Essay Types: A–B

Essay Types: A–B

by Owen Fourie

What is involved in each of these kinds of essays?

(If you are a new reader of this blog, the introduction to this particular category will help you to understand how this post fits into the bigger picture.)

Admission, College, College Admission, College Application, Personal

Follow the instructions given by the college admissions board. Do not exceed the required length. It might be only 500 words.

Choose the most suitable topic that will give your essay a point of focus as you write about yourself in the standard format of introduction, body (adequately supporting your thesis statement), and conclusion.

Your choice of topic can be anything from describing a significant event or experience that has had a major impact on your development to expounding your philosophy of life.

Avoid simply rehashing run-of-the-mill views of life. Think for yourself and introduce a new perspective. If you raise controversial issues, you must show your awareness of counterarguments. Be genuine and be yourself.

Analysis or Analytical

Analyze a literary work, a movie, a play, a painting, a sculpture, a press report, a political commentary, an advertising campaign, anything that invites analysis and requires the application of critical thinking skills, attention to the finer details, and insightfulness.

Take into account too the views of other critics of the same work and give a new insight. Support all claims with evidence.

An analysis of a literary work should focus more particularly on one aspect of the work: style, purpose, characterization, or, in the case of non-fiction, an evaluation of a thesis and its support. Has the thesis been adequately proved?

An analysis requires you to dig beneath the surface of the object to detect or discern the deeper meaning and its implications.

This type of essay is also indicated by other terms: critical, critical analysis, literary, literature, literary response, response-to-literature , response, and review.

A reaction essay could also be included here, but this term applies more to current issues and your personal opinion of them. Evaluation or evaluative could also qualify for inclusion here, but note the separate entry for it in this glossary.


Know both or all sides of an argument thoroughly. Know the pros and cons of each viewpoint. Choose a standpoint and be committed to it.

By means of careful, logical reasoning and analysis as well as the presentation of documented evidence, support your position and refute objections to it.

Persuade the reader (whether opposed or neutral) to accept your standpoint.

Autobiographical, Memoir, Narrative, Personal Narrative

Write about yourself . Find a particular point of focus, a significant incident in your life that made a lasting impression or that taught you an unforgettable lesson, a memory of lasting value, a character trait or a talent that sums up who you are and how you affect your social circle.

Whatever the focus, show its effect on your life in specific, interesting details. Include action, limited dialog, descriptiveness, and personal reflection. Avoid a boring list of events from your birth to the present.


Present a properly structured and supported critical analysis of a specific business situation as you see it and as you propose that it might be with the implementation of improved procedures or reorganization.


What good or bad experiences have you had with any of the kinds of essays mentioned in this post? Under any of the types in this post, are there points about them that you feel are missing and should be included? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

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