General Rules for Writing a Three Paragraph Essay for College

Many students get very excited when they see an assignment is a three paragraph essay. The short essay seems like a blessing with all of the long homework assignments that you are given in college. However, a three paragraph essay can be more challenging than its longer companion because of the need to be concise with language and ideas.

Same Format

A three paragraph essay follows the same general format as a longer essay with an introduction, body, conclusion. The only difference is that the body of a three paragraph essay is likely only to contain one or two points at a maximum. This means that your strongest point should be the highlight of your essay.

In a three paragraph essay, there is no room for flowery language, lengthy transitions or long expository statements. The idea is to get straight to the point. With a three paragraph essay, you will get in and out quickly.

Thesis Statement

Even though the essay is only three paragraphs, you still need a strong thesis statement. Your thesis statement may be even more important in a three paragraph essay then and a longer paper. Having a strong thesis statement will allow you to be concise with your points in the body of your paragraph. If your thesis statement is long-winded or unrefined, you may discover that you are rambling during your body of your paragraph.

Strong Points

A short essay has no room for weak supporting evidence. If you are writing a three paragraph essay, you need to make sure all of the evidence that you include, or supporting material if it is a personal essay, are valid and directly support your thesis statement. If there is a weak connection in the evidence that you have then you should cut that supporting material from the body of your paragraph to leave room for more substantiative content.


The conclusion of a three paragraph essay is very important you should restate your thesis statement, show how you supported it in a brief summary, and finalize with your closing statement. The conclusion paragraph should not be longer than the body paragraph it needs to be short, sweet, and to the point.