Sample Outline

Writing an outline is one of the pre-writing activities before you write the first draft of an essay. In this lesson, you will see an example of an outline. Take note of how an outline is prepared (there are other ways to do an outline, too):

Topic: What are the causes of dropout at tertiary level?


* Introduction

– education is important, thus many enrol in courses in tertiary education institutions
– not every one is able to sustain their studies in these institutions
– There are three possible reasons why college and university students drop out of their studies. (thesis statement)

* Body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence: …the first reason is their inability to take the pressure of studying in college or university
  • Supporting detail 1 – pressure to keep up with deadlines
  • Supporting detail 2 – pressure from their parents to do well
  • Concluding sentence

* Body paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: …students do not know what they want
  • Supporting detail 1 – register for a course to follow their friends
  • Supporting detail 2 – no proper guidance, so they go to college and university first and see how things work
  • Concluding sentence

* Body paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence: ... students face problems paying their fees
  • Supporting detail 1 – cost of studying is too high
  • Supporting detail 2 – loans are not available to all
  • Concluding sentence


– though tertiary education is important, students drop out
– studying is just too much for them
– follow their friends blindly
– face difficulty in paying the fees
– these students should be sent to counsellors for advise, loans be flexible

There are other pre-writing activities like brainstorming and freewriting. You can choose whichever way you like to plan your points. From the outline above, try to write a complete 5-paragraph essay.


Posted on July 20, 2009, in Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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