How to Write an Essay Outline for High School

How to Write an Essay Outline for High School

You may have been taught how to write an essay outline for high school in fourth and fifth grade but maybe you have already forgotten. Most people ignore outlining despite being taught that any piece of writing should be outlined before writing. To some people, outlining creates more work which increases the amount of time that is required to write an essay.

However, if an outline is written correctly, it actually saves the time that is required to write an essay. An outline can be defined as a way of developing and arranging ideas formally. Despite being formal, how an outline is approached allows for more flexibility. You can write an outline before you write anything about your essay topic or after writing the first draft of your essay.

How to write an essay outline for high school in 5 steps

Step 1: Identify your essay topic

You have been given an essay prompt by your teacher. Instead of copying and pasting words directly from the prompt, use your own words to come up with a topic. This indicates your understanding of the essay assignment. Make sure that your topic is a single phrase or sentence because this will enable you to stick to it.

Step 2: Determine your major points

Determine what the major ideas that you will convey to your essay readers are. These should be the points that will tell readers how and why your topic is right or important. Using these points and your essay topic, you should develop a thesis statement for your essay.

Step 3: Arrange the main points of your essay

At this step, arrange the main points or ideas in a logical manner. List them in the order that you want them to appear or how you will present them in your essay. Note that you can alter the order later while evaluating the outline.

Step 4: Create subcategories using subpoints

Using your supporting evidence for the main ideas, create sub-points beneath the major points or ideas. It is conventionally required that each new letter or number has at least two points. Thus, if you include an A, include a B too. If you include 1, include 2 too. Although this may seem difficult at first, it compels you into thinking about your major points. If you have a major point for which you cannot think about two points, you should reconsider your decision to include it in the essay because it might be extraneous information that your essay can do without.

Step 5: Evaluate the outline

After writing your essay outline, evaluate it to determine what you have included in it. Does it depict a logical flow? Can someone tell what your essay will be about by reading your outline? Does it have suitably fleshed-out points? Does it include anything unnecessary? Your answers to these questions should tell you whether you have a good essay outline for high school or not.

Essay Outline for High School: Structure of an essay outline

Perhaps, you now know how to write an essay outline for high school but you do not know how to structure it. Basically, an essay outline has three parts. It has an introduction, the body with supporting facts, and a conclusion. Writing an outline can be compared to building a good house. If a house does not have a strong foundation, its walls will collapse. Similarly, if you do not have a strong major idea that explains your essay topic, your outline will lack a logical flow and your big idea will not be supported properly.

Generally, an essay outline should follow this structure:

  1. Catchy title or essay topic
  2. Paragraph 1: Introduction
  3. Hook
  4. Summary of the main points
  5. Thesis statement
  • Paragraph 2: The first body paragraph
  1. Topic sentence (first main point) which presents the focus of the discussion of the paragraph that will be aimed at proving the stated thesis statement.
  2. Contextual information
  3. Example
  4. Analysis of the example
  5. Closing sentence that wraps up the body paragraph while creating a smooth transition to the next body paragraph.
  6. Paragraph 3: The second body paragraph
  7. Topic sentence (second main point) which indicates what will be discussed in the paragraph with an aim of proving the stated thesis statement.
  8. Contextual information of the point.
  9. Example or information of elaborating the point.
  10. Analysis of the example or the information.
  11. Closing sentence that wraps up the entire paragraph while creating an effective transition.
  12. Paragraph 4: The third body paragraph
  13. Topic sentence (third main point) which states what will be discussed in the paragraph and how it will be used to prove the stated thesis statement.
  14. Contextual information
  15. Example or information for elaborating the main point.
  16. Analysis of the example or the provided information.
  17. The closing sentence wraps up the body paragraph while creating a transition to the conclusion.
  18. Conclusion
  19. Summary of the argument
  20. Extension of the argument
  21. Illustration of the importance of the essay.

If you are writing a literary analysis essay outline, contextual information can be a quote from the work that you are writing an essay on. It can also include the name of the person who said the quote.

How to write an essay outline for high school in a standard order

There is a standard order that should be depicted by any essay outline.

This order is as follows:

  1. Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V, VI etc.)
  2. Capital letters (A, B, C, D, etc).
  3. Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc).
  4. Small letters (a, b, c, d, etc).
  5. Small Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, etc)

A good essay outline should not go past this point. It is important to note that there is a different ordering system that Microsoft Word might present as you write your outline but you can change it. If your teacher has asked you to present an outline, it will not hurt you if you spare a few minutes to check your outline to ensure that your ordering system is correct. Nevertheless, since you are the one who will use the outline, it is important to use a numbering system that you find suitable.

Sample essay outline for high school

  1. Title: Mt. Everest Conquest
  2. Introduction
  3. Everest location
  4. The surrounding area’s geography
  5. Known Mt. Everest facts
  6. Peak XV
  7. Joloungma
  8. Total number of individuals who have gone on a Mt. climbing mission in Mt. Everest
  • Major explorers
  1. Sir Edmund Hillary
  2. He was the first explorer who reached the summit in 1953
  3. He led experienced climbers working together
  4. The Sherpas and Tenzing Norgay
  5. Norgay accompanied Hillary
  6. Sherpas was an expeditions guide
  7. Impact of expeditions on Mt. Everest as well as the local community
  8. Ecological effects
  9. Trees have been lost because of high heating and cooking wood’s demand by the tourists.
  10. Climbing expeditions have left trash in the area.
  11. Economic effects
  12. The country get income from the expedition fees
  13. The Sherpas get work from the expeditions and this contribute to the growth of the local economy
  14. Cultural effects
  15. Motor vehicles have been introduced
  16. Electricity has been introduced
  17. Conclusion

Mt. Everest conquest has drawn many expeditions and it has had great impact on the country and the local community over the years.

This is a good example of an essay outline for high school because it follows the structure of an essay outline and the standard order.

Bonus hints and reminders on how to write an essay outline for high school

  • Choose a subject or topic first so that you can know the larger importance or purpose of your essay.
  • Come up with a list of the main points that you want to address in your essay.
  • Organize your main points in a structure that you consider as the most sensible to you.
  • Flesh out the major points that you have listed and then include the supporting content for every major point including facts, figures, quotes, anecdotes and examples.
  • Review your essay outline and adjust accordingly.

Generally, knowing how to write an essay outline for high school is very important because with a good outline, you can consider yourself as having done the largest part of the work of writing an essay. With an outline, you will realize that the writing process will flow like the essay will be writing itself. Thus, you will end up saving more time because you have all the information for writing the essay synthesized and organized for you by the outline.

Essay Outline for High School: References

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