How to Write an Awesome Thesis Statement

At university, one of the assignments you’ll be frequently tasked with is writing essays. They’re inescapable as a student, and you likely have already written many throughout your time in school already. However, one of the key components of a successful (and high-scoring) essay is a good thesis statement. You may have heard your teachers over the years emphasize the importance of a thesis statement in the papers you’ve written, but as you progress in college, it’s even more important that your papers are guided by this important element.

It’s pretty simple in theory: a thesis statement is a statement that describes what you’re going to discuss in your essay or paper, usually appearing at the end of your introduction paragraph. Per Rasmussen College, it “clearly identifies the topic being discussed” and “should only cover what is being discussed in the paper and is written for a specific audience.” It’s usually once sentence (sometimes two) and it should give your reader an indication of what’s to come in your paper.

Without a thesis statement, you’re unlikely to meet the requirements of your assignment, and therefore, won’t be able to get a good grade. But having a thesis is more than just helpful in completing the assignment at hand — it’s a crucial tool for guiding your reader through your argument. To help you get an A on your next paper, we’re providing three tips for how to write an awesome thesis statement, including examples.

Tip #1 – Pick a side.

A thesis statement is not merely a statement – despite what its name implies. Your thesis statement needs to have an opinion. Neutrality is not an option when it comes to a thesis statement. It should not just be making a comment; it should be taking a stance, and deciding how you feel about the topic you’re about to discuss. When you think of your topic, the thesis statement should clearly indicate if you’re for or against it; it should allow you to prove something in relation to the topic you’ve chosen.

Basic statement:

The final episodes of Game of Thrones elicited mixed reactions from viewers.

Thesis statement:

The final episodes of Game of Thrones did a disservice to the show, undermining the build-up, and plot and character development that was a hallmark of the rest of the series.

In the first statement, there’s really no opinion on the final episodes of Game of Thrones, but in the second statement, you can tell that the writer is going to argue about something. In this case, the writer will argue why the final episodes did a disservice to the series.

Tip #2 – Guide your reader.

In addition to having an opinion, your thesis statement should also indicate what’s to come in your paper. In reading the thesis statement, your reader should then know: “This is what this paper is going to prove or argue, and this is how the writer is going to do it.” It should lay out the foundation for your argument. At the same time, the thesis statement will also serve as a way to guide you. Everything you write should be in service of your thesis statement, and should relate back to your point. The thesis statement acts as your North star or lighthouse – both you and you reader should be able to return to it and understand how the rest of your paper relates to it.

Basic statement:

Many people consider Friends one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Thesis statement:

Friends proves to be one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, thanks to its relatable characters, multi-seasonal narratives, and its emphasis on the power of adult friendships.

The first statement doesn’t give any hint as to what the paper is going to talk about. Could the paper be about Friends? Could it be about sitcoms? Could it be about what constitutes a great sitcom? It’s unclear. The second statement clearly indicates how the writer will prove that Friends is one of the greatest sitcoms – suggesting that the following paragraphs will discuss the characters, narratives, and friendship theme.

Tip #3 – Be supportive.

What came first: the thesis statement or the evidence? The evidence should come first – enabling you to come up with your thesis. It’s hard to know how you feel or have an opinion about a topic until you’ve gotten some background on it. As you start researching your topic, write down how you feel – your reactions, your thoughts, and your questions – and from there, you can formulate your thesis. The evidence is ultimately the foundation of your thesis statement, and allows you to determine how you want to present your argument to the reader. As you write your paper, your evidence should always be working to support your thesis. If you find that what you’re writing about isn’t in support of your thesis, then it’s time to re-think either your thesis statement or the argument that follows.

Basic statement:

In the TV show, the Office, the protagonist Michael Scott makes many inappropriate comments.

Thesis statement:

Michael Scott’s repeated offensive comments related to sexual orientation, race, and gender render him the most unlikeable character in The Office.

The first statement is really just an observation of Michael Scott’s behavior in The Office. The second statement, however, not only provides an opinion about Michael Scott’s behavior, but also lays out why he’s unlikeable. This sets the stage for the writer to lay out evidence in the following paragraphs in regards to the offensive comments he makes throughout the series and why that makes him unlikeable.