How to Write a Response Essay: a Guide for Freshmen


A response essay requires you to give your response to a given statement or topic. It gives you the opportunity to analyze your feelings and thoughts. You are free to express your opinion but it has to conform to the conventional format for essay writing. You need to write an attention-focusing introduction and include a thesis statement about how and why you response to the topic is justified.

  • Consider the topic and your thoughts about it.
  • Write an outline plan for your essay with short headings to guide you.
  • Include a short thesis statement, which explains your response.
  • Your essay should have an introduction, your reaction to the topic or statement, a summary, and a conclusion.

You need to support your argument with facts and, if relevant, citations.

  • List the pros supporting your arguments.
  • Include the cons and incorporate them into your argument.
  • Contrast your responses and why you think like this with what is written about the topic and what the writer’s point is, your reaction, and your opinion.
  • Back up your argument with facts, examples and references to support it.
  • Make sure you have covered all the points concerning the issue.

In your conclusion restate your thesis and explain why it is justified. After completing the essay make sure you edit it for grammar and spelling four or five times. Read it aloud to yourself and give it to your friends to read and ask for their opinion. Have someone read the text aloud so that you can assess if you need to change your writing style or the order in which it is written. Assess whether it sounds right. Revise the text for the final draft and ask yourself if you feel you have been as convincing and original as you could be. If there are similar essays on the topic read them and contrast them with what you have written. Be self-confident and thorough in your analysis and your ability will grow as you complete more essay writing. The more essays you read the greater you will be at mastering the essay writing technique. The format, which is approved by your college, will become second nature and what seemed strange at first will become your customary way of thinking as you complete more essay writing assignments and master the technique.