9 Different Types of Essays: The Complete List Explained

September 12, 2022

the types of essays explained

You will write more than one types of essays before and after joining college. So it’s important to know which ones they’re and their significance. 

Key Takeaways 

The types of essays you’ll write in college or university are as follows:

  • Admissions Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and effect Essay
  • Scholarship Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Explanatory Essay
  • Theory of Knowledge Essay
  • Thematic Essay

In this guide, we discuss each of these types of essays, not to mention point you to the resourceful guides that we’ve put together to teach you exactly how to write these essays. 

Some of these essays are long and some have flexible word count, which mean you can make them longer if it’s necessary to do so.

To be abundantly clear, this guide isn’t about how to write each types of essays in college. It’s a highlight of the different types of essays.

Note that we’ve included, where possible, links to resources you can use as the definitive guide to write a specific type of an essay.

What Are The Different Types of Essays in Academic Writing? 

We’ve classified the types of essays into those you will do before joining college and those you will write once you’re in college.

1. Admission Essay

Also known as an application essay, an admissions essay is an assignment you write if you want to join a college or a university.

The essay tells a college admissions committee more about you in a much better way that your results transcript does.

The goal of the essay is to communicate unique characters about yourself and to convince an admission committee that you’re a good fit for their institution.

Depending on the admission criteria of the college or university you choose, you may have to submit the essay along with a personal statement. In most cases, an admissions essay is often more than enough.

If you need help to write a comprehensive and convincing admissions essay, hire our admission essay writing service here. Our team will help you write a high quality essay guaranteed to win you an admission in a college of your choice. 

You may also be interested in learning about writing an MBA essay if you’re looking forward to enrolling in a school of Management in Business Administration.

2. Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are debatable in nature.

You have to take a stance on an issue and then use evidence to justify your claims and defend your position.

In addition to sharing your point of view, you also anticipate counterclaims, which is the opposite of exactly what you believe to be right. Then you have to give a rebuttal to the opposing point of view.

There’s a lot you need to know about argumentative essays, so we’ve put together a hub to guide you. Click here for more.  

3. Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effective essay is argumentative in nature. It examines the relationships between two subjects, which can be a thing, an idea, a person, or an event. 

The work of the writer is to determine how these subjects directly influence one another.

4. Scholarship Essay

The purpose of a scholarship essay is to convince a target audience that you qualify for a respective scholarship program.

For the essay to stand out from the many options from other candidates, you have to pay close attention to details and provide the information that the administration requires.

When writing a scholarship essay, it’s important to describe your personal experiences, your personalities, the event that have changed you, and the people that have made a bigger impact in your life.

5. Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is an assignment written to shift perspective and bring positive change.

With this essay, you present your stand to your reader and give them all the reasons why they should consider and even share your thoughts.

If you believe that marijuana should be legalized in Africa or abortion should be illegal in America, your essay had better convince people to consider your beliefs.

You should not confuse a persuasive essay with an argumentative essay. The aim of the former presents only one side of an issue and convinces an audience to accept certain ideas.

To learn more about persuasive essay, including how to write it, see this guide.

6. Explanatory Essay

Instead of being argumentative in form, an explanatory essay only requires you to look into an issue and give your opinion, even if you don’t agree with the author or your very own point of view.

You only have to make sure that you’ve done your research and that your point of view on the subject is logical.

The goal of this essay isn’t to prove a point. The aim with it is to make it easier for your audience to understand what the issue is.

For a more comprehensive guide on an explanatory essay, check this guide.

7. Theory of Knowledge Essay

A Theory of Knowledge essay is an individual task completed by students who have enrolled in the IB diploma program.

Mandatory for all IB students and moderated externally, this essay is 1,600 words long and account for two thirds of the overall TOK marks.

The other one third goes to the TOK Exhibition commentary.

You don’t choose a topic to explore in this essay.

IB provides it for you in a list of prescribed titles, which changes every exam season.

The purpose of the TOK essay assignment is to gauge your ability to provide clarity of argument.

8. Theology Essay

In writing a theology paper, students have to analyze the different types of religion and the expression of human faith across different cultures.

Given the impact religion has on societies, even people who aren’t profoundly religious will find this type of an essay quite interesting to explore.

9. Thematic Essay 

Also known as a theme essay, thematic essays identify an idea in a literary object followed by an exploration of how the author addresses the themes using different literary devices.

The devices used in a thematic essay can be allegory, hyperbole, metaphors, or imageries. Work on a thematic essay can be on a magazine article, an audio, a video, a book, or a speech.

While a thematic essay should be five paragraphs by default, you can make it longer depending on how complex the assignment is.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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