ACT Essay Template and sample essay

ACT Essay Template and Sample

Taking the ACT Writing Test is a great way to show off your writing skills to colleges. While you can’t be sure of the exact prompt ahead of time, you can use the same general structure for every ACT essay.

The following provides helpful suggestions for writing your essay. You do not need to copy this approach exactly; think of it as a framework.

 

ACT Essay Template

  • ¶1: Introductory Paragraph

    • Introductory statement
    • Thesis
  • ¶2: First Body Paragraph

    • Describe your thesis
    • Provide 1st example/reasoning: include specific, relevant information
  • ¶3: Second Body Paragraph

    • Continue supporting your thesis
    • Provide 2nd example/reasoning: include specific, relevant information

Time Tip

If you are running out of time, don’t write a 2nd body paragraph. Instead, take the time to write a thorough 3rd body paragraph and a clear conclusion paragraph.

  • ¶4: Third Body Paragraph

    • Explain how your thesis compares and contrasts with Perspectives One, Two, and/or Three
    • Strengths/Weaknesses of the perspective(s)
    • Insights offered / Insights not considered
    • Persuasive / Not persuasive
    • Example or reasoning: provide specific, relevant information
  • ¶5: Conclusion Paragraph

    • Recap your thesis
    • Recap how your thesis compares and contrasts with Perspectives One, Two, and/or Three

[RELATED: What to expect on the ACT Essay]

Sample Prompt

Bilingual Accreditation

While the most common language in the United States is English, it’s certainly not the only language in which Americans communicate. In fact, bilingual fluency is highly desirable in many professions, including business, education, and medicine. In an effort to ready students for success in their future careers, some high schools may consider instituting programs that would offer bilingual accreditation to students who successfully complete a significant portion of their schooling in a language other than English. Because bilingual certification is not a necessary component of traditional education, should schools be expected to explore this option for interested students? As American high schools aim to remain competitive as measured by increasingly rigorous international education standards, innovative programs such as bilingual certification may prove to be essential.

Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each discusses relevant aspects of offering bilingual accreditation.

 Perspective One:

Schools should encourage bilingual fluency but should not be expected to offer special classes or programs. School administrators need to work on strengthening the existing curriculum rather than overcomplicating instruction by attempting to incorporate additional programs that do not reinforce traditional education.

Perspective Two: 

Offering bilingual accreditation weakens the core of high school curriculum. A large enough portion of the student population already struggles to maintain passing grades when taught in English, and adding other languages would likely add to that number.

Perspective Three: 

Bilingual accreditation should be offered, but it needs to be thoughtfully implemented. Courses taught in languages other than English need to be carefully selected to ensure that this program does not affect the integrity of the high school diploma.

Sample Essay Using the Prompt

Essay Outline

¶1: Introductory Paragraph

  • Introductory statement
  • Thesis: Schools should offer bilingual accreditation as long as courses offered in languages other than English are carefully selected.

¶2: First body paragraph

  • Describe your thesis: All classes need to be carefully selected so scheduling bilingual offerings is not an additional burden for school administrators.
  • Provide first example/reasoning: include specific, relevant information—Even if core classes are given in two languages, all students still study the core curriculum and preserve the integrity of the diploma.

¶3: Second Body Paragraph

  • Continue supporting your thesis: Offering bilingual accreditation provides an opportunity for schools to offer non-traditional classes for all students.
  • Provide second example/reasoning: include specific, relevant information—Every dollar spent to accommodate bilingual education should be matched with equal funding for other types of educational enrichment such as STEM training and career-oriented electives.

¶4: Third Body Paragraph

  • Explain how your thesis compares and contrasts with Perspectives One, Two, and/or Three: The first perspective argues that schools should encourage bilingual fluency but not add any bilingual classes, which is in direct contrast to Perspective Three.
  • Strengths/Weaknesses of the perspective(s): Perspective One doesn’t take into account that making the existing curriculum better often means adding additional classes, which bilingual accreditation would accomplish.
  • Persuasive / Not persuasive: The argument simply says that these classes would only be for interested students, so it doesn’t affect everyone.
  • Example or Reasoning: provide specific, relevant information—Most of the world uses English as a second language, and many people speak at least two languages, so to stay competitive, U.S. students should also be fluent in two languages.

¶5: Conclusion Paragraph

  • Recap your thesis: I fully support perspective three because it opens up possibilities for all students without denying anyone a full high school curriculum leading to a meaningful diploma.
  • Recap how your thesis compares and contrasts with Perspectives One, Two, and/or Three: Recognizing the benefits of being bilingual, and making bilingual courses available but optional, is the best of both worlds.

Final Essay

               In today’s world where international education standards are very high and the U.S. needs to remain competitive, educators are looking for ways to enhance high school curriculum. One way is offering classes in languages other than English. Some people think that schools should provide enough education in a different language for students to be certified as bilingual. Others think this will weaken the curriculum. Still others think the accreditation should be offered but carefully administered so that graduation from that school would indicate the completed high school curriculum, and this is the option I agree with. I would further argue that schools should not only carefully implement bilingual programs to suit students who want to become fluent in two languages, but also provide supplemental non-traditional courses for students pursuing their entire education in English.

              The third perspective posits that while students should be given the opportunity to learn in other languages and be accredited as bilingual, the courses given need to be carefully selected. In reality, all classes need to be carefully selected so this is not a problem for bilingual classes. And if the classes selected were all optional, not required, it would not affect students who still want to learn everything in English. Since core classes might be given in two languages, and students select which one they want, all students still study the core curriculum and preserve the integrity of the diploma. Schools have always taught languages in high school so a French or Spanish course taught as a bilingual class makes perfect sense. Bilingual classes are also advantageous for students who do well and want to challenge themselves. So a French literature class can be taught in French while students read in French also.

             As schools work to accommodate students who wish to pursue a bilingual education, administrators must keep in mind that students who do not want an additional bilingual accreditation should still have every opportunity to excel as they work toward their high school diplomas. Every dollar spent to accommodate bilingual education should be matched with equal funding for other types of educational enrichment such as STEM training and career-oriented electives. That way, every student can benefit from classes that go beyond traditional education, whether the classes concentrate on language, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or future careers. Given the rigorous demands of the current job climate, students will greatly benefit from any additional marketable skills that they can acquire during their high school careers.

              The first perspective argues that schools should encourage bilingual fluency but not add any bilingual classes, which is in direct contrast to my position. Instead, the school administrators should make the existing curriculum better so that traditional education is really good. Certainly a high school curriculum should be as good as it can be and we should always be looking for ways to make it better. That often means adding new courses. For instance, computer courses didn’t exist a few years ago, but they are in schools now because it’s important for people to be able to use computers. It’s the same thing with bilingual courses. Most of the world uses English as a second language, and many people speak at least two languages. So it’s only right that to stay competitive, U.S. students should also be fluent in two languages; this is particularly important in careers that require international work. Also, the argument simply says that these classes would only be for interested students, so it doesn’t affect everyone. And finally, how can the schools encourage bilingual fluency if they don’t provide a place for students to practice another language?

              Being bilingual in a world with international interaction can’t help but be useful. I fully support perspective three because it opens up possibilities for all students without denying anyone a full high school curriculum leading to a meaningful diploma. Recognizing the benefits of being bilingual, and making bilingual courses available but optional, is the best of both worlds. Expanding courses offered in a curriculum is always better than restricting them, especially when they serve such an important need as the ability to communicate with others in their own language.