Create an Essay Outline: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide


Making plans is an essential part of life. From marking exam dates on a calendar to formulating study plans. From organizing a surprise birthday party for a friend to, planning a wedding between two lovebirds. But, what’s the purpose of planning anyway? Why do these things ahead of time?

Well, if you’re after high grades in your next paper, winging it just won’t cut it. Without an outline that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. This guide delves into the world of essay outlines and everything you need to know about creating them.

What is an essay outline?

It’s essentially a short plan for your academic paper. Here, students jot down the main ideas of their pieces and divide all their arguments into paragraphs. That way you avoid missing any important points while writing an essay.

Sure, it is possible to write it without an outline just like it’s possible to bake a cake without a recipe. In both instances, the difference becomes apparent in the final product. Therefore, having an outline is the difference between a great well-thought-out essay and a bland meandering one.

What does outline mean in an essay?

The perks of an essay outline cannot be overstated. Here are the top three:

1. Helps organize your thoughts

When researching a given topic, you’ll be bombarded with an overload of information. It’s easy to forget it without an outline.

2. Gives a better understanding

Essay outlines help students understand the flow of information and provide some structure to it.

3. Makes sure all points are included

Outlines help to make sure all vital points are not left out of their works.

How to write a perfect essay outline: Example of winning approach

Outlines give students a vivid picture of how their thoughts will turn out. Here’s a simple five-step essay plan template to write the perfect outline.

Step 1: Topic selection and purpose establishment

Attempting to select a topic from a laundry list of options can be an uphill battle. So, setting an initial focus point will help in creating guidelines on what’s appropriate for your essay and what isn’t. To ensure you’re on the right path, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the take-home message?
  • Why is a given topic important to your audience?

These questions help students to center their ideas on what they would like their audience to learn.

Step 2: Form a list of important ideas

This is the brainstorming process. It entails creating a list of important ideas to include in an essay. It can contain arguments that answer a question or methods on how to accomplish a specific task.

This step grants students the opportunity to get all their essential ideas out.

Step 3: Structuring main ideas 

The objective here is to classify the list of ideas that you came up with in step 2. This can be done through:

Step 4: Flush out key points

After coming up with a structure for their key ideas, students will then need to include relevant content that supports each idea. The objective in this step is to expand your initial points so that your audience has a better grasp of what you are trying to communicate.

It involves adding more detail to each concept by including anecdotes, facts, examples, or theories. While this step might seem laborious, it’ll make the rest of the writing process significantly easier. You’ll also save on time in the long run since all ideas will be fully developed at this point.

Step 5: Proofread and edit 

Remember, outlines serve as roadmaps that steer the direction of an essay. Most students overlook this final step when creating essay outlines. Just like you would in an essay, you need to proofread your outline and make necessary edits. This entails making sure that you include all the key points and that there is a definable flow from one point to the next.

Organization is key

While creating an outline may be tedious, it simplifies the entire essay writing process. Once your work is complete, you’ll have done most of the heavy lifting on your essay. This is what will see the effortless flow of your ideas throughout your essay without deviating from the main point.

If you find writing an essay outline tiresome, consider seeking assistance from one of our expert writers. They will develop an excellent outline at a very affordable cost. Get a quote today and see just how budget-friendly our prices are.