How to Write Any High School Essay: Example, Format, Outline

Looking for advice on high school essay format and structure? Read this article to find it, along with essay samples for high school. 

But first, let’s make sure you know what a high school essay is. Oxford dictionary defines any essay as “a short piece of writing on a particular subject”. However, this definition is too broad, as essays differ depending on the level and type. 

Thus, a high school essay is different from a middle school and college essay in many ways – primarily, in length and complexity. The types of essays in high school include: 

  • Expository

  • Descriptive

  • Narrative

  • Analytical (compare and contrast, cause and effect, and other).    

From this article, you’ll learn how to ace any high school essay and get an excellent mark. 

How to Write a High School Essay

First of all, you need to realize that essay writing in high school is not a waste of time. It’s an important skill that can help you be a successful student, secure a place in college, and, later on, find a good job. So, it’s vital to learn how to write a good high school essay early on. 

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a number of different types of high school essays. Despite that, there’s a basic unified structure that you can use to write a good essay of any type. Let’s now look at it more closely.

How to Start a High School Essay

As high school writing should be more complex than what you used to write in middle school, it calls for more preparation. That usually starts with brainstorming a topic, and then tailoring it to meet both your ideas and the teacher’s requirements. Also, keep it in mind that high school essay writing typically implies the need for some research. 

If you can’t come up with good ideas on your own, don’t worry: you are not alone. “Essay high school” is a very popular Google search request. But we’ll save you the trouble by giving all the necessary information in the next paragraphs.

High School Essay Outline

In a high school essay, the structure is crucial. So, make sure you proceed to work on your paper with writing an outline. The basic one for a high school essay looks like this: 

  1. Introduction (includes a hook, some background information, and a thesis statement);

  2. Body (contains arguments and evidence, usually consists of three paragraphs);

  3. Conclusion (restates the thesis statement, serves as a wrap-up). 


If you need more information, there are essay examples for high school with outlines on the Internet. But they often come from unverified sources, so it’s better to order a sample high school essay from a trusted writing service.

High School Essay Format

As you may have noticed, a typical high school-level essay consists of three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. This is the standard essay format as regards the structure.   

But there is another crucial aspect – style formats. Regarding that, writing in high school should abide to either of the three most common formatting styles:

  • MLA

  • APA

  • Chicago  

Each has its own rules, and failing to follow them will result in getting a lower mark. So, whether you’re writing an essay about high school or choose any other topic, make sure you know what formatting style you should follow.

Essay Topics

Choosing the right topic is essential for your essay’s success. So, make sure that you pick something that interests you. 

Here are some common topics for high school writing:

  • The book/movie that has influenced me the most;

  • The best place I’ve ever been to;

  • Advantages and disadvantages of distance learning;

  • Causes and effects of the French revolution. 

You can also never go wrong with essays about high school experience.

Start with Introduction for High School Essay

Now, when you have a topic and an outline, it’s time to actually start writing. The first section that all essays for high school start with is an introduction, and it has a structure of its own. 

It usually consists of:

  • Hook sentence;

  • Background information;

  • Thesis statement. 

The thesis statement is the most important part of this section, but it’s also vital to grab the audience’s attention right from the start. So, put your best effort into writing a really attractive hook sentence. 

After giving some background information on the subject, formulate your thesis statement. A thesis statement is basically your whole essay in a nutshell, so it should be concise and to the point. All essays high school teachers love have clear thesis statements, so make sure yours answers all the criteria: states your topic and your point of view, and gives a preview of the arguments (and, possibly, counter-arguments). 

Body Paragraph for High School Essays

Next comes the lengthiest section of the whole paper: the body. In a standard five-paragraph essay, it consists of three paragraphs. However, it’s not a strict rule, as oftentimes an essay for high school consists of only three paragraphs. In this case, the body section will consist of just one paragraph. 

Still, if we take a high school graduation essay, for example, the body section is usually three paragraphs long. Each of these paragraphs has a similar structure and contains:

  • a point from a thesis statement 

  • an argument;

  • some reliable evidence to support the argument. 

If the essay is long, it’s also possible to include some counter arguments with evidence to support them. 

High School Essay Conclusion

Finally, after all the arguments, you should arrive at a conclusion. This will be the closing section of your high school essay. Ideally, it should also be the most impressive one, so it’s crucial to choose your words carefully. 

Here’s what a typical conclusion for high school english essays (and any other essays, for that matter), should contain:

  • restatement of a thesis statement;

  • a wrap-up of the body section;

  • some final thoughts to conclude it all.

If you’re still unsure what a good conclusion to say high school English essays should be like, study high school essay samples from reliable sources. 

Writing Tips for High School Essay

As you see, writing a good high school essay is not that difficult. From this article, you’ve learned what the structure, format, and outline of a typical essay should be. You’ve also learned how to write each of the three main sections. The rest is practice!

In conclusion, here are some tips that will help you write an A+ paper, be it a high school graduation essay or any other.  

  1. Read a lot 

Fiction, non-fiction, feature articles, news… Read everything that’s well-written, and it’ll help you become a better writer. 

  1. Be attentive... 

...and always read essay guidelines for high school! It will save you a lot of trouble.  

High School Essay Samples

That said, many students learn best from example. There are plenty of essay examples high school students can use out there. If you need some specific high school essay examples, search the internet, order a sample paper, or just study this high school sample essay.



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