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How to Write an Essay Outline + Essay Outline Examples

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Writing an essay can seem like a daunting task, but one of the best ways to tackle this challenge is to organize your ideas into a well-structured essay outline. This guide will walk you through the process of creating an essay outline, complete with essay outline examples, to ensure your next essay is a masterpiece.

We’ve compiled a variety of essay outline examples to help you understand how to structure your own essay. We'll cover persuasive essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, expository essays, and even provide a sample research paper outline. Each example will provide you with an idea of how to lay out the structure and details for each type of essay.

Looking for a printable list of essay outline examples? Our printable PDF features essay outline examples and templates that your students can use as examples when writing research papers, or as a supplement for an essay-writing unit

Why write an essay outline? 

An outline serves as the skeleton of your essay, giving you a clear and organized path to articulate your thoughts. Not only does it make writing an essay significantly easier, but it also allows you to present your arguments coherently and effectively.

An essay outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them.

Student receives essay feedback A+ . Essay outline examples.

Types of essay outlines

Several types of essay outlines can be used when writing an essay. The two most common types are the alphanumeric outline and the decimal outline.

An alphanumeric outline typically uses Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters, in that order. Each level provides a different level of specificity. This structure is a very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay. It also helps you develop a strong argumentative essay.

Alternatively, a decimal outline uses only numbers, and each subsection is a decimal subdivision of the main section. This type of outline is often used in scientific papers.

Persuasive essay outline example 

In the following section, we'll explore a persuasive essay outline example on competitive swimming. The purpose of a persuasive essay is to convince the reader of a particular point of view or idea, using compelling arguments and evidence.

In this case, the argument is that competitive swimming is an ideal sport for kids. The essay will present a series of arguments to support this view, demonstrating the various benefits of competitive swimming for children.

Competitive Swimming, an Ideal Sport for Kids


Start your argumentative essay outline by stating your point of view and/or presenting your persuasive argument.

Thesis: Competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports.

Body Paragraph 1

Introduce your primary persuasive argument and provide supporting details in your argumentative essay outline.

Topic Sentence:   Competitive swimming provides the same benefits as other sports.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   It is good exercise and builds muscular strength.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   It promotes cooperation among team members, especially in relays.

Body Paragraph 2

Introduce a secondary argument and provide supporting details.

Topic Sentence:   Competitive swimming provides some unique additional benefits.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Swimming is an important skill that can be used forever.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Swimming poses a reduced risk of injury.
  • Detail Sentence 3:   Each swimmer can easily chart his or her own progress.

Conclude your essay writing with a summary of the thesis and persuasive arguments. Brainstorming details that support your point-of-view is a great way to start before creating your outline and first draft.

Concluding Sentence:   There are many reasons why competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports, including...

Narrative essay outline example

In the following section, we will examine a narrative essay outline example titled "How Losing a Swim Meet Made Me a Better Swimmer." Narrative essays aim to tell a story, often about a personal experience, to engage the reader and convey a particular point or lesson.

In this case, the narrative revolves around the author's personal journey of improvement and self-discovery through swimming. The essay will illustrate how an initial setback served as a catalyst for significant improvement and personal growth.

How Losing a Swim Meet Made Me a Better Swimmer

Introduce the subject of your narrative essay using a thesis statement and a plan of development (POD).

Thesis: The first time I participated in a competitive swim meet, I finished in last place. With more focused training and coaching, I was able to finish 2nd in the State Championship meet.

Plan of development:   I was very disappointed in my results from the first meet, so I improved my training and fitness. This helped me swim better and faster, which helped me to greatly improve my results.

Set the scene and provide supporting details. Again, start by brainstorming different ways to begin; then go ahead and craft an outline and a first draft.

Topic Sentence:   I was embarrassed at finishing last in my first competitive swim meet, so I began working on ways to improve my performance.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   I spent extra time with my coach and the team captains learning how to improve my technique.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   I started running and lifting weights to increase my overall fitness level.

Provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences to develop your general idea in your essay writing.

Topic Sentence:   Over time, my results began to improve and I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   My technique and fitness level made me faster and able to swim longer distances.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  I steadily got better, and I began winning or placing in the top 3 at most of my meets.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  My results improved to the point that I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.

Body Paragraph 3

The next step in the writing process is to provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences. You can then divide them up under different headings.

Topic Sentence:   With my new confidence, techniques, and fitness level, I was able to finish 2nd at the state championship meet.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   I was able to swim well against a higher level of competition due to my training and technique.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  I was no longer embarrassed about my last-place finish, and was able to use it as motivation!

Conclude the narrative essay with a recap of the events described or a reflection on the lesson learned in the story. Briefly summarize the details you included under each heading.

Concluding Sentence:   I used my last-place finish in my first competitive swim meet as motivation to improve my performance.

Descriptive essay outline example

We will now delve into a descriptive essay outline example. Descriptive essays aim to create a vivid and detailed description of a person, place, object, or event to paint a picture for the reader. The intention is to immerse the reader in the subject matter fully.

In this case, the essay provides an in-depth description of a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The essay will use sensory and descriptive details to create a vivid and memorable experience for the reader.

Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame

Introduce the subject of your descriptive essay with a thesis statement covering the person, place, object, etc. you are writing about.

Thesis: The Hockey Hall of Fame is full of sights, sounds, and experiences that will delight hockey fans of all ages.

Set the scene and provide factual details.

Topic Sentence:   The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada and features exhibits from amateur and professional hockey.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   The Hall is located in downtown Toronto and is visited by 1 million people every year.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   You can see exhibits ranging from the early beginnings of the sport to the modern NHL and Olympics.

Provide additional sensory details, descriptions, and experiences.

Topic Sentence:   There are many types of exhibits and shows, including activities you can participate in.

  • Detail Sentence 1:  Player statues, plaques, and jerseys decorate the walls in every room of the Hall.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Many of the exhibits have movies and multimedia activities that make you feel like you're part of the game.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  You can even practice shooting pucks on virtual versions of some of the game's greatest goalies!

Conclude the essay with a paragraph that restates the thesis and recaps the descriptive and sensory details.

Concluding Sentence:   The Hockey Hall of Fame is an experience that combines the best sights, sounds and history of the game in Toronto.

Expository essay outline example

In the following section, we will explore an example of an expository essay. An expository essay aims to explain or describe a topic using logic. It presents a balanced analysis of a topic based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.

For this example, the topic is "Why The School Year Should be Shorter". This essay will use logic and reason to demonstrate that a shorter school year could provide various benefits for students, teachers, and school districts.

Why The School Year Should be Shorter

Introduce the primary argument or main point of an expository essay, or other types of academic writing, using a thesis statement and context.

Thesis: The school year is too long, and should be shortened to benefit students and teachers, save districts money, and improve test scores and academic results. Other countries have shorter school years, and achieve better results.

Describe the primary argument and provide supporting details and evidence.

Topic Sentence:   A shorter school year would benefit students and teachers by giving them more time off.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Students and teachers would be able to spend more time with their families.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Teachers would be refreshed and rejuvenated and able to teach more effectively.

Provide additional supporting details and evidence, as in this essay outline example.

Topic Sentence:  A shorter school year would save school districts millions of dollars per year.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Districts could save money on energy costs by keeping schools closed longer.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  A shorter school year means much lower supply and transportation costs.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  Well-rested and happy students would help improve test scores.

Provide additional or supplemental supporting details, evidence, and analysis, as in the essay outline example.

Topic Sentence:   Shortening the school year would also provide many benefits for parents and caregivers.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   A shorter school year would mean less stress and running around for parents.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Caregivers would have more balance in their lives with fewer days in the school year.

Conclude the essay with an overview of the main argument, and highlight the importance of your evidence and conclusion.

Concluding Sentence:   Shortening the school year would be a great way to improve the quality of life for students, teachers, and parents while saving money for districts and improving academic results.

Sample research paper outline

Now let’s dive into a research paper outline. Unlike a typical essay, a research paper presents a thorough and detailed study on a specific topic. However, it shares the same foundation with an essay in terms of structuring the ideas logically and coherently. The outline for a research paper includes an introduction, a series of topic points that cover various aspects of the main topic, and a conclusion.

This research paper will explore the background of Mt. Everest, the major explorers who attempted its summit, and the impact of these expeditions on Mt. Everest and the local community.

The Conquest of Mt. Everest

  • Location of Mt. Everest
  • Geography of the Surrounding Area
  • Height of the mountain
  • Jomolungma (Tibetan name)
  • Sagarmatha (Nepalese name)
  • The number of people who have climbed Everest to date
  • First to reach the summit (1953)
  • Led a team of experienced mountain climbers who worked together
  • Norgay was an experienced climber and guide who accompanied Hillary
  • Sherpas still used to guide expeditions
  • Leader of the failed 1996 expedition
  • Led group of (mainly) tourists with little mountain climbing experience
  • Loss of trees due to high demand for wood for cooking and heating for tourists.
  • Piles of trash left by climbing expeditions
  • Expedition fees provide income for the country
  • Expeditions provide work for the Sherpas, contributing to the local economy.
  • Introduction of motor vehicles
  • Introduction of electricity

The Everest essay outline template is based on a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, 9th grade.

Happy writing!

Writing an essay outline is a crucial step in crafting a well-structured and coherent essay. Regardless of the type of essay - be it persuasive, narrative, descriptive, expository, or a research paper - an outline serves as a roadmap that organizes your thoughts and guides your writing process. The various essay outline examples provided above serve as a guide to help you structure your own essay. Remember, the key to a great essay lies not just in the content but in its organization and flow. Happy writing!

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Essay Writing Guide

Essay Outline

Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023

A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Jan 15, 2019

Essay Outline

To write an effective essay, you need to create a clear and well-organized essay outline. An essay outline will shape the essay’s entire content and determine how successful the essay will be.

In this blog post, we'll be going over the basics of essay outlines and provide a template for you to follow. We will also include a few examples so that you can get an idea about how these outlines look when they are put into practice.

Essay writing is not easy, but it becomes much easier with time, practice, and a detailed essay writing guide. Once you have developed your outline, everything else will come together more smoothly.

The key to success in any area is preparation - take the time now to develop a solid outline and then write your essays!

So, let’s get started!

Essay Outline

On this Page

What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is your essay plan and a roadmap to essay writing. It is the structure of an essay you are about to write. It includes all the main points you have to discuss in each section along with the thesis statement.

Like every house has a map before it is constructed, the same is the importance of an essay outline. You can write an essay without crafting an outline, but you may miss essential information, and it is more time-consuming.

Once the outline is created, there is no chance of missing any important information. Also, it will help you to:

  • Organize your thoughts and ideas.
  • Understand the information flow.
  • Never miss any crucial information or reference.
  • Finish your work faster.

These are the reasons if someone asks you why an essay outline is needed. Now there are some points that must be kept in mind before proceeding to craft an essay outline.

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Prewriting Process of Essay Outline

Your teacher may ask you to submit your essay outline before your essay. Therefore, you must know the preliminary guidelines that are necessary before writing an essay outline.

Here are the guidelines:

  • You must go through your assignments’ guidelines carefully.
  • Understand the purpose of your assignment.
  • Know your audience.
  • Mark the important point while researching your topic data.
  • Select the structure of your essay outline; whether you are going to use a decimal point bullet or a simple one.

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How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

Creating an essay outline is a crucial step in crafting a well-structured and organized piece of writing. Follow these four simple steps to create an effective outline:

Step 1: Understand the Topic

To begin, thoroughly grasp the essence of your essay topic. 

Break it down into its key components and identify the main ideas you want to convey. This step ensures you have a clear direction and focus for your essay.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Gather Ideas

Let your creativity flow and brainstorm ideas related to your topic. 

Jot down key pieces of information, arguments, and supporting evidence that will strengthen your essay's overall message. Consider different perspectives and potential counterarguments to make your essay well-rounded.

Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it's time to give structure to your ideas. 

Arrange your main points in a logical order, starting with an attention-grabbing introduction, followed by body paragraphs that present your arguments. 

Finally, tie everything together with a compelling conclusion. Remember to use transitional phrases to create smooth transitions between sections.

Step 4: Add Depth with Subpoints

To add depth and clarity to your essay, incorporate subpoints under each main point. 

These subpoints provide more specific details, evidence, or examples that support your main ideas. They help to further strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

By following these four steps - you'll be well on your way to creating a clear and compelling essay outline.

Essay Outline Format

It is an easy way for you to write your thoughts in an organized manner. It may seem unnecessary and unimportant, but it is not.

It is one of the most crucial steps for essay writing as it shapes your entire essay and aids the writing process.

An essay outline consists of three main parts:

1. Introduction

The introduction body of your essay should be attention-grabbing. It should be written in such a manner that it attracts the reader’s interest. It should also provide background information about the topic for the readers.

You can use a dramatic tone to grab readers’ attention, but it should connect the audience to your thesis statement.

Here are some points without which your introduction paragraph is incomplete.

To attract the reader with the first few opening lines, we use a hook statement. It helps engage the reader and motivates them to read further. There are different types of hook sentences ranging from quotes, rhetorical questions to anecdotes and statistics, and much more.

Are you struggling to come up with an interesting hook? View these hook examples to get inspired!

A thesis statement is stated at the end of your introduction. It is the most important statement of your entire essay. It summarizes the purpose of the essay in one sentence.

The thesis statement tells the readers about the main theme of the essay, and it must be strong and clear. It holds the entire crux of your essay.

Need help creating a strong thesis statement? Check out this guide on thesis statements and learn to write a statement that perfectly captures your main argument!

2. Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of an essay are where all the details and evidence come into play. This is where you dive deep into the argument, providing explanations and supporting your ideas with solid evidence. 

If you're writing a persuasive essay, these paragraphs will be the powerhouse that convinces your readers. Similarly, in an argumentative essay, your body paragraphs will work their magic to sway your audience to your side.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and no more than one idea. A topic sentence is the crux of the contents of your paragraph. It is essential to keep your reader interested in the essay.

The topic sentence is followed by the supporting points and opinions, which are then justified with strong evidence.

3. Conclusion

When it comes to wrapping up your essay, never underestimate the power of a strong conclusion. Just like the introduction and body paragraphs, the conclusion plays a vital role in providing a sense of closure to your topic. 

To craft an impactful conclusion, it's crucial to summarize the key points discussed in the introduction and body paragraphs. You want to remind your readers of the important information you shared earlier. But keep it concise and to the point. Short, powerful sentences will leave a lasting impression.

Remember, your conclusion shouldn't drag on. Instead, restate your thesis statement and the supporting points you mentioned earlier. And here's a pro tip: go the extra mile and suggest a course of action. It leaves your readers with something to ponder or reflect on.

5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure

An outline is an essential part of the writing as it helps the writer stay focused. A typical 5 paragraph essay outline example is shown here. This includes:

  • State the topic
  • Thesis statement
  • Introduction
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion that ties to the thesis
  • Summary of the essay
  • Restate the thesis statement

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Essay Outline Template

The outline of the essay is the skeleton that you will fill out with the content. Both outline and relevant content are important for a good essay. The content you will add to flesh out the outline should be credible, relevant, and interesting.

The outline structure for the essay is not complex or difficult. No matter which type of essay you write, you either use an alphanumeric structure or a decimal structure for the outline.

Below is an outline sample that you can easily follow for your essay.

Essay Outline Sample

Essay Outline Examples

An essay outline template should follow when you start writing the essay. Every writer should learn how to write an outline for every type of essay and research paper.

Essay outline 4th grade

Essay outline 5th grade

Essay outline high school

Essay outline college

Given below are essay outline examples for different types of essay writing.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An  argumentative essay  is a type of essay that shows both sides of the topic that you are exploring. The argument that presents the basis of the essay should be created by providing evidence and supporting details.

Persuasive Essay Outline

A  persuasive essay  is similar to an argumentative essay. Your job is to provide facts and details to create the argument. In a persuasive essay, you convince your readers of your point of view.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A  compare and contrast essay  explains the similarities and differences between two things. While comparing, you should focus on the differences between two seemingly similar objects. While contrasting, you should focus on the similarities between two different objects.

Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is written to share a story. Normally, a narrative essay is written from a personal point of view in an essay. The basic purpose of the narrative essay is to describe something creatively.

Expository Essay Outline

An  expository essay  is a type of essay that explains, analyzes, and illustrates something for the readers. An expository essay should be unbiased and entirely based on facts. Be sure to use academic resources for your research and cite your sources.

Analytical Essay Outline

An  analytical essay  is written to analyze the topic from a critical point of view. An analytical essay breaks down the content into different parts and explains the topic bit by bit.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

A rhetorical essay is written to examine the writer or artist’s work and develop a great essay. It also includes the discussion.

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A  cause and effect essay  describes why something happens and examines the consequences of an occurrence or phenomenon. It is also a type of expository essay.

Informative Essay Outline

An  informative essay  is written to inform the audience about different objects, concepts, people, issues, etc.

The main purpose is to respond to the question with a detailed explanation and inform the target audience about the topic.

Synthesis Essay Outline

A  synthesis essay  requires the writer to describe a certain unique viewpoint about the issue or topic. Create a claim about the topic and use different sources and information to prove it.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A  literary analysis essay  is written to analyze and examine a novel, book, play, or any other piece of literature. The writer analyzes the different devices such as the ideas, characters, plot, theme, tone, etc., to deliver his message.

Definition Essay Outline

A  definition essay  requires students to pick a particular concept, term, or idea and define it in their own words and according to their understanding.

Descriptive Essay Outline

A  descriptive essay  is a type of essay written to describe a person, place, object, or event. The writer must describe the topic so that the reader can visualize it using their five senses.

Evaluation Essay Outline

Problem Solution Essay Outline

In a problem-solution essay, you are given a problem as a topic and you have to suggest multiple solutions on it.

Scholarship Essay Outline

A  scholarship essay  is required at the time of admission when you are applying for a scholarship. Scholarship essays must be written in a way that should stand alone to help you get a scholarship.

Reflective Essay Outline

A reflective essay  is written to express your own thoughts and point of view regarding a specific topic.

Getting started on your essay? Give this comprehensive essay writing guide a read to make sure you write an effective essay!

With this complete guide, now you understand how to create an outline for your essay successfully. However, if you still can’t write an effective essay, then the best option is to consult a professional academic writing service.

Essay writing is a dull and boring task for some people. So why not get some help instead of wasting your time and effort?  5StarEssays.com is here to help you. All your  do my essay for me  requests are managed by professional essay writers.

Place your order now, and our team of expert academic writers will help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of outlines.

Here are the three types of essay outline;

  • Working outline
  • Speaking outline
  • Full-sentence outline

All three types are different from each other and are used for different purposes.

What does a full-sentence outline look like?

A full sentence outline contains full sentences at each level of the essay’s outline. It is similar to an alphanumeric outline and it is a commonly used essay outline.

What is a traditional outline format?

A traditional essay outline begins with writing down all the important points in one place and listing them down and adding sub-topics to them. Besides, it will also include evidence and proof that you will use to back your arguments.

What is the benefit of using a traditional outline format and an informal outline format?

A traditional outline format helps the students in listing down all the important details in one palace while an informal outline will help you coming up with new ideas and highlighting important points

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Parts of a Paper / How to Write an Essay Outline

How to Write an Essay Outline

It’s 11 p.m., your paper is due tomorrow, and you’re only about halfway done. You’re typing along and when you realize that, wait…you’re actually not a huge fan of your argument or the supporting examples you’re using. Your options are to haphazardly keep writing or to backtrack and rehash what you’ve already done. Ugh. Unsurprisingly, both options aren’t great.

This scenario is scary, but totally avoidable! Though it’s tempting to just start writing, one of the best steps you can take before you type a single word is to create an outline for your paper. By taking the time to write a paper outline, you can prevent the scenario above and make your writing process a cinch!

Guide Overview

What is a paper outline, why it’s worth writing an outline.

  • Step 1: gather your relevant materials
  • Step 2: create your thesis
  • Step 3: find examples
  • Step 4: analyze your examples
  • Step 5: arrange your examples

A paper outline is a skeletal version of your paper. Another way to think about an outline is to view it as a roadmap. An outline helps you organize and streamline your thoughts ahead of time. By front loading this work, you allow the eventual writing process to be much easier: instead of having to backtrack and see if your paper makes sense, you can refer to your outline and be rest assured that you’re on the right track.

It’s understandable if you think it’s not worth the time to write an outline. After all, writing a paper in itself is a lot of work – why add an extra step?

Here’s the secret: creating an outline and then writing your paper takes about the same amount of time as jumping straight into writing your paper. Why? By immediately writing, you run the risk of having to go back and see if the flow of your paper makes sense. Backtracking takes up a lot of time: having to go back and revise your paper because you missed a point can be a pain.

Taking the time to outline your paper gives you the space to see what arguments work, which examples to include, and more. Doing this prep work ahead of time prevents you from having to do it while in the middle of your paper. Your completed outline serves as a solid reference as you write your assignment. In an ideal world, your outline should be so thorough that the writing process is essentially just you converting your bullet points into sentences that flow together!

How to outline a paper

Step 1: gather your relevant materials.

The first step to take when outlining a paper is to gather all your relevant materials. If you’re writing a paper about a book you’re reading in class, start thinking about which passages from the book are relevant to your prompt. If you’re writing a paper about a broader topic, identify what sources you’ll need to construct your argument.

Pro tip: Avoid plagiarism and keep track of the sources you’re using at EasyBib.com! Easily create an APA or MLA format citation , try out our Chicago citation generator , and find help for other citation styles.

Step 2: Create your thesis

After you’ve compiled your materials, start thinking about your thesis statement. Revisit your assignment prompt, peruse your materials, and determine what your viewpoint is regarding the prompt.

Step 3: Find examples

Once you have your thesis, come up with ways to support it. Identify the quotes you need or the arguments you want to utilize in order to bolster your thesis.

Step 4: Analyze Your Examples

Write 3-4 bullet points connecting your examples to your thesis. The analysis part of your paper is the meat of your paper, so feel free to take as much time as you want during this step.

Step 5: Arrange Your Examples

Now that you have your examples and analysis, arrange them in a logical way that helps you develop and support your thesis. This is the step in which you can start copying and pasting your notes into an outline that mimics the flow of your paper. By the end of this step, you should have a solid outline!

Here’s a template for a five paragraph essay you can use for your papers moving forward:

Paper outline example

Before you jump into writing your paper, it might pay to take a quick look at our EasyBib grammar guides . Discover what an abstract noun is, read a determiner definition , see the difference between regular and irregular verbs , and get familiar with other parts of speech.

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  • Academic Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • College Admissions Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Research Paper
  • Thesis Statement
  • Writing a Conclusion
  • Writing an Introduction
  • Writing an Outline
  • Writing a Summary

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Alphanumeric Outlines

This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. The formatting follows these characters, in this order:

  • Roman Numerals
  • Capitalized Letters
  • Arabic Numerals
  • Lowercase Letters

If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions, use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.

What is the assignment?

Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.

What is the purpose of this essay?

To explain the process for applying to college

Who is the intended audience for this essay?

High school students intending to apply to college and their parents

What is the essay's thesis statement?

When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.

Full Sentence Outlines

The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

Decimal Outlines

The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.


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Essay Outline: How to Write It & Templates for Different Types

Essay outline

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An essay outline is a plan  that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas before you begin writing your essay. A well-constructed outline can help you ensure that your essay is structured logically and includes all of the necessary information.

Today, we will learn everything about essay outlines. Academic writing is challenging enough. So we would really want to ease the overall process and ensure that you’re prepared to write the best essay possible. Are you confused about how to structure your paper? Do you not understand the difference between different types of articles? The answers to all of those questions and even more points will be covered here. So stick around and get all the information you can possibly need!

What Is an Outline for an Essay?

What is an essay outline? It is a good question, and we are excited to answer it. In simple terms, it is how your essay will be structured and what things it might feature. You can include the following items in your structure:

  • Your general topic
  • Thesis statement
  • A number of paragraphs
  • Topic and concluding sentences for each paragraph
  • Resources or evidence used in your body paragraphs.

Trust us, following this list and ideas will save you a lot of time and help you in crafting a very good article.

Why Do You Need an Outline of an Essay?

Outline for an essay is crucial for several reasons. So here’s a quick list of why you’re writing and why research requires a good  essay structure example . It helps you:  

  • Develop a logical and well-thought-out piece.
  • Convince your readers that you’re making a valid point.
  • Save some time.
  • Don’t get lost in all the evidence and ideas you have for your paper.
  • Consider purchasing a college essay for sale in case this is too difficult.

Basic Outline for an Essay: Template

For starters, we wanted to give you an essay outline template. It is an effective way to make sure you have all the required points of a good article. By keeping everything organized, you will get our highest mark and develop a believable  argument . But, of course, here is the template and enumeration of all the sections you need:  

  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary or so-called synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

How to Write an Essay Outline

How to write an outline for an essay? That's a $1 million question that we will answer today. You should understand from the very beginning that writing or mapping out your structure will take some time. But don't let this fact discourage you because it will be worth it in the end. However, we have also prepared several tips for you in order to ease the process even more:

  • Research a topic before you actually start writing.
  • Consider a type of article you're writing and pick an appropriate structure.
  • Start outlining from the very beginning.
  • Write down your thesis and make sure it is bulletproof.
  • Provide some evidence you will use to support your argument.

Essay Outline Template

Our outline for the essay template will differ depending on the type of essay you will be writing. Interestingly enough, there are many types of academic essays you can consider. You can write an argumentative, persuasive one or a common narrative, or even an expository essay. As a result, choosing a relevant outline and structure will help you to distinguish our mentioned types and nail the one you’ve picked. Professional essay writers at StudyCrumb might help you with that.  

Persuasive Essay Outline

We will start with how to write a  persuasive essay outline  and the similar one is an  argumentative essay outline . You can find the structure itself down below. But we wanted to remind you of several things. Students often forget to cite their sources. So it is rather a good idea to include not only the evidence but citations and sources when outlining.  

  • Catchy hook to engage your reader
  • Background information  on your topic
  • Thesis statement (mention all points that will be discussed in body paragraphs)
  • Paragraph 1 with supporting evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Paragraph 2 with evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Paragraph 3 with evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Rephrase a thesis statement
  • Conclude all points leaving a final impression

Narrative Essay Outline

We also know how to write a narrative essay outline . This type of article tries to tell a story, and that is why it is called narrative. Our best stories will have a rising action, climax, and a falling action. But to time everything perfectly and make sure your readers are at the address of the receipt, outlining is your best friend. Besides, not to forget the information you wanted to include, our structure below will help you write a very good narrative article.

  • Scene setting
  • Mentioning your purpose of writing
  • Rising action
  • Climax (some epic event)
  • Falling action (conflict resolution)
  • Moral of your story or possible lessons

Expository Essay Outline

An expository essay outline is very close to our previous options. It includes the same points. So you also start with an introduction, follow with three body paragraphs and finalize everything with a conclusion. Trust us: the process of writing will be much easier with such structure. Hence, our key for a good essay is right here:  

  • Topic background
  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting explanation
  • Supporting example that backs up your topic sentence and explanation
  • Summarizing or concluding statement
  • Rephrase your thesis
  • Summarize and connect your key points
  • Leave a final impression with recommendations

Informative Essay Outline

Outline for an informative essay follows an already well-known structure. Don’t forget that your body paragraphs should have lots of details and relevant information. Each claim must be supported. Therefore, every article has a specific order that cannot be broken. If you don’t follow the structure, your argument may not be as strong as the ones following the given order.

  • Topic background (general information)
  • Supporting pieces of evidence
  • Transition and concluding statement
  • Leave a final impression with recommendations or future developments

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Compare and contrast essay outline  will definitely be useful. A lot of colleges and schools like this type of essay because this is a good practice of analytical skills. It is natural because you have a lot of information and evidence. Besides, you're comparing different items, and tracking them might be a challenge for everyone. Out of all essays, this one, above all, needs a good structure. So make sure you understand the difference between your subjects, include evidence, and focus on your thesis statement:  

  • Topic sentence 1
  • Subject 1: Detail 1
  • Subject 2: Detail 1

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Your rhetorical analysis essay outline is our last one, so we hope you’re happy. Just like you always do, include evidence to support your argument and do research before the actual writing. In our rhetorical analysis, you have to highlight the strategies and approaches the author used in their text. Therefore, the good idea is to use quotations from the text.

  • General information
  • Used rhetorical strategies
  • How well the strategy works in this example? Provide quotes from the text
  • Reasons behind picking these approaches and not any other

Final Thoughts on Writing an Essay Outline

Awesome job because now you know  how to quickly write an essay outline. A quick reminder before we wrap this up. You create an outline or write down the structure to keep track of all the information. Don’t forget that different types of academic papers and articles require their respective structures. So save this guide in order not to lose them.  


You can always rely on our essay writing service. Backed by unrivalled experience, our writer will be happy to provide you with the fantastic result in a timely manner.  

FAQ About Outline for Essay

1. what is the topic outline.

An essay topic outline is a process of arranging your ideas. This structure can show you the higher key or gradation of your main points. Therefore, you have your main point or argument and several sub-points. It is up to you to arrange them in order of importance and highlight the most crucial ones.

2. How long is an outline for an essay?

An outline for the essay doesn’t really have a fixed length. In many cases, you’ll be the only one who sees the structure. But if your research paper is around 15 or 20 pages, then your structure should be no longer than several pages. Normally, one or two pages are quite enough to include everything you need.

3. What are the disadvantages of outlining methods?

Outlining method for essays definitely has some disadvantages. So here’s a quick list for you to remember:

  • It takes time to write down and organize your structure.
  • It requires more thought and accuracy than common outlining.
  • It is challenging to find a format that will show all your details, including the relationships between your variables and points.

4. How do you capitalize an outline?

An essay outline also has its own format. In case you’re using a topic outline, you should capitalize only the first letter of the word that opens your heading. Of course, proper nouns are also capitalized. Finally, we don’t use complete sentences, so end punctuation is unnecessary.


Outline Example for Essay

So far, we have told you about the stages you should follow to make up a plan for your future essay. It is more convenient to have an outline essay example in front. This will help to create an effective plan and then compile a really good writing piece based on it. The main thing is to include as much information as possible into your plan; our outline template for essay will help you with this task. Don't forget to  buy essay now if you're still not sure whether you'll be doing this task. 

Example of essay outline

Mar 22, 2023

How To Make an Essay Outline (With Examples)

Ready to tackle that daunting essay assignment? A well-crafted outline is your secret weapon. Let's dive in!

Developing an outline for your essay is a fantastic method to keep yourself structured and keep track of everything you intend to include in it. Writing of any kind, from academic papers to artistic writing, can benefit enormously from having a strategy drawn up before beginning the process. Sadly, a great number of students and writers either need to be taught how to make an outline or are incapable of producing one appropriately. Our AI Essay Outline Generator can be a big help in this process, but it's still very useful to understand the process entirely before utilizing AI tools to make the process easier.

In the following sections, we will first provide an overview of the process of creating an outline, followed by specific directions and several examples of outlines for essays.

An essay outline serves both as a strategy for the essay you will write and as guidance while writing the essay. It will serve as the structure for the article that you expect to write. Included are both the thesis statement and the primary subjects that are addressed in each section. Before beginning work on a house, one needs to have a blueprint just as one needs a writing summary. It is feasible to write an essay without first developing an outline; however, doing so significantly increases the amount of work involved in the writing process and increases the likelihood of missing essential details. 

After the outline has been made, there is a way to remember everything. It will also be useful for: 

Get your thoughts and their contents in order.

Understand the flow of data

Keep track of a vital source or citation.

Wrap up your work quickly

 If anyone questions you, "Why do I need an outline for my essay?" you can tell them the following. Now, before you go ahead and begin crafting an essay outline, there are a few things you should bear in mind. Before you can even begin to write a summary for an essay, you need to have a firm grasp of the fundamental requirements.

Here are the guidelines:

There is a requirement that you read the instructions for your tasks thoroughly.

Grasp the point of your work.

Recognize your audience.

Keep marking as you gather information related to your topic.

Choose a format for your essay outlines, such as a basic bullet list or a more elaborate one with decimal points.

Writing an essay or study paper is much easier if you have an outline to refer back to as you progress.

What are the benefits of an essay outline?

It helps you maintain order in your study materials. An organized outline is a great way to organize your thoughts and determine where you should include your study or rationale in an essay. By laying out your evidence in this manner, you can verify the validity of your thesis. If you can fill your plan with examples that back up your thesis, you have likely chosen a good one. If not, think again.

It depicts a chain of reasoning that starts at the top and goes down to the details. The typical drawing format is alphanumeric. Specifically, they switch between using Roman numbers, uppercase letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters to emphasize various points and subpoints. Staggered bullet points and decimal outlines are two additional essays outline examples.

Being adaptable is made possible. You can write in complete sentences or use shorthand in your formal outline. The outline is not intended as a final draft but as a guide for creating the essay's material and discovering its best organizational structure.

Things to consider before writing an outline

The success of your outline and essay rests on the thoroughness of your investigation. You can do this by citing credible sources and providing examples to back up your claims. The best way to speed up your study will depend on your level of education.

Search results from Google should not be used as references in academic works. Since the Internet is rife with fake news, it's important to check the reliability of your source before citing it. Sites like Google Scholar , Microsoft Academic , Science.gov , Refseek, and Oxford Academic are examples of credible resources.

After settling on a subject and conducting the necessary research, you can begin crafting your outline. It needs the same structure as the rest of the essay, with an intro, body, and end. Have you ever jotted down a note you needed later but couldn't understand your handwriting? The material must either be more densely packed or written in illegible handwriting, contributing to this problem. Even if you're in a pinch for time, you should be independent of a sketchy outline. Therefore, you need to arrange your strategy to fit the structure of the essay. 

How to Make Outline for Essay

Outlining an essay is easy you can write an essay by following the outline and examples.


Useful methods to begin an introductory paragraph include anecdotes, proverbs, phrases, explanations, facts, quotes, and hard data. If you're writing an English essay, you can start by outlining the opening, which should include your thesis statement. The goal is to provide a roadmap, so keep statements short. 

Body paragraphs 

Each paragraph in the body should focus on one main point that reinforces your thesis and provide supporting evidence. Paragraph count varies with overall writing length. However, for the substance of a typical essay, you should plan on at least three or four paragraphs. Remember that each paragraph needs a topic phrase, at least two supporting ideas, and a connecting sentence.


This paragraph provides some background and a summary of all the essay's major points. The conclusion of a short paper needs only three to five lines.

8 examples essay of how to write an essay outline

Argumentative Essay 

Mountain Biking, an Ideal Sport for Adults

Putting forth your position and supporting arguments should start the plan for your argumentative essay.

Thesis: There are many traditional activities that young people can choose from, but mountain biking is a fantastic alternative. 

Body Paragraph 1

In the plan for your argumentative essay, you should state your main point and provide evidence to back it up. 

Topic Sentence:  You can get the same health advantages from mountain biking that you would from any other kind of sport.

Detail Paragraph 1: 

It's a great way to work out and gain muscle power.

Detail Paragraph 2: 

It aids cardiovascular activity and serves as a heart disease preventative.

Body Paragraph 2

Bring up an alternative point of view and back it up with evidence.

Topic Sentence: Mountain biking provides some other benefits too.

Learning how to ride a mountain bike is a forever skill.

Regularly riding mountain biking can help you gain muscle mass, tone your body, and improve your overall fitness.

Detail Paragraph 3: 

Riders of mountain bikes can readily track their improvement.

Write a conclusion that restates your thesis and briefly summarises your strongest supporting points. Before you create your outline and first draught, it can be helpful to brainstorm specifics that support your point of view.

Concluding Sentence: 

In conclusion, tell the reader that mountain biking has many advantages over other popular youth activities, making it a good option for adults. 

Narrative Essay

How Losing a Mountain Biking Meet Made Me a Better Mountain Biker

Your narrative essay's introduction should contain a thesis statement and outline of the paper's growth (POD).

Thesis: When I first tried professional mountain biking, I came in dead last. I would have placed higher in the State Championship Meet if my preparation and coaching had been more deliberate. 

Plan of development: After the first competition, I was so disheartened by my performance that I dedicated myself to getting in better shape. I was able to ride more efficiently and quickly as a consequence, which improved my performance greatly. 

Expand on your main point by including descriptive details, anecdotes, and examples in your essay.

Topic Sentence: Talk about your failure and how you felt after coming in last place at your first mountain biking competition, so you set out to improve.

Tell me about how you put additional time with my coach and team leaders to acquire new strength training techniques.

Talk about how you took up jogging and weightlifting to improve your general fitness.

Tell how your performance increased to the point where you could compete at the state finals.

Provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences to develop your general idea in your essay writing. 

Topic Sentence:  How you gradually improved to the point where I won or placed first in most of my competitions.

Because of your skill and conditioning, you increased both my speed and my range.

Results-wise, you progressed to the point where you made it into the state finals. 

Body Paragraph 3

The next writing stage entails adding more information, such as supporting details, descriptions, and encounters. Then classify them accordingly.

Finish your narrative essay with a brief review of what you've written or some thoughts on what you hope the reader will take away from the experience. Give a quick summary of the information you provided in each section.

After coming in dead last at my first mountain biking competition, I made it my mission to better myself for future events.

Descriptive Essay

Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame

Write a thesis statement introducing the person, location, thing, etc. that you will describe in your essay. 

Thesis: All categories of hockey fans will find something to enjoy at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

The first step in writing any good story is to paint the picture. 

Topic Sentence:  The Hockey Hall of Fame honours both the novice and professional levels of the sport.

Located in the heart of Toronto, the Hall attracts over a million visitors annually.

The museum features displays covering the history of hockey from its earliest days to the present-day NHL and Olympian tournaments.

Describe or share more sensory details, feelings, or information. 

Topic Sentence:  There are various interactive exhibits and performances to check out. 

Every chamber in the Hall is decked out in player memorabilia, from statues and plaques to jerseys.

A lot of the displays have films and interactive media that put you right in the action.

You can take on digital incarnations of some of the game's best goalies to further hone your puck-shooting skills.

Bring the essay to a close with a paragraph summarising your main points and the sensory information you've provided.

Visiting Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame is like being immersed in the game's greatest moments, stories, and memorabilia.

Expository Essay

Why The School Year Should be Shorter

In an expository essay or any other form of academic writing, the thesis statement and the surrounding context introduce the paper's major argument or main point.

Thesis: To benefit students and teachers, save districts money, and see better academic outcomes, the school year should be shortened. The school years in other nations are shorter, and their students do better academically.

Outline your main point and back it up with proof. 

Topic Sentence:  It would benefit both students and instructors if the school year were shortened.

Students and teachers would have more time to share with their loved ones.

Instructors would return to the classroom feeling revitalized and ready to impart their knowledge to their students.

Add more details and proof to support your claims, just like in this sample essay outline. 

Topic Sentence:  Having students spend less time in school would save millions of dollars annually for public education systems.

By having schools closed for longer, districts can save money on energy.

Lower supply and transportation expenses are just one of the many benefits of a shortened school year.

Detail Paragraph 3: Students would do better on tests if they received enough sleep and were generally happy.

Add more information, proof, and analysis to the outline, just as you would in an essay.

Topic Sentence:  There would also be numerous advantages for parents and guardians if the school year were shortened.

It would be easier and less time-consuming for families if the school year were shortened.

Fewer school days would allow for more work-life balance for carers.

Include a summary of your primary argument and the significance of your supporting evidence and conclusion in the final paragraph of your essay.

The quality of living for students, teachers, and parents would greatly improve if the school year could be shortened without negatively impacting district budgets or academic outcomes.

Informative Essay

The Effects of Climate Change on Our Planet

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today. With rising temperatures, changing weather patterns, and the melting of the polar ice caps, the impact of climate change is being felt across the globe. In this essay, we will explore the causes and effects of climate change and discuss what we can do to address this critical issue.

The causes of climate change can be attributed to a variety of human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These actions have led to a steady increase in the Earth's temperature, resulting in a range of devastating effects. One of the most visible effects of climate change is the melting of the polar ice caps. As temperatures rise, the ice caps are shrinking at an alarming rate, which is causing sea levels to rise. This, in turn, is leading to more frequent and severe flooding in coastal areas around the world. Another effect of climate change is the changing weather patterns. As the Earth's temperature rises, we are experiencing more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and heat waves. These events can cause significant damage to property and put lives at risk. Finally, climate change is having a significant impact on the world's ecosystems. Many plant and animal species are being pushed to the brink of extinction due to changes in their habitats and food sources.

In conclusion, climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing our planet today. The causes are clear, and the effects are being felt across the globe. However, there is still time to act. By reducing our carbon footprint, investing in renewable energy sources, and taking steps to protect our natural resources, we can help mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure a better future for generations to come.

Admissions essays

Thank you! Mr Sato. 

In the intro, tell the readers that Mr Sato was your English teacher and because of her expertise in the field, you got your degree in English. 

Thesis: Then tell the reader that your decision to major in English during your senior year of high school profoundly affected your outlook on life. Because learning English can be challenging for native Japanese learners.

After this, give an account of your experiences in English class and how you felt like giving up.

Tell about how Sato Sensei urged you to stick with the Japanese rather than give up and learn something else.

As a Japanese student who has also studied English, I have gained a unique perspective that has prepared me well for a career in foreign business. 

Persuasive essays

We Need More Security Cameras in the Student Parking Deck

Car thefts on campus are increasing

Thesis: The safety measures in place in the parking garage are inadequate at this time. Vehicles belonging to students are a constant target of theft. Provide data on auto burglaries and associated crimes, including the frequency of such crimes, the typical cost of repairing damaged vehicles, and the value of stolen items. The well-being of society benefits greatly from heightened security measures.

Use examples and quotations to illustrate the intangible benefits of improved safety.

Tell the benefits to outweigh the costs.

Provide evidence from other institutions that increased their security video coverage and saw a decrease in burglaries as a result.

Give the real price tag for a complete protection system.

Provide a summary of the discussion and stress the importance of school management making the student body's safety a top priority. Then, restate why installing additional surveillance cams in the garage is so important.

Personal essays

The Two Best Birthdays of my Life

Describe your favourite birthday traditions and how you feel about holidays in general. 

Thesis: Firstly describe how you had the most fun on your 17th and 22nd anniversaries.

Talk about how your 17th birthday was memorable. Like, “I recently received my driver's license and drove to my first concert with some of my closest friends. The wristband and admission stub from that event is still in my possession.”

Then tell me about your 22nd birthday. For example;

“It took me a while to realize that nobody remembered my birthday. After I had given up hope of ever seeing the art exhibit I had been looking forward to, my siblings surprised me by driving six hours to pick me up and transport me there” 

In the conclusion tell summarize the key points of your essay and again tell your happiness.

To sum it all up:

When you're in high school or college, you'll inevitably have to compose several essays. Each type of essay for example argumentative, expository, and narrative follows a similar pattern with slight changes. The key to writing flawless papers that earn top marks is recognising these distinctions and properly structuring your work.

You should outline first to stay on track while writing your essay and not forget anything. Organizing your thoughts into an essay outline will help you compose stronger and more quickly. For the most part, you can recall all of the necessary essay elements. Your ability to analyze critically increases. Also, you improve as a writer.

 Jenni.ai is a powerful AI-powered writing tool that is easily accessible online. Whether you need to quickly write an essay on any subject, such as how to write an essay outline, or simply want to enhance your writing skills, Jenni.ai is an excellent option that can ease your life in several ways. With its advanced AI capabilities, this computer software can swiftly produce high-quality essays on any topic. In our opinion, if you're looking for a reliable writing assistant to help you with your essay writing tasks, give Jenni.ai a try today!

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How to Write an Essay Outline

Have you ever tried writing an essay without an outline? If you have, chances are your ideas went all over the place even though you started out with a specific goal in mind. So when your professor reads the paper, they won’t know what points you’re trying to make or how those points support your thesis statement. If they can’t understand what they’re reading, there’s no way they’ll grade it an A+.

That’s why you should have an essay outline to organize your research or opinions in a way that makes sense for readers. An essay outline helps you structure your writing in a logical flow to get your ideas across more effectively, which also improves your overall writing quality . As such, it also ensures that you don’t accidentally leave out the most critical points you want to convey.

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t know how to write an outline for an essay (yet) or you want to get better at it. That’s exactly what this guide will help you with. You’ll discover what goes into an essay outline and how you can write one for your next paper. Let’s get started.

What is an outline?

An outline is an organization tool that helps authors plan their writing before they start. In other words, it’s a roadmap or a blueprint of your paper. It acts as the foundation of your piece, listing out the main ideas in a logical structure that flows well. Having a topical outline in place also makes it easier to remember all the points you need to form a strong argument or support your opinions.

Although an essay outline isn’t mandatory, it helps you get the job done faster and more easily. When you start writing without a proper plan in mind, however, there could be a lot of restructuring and rewriting. This not only takes time but can be mentally taxing, and you can’t afford that especially when you have other classes to catch up with.

Writing an essay outline involves a few steps – preparation, structuring, and organization. Since this can be a lot of work, it’s best to learn from a writing tutor who will guide you through the entire process and give you hands-on training. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn it on your own, and this guide will give you all the basic ideas you need to cover when creating an outline.

Key elements of an essay outline

Regardless of what type of essay you’re writing, a formal essay outline typically has three essential elements – the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Let’s take a closer look at each of these components:

The introduction

This is the section where you’ll introduce readers to your topic and describe why you’re writing about it. It needs to be relevant and attention-grabbing. When writing a college research paper outline, be sure to mention the topic and the thesis statement in your introduction.

Starting your outline with a thesis statement will give you a better sense of how to support the ideas and arguments you present in the body.

This is the section that will contain the most information and it’s where you’ll present ideas and arguments to support your thesis. It should have a minimum of three paragraphs and your outline should touch on each of them.

For each paragraph, note the topic or idea you’ll be discussing. Don’t forget to include the supporting evidence such as data, examples, expert opinions, and facts you plan to use for each paragraph.

The conclusion

This is the section where you wrap up the essay and remind readers about the points you were trying to make. Start by paraphrasing your thesis statement and summarize the purpose of your paper.

Outline formatting

In general, most formal essay outlines use a linear formatting style. This involves ranking your points or arguments in order of importance. So for example, you’ll start by discussing the most important point at the top of your essay body and then gradually move downward.

Considering all these elements, your essay outline will typically look like this:

How to Write an Outline Example.PNG

3 Questions to ask before creating an outline

Before you’re ready to create your essay outline, ask yourself the following questions so you can start with a strong direction. Having all this information in place will make it easier to put together your outline:

1: What’s your goal?

What’s the purpose of writing this paper? Perhaps you want to inform your readers about a specific topic or maybe you want to persuade them to accept your argument. Identifying your goal will help you form a strong thesis statement as well.

2: Who will read it?

For whom are you writing your essay? Yes, you’ll consider writing for a professor when preparing a college research paper outline, but they aren’t your only target audience. Perhaps you’re writing for your classmates and peers, or you’re writing for experts in your field.

If you’re writing a college application essay, for instance, your target audience will be the members of the admissions committee. This means you should be writing for students, staff, and professors alike.

Identifying your target audience will help you understand how to form convincing arguments while considering their knowledge and points of view.

3: What’s your thesis statement?

Now based on the goal of your essay, come up with a strong thesis statement that details your argument and draws in the readers.

Structuring your outline

Once you have a goal and a thesis statement ready, it’s time to structure your essay outline. You can either use an alphanumeric outline structure like we’ve done in the above example, or you can also go for a decimal structure depending on what’s clearer to you.

Alphanumeric format:

Outline Example Alphanumeric.PNG

Decimal format:

How to Write an Outline in Decimal Format.PNG

Remember, this isn’t your full essay yet so feel free to briefly outline your ideas in fragmented sentences. However, a college research paper outline will most likely need complete sentences if your professor is going to review it. This will help them understand the ideas and arguments you plan on presenting in your essay.

Putting this all together

Now let’s get to the main event – organizing your essay outline. Follow the topical outline structure of your choice and begin by outlining the introduction. In a sentence, describe the topic you’re writing about. Then follow up with your thesis statement.

You might also want to include an essay hook to make your paper even more enticing for readers. An essay hook is the opening sentence of your introduction, which instantly draws in readers and makes them want to read the entire piece. It could be anything from a relevant quote or a common misconception to an anecdote or a personal story.

Next, outline the body of your essay by noting down the topic or argument for each paragraph. Include the supporting evidence you plan on using such as stats , facts, examples, and expert opinions. Don’t forget to mention how the evidence ties in with the topic and thesis statement.

It will help to include a transition sentence in each paragraph so you can quickly structure your arguments in a logical flow. When you add more details to your essay outline, you’ll find it much easier to organize all the info as you write.

Finally, end it with an outline of your essay conclusion. Make sure you restate your thesis statement to remind your readers of your argument. Then follow up with a concluding statement to validate your thesis and propose any solution or plan to address the issue discussed in your essay.

Outline examples for different types of essays

While it’s helpful to read articles that tell you what to do and how to do it, working with a personal English tutor can give you a much more practical experience in writing essay outlines. Another excellent solution is to learn from example . So we’ve put together outline examples for the most popular types of essays:

Argumentative essay outline example

An argumentative essay, also known as a persuasive essay, involves using logical arguments to support your opinion and persuade readers. This type of persuasive writing will require solid evidence to back up your theory or argument such as facts, research, and examples.

Writing an Outline.PNG

Narrative essay outline example

A narrative essay is a form of descriptive writing where you narrate a story based on your personal experience or point of view. This is the easiest type of essay because it doesn’t require any research or supporting evidence. However, the most challenging part is providing specific and sensory details that would help readers understand your point of view.

Outline Topic Sentence.PNG

Research essay outline example

A research essay is a form of academic writing which involves analyzing the works of other people on a certain topic and build on them using your own opinions or ideas. This is the most common type of essay you’ll have to write as a grad or post-grad student. It can be challenging as it requires plenty of research, coupled with original ideas and critical thinking.

Research Paper Outline Example.PNG

Get ready to write sensational essays

All the tips and examples we’ve provided above will help you understand how and where to begin your essay writing process . It all starts with a good essay outline to organize your thoughts and structure your writing flow. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing your train of thought while you’re in the middle of writing. So make the most of our guide to develop your essay and outline writing skills.

Jacqueline Zote

Jacqueline Zote is a copywriter with a passion for all things relating to the English language. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.

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Sample Essay Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Outline for Your Essay

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to create an essay outline? Writing an essay can be a daunting task, and creating an outline to organize your thoughts and ideas can be just as difficult.

This blog post will provide a step-by-step guide to creating a sample essay outline that will help you plan and structure your writing process. With a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to craft an effective essay outline in no time!

What is an essay outline?

An essay outline is a plan for your essay that provides structure and organization to the writing process. It helps you to break down your ideas into smaller, more manageable parts that can be easily written and revised. An essay outline can also serve as a roadmap for your essay, guiding you in your writing process and ensuring that all of your key points are included in the final draft.

Essay outlines provide a basic structure for organizing thoughts and ideas before the actual writing process begins. They also allow writers to organize their arguments, evidence, and other important details in an effective and logical way. Outlines help keep writers on track and avoid any tangents or unnecessary information.

The main purpose of an essay outline is to organize ideas and create a structure for an essay that will flow logically from one point to the next.

The outline of an essay can come in many different forms, but typically it involves making a list of topics that need to be addressed in the essay, creating headings and subheadings to organize the information, and providing some sort of introduction and conclusion.

Outlines often include research notes, sources of evidence, and any other important information needed to effectively write the essay.

By taking the time to create an essay outline, writers can save time and energy during the writing process and ensure that their essays are well-structured and logically organized.

Essay outline

Why use an outline for your essay?

An essay outline is an invaluable tool for students, especially those who are looking to write longer and more complex essays. An essay outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas while providing a roadmap to structure your essay. It allows you to plan out the main points of your essay and provide supporting evidence for each one. By creating an essay outline, you can easily identify any weak spots in your argument or any areas where further research needs to be done.

Creating an essay outline also saves time when writing an essay. Instead of diving right into the essay, you can plan ahead and use your outline to ensure that all of your points are covered and that your essay has a logical flow.

This is particularly important when writing longer essays that require more in-depth research. An essay outline can also help you avoid any potential problems with a lack of focus and organization.

The best way to use an essay outline is by creating it before you start writing. This allows you to map out your thoughts and ideas ahead of time and gives you a better chance of writing a well-structured essay.

It also helps ensure that all of your points are organized and logically connected. If you create an essay outline, you’ll be able to see at a glance which sections are missing or could use further development, making it easier to identify potential problems before you start writing.

How to create an essay outline?

Creating an essay outline is a crucial part of the writing process. An essay outline allows you to plan and structure your essay in a way that best suits your argument. It can help you keep track of all the relevant information you want to include, helping to ensure you don’t forget anything important.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create an essay outline:

1. Identify your topic: Before you can create an outline for your essay, you must first identify what your main topic will be. This will help you to determine what kind of information should be included in your essay and the order in which it should be presented.

2. Brainstorm: Once you have identified your topic, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas related to it. Write down any words, phrases, or concepts that come to mind and then organize them into categories based on their relevance to your topic.

3. Develop a thesis statement: Once you have brainstormed some ideas, you can develop a thesis statement that outlines the main point of your essay. Your thesis statement should be one sentence that captures the essence of your argument.

4. Create an outline: Now that you have a thesis statement, it’s time to create an outline for your essay. Start by listing out the main points that you want to make in your essay. Then, under each point, list the supporting evidence or arguments that you plan to include. You can also add additional points and supporting evidence if needed.

5. Refine your outline: As you continue to refine and organize your essay outline, consider adding more detail or rearranging the points so they are presented in a logical order. The goal is to create an outline that is clear and easy to understand.

Once your essay outline is complete, you can use it as a road map when writing your essay. This will make it easier to organize your thoughts and ensure that all of your points are clearly articulated. Keep in mind that your outline may change as you write your essay, and that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go if needed.

Sample of Essay Outline

Here is a detailed essay outline example:

I. Introduction

Hook: Start with an interesting fact or statistic related to your topic Background information: Provide some context for your readers Thesis statement: Clearly state the main point of your essay

A. Main point 1: This should support your thesis statement

Supporting evidence: Provide examples or evidence to back up your main point

Additional information: Include any additional information that may be useful for your readers

B. Main point 2: This should also support your thesis statement

C. Main point 3: This should also support your thesis statement

III. Conclusion

Restate your thesis statement

Summarize your main points

End with a call to action or a thought-provoking question to leave a lasting impression on your readers

Here is an example of how you could use the outline above for a specific topic:

Hook: Did you know that over 1 billion people worldwide suffer from mental health disorders? Background information: Mental health has become a significant issue in recent years, with more and more people seeking help for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Thesis statement: While mental health treatments have come a long way, there is still a significant stigma surrounding these issues that prevents many people from seeking the help they need.

A. Main point 1: Stigma surrounding mental health can prevent people from seeking help

Supporting evidence: Studies have shown that people are often reluctant to seek help for mental health issues due to fear of being judged or discriminated against.

Additional information: This stigma can be particularly prevalent in certain cultures or communities where mental health issues are not widely discussed or understood.

B. Main point 2: Stigma can also make it difficult for people to access mental health resources

Supporting evidence: Many people who do seek help for mental health issues report difficulty finding affordable or accessible treatments.

Additional information: In some cases, people may not even know where to start looking for help or may not feel comfortable reaching out to a professional.

C. Main point 3: It is important to break the stigma surrounding mental health in order to encourage more people to seek help

Supporting evidence: Research has shown that early intervention and treatment can greatly improve outcomes for people with mental health disorders.

Additional information: By breaking the stigma and creating a more supportive and understanding society, we can help more people get the help they need and improve their overall quality of life.

Restate your thesis statement: The stigma surrounding mental health prevents many people from seeking the help they need.

Summarize your main points: This stigma can prevent people from seeking help and can also make it difficult for them to access resources. It is important to break this stigma in order to encourage more people to seek help and improve outcomes.

End with a call to action: Encourage your readers to start a conversation about mental health and support those who may be struggling with these issues.

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