Ending Your Essay with a Strong Conclusion

Ending Your Essay with a Strong Conclusion

Conclusions aren't easy—but they're very important. And contrary to popular belief, they're not simply a place to restate what you've said before in the same way. They're an opportunity to cast all the arguments you've made in a new light. 

Conclusions give you a chance to summarize and organize your main points, reminding the reader how effectively you’ve proven your thesis. It’s also your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader.

Simple Conclusion Formula 

  • Proper, relevant restatement of thesis statement and strongest evidence
  • Relevant final thought

As an example, let’s create a conclusion following our two-step process.

Let’s say your thesis statement is:

College athletes should not be paid because many receive compensation in the form of scholarships and benefit from more visibility to potential professional recruiters.

Now we’ll follow our formula to write an effective conclusion.

Restatement of Thesis and Strongest Evidence

The first step in writing our conclusion is to restate the thesis statement.

It’s important not to simply copy your thesis statement word for word. You can also briefly include evidence or other points that were mentioned in your paper.

You could write something like:

College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams.

This sentence reminds the reader of our original thesis statement without copying it exactly.

At this point, you could also synthesize 1-2 of the strongest pieces of supporting evidence already mentioned in your essay, such as:

With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation.

Notice that we didn’t start with a transition like, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.” These transitions aren’t necessary and are often overused.

Relevant Final Thought

You want to end your conclusion with a strong final thought. It should provide your reader with closure and give your essay a memorable or thought-provoking ending.

The last sentence of your conclusion can point to broader implications, like the impact the topic of your essay has had on history, society, or culture.

Another good rule of thumb is to allow your final sentence to answer the question, “So what?” Your reader has spent time reading your paper, but why does any of this matter? Why should your reader—or anyone else—care?

For our sample conclusion, for example, you could write:

Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.

This concluding sentence answers the, “So what?” question by explaining the potential repercussions of paying college athletes. It gives the reader a reason to be more invested in your essay and ideas.

Putting It All Together

The conclusion reads:

College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams. With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation. Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.

To create effective conclusions of your own, remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t feel the need to start with overused transitions such as, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.”
  • Restate your thesis statement in a new way. 
  • You can also restate 1-2 of your strongest pieces of supporting evidence.
  • Don’t mention anything in your conclusion that wasn’t mentioned in the body of your essay.
  • End with a strong final thought, preferably one that answers the question, “So what?”

By following these simple steps, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves a powerful final impression on your readers.


WriteLab brings together Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and English Language Instruction. Student writing is analyzed in seconds with the WriteLab app—giving students feedback and suggestions on how to revise and polish their draft.

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