Cooperative Learning Center

How to build an essay outline

An outline is the best start to any great essay!

Start by breaking down the prompt for the most important parts required for your essay (this tip & video can help). After that, try and group similar main ideas into paragraphs, typically sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion. Leave room to write a topic sentence for each main idea. Lots of outlines suggest 5 paragraphs, but this will vary depending on the length of your paper, and how many topics you need to cover! And remember, your outline can have multiple paragraphs for a single topic.

To learn more, see these additional tips for building your outline.