Essay Timeline Example

Scheduling doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve spent months on a single eight-page paper, and I’ve written a term paper in the three hours before class (#regrets).

As you can imagine, neither of those are a great approach; if you take too long to write a paper, it eats away at the time you spend on other assignments. If you rush it, it’s not going to be as good as it could be. In both cases, I could have benefitted from a good college essay timeline. And if you’re struggling to finish your essays in the right about of time, I’m willing to bet that you could, too.

An essay timeline sets a series of mini deadlines before you have to turn your paper in. By blocking out when your research needs to be done or when you need to be halfway through your paper, you’ll be able to keep yourself accountable as you write. This one trick has made it so much easier for me to meet my essay deadlines.

Making an essay timeline doesn’t need to be a hassle. Below are three ways to schedule writing your college essay. Each is best for a different amount of time before your deadline, so whether you’ve got months or just a night, we have you covered. This post also comes with a free timeline printable to help you plan out your essay timeline! You can access the printable in our free Resource Library, which is password-protected; to get the password, subscribe to our mailing list!


A Note on These Guidelines

Remember that these are just guidelines — nothing more. When making a schedule for studying or an assignment, it’s important to always be flexible. These different options aren’t hard and fast rules; just rough guides that I’ve picked up from my years in college. Use them as rough guides for when you should have what done, and adjust them to your needs and work habits!

College Essay Timeline 1: When You Have Two Weeks or More

Congrats! With two weeks or more to go, you have plenty of time in your college paper schedule to make something great. Here’s the formula I use for writing a paper in two weeks or more.

Use about a fourth to a third of your time to do research and planning. If you’re writing a research paper, lean towards using a third of you time for this. If it’s an opinion editorial or a paper that requires less research, a fourth or less is fine.

Subtract a day for editing at the end. Use the last day of your time to edit the paper and clean up any small mistakes. If you don’t edit as you go, save two to three days for this.

Break up your paper into the days you have left. For example, if you have 10 days left over for a 10-page paper, write one page per day — easy!

So let’s say you have two weeks exactly to write a 12-page research paper. Take four days at the beginning to do research for your paper and make an outline. Then write about one-and-a-third pages every day until the last day, which you can use to edit.

College Essay Timeline 2: When You Have About a Week

So you have a week to write your paper. You’re in good company! Most students don’t start their papers until the few days before it’s due. Here’s a good sample formula to use:

Take two days in the beginning for research and planning, and about a half a day at the end for editing. Divide the number of pages in your paper by the days in between.

So, for an eight-page paper, use the first day and a half to prepare, then take five days to write the eight pages of the paper, and use the last half a day to edit.

College Essay Timeline 3: When You Have 48 Hours or Less

So you waited ‘til the last minute. With two days or less, you can still crank out a good paper, though you’ll have to spend most of your time working on getting it done. I find that when I have very little time left to write my paper, it helps to have a very thorough outline and then just write my paper in one go. So I spend the first day just doing research and making a very thorough outline, and then I spend the next day just writing straight through until the deadline.

Using these sample timelines as a rough guide for how to schedule your paper gives you mini “deadlines” until you actually need to turn your paper in, which in turn makes you more productive.

Do you use timelines for your essays? Let us know your method in the comments!

Sara Laughed

Sara is the founder of College Compass and an alumna of Wellesley College and Oxford University. She runs the popular blog Sara Laughed. Her greatest aspiration is to live a creative life fueled by love and coffee. Follow her onTwitter and Instagram at @SaraLaughed.

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Whether you’re in school or college, you will come to a point where your teacher or professor will give you an essay-writing assignment. For a majority of people who are not essay-pros, writing an essay is no less than an intimidating task. Taking help of well-designed essay blank outline template is a great idea. An essay outline is where you list down your topical ideas – one after another – following up with a suitable elaboration for each idea.

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How to Write an Essay Outline for College?

Students in college may have to write essays for their assignments every now and then. In order to write a great essay, it is important that their essay outline be an efficient. Using Scholarship Essay Templates  can surely help in simplifying this task. However, if you wish to write an essay without any assistance or without using an essay outline maker, here is how a proper essay outline can be written.

  • 1. Understand the topic and then list all the ideas that can help you in elaborating on the topic.
  • 2. Make sure that you have at least 4-5 ideas as these is what will be developed into paragraphs later.
  • 3. Look for proof for these ideas and state these references in the outline. These will later come in handy when elaborating on the idea.
  • 4. Add in a nice conclusion idea that reiterates on all the points without sounding too repetitive.

Write an Easy Way to Write an Essay Outline

Writing an essay outline helps you to pen down all the ideas that can be used in writing the essay. This ensures that you have all the points handy when you sit down to write the essay. Here is how you can easily write an essay outline.

  • Read the guidelines carefully and highlight all the important points.
  • Think of a topic that is interesting as well as informative.
  • Identify the objective behind this essay and what its purpose would be.
  • Once you start designing the outline, go ahead and start creating the structure.
  • Use number and bullet points to make the structure more decipherable.
  • Make sure that the titles of the sections and subsections are coordinated.
  • The sections should go on as Introduction, Body and Conclusion. You can add sub sections to these.

Purpose of Argumentative Essay Outline

There are a wide range of essay outline templates like Interview Essay Templates etc that help in drafting the perfect essay outlines including that for an argumentative essay. The main purpose of an argumentative essay outline is

  • To plan the structure of the essay
  • To list down all the possible arguments
  • To check out the references and include these that can later be helpful when writing the essay
  • To simplify the whole essay writing process and giving it a structured look.

Benefits of Essay Outline

Whether you are writing a Personal Essay a scholarship one, you can surely benefit if you have a perfect essay outline in place. It is because of these benefits that experts recommend to first create an outline before getting down to write the essay. The benefits of essay outline are as follows.

  • Helps in organizing the thoughts
  • Helps in ascertaining a proper structure for the essay
  • Proves useful in listing down all the proper references that would come in handy when writing the essay
  • Helps in demonstrating the thought process of the writer
  • Comes in handy for teachers when they need to know where the student lags

A proper essay outline template example will generally start with introduction on your topic followed by points & examples to be discussed in essay body -and finally you will prepare a gist on the discussions above for conclusion.


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