your study Plan essay/statement of purpose.
- Be confident without blowing your trumpet.
- Ensure there are no grammatical errors, typos and other mistakes that might render you .penalized. You can ask for sample models where the institutions can gladly assist.
- Be realistic when it comes to your plans, choices, and achievements.
- Be enthusiastic and avoiding using cliché.
The Don’ts of The Study plan Essay and Statement of Purpose
- Take both essays lightly and assume it does not count. You should invest time in it and give it a good thought before laying down your points.
- Never exceeded the outlined length.
- Never ask the teachers to fully work on your statement. They can help in discussing and helping you to choose a university but not write the whole document on your behalf.
It is important to carry out a research and understand whether the institution of your choice has more information or specific instructions on how the statement of purpose /study plan should be carried out. Such information can be found on the university’s websites.
Also, make sure you find out whether the institution is in need of extra documents or anything that can be used as a tool for further assessment. It can be in form of a sample writing which can be used to test academic writing skills. It is advised to submit an essay that you had previously passed rather than writing something new and flopping since none of your teachers have assessed it.
Study plan for the undergraduate applicants
The plan should not be less than 800 words. It should touch on various factors such as the reasons as to why you are interested in the applied program. Also, it includes a set of personal ambitions and goals as will attach an evidence of activities you have been in charge. There should also be an experienced part which will make the study plan. The activities and experience should include the voluntary activities as well as the jobs done in the past. Finally, you should be able to show ultimate commitment to the set ambitions and goals.
Study/Research plan for Postgraduate applicants
The study/research plan should not be less than 800 words and should clearly state why you would like to undertake the program, research field and research plans which is related to your future study plan abroad. The research plan should include academic achievements, working experience, and any other relevant self-achievement you have previously achieved. It should also have a list of your ambitions and personal objectives. Previous experiences and activities which include voluntary services should be included as a demonstration of commitment to the ambitions and objective. You should not forget to add on target goals and future plans after graduation.