An essay's concluding paragraph is often one of the most undervalued pieces of your writing—and the last part your reader will remember. Varsity Tutors provide three ways to be sure your concluding paragraph strengthens your essay and leaves an effective impact on your readers.
When composing an essay, the conclusion is often an underdeveloped afterthought. Once you’ve spent the majority of your time sculpting the introduction and illustrating your points, it can be tough to motivate yourself to execute a strong concluding paragraph. The essay’s conclusion, however, is an integral part of your assignment. The conclusion is the last thing those reviewing the essay will read; therefore, it’s the last opportunity you have to leave an impression on your readers.
An essay’s conclusion demands a balance between reviewing your points and being repetitive. To do this, it’s key to note the importance of the concluding paragraph and to outline how to make your conclusion as effective as possible. Read on to learn how you can craft a strong conclusion.
Understand the Purpose of the Concluding Paragraph
The conclusion should frame your essay in a way that will leave the audience feeling clear about your purpose and compel them to keep thinking about it even after they’ve finished reading. Often, suggestions for a basic conclusion are simply to restate your thesis and your main points. However, this can feel repetitive to your readers. Use your conclusion to discuss what your essay is about with fresh and engaging language that ties all your points together in a thoughtful way.
Note What Makes an Effective Concluding Paragraph
An effective conclusion leaves readers with a deep understanding of how your ideas relate and why your argument is meaningful. Reaffirm your thesis statement, but don’t repeat it word for word. Instead, try to restate it in a broader sense. Consider your thesis and expand on why this is an important topic. What is the wider meaning or impact? Can you link your topic to a larger societal theme or potential need for action? Address these questions in your conclusion.
Also remember that an effective conclusion should generally be brief. It’s important to be concise with this paragraph and not confuse the reader with new information or unnecessary jargon.
Avoid Common Essay Conclusion Blunders
When composing your essay’s conclusion, don’t feel as if you must start with the phrases “in conclusion” or “to summarize.” Often, you can let your concluding observations speak for themselves. Your conclusion should leave readers with a deep understanding of your argument, not just a summary of the discussed points.
Additionally, avoid introducing new ideas or evidence in your conclusion. Your arguments have already been discussed in logical order throughout your essay, and this is the time to bring them together—not to add new elements. The reader has already encountered all of your points and evidence, so no further quotations or statistics should be needed.
Lastly, don’t undermine or downplay what you’ve already written. Your conclusion is meant to be the final facet that strengthens your essay and leaves the reader satisfied. Avoid statements like “although some may disagree” or “there may be better arguments.” Include only positive statements in this section, and illustrate to readers why the content of your essay matters.
Composing a successful conclusion takes practice and dedication. Realize your conclusion doesn’t just exist to reiterate the previously discussed points. It serves as your opportunity to show readers the importance of your stance and how the content of your essay relates to the bigger picture.
Lora Wegman is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.