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ESSAY FORMATTING APA, MLA, Chicago—with all the different essay formats and general best practices to keep in mind, formatting your essay the right way can be a big challenge that can stop your writing in its tracks. To help you out, UnemployedProfessors has created this complete guide on how to format an essay. But if you’re short on time, we can do the job for you! Read on to find out more. THE BASICS: WHAT IS AN ESSAY? If you’re in higher education, you most likely already know what an essay is. But here’s a refresher, just in case. Essays are one of the most common forms of writing in English, often written in a discursive style to string together ideas, evidence, and arguments. Coming from the French word “essayer,” which means “to attempt,” the essay is a written piece designed to propose an argument, present an idea, express emotion, or, as its root means, attempt to convince you of something. Essays come in many shapes and sizes, spanning from 500 words to as much as 5,000 words depending on the depth and subject matter of your topic. That being said, most undergraduate-level papers fall anywhere between the 1,000 and 3,000-word count, as this range provides writers with enough space to lay down their ideas and arguments about a particular issue without going overboard. THE ACADEMIC ESSAY Each essay must have its purpose or motive, and in the case of an academic paper, it’s to help students present their ideas and what they’ve learned effectively. It also serves to persuade via reasoned discourse, as well as advance various concepts and notions. For that, academic essays must be concise, and focused, with an idea backed by evidence. Academic essays are a must for any student and are often used to test what they’ve learned about a particular topic or subject and demonstrate their knowledge and creativity. Essays are also helpful in helping students develop their ideas to communicate a message effectively. That being said, essays can be a daunting assignment that takes a lot of time, research, and concentration. For that reason, many may not be aware of proper essay formatting.