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Sample of General Writing Assignments
Sample of General Writing Assignments

Directions: Read and think about the following statement; then finish the assignment that follows.

If you could change one important thing about your school, what would you change?

Assignment: Write an essay that supports your answer with good ideas and examples.


When writing your essay, you will be doing four things:

  1. Answering the question
  2. Thinking of at least two different ways to support your answer (these will be the main ideas of your body paragraphs)
  3. Thinking of supporting details and evidence to put in your body paragraphs
  4. Writing a brief conclusion (For more details, please read our Tips on Writing Essays.)

HINTS: To help you organize your answer, we will give you a few hints. These hints will give you some ideas on how to approach the essay; however, do NOT use the examples we give you when writing your own essay. We expect you to come up with your own ideas. Our hints should serve only as helpers for your own thought processes!

  1. Answer the question - Introduction

    What would you change about your school? When deciding how to answer the question, always remember to word your answer so that you can build an essay around it. This will be your thesis statement.

    Example: “One thing I would change about my school is the amount of money that the sports teams receive, because right now my school does not understand how important sports are to the students.”

    This example states what you would change – “the amount of money that the sports teams receive” – and also explains why you would change it – “because right now my school does not understand how important sports are to the students.” This answer, plus another introductory sentence, would be enough for your introduction.

  2. Think of two ways to support your answer

    For the example we’ve given you, it would be natural to split the supporting ideas into two body paragraphs: the first would describe how much money your school currently gives to sports teams, and the second paragraph would describe why sports are important.

    The two supporting ideas should be the first sentence -the topic sentence - of each of your body paragraphs.

    Example: 1st body paragraph’s main idea: “Compared to the music and drama departments, the sports teams at our school receive far less money; this makes it hard for athletes to buy equipment and safety gear.”

    Example: 2nd body paragraph’s main idea: “Even though our athletic teams get less money than the arts, sports are extremely important to the students in our school.” (Note how the sentence has a good transition – “Even though our athletic teams get less money than the arts” – to connect the second paragraph to the first.)

  3. Complete the body paragraphs.

    The first body paragraph should support its main idea (“Compared to the music and drama departments…”). You could write about how much money the other departments receive, how much the sports teams receive, and how the lack of money affects the sports teams at your school. Make sure all the support connects with the main idea of the paragraph!

    The second body paragraph should also support its main idea (“Even though the athletic teams get less money than the arts…”). You could discuss why and how sports are important to your school – school spirit, healthier students, and a sense of achievement might be some of the details you could include. Make sure all the support connects with the main idea of the paragraph!

  4. Write a brief conclusion.

    When writing your conclusion, first reread the original essay question, so that you can remind yourself what the overall point was: “If you could change one important thing about your school, what would you change?”

    Now spend one or two sentences wrapping up the essay by briefly touching on what you have argued. In this case, a good conclusion might be the following:

    Example: “There are many great things about my school, the strong arts program being one of them. But I believe that by giving more money to our sports teams, my school could continue to improve the best thing about it: its talented and spirited students."