A+ Essays: A Structured Approach to Successful Essay Writing
4.1 (668 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
7,785 students enrolled

A+ Essays: A Structured Approach to Successful Essay Writing

Learn the tips and tools of successful writers from a college professor with twenty years of experience grading essays.
4.1 (668 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
7,785 students enrolled
Created by Kevin deLaplante
Last updated 9/2018
English [Auto]
Current price: $65.99 Original price: $94.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 4 articles
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of this course students will be able to ...
  • Analyze an essay assignment to determine exactly what is being asked and how to proceed.
  • Organize and manage your time to complete your essay assignment well in advance of the deadline.
  • Break down and analyze an essay in terms of its structural parts.
  • Write essays that follow standard academic rules and conventions.
  • Write good introductions and conclusions.
  • Construct an argumentative essay that follows good structural form.
  • Choose a writing style that is suitable for your essay.
  • Use a variety of software tools to help manage different stages of the writing process.
  • Deal with writer's anxiety and writer's block.
  • Conduct research and build a reference list for your essay.
  • Cite sources properly to avoid plagiarism.
  • Distinguish between different citation styles and how they're used.
  • No prior experience is needed, only an interest and willingness to learn!

Many students become anxious at the prospect of having to write an essay or term paper. They don't understand the conventions for organizing essays, and they don't know how to manage their time and the writing process.

The result is that many students enter college without the skills necessary to succeed simply because they were never properly taught how to write essays.

This course aims to overcome this problem by offering a systematic framework for essay writing that removes the mystery and presents a clear path for moving from idea to outline to completed first draft.


The most efficient way to improve your essay writing is to focus on the key structural features that define successful writing at the essay level. An essay can be written beautifully, but if it's missing key structural elements (like a well defined thesis statement), it will fail as an essay.

This course provides a set of concepts and tools for thinking about, analyzing and fixing problems with the structural elements of your essay.


Students in this course will learn how essay writing skills are related to "deep reading" and "deep thinking" skills, and why this is increasingly important in today's world. You will also learn how standards of good essay writing are related to standards of good written communication more broadly. You'll learn why academic essays are structured the way they are, how essay style is related to essay structure, how to approach the writing process, and how to organize your time so that you can actually get the work done before the deadline.

But the centerpiece of the course is two detailed case studies. In one of them I take a short student essay that has some serious problems, analyze the structural issues and rewrite that essay from start to finish.

In another case study I take an actual essay assignment from an actual college class, that I don't teach, and take that essay from initial brainstorming and researching to a detailed outline to a completed first draft with a reference list and inline reference citations.

At the end of this course you will feel more confident about your ability to successfully complete essay assignments in school, and you will have a greater understanding of the skills and habits of successful writers.


I have a lot of positive feedback about this content over the years. College and universities from around the world have paid me thousands of dollars to license the use of these videos on their institutional servers (libraries, academic integrity programs, etc.).

Here are some of the institutions that have purchased copies of these videos for use on their own institutional servers:

  1. Michigan State University
  2. University of South Florida
  3. Forest Train Academy
  4. Harvard Kennedy School
  5. Lawrence High School
  6. Wayland Public Schools
  7. Wentville School District

… among others.

But I would like to share this content with as wide an audience as possible, and Udemy is a fabulous platform for hosting it.

Who this course is for:
  • This course is aimed at students who need to write essays for high school or college.
  • However, many of the tips and techniques demonstrated in the course will be of value to anyone looking to improve their writing.
  • Also, teachers and parents who are responsible for helping others learn to write will find much of value in this course.
Course content
Expand all 69 lectures 05:52:14
+ Why Are Writing Skills So Important?
2 lectures 13:33

This lecture describes four benefits of improving your essay writing skills. The first is the obvious one -- better grades in school. The other three will surprise you.

Preview 11:59
+ What is the Most Efficient Way to Improve My Essay Writing?
5 lectures 31:58
The Craft of Writing from 20,000 Feet

There are a lot of factors that go into good writing -- spelling, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, usage, paragraph structure, and so on -- but good ESSAY writing hinges on a few key factors. This lecture explains what these are.

Preview 06:56
Introduction, Main Body, Conclusion: Why Are Essays Written This Way?
How Essay Style is Related to Essay Structure
+ How Should I Approach the Writing Process?
4 lectures 26:00
Why Rewriting is Important (And Why Students Don't Think So)
How to Deal With Writer's Anxiety and Writer's Block
+ What is My Ideal Writing Workflow?
5 lectures 40:23
My Ideal Writing Workflow
Tools for Mind-Mapping, Outlining and Drafting
The Writing Tools I Use: A Quick Introduction to Scrivener and Evernote
+ What Does a Structured Approach to Essay Writing Look Like?
5 lectures 35:00
Two Kinds of Structure to Keep in Mind
A Structured Approach to Essay Writing Using Scrivener
Download the Essay Writing Template
A Short Essay Demo Using a Structured Essay Writing Template
+ Follow Along As I Write a Real College Essay From Start to Finish
6 lectures 52:27
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 1 - The Assignment
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 2 - Initial Research
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 4 - Drafts
Writing a Real College Essay - Part 5 - References and Citations
+ How Can I Improve My Writing Style?
6 lectures 36:32
Oratorical Style, Prophetic Style and Romantic Style
Practical Style, Reflexive Style and Academic Style
Classic Style: Prose as a Window Into the World
Classic Style as an Antidote to Bad Writing
+ How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay
15 lectures 01:07:47
A Note About URLs in the Videos in This Section
Writing the Introduction
Writing the Conclusion
The Essay: "Should Teachers Be Allowed to Ban Laptops in Classrooms?"
Analysis: The Introduction
Analysis: First Argument
Analysis: Second Argument
Analysis: Third Argument
Analysis of the Main Body: Evaluation and Recommendations
Analysis: The Conclusion
The Essay: An Improved Version
The Essay: An Improved Version with Commentary
+ What is Plagiarism and How Can I Avoid It?
8 lectures 14:04
What is Plagiarism?
Downloading and Buying Whole Papers
Cutting and Pasting From Several Sources
Paraphrasing Without Attribution
The Debate Over Patchwriting