One of the basic writing forms is the essay-both formal and informal. The term itself, coined by Montaigne from the French word “essai,” means “an attempt” or “a try.” Essays come in all forms and sizes-formal and informal, humorous and serious, short and long. Defining what constitutes a good essay is not easy, for essays vary depending on their purpose and audience. All essays conform to a basic structure with an introduction, body and conclusion. All essays must convey a central idea, i.e. a thesis, and are intended to inform or persuade an audience. Essays may be serious, argumentative, or light hearted and witty in purpose and tone.
At the heart of college writing is the essay whether assigned by a professor to react to a reading assignment, to write for a timed exam, or to develop one’s own thoughts and feelings about a subject. This section of the WIT site will devote attention to constructing essays that are thoughtful, appropriate for college courses, and are models for some subjects at Stevens Institute of Technology. The examples provided as models are written by many of the writing tutors and are the sole property of these individual student authors. They merely serve as models of well-written essays and demonstrate what professors deem represent a high quality of achievement at Stevens. Any attempt to copy from these essays, lift material and quotes from them, or submit them for courses constitutes plagiarism unless the essays are appropriately acknowledged and cited.