The Diagnostic Essay: Purpose and Expectations

The diagnostic essay allows me to offer you some feedback on your writing at the beginning of the course. The diagnostic essay is also a way for me to see how much you know about writing an essay at the beginning of the semester.

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You will have one week to work on the essay, plenty of time to plan, pre-write, write, revise, and proofread, major aspects of the writing process that are vital to writing a good essay.  I will be looking for the basics:

  • an introduction and conclusion
  • a thesis statement
  • relevant topic sentences
  • body paragraphs focused on one main idea each
  • at least three body paragraphs
  • a logical progression of ideas
  • ideas developed and supported with specific evidence
  • a clear presentation of your ideas
  • sentences free or almost free from errors
  • at least 500 words

You must choose ONE of the following topics to write on:

  • What features might characterize effective writing?
  • Many people are collectors. Others think it’s a waste of time and money. Each student should write the way he or she feels about “collecting.”
  • The students should write about the hardest thing they ever had to do and how it changed them.

Be sure that your essay has a heading, header, and title. 

5 paragraphs double spaced.


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