Structure is the most important part of your essay. Your essay must be written in a standard format with the standard logical transitions. The E-rater will scan your essay to identify if it has a standard structure.

  • Introduction and conclusion – These sections function as bookends to your essay, providing the most basic and crucial points of your essay. The rest of your essay will relate back to your intro. Your conclusion will reiterate these ideas.
  • Number of Paragraphs – To satisfy the E-rater, your essay should be four to five paragraphs, two of which will be your introduction and conclusion. In addition your essay will include two to three “body” paragraphs. Each paragraph should have two to five sentences (total essay about 300-400 words).
  • Note: You should skip a line between paragraphs since the TAB key does not function in the essay section.

Essay Template

The template is just a guideline. You do not have to adhere to it. Often you will have to make changes to suit your argument.

  • The numbers of sentences indicated for each paragraph is a guideline that varies depending on how much content you have.
  • The transitional phrases we use in the Template are intentionally simplistic. This is not a simple approach where you can “fill-in-the-blanks.” Flesh out the template somewhat and use it as a guideline to write a disciplined and focused essay.


1) Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)

Make sure to keep your introductory paragraph concise, strong and effective.

What the introductory paragraph should accomplish:

  • Explain the issue (briefly).
  • Show that you understand the full complexities of the issue (for example, by recognizing competing interests or various factors).
  • State your position on the issue (without the details yet).
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