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A Professor's Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing Paperback – November 3, 2016

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Jacob neumann.

Jacob Neumann has been teaching since 1996. He has taught at all levels, from early childhood to the university. He currently works as an associate professor at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he teaches teacher education classes. He also publishes research on effective teaching methods, teacher knowledge, and educational theory. One of the main goals in his work is to help people become better writers and better teachers.

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Top 10 Best Books for Essay Writing to Better Your Skills

The essay is one of the most heavily used forms of written language to convey and transmit information. Whether created by students or professionals, if you want to boil a subject down to its very essence, there is a good chance that an essay will be your best format. There are short and long-form essays, but they all serve the same function.

What is the function of an essay?

An essay’s core function is to inform. More specifically, an essay’s function is to present an opinion on a particular topic and to then support that opinion with supporting evidence of that opinion.

An essay's topic can be virtually anything the writer wishes to use. Essays are often written in a review of current affairs and politics for a research paper, a book review literary essay, writing an argumentative essay , used by college students for admission essays, or even a short story. The overall goal of an essay is up to the writer.

The importance of the essay has only grown over the last decade or so, as it is getting increasingly difficult for colleges to admit students based on grades and test scores alone. The essay has become, for many students, the factor that causes them to stand out amongst the competition. 

With essays now more important than ever, it begs the question, “How can I improve my essays?”

How do I write a better essay?

For most people, writing essays begins and ends with schoolwork. However, there are plenty of fields in the professional world that have people regularly contributing essays. For an essay to carry out its core function, the writer must write at a high enough level to convey the information coherently and succinctly.

Here are a few tips to become an excellent essay writer to get to that high level of writing.

There is an old saying that if one wants to improve at writing, one should keep writing. While this is true, there is also a saying that practice makes perfect. 

One of the best ways to learn how to write better essays is to learn from people who are veritable masters of the form. Here are some books written by writers and teachers that will help you to create compelling and informative essays.

10 best books on essay writing

Professor's Guide to Writing Essays: Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Neumann

Writing an essay is a process that is seemingly different for everyone. Some processes work for some and not for others. However, a school of thought also says the idea of an individualized process is nonsense. Dr. Jacob Neumann belongs to the latter camp.

Neumann’s book A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan For Better Writing certainly lives up to its name. In his book, Dr. Neumann dispenses without any fluff or motivational speak and launches right into what constitutes good writing. This book aims squarely at students, whether in elementary school, high school, or college.

The book's foundation is that all essays are essentially the same, with little variation in format from writer to writer. While it is certainly arguable that beyond the realm of academic writing, the essay form can be different from writer to writer, this book is designed to get you writing great essays that conform to all academic standards.

Essay Becomes Easy Part 1

One of the best ways to learn how to write interesting essays is to have good examples at the ready of what a good essay looks like. This book will teach you numerous types of essays you can create, with examples of those different essay types.

Many writing prompts are also included and designed to address the various types of essays. The goal is that by the end of reading this book and working with the prompts, you should be able to craft an essay of any type because you will know the form forwards and backwards.

College Essay Essentials by Ethan Sawyer

When you start writing essays in college, it can be difficult to figure out how to write an essay that will earn high marks from your professor. Fortunately, College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay is written by an actual college professor.

Ethan Sawyer has been looking at student essays for a long time, becoming known as the College Essay Guy. In his book College Essay Essentials , you will receive exactly what the title says.

This book gives you more than the basics for writing a good essay. You will receive exercises, editing techniques, writing prompts, and even different essay templates that you can work from. This will empower you to write not only a good college admission essay but also any essay you can imagine.

Escape Essay Hell: Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays by Janine Robinson

One of the biggest pitfalls of writing an essay, particularly if it is a college admissions essay, is that the writer must endure the advice that they need to somehow stand out without any indicators as to how. This book, Escape Essay Hell: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays , sets out to get you out of the rut that can happen when writing an essay.

This book helps essay writers look inward and embrace the qualities that make them unique. It then shows the writer how to apply those unique qualities to many different styles and templates. While this book is aimed at people trying to get into college, the principles taught in it can also be applied to other forms of essay writing.

The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate

If you want a truly historical read that will teach you about the history of essay writing itself, Phillip Lopate has the ideal work. A collection of over seventy-five personal essays dating back to Ancient Greece, it’s a comprehensive look into how far essay writing has come and how personal essays have developed throughout the last four centuries.

The introduction is by Lopate himself and gives a wonderful overview of the essay as a genre form and how it can be implemented in countless ways. With contemporary essays that cover all the issues from today back to ancient Rome, it has quickly become the essential tome for writing insightful, quirky, and even educational essays of your own.

This is an example of how one can find ways to innovate for the future by looking at how things were done in the past. Looking at how matters have always been done can help you find how you prefer to do them.

How To Write An Essay In Five Easy Steps by Inklyo

Sometimes it can be difficult to get bogged down in theory and methodology. Sometimes all one needs to get to writing is a simple series of steps that can be replicated. If you are looking for a book that will give you precisely that as a foundation, then you need to read How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps .

The information in this book is concise, succinct, and easy to understand. It has very few frills or flourishes. It covers the various types of essays, how one can organize their thoughts and ideas, how to write a thesis statement for their essay, and how to write the essay itself. These are strong foundational concepts that every essay writer should have a mastery of.

How To Write Better Essays by Bryan Greetham

Writing an essay can often be a process that gets overly complicated. It becomes easy to feel like you are losing the scope or focus on the essay. 

Therefore, one of the most important aspects of essay writing is having a strong grasp of the basics so that when you feel stuck, you can redirect your efforts in the right direction.

This book is a highly simplified affair, but it is worth the read because it will help to ingrain core concepts into your essay writing skills. You will learn how to respond to feedback in your drafts and even your finished essay, effectively avoid plagiarism, particularly the accidental kind, and interact and engage with complex scenarios and topics that will form your essays. It’s not a flashy or bombastic book but a strong one.

The Oxford Book of Essays Edited by John Gross

Sometimes, to improve as writers, we need to stop focusing on tutorials and instructional texts and just start looking at the sort of writing that we wish to emulate. In the case of essays, there are few books as indispensable as The Oxford Book of Essays by John Gross.

This expansive compendium of essays features the work of one hundred and twenty writers with one hundred and forty essays. You may not have heard of some of these essays, but you have certainly heard of some of their writers, such as Benjamin Franklin and John Updike. 

This book is a masterclass of good writing and an absolute must-read for anybody who takes the essay format seriously.

Good Essay Writing 5th Edition by Peter Redman & Wendy Maples

If the book title Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide sounds incredibly standard, that would be because it is the perfect title for its contents. Good Essay Writing is a book designed to help you with the single most important part of putting together your essay: critical thinking.

You can formulate your essay’s core thesis and arguments by emphasizing strong critical thinking skills. Not only are there examples of other well-written essays, but you can also check out a companion website that strengthens the impact of the teachings in the book.

Writing Essays For Dummies by Mary Page & Dr Carrie Winstanley

It may be somewhat eye-roll inducing to recommend a For Dummies book, but the truth is that the series maintains relevance because it works. Of course, the book does not assume that the reader is lacking in intelligence. What it does assume, however, is that the reader is looking for a learning experience that will teach them from the ground up.

By covering all the basics before getting to the more advanced and technical side of essay writing, you can master each aspect. It covers each aspect of the essay and will give powerful strategies for developing arguments and theses. It will not go too far into the ideas of writing style , but it will give you a fantastic foundation for your writing. 

What these essay writing books won’t do for you

If you expect these books to make you a better essay writer overnight, then there is bad news: they won’t. The only way to improve is to start with a good, old-fashioned first draft. 

You will probably dislike your first draft very much. 

That is okay. 

With your first draft, you can empty out all of your initial thoughts and instincts of what your essay should be in one go.

The good news is that you can editorialize after you finish your first draft. Read over it. Find the obvious mistakes. Then you can take what you have learned in the books, put that first draft to the fire, and see what makes it through. Once you do that, you can start writing a killer second draft.

This process can seem tedious, but it will only serve to strengthen your essay.

Conclusion on best books for essay writing

Writing an essay is one of the purest means of putting one’s thoughts on a subject out into the world. It can also be a fantastic way to advance academically and professionally. Having the right tools to gather your thoughts and form a well-structured thesis and arguments is the ultimate key to creating a compelling and persuasive essay.

If you have never had to resort to essay writing, these books will give you the tools you need to find the right way to write an essay and your way of writing an essay. The tools are there for you. Now it’s time to use them.

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4 Books for Essay Writing You Need to Know About

It’s hard to write brilliantly without reading voraciously! To be a good academic writer and maintain writing skills, students need to accumulate tons of information and knowledge from reputable, authorized sources. And, given how unreliable the information from the web may be, the safest option to polish your writing is reading books by professional essay writers – from seasoned essayists, to young and talented writers from a popular essay writing service .

In this article, we’ll show you some of the best essay writing books available.

essay book written

“ A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing ” by Dr. Jacob Newman

Emphasizing the importance of a proper approach to the writing process as the key aspect of writing itself, the author contends that an essay’s success doesn’t lie in the plan or theme, but how you view the process of its development. Throughout the book, Newman teaches the reader how to find a professional approach to essay writing and stick to the right vector during the process.

“ 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing ” by Gary Provost

This incredible handbook was written in 1985 but still hasn’t lost its impact and popularity with writers. In this helpful source, you’ll find all necessary tips and recommendations on academic writing , an insider’s facts and suggestions, and other useful tricks you can use in your writing. In addition, this book contains examples of noteworthy writing pieces. Despite being deemed slightly outdated and irrelevant, the book has proven to be a great help in learning how to craft an outstanding academic paper!

“ College Essay Essentials ” by Ethan Sawyer

Acclaimed writing mastermind Ethan Sawyer introduces the reader to the fundamentals of paper writing, providing vital knowledge for successfully developing college essays. In his book, Sawyer guides readers through every key stage of the writing process, from introduction to finale, teaching them how to arrange their thoughts and statements into an accurate and comprehensive piece of writing. “ Essay Becomes Easy ” by the EssayShark team

Essay Becomes Easy is of the best handbooks to dissect academic writing to the bone! EssayShark, one of the leading writing services, offers you a hands-on guide on how to write like a pro and learn the intricacies of academic writing with the highest efficacy. With the professional insight from the experts of EssayShark, the process of writing gets easier!

In Conclusion

Expert handbooks on academic writing serve as useful tools for aspiring writers who are in dire need of guidance from acknowledged academics. With the ultimate list of essay writing books that we have covered in this article, you will sharpen your writing perception and obtain effective armor for crafting first-rate science papers.

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10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Home » Blog » 10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

Do you have an essay writing task? Are you looking for an example of essay writing which is the absolute best? We understand how essay writing can feel very daunting at first. It can take time to research, understand the material, plan what you want to write and have the creativity and confidence to produce the work. There are some great books for essay writing to help you out!

At Summer Boarding Courses, we recommend you take the time to work through the format for essay writing step-by-step. Many of our courses, including our Creative Writing Course at  Oxford College , can help you with this.

We advise you to keep practicing. Listen to feedback from your friends and teachers. Most of all, do not give up! Soon enough you will be able to deliver excellent work.

To help you become a better writer, it’s essential to have the best instruction too. Whilst you’re waiting for our Summer Boarding Courses to start in Oxford, why not read up on our favourite books on essay writing?

Here are our Top 10 Books for Essay Writing that will have you creating unique and captivating essays for your school assignments!

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Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students  – Stephen Bailey

If you’re one of our ESL international students wanting help for essay writing at University, this is a great book to start with! We recommend reading this before you attend University in the UK as there are many an example of how to write an excellent piece inside. Many exercises are included that you can try, which is perfect for self-study in your own time.

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay  – Ethan Sawyer

Are you applying to a College or University? Do you need to write a personal statement ( check out our personal statement guide here )?

Writing your application to enter the school you’re dreaming of may be making you feel very anxious, but college counsellor Ethan Sawyer has written a fantastic guide to help you through it. He will help you bring your personal experiences to life and show you that this application is not too scary after all.

We particularly love his advice in answering these two very important questions:

Have you experienced significant challenges in your life?

Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

College Essay Essentials has lots of essay writing tips, tricks, exercises and real-life examples to reassure you. Good luck! You can do it!

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Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation  – John Seely

If you want to produce good essay writing, you need your English Grammar to be clear and correct. At Summer Boarding Courses, we understand that English Grammar can sometimes be very confusing and unintuitive.

For a clear, simple and easy-to-understand pocket grammar book, John Seely’s Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation is extremely helpful.

Whether you are writing a professional piece, a school paper or a fun personal letter to a friend, this book will give you straightforward advice – and it’s small enough to easily fit in your rucksack!

Study with us in the UK!

Take your English writing to the next level.  Find out more about our courses here. 

How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps  – Inklyo

Do you need a short and easy introduction to essay writing? We recommend you start with this. It is 58 pages long, not a difficult read and covers all the basics that you need to know. The authors take you through your essay writing step-by-step and help you minimise your anxiety, even if it is the night before your project is due!

We love their recommendation about how to make your instructor happy:

‘Demonstrate that you have understood the course material and write intelligently about your subject’.

A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing  – Dr. Jacob Neumann

Dr. Neumann is straight-talking. He believes that the plan for any type of essay is the same but how you approach essay writing is critical. The only thing that changes for each essay is the length and complexity of the project.

This book covers every aspect of academic writing for College, University and Secondary (High School) students. We love how simple, honest and clear his instructions are and believe you will complete your writing task much more confidently with his advice.

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100 Ways to Improve Your Writing  – Gary Provost

This book may have been written in 1985, but it still a fantastic resource for the best essay writing! It does not matter if you are a student or an established successful writer. This easy-to-use guidebook will inspire you to write even better than before.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing includes many writing examples and plenty of straightforward writing tips. It’s also easy to dip in and out of. Read through it all in one go or pick a chapter or two when you are feeling inspired!

GCSE English Writing Skills Study Guide  – CGP Books

For our younger learners aged 14 to 16, this is an excellent guide for students to refine their writing skills in essays, non-fiction, creative writing and more. There are clear, helpful exercises throughout the book for students to complete and understand the best English topics for essay writing.

The content is also written for students studying GCSE English: if you are taking this exam, you’ll have a much better chance of passing!

How to Write Better Essays (Palgrave Study Skills)  – Bryan Greetham

We all want to be confident when we are writing our essays. This step-by-step guide will help you analyse concepts, consider different arguments about a subject, and argue your ideas well. The chapters are easy to read and digest and will show you how to research ideas, take notes, write productively in exams and be engaging in your writing.

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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present  – Phillip Lopate

It is by reading other writers, that we develop our own ideas and unique style. Discover how your own writing can progress and grow through gaining an insight into other writers’ minds and lives.

The Art of the Personal Essay is an excellent collection of essays, from old to new, that are highly entertaining, creative and reflective. Make sure to have this text on your bookshelf or in your bag, so that you can take it out whenever you are seeking inspiration for your next essay. Enjoy!

The Oxford Book of Essays  – John Gross

For the ultimate essay writing book, this is the collection of work that you need to read. There are 140 essays in here by 120 writers. You will find every kind of style; from poetry and fantasy to serious arguments. Some pieces are old, others are incredibly modern. Read through the essays at your own leisure, so that your ideas about how to write gently expand alongside your imagination and creativity.

Do you feel ready to write with our recommended books for essay writing?

Essay writing is an essential skill for English students but just getting started can be difficult! You will need to think about what type of essay you are being asked to write. You will have to plan your outline in essay writing – considering the introduction, the main body of the essay, an excellent conclusion and references.

Having excellent research skills, avoiding plagiarism, and making your essay stand out from the rest of the students in your class are key things you need to know.

We hope our recommendations have inspired you and lead you to writing excellent essays in the future. Good luck and get started. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Boarding Courses in Summer, where you can receive the best writing tips from our teachers in the UK!

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Best Essay Writing Books- Top 8 books for brilliant essays

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Writing essays is part and parcel of learning across all levels. For this reason, essay writing is a critical skill that students need to develop. Whether you are in high school, college, or doing your post-graduate program, your curriculum requires you to draft an essay, which influences your grades. However, writing A-grade essays is not that simple. Fortunately, herein are the best essay writing books to help you become an excellent writer and earn those top grades.

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A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays; The no-nonsense plan for better writing- Dr. Jacob Neumann

The book’s author has been practicing the teaching profession for more than 20 years, since 1996. He has much experience in teaching at all school levels and in various places worldwide. He is an associate professor and an academic writer as well. You can tell that his book is among the best essay writing books  and is worth the read.

The book is meant for all students, whether in college, graduate schools, or even high schools. It gives a general view of how to approach essay writing . Neumann argues that all essay types are pretty much the same. The difference is how you develop your case, and he highlights the things you need to achieve that. Reading the book will help you gain the confidence and the skills you need to write all types of essays.

College Essay Essentials; A step-by-step guide to writing a successful college admissions essay- Ethan Sawyer

Ethan Sawyer is a renowned college counselor and author. In this book, he explains to students the tricks of writing the four types of admission essays. The guidance is so precise and practical that essay writing is no longer stressful to the readers of the book. What you need is to establish the best essay type that suits you by answering the following two questions.

These questions are the foundation of your essay, and Sawyer provides guidance on the following processes, including choosing your essay structure, excellent brainstorming exercises, revisions and editing, tools, and exercises to get you started or provide insights and examples of well-written college admission essays.

The book makes essay writing a simple as possible, helping you to write authentic and top-grade essays.

Academic Writing; A handbook for international students- Stephen Bailey

This book is a must-have for international students that have to draft their essays in English. If you are one of them, you need it to guide you in writing well-organized essays. The author explains all that is needed, including choosing suitable sources, note-making, reading, planning, re-writing, and even proofreading.

He breaks down the book into short sections that contain explanations, practice exercises, and examples for both self-study and classroom use. He also makes use of cross-referencing to allow you to access relevant sections easily and find satisfactory information and answers.

Good Essay Writing; A social sciences guide- Peter Redman

The book is excellent for you if you are studying social sciences and would like to polish up your writing skills and get top grades. The authors are more aligned with answering questions that learners have regarding essay writing.

The book has different sections that show you how to tackle various essay questions and address issues. It contains loads of complete essays that are analyzed and discussed extensively.

How To Write An Essay In Five Easy Steps- Inklyo

The book will help you sail through your college essays in five simple steps. You can use it for your high-school, college, and university-level essays. It highlights how to write different essay types, researching and organizing your essay, writing thesis statements, citations, and revising your essay to eliminate existing errors.

The author also gives extra tips to help you make your essay stand out. More so, you will find top-level essay examples that will guide you in structuring and writing your next paper. There is no doubt that your writing skills will get better when you read this book.

How To Write Any High School Essay- Jesse Liebman

The author gives you insights into what high school tutors expect from your writing. If you have been having trouble with writing excellent essays, this book has all the solutions. It offers comprehensive guidance on writing in a summarized manner. You will find great tips and sample essays as well.

Academic Writing; From Paragraph to Essay- Lisa A. Rumisek

The book is highly recommended for all learners that want to improve their academic writing . It comes with tons of pointers for writing various essays in a simplified manner. It also contains sample essays that you can use as benchmarks to write your essays. If you have been having essay writing issues, this book is the answer to all of them.

100 Ways To Improve Your Writing- Gary Provost

This is the go-to book for all your writing needs. Whether you are writing an academic essay, professional paper, or any type of business writing, this book will guide you. This comprehensive and easy-to-use guide contains many professional pointers and instructive examples as well. 

Essay writing comes with its challenges, but the best essay writing books come in handy in helping you overcome them. For instance, you might not have a clue on how to approach a certain essay type or how to develop your essay. Other common issues that you might face include poor structuring, unclear thesis statements and arguments, weak analysis, improper citation and formatting, lack of relevant referencing, and lack of evidence.

Essay help

Fortunately, the recommended best essay writing books will help you tackle these issues and any other that you might have. If you read them and apply all the principles provided by the experienced authors, you will become an excellent essay writer in all your academic, professional, and business endeavors. 

What are the basic steps to writing an essay?

1. Pick a topic. Ensure that this is something that interests you. 2. Brainstorm. Write down ideas that come to your head that you would like to include in your essay. 3. Organize your thoughts in the format that you would like them to appear. 4. Write your essay. 5. Proofread and revise your essay.

Does reading books improve your writing?

Reading gives you a lot of exposure. It exposes you to different forms of writing, different tones of writing, different genres, among other things. It enables you to find writing that’s better than yours which will help you improve your own and become a better writer.

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6 Best Essay Writing Books of All Time

Our goal: Find what the internet ranks as the best Essay Writing books (instead of one person's opinion).

(Updated 2023 )

College Essay Essentials

A step-by-step guide to writing a successful college admissions essay.

Ethan Sawyer

A Professor's Guide to Writing Essays

The no-nonsense plan for better writing.

Dr. Jacob Neumann

On Writing Well

An informal guide to writing nonfiction.

William Zinsser

The Elements of Style

William Strunk Jr.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Proven professional techniques for writing with style and power.

Gary Provost

The Art of the Personal Essay

An anthology from the classical era to the present.

Phillip Lopate

How was this Essay Writing books list created?

We searched for "best Essay Writing books", found the top 5 articles, took every book mentioned in 2+ articles, and averaged their rankings.

How many Essay Writing books are in this list?

There are 6 books in this list.

Why did you create this Essay Writing books list?

We wanted to gather the most accurate list of Essay Writing books on the internet.

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10 Best Books on Essay Writing (To Check Today)

You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition, and perusing books on essay writing, which are full of useful examples.  

It’s true that you can become a better writer naturally, by observing the world, living your life to the fullest, and reading works of great essayists.

Just remember that if you want to try your hand at being a professional essay writer , you need to understand the finer points of writing one first.

You might have noticed that for major college admissions, writing an essay is the last, yet most important step.

10 Books That Will Help You With Essay Writing

1. A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Neumann

Ethan Sawyer (The College Essay Guy), breaks the whole essay-writing process down into simple steps and shows you the way around the most common mistakes college applicants usually make.

Length: 256 pages Published: 2016

Otherwise, your grades will drop dramatically because professors abhor simple grammar mistakes. By reading this little book , you’ll make sure your writing is pristine.

A well-written essay has immense power. Not only that, it is the prerequisite to getting admitted to colleges and universities, but you also have to tackle a few essay questions in most, if not all exams you will ever take for career or academic advancement. For instance, when taking the LSAT to qualify for law school , or the MCAT to get into med school , or the DAT to pursue a degree in dentistry or even the GRE or GMAT as the first step in earning a master’s degree.

In this amusing book, Janine Robinson focuses mostly on writing narrative essays . She’s been helping college-bound students to tell unique stories for over a decade and you’ll benefit from her expert advice.

On Writing Well is a classic writing guide that will open your eyes to the art of producing clear-cut copy. Zinsser approached the subject of writing with a warm, cheerful attitude that seeps through the pages of his masterpiece.

If you want to write, you first need to read some of the best essays ever written . Developing your own style results from conversing with great minds and then borrowing from them to create something new. All great artists are inspired by someone.

Rafal Reyzer

The 10 Best College Essay Books to Help You Write a Killer Personal Statement

portrait of Samantha L. Solomon, Ph.D.

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Advertising Disclosure : Our team independently selected these products. If you purchase a product through one of our links, we may collect compensation. Pricing and availability are accurate at the time of publication.

Writing a personal statement for your college applications can be intimidating. In addition to the usual anxiety about choosing a good topic and writing a strong essay , crafting a personal statement that can help you stand out among other applicants can feel like a huge undertaking. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

One way to get started is to pick up a book or two about writing the best college application essay. College essay books can teach you helpful tips and tricks and provide some inspiration for your essay.

Check out our picks for the 10 best college essay books to increase your chances of getting into your dream school.

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1. The Elements of Style: Annotated Edition

By william strunk jr..

essay book written

Chances are you've encountered this book before in your English classes, but it's on this list for a good reason. A classic go-to guide on writing style, "The Elements of Style" (1918) is an important companion to writing anything from college admissions essays , to research papers , to professional emails .

This updated (and annotated) edition from 2020 includes everything you'll need to know about writing style, including grammar and punctuation rules, principles of compositions, form, and phrasing.

2. College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay

By ethan sawyer.

essay book written

This 2016 book is easy to use and chock-full of real sample admissions essays to help you put your best foot forward when you apply to college. Author Ethan Sawyer includes helpful resources to get you started, and detailed explanations of the different types of essays colleges typically ask for.

Best of all, the book contains 24 essays written by real students admitted to elite colleges .

"College Essay Essentials" also walks you through all of the important steps for writing an essay, including brainstorming exercises, revising, and techniques for making your essay stand out.

3. 50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays, 5th Edition

By gen and kelly tanabe.

essay book written

As its name suggests, this 2020 book presents tons of high-quality sample essays. The 50 essays included were all written by real students applying to Ivy League schools , but you can gain value from reading them even if you're not aiming for the Ivies specifically.

Each essay comes with an analysis that details the essay's strengths and weaknesses, which can help you see the variety of application essay styles and decide which to use in your own statement.

The book also includes guidance on the most common essay mistakes applicants make and a Q&A with an Ivy League admissions officer.

4. On Writing the College Application Essay: The Key to Acceptance at the College of Your Choice

By harry bauld.

essay book written

"On Writing the College Application Essay" (2012) includes easy-to-digest chapters on specific topics and issues about how to write a successful admissions essay.

The author relies on his experience as a writer, teacher, and admissions officer to summarize the most important aspects to keep in mind when writing your essay. Some of the areas he emphasizes the most include knowing your audience and leaving enough time for revision and rewriting.

5. Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond

By c.m. gill.

essay book written

Although this book doesn't specifically focus on writing application essays, it's a helpful resource to keep on hand when crafting any kind of essay. "Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond" (2014) includes techniques for writing all kinds of paper you might encounter in college, such as research essays, term papers, and creative writing assignments.

Many of the more general topics about brainstorming, developing and sticking to a timeline, and revision are applicable to admissions essays, too.

Best of all, this book is an illustrated guide, so visual learners can benefit from seeing the topics laid out in a compelling and easy-to-follow way.

6. The Complete College Essay Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing the Personal Statement and the Supplemental Essays

By brittany maschal and emma wood.

essay book written

This 2021 book includes many of the basic resources contained in some of the other texts above, such as sample essays, tips for different parts of the writing process, and brainstorming prompts. But what sets "The Complete College Essay Handbook" apart is that it walks you through the entire college essay writing process, including the supplemental essays.

Some schools require you to submit more than one essay as part of your application. These supplemental essays typically ask you to respond to a specific prompt.

This book provides sample essays as well as a walkthrough of the different types of questions you may encounter, along with tips on how to respond effectively.

7. Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps: Crafting a Winning Personal Statement, 3rd Edition

By alan gelb.

essay book written

This book's author, Alan Gelb, is a college essay coach and an expert at helping students write successful college admissions essays.

"Conquering the College Admissions Essay" (2017) focuses on the step-by-step process of writing a personal statement, from thinking about what story you want to tell and what topics to discuss to drafting and revision.

This updated third edition addresses supplemental essays and even waitlist essays .

8. Write Your Way In: Crafting an Unforgettable College Admissions Essay

essay book written

This book really focuses on the "personal" part of the personal statement. What are the ways you can use your voice and unique experiences to stand out from the crowd?

Author Rachel Toor argues that the best college admissions essays focus on experiences that demonstrate growth and struggle, rather than successes and achievements. "Write Your Way In" (2017) can help you find ways to hook your reader with a compelling personal perspective.

9. B+ Grades, A+ College Application

By joie jager-hyman, ed.d..

essay book written

Far too often, we think of the college application process as an opportunity to simply show off grades and other accolades when, in fact, most colleges aim to evaluate applicants holistically.

Although "B+ Grades, A+ College Application" (2013) focuses on the entire college application process, it contains a helpful section on writing your college application essay. One major tip: Write with the aim of demonstrating who you are beyond your grades.

10. Soundbite: The Admissions Secret That Gets You Into College and Beyond

By sara harberson.

essay book written

This 2021 college admissions book explains one key element to application success that's particularly important to keep in mind when writing your application essay: the soundbite.

When tasked with reading dozens, if not hundreds, of applications, admissions officers usually feel pressure to make quick decisions. This often leads them to have to boil down students' extensive applications to a sentence or two at most, which author Sara Harberson calls a soundbite.

In this book, Harberson helps college applicants design their own soundbites to ensure their applications — and especially their application essays — stand out.

Explore More College Resources

How to write a “why this college” essay.

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Ask a College Advisor: Do Colleges Care About Admissions Essays?

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Ask a College Advisor: How Do I Write a Unique College Application Essay?

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Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.


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