How to Create a Descriptive College Essay Outline With Example

How to Create a Descriptive College Essay Outline With Example

Published by on 2021-06-30 17:51:17

A descriptive essay is a classic type of assignment you might often face during your educational process at high school or college. Although this paper doesn’t require doing precise and detailed research, it is still considered too difficult for thousands of smart and diligent students.

Learning how to write a descriptive paper can be quite an interesting task to do. Of course, before you even begin, you need to know the goal of such a task as well as all its writing specifics. Fortunately, the Internet nowadays is full of help for students like yourself. All you have to do is to show determination in learning all this information. So, without further ado, here are guidelines on how to write a good descriptive essay. Hopefully, you will feel much more confident and inspired about starting this work by the end of this article.

What Is a Descriptive Essay and How to Write It?

If you find yourself confused about how to begin a descriptive essay, you should start by learning more about this assignment. After all, you have to know the answer to “What is a descriptive essay meant to do?” before you make your first draft. Thus, you need to have a clear idea of the purpose of your writing. This paper aims to provide a description of a certain event, location, art, or else. There is no single way on how to do a descriptive essay. You don’t have many limitations or strict rules here. However, there are certain expectations and landmarks that you must meet to have a good paper.

Often students confuse this purpose with the need to explain those objects or events at the question. This is a common mistake. Your goal is to give a reader a full understanding of the topic without analyzing it or giving your take on it. It can be quite unusual at first. You have to balance that fine line between expressing your vision of a subject without falling into explaining it. However, once you understand the purpose of this assignment, you’ll easily master the technique of doing it well. The best way to learn about this type of essay is to look for examples of a descriptive essay online.

How do you write a descriptive essay without knowing what you are writing about? The answer is - you don’t. You need a good solid topic to be the base of your future work. The only problem here is to pick the one that fits the assignment, your interests, and knowledge best. Here are a few ideas for the paper topics:

  1. The first day at school.
  2. The historical event you have witnessed.
  3. The historical event you research.
  4. Description of a book, art, building, movie.
  5. Any event of cultural importance.

Overall, any topic that you know well enough to talk about will do perfectly well here. Just remember, your goal is to enlighten your readers about this subject. Nothing more, nothing less. Let’s see how to write a descriptive essay in order to achieve that goal.


More often than not, you will need to research the subject of your work. Whether it is a movie you have seen dozens of times or a historical event you witnessed yourself, it doesn't matter. First of all, you, like any other person, are prone to biased opinions. You may not give your reader a full picture based only on your interpretation.

Secondly, it’s better to research the background. Thus, you can learn about the director's motivation to make the movie or the causes that led to a certain event in history. Overall, researching the subject can always give you another perspective and expand your understanding of the subject.

Make an Outline

Once you have all your theoretical work done, you may find yourself wondering how to start off a descriptive essay. Well, as always, you should start only by writing an outline. An outline is the crucial first step to any writing work. It is your chance to put all your thoughts, ideas, and narration onto the page.

During this stage, you are making a map of your future work. You see where each of your ideas belongs. Next, you get to create smooth transitions between paragraphs. Finally, search for any loopholes in your plot and narration. Once you have an outline, you basically have the whole paper. All you are left to do is to enlarge it.

Follow the Five Paragraphs Rule

This type of paper needs to follow the classic five-paragraph rule. It means that your work structure is already predetermined, and all you need is to follow the guidelines. You got to start with the introduction. There is no other way of how to start a descriptive essay other than with a strong introduction. Your first paragraph must have a brief background, the purpose of your work, and a thesis statement.

Next, you insert body paragraphs. There can be more than three main paragraphs in the body, in case you are wondering. Their number depends on the required length of your work. Here is how to start a descriptive paragraph. First, write down the topic sentence. It carries the purpose of the paragraph. Next, expand on it. Bring in some explanation, add references. Make a brief conclusion in the last sentences to answer your topic sentence.

The last paragraph of your work should be the conclusion. This is where you confirm or deny your thesis statement based on what you have covered in the text above. This part is also your last chance to see whether you are missing anything in the main body. If you don’t have enough evidence to come to the conclusion you wanted, add another paragraph with the evidence you are missing.

Descriptive Paper: Exploring the Basics

The primary step for choosing a topic for any type of academic assignment is clarifying its key features and core concepts. To put it short, a descriptive paper is a piece of pro academic writing that is focused on providing an advanced description of any of these aspects:

  • emotion;
  • object;
  • situation;
  • person;
  • event;
  • place;
  • experience;
  • sound;
  • feeling;
  • solution.

In other words, you are expected to come up with detailed information about your viewpoint on a particular aspect mentioned above. It is necessary to focus on only one topic and describe it from various sides. The heart of any descriptive paper is an advanced expression of your feelings and experiences. You can also look for descriptive essay examples online to understand the requirements for your paper better.

It is also necessary to allow the readers to draw a picture in their imagination of what is happening in your paper. For these purposes, you can use various details, adverbs, and bright epithets. If you look at the successful descriptive essay writing examples for college students, you will notice that all of them invoke your emotions. Therefore, it might be a good idea to search for handy examples of descriptive essay topics you can use for composing your writing.

Descriptive Essay: Top Features

  1. Central topic: all your arguments and facts should be tightly connected with a chosen theme.
  2. Sensory specialties: appeal to the imagination and feelings of your readers and make your writing engaging.
  3. Metaphorical writing style: add more adverbs and similes to make your descriptions more influential.
  4. Precise writing tone: all the words and phrases in your essay should be accurate and fit the main idea of your paper.
  5. The facts’ schema: all the ideas and examples should correlate with each other.

The Significance of the Outline for a Descriptive Essay

To begin with, let’s clarify the number-one features of this paper. It is an advanced type of writing that supposes developing a broad and complex description of a particular solution. The object of your assignment might be a place, a person, an event, or a feeling. You will need to become a literary artist and represent bright writing that appeals to the reader’s imagination. When writing this essay, you shouldn’t be afraid to show off your viewpoints, ideas, and feelings. This simple trick will help you create flawless writing with top-notch descriptions.

But what is a descriptive outline? It is a skeleton for your academic paper! If you would like to get a more comprehensive definition, here it is. An outline is an advanced plan or the basis of your writing. This is also an extended schema of your essay, where you will need to represent a descriptive essay thesis along with the most striking facts and examples. Each point of this plan should be clear and precise, as well as suit the main topic of your essay. Anyway, you are expected to show off your writing and analytical talents, as well as impress the readers with superior descriptions.

The Most Effective Outline Schema for Your Essay

Coming up with an excellent paper’s structure is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. Here is a schema you might use for creating a descriptive speech outline in a matter of minutes:

1. An introduction:

  • a sentence that contains a striking hook;
  • basic background data;
  • thesis statement.

2. Body paragraphs:

  • a basic sentence;
  • sensory specialties;
  • advanced details.

3. A conclusion:

  • a description of all main points in short;
  • clincher statement.

How to write a thesis for a descriptive essay? This question is one of the most burning ones for many young minds. Fortunately, the answer is as simple as a piece of cake. Make sure this piece of writing is short, precise, and clear-cut and don't forgent to revise the essay and chek if the essay follows the correct format.

A Handy Descriptive Outline Example You Can Use Right Now

If you search for a handy sample on a writing plan for your essay, you’ve come to the right place. Discover an outline on the topic about your best friend below.


  1. Topic sentence: My best friend Sara has a bright individuality.
  2. Basic background data: Although I have many mates, Sara is my best friend. We pulled up in childhood and have been friends for over eight years.
  3. Thesis statement: She is communicative, sincere, and loyal.

Paragraph 1

  1. Topic Sentence: Sara is a very kind girl.
  2. Support 1: She loves her younger sibling very much and takes care of her.
  3. Support 2: Sara is a dedicated friend who has never left me in trouble.

Paragraph 2

  1. Topic Sentence: Sara has an excellent sense of humor.
  2. Support 1: She is incredibly smart. Her jokes are very funny and don’t hurt anyone.
  3. Support 2: Sara uses her sense of humor to resolve any disputes and get people to feel easier.

Paragraph 3

  1. Topic Sentence: She is honest and reliable.
  2. Support 1: Sare has never turned her back on me.
  3. Support 2: She never lies and prefers to be sincere in any situation.


I’m very glad to have such an amazing friend. I can easily count on her even during the darkest times. She taught me to remain positive and happy no matter what.

Descriptive Essay Topics for High School Students

Writing a descriptive academic paper is one of the common types of assignments for high school and college students. However, picking up a winning and easy-to-write topic might take you tons of time. How to determine a great solution to compose a paper? What are the most creative and inspiring ideas for descriptive essays? Keep reading to effortlessly find the answers to all these questions and much more.

So, you need to compose an excellent paper and impress your classmates with top-notch writing. Easier said than done. However, you can pick up any of the topics proposed below and compose a nice essay in no time.

Topics About People

First, you can describe the strangest person you’ve ever met. This is an easy idea you can write about in your paper. The reason is that strange people are unique and often unforgettable. If you choose this topic, get ready to answer the questions about the person’s appearance, habits, characteristics, and describe your feelings.

Second, you can compose an essay about a person who inspires you. This might be a family member, friend, coach, or even a celebrity. What admires you? What is special about the chosen individual? Make sure this person positively impacts you.

Topics About Places

What remarkable places did you visit when you were a child? Try to share the details of your most unforgettable destination or describe your favorite place. Allow the readers to feel its unique atmosphere by adding more details. How did you feel about it? What mood did you have? Do you still miss it? Did you enjoy staying at this place? Don’t be afraid to specify even the most insignificant features of the chosen environment.

Many learners prefer writing descriptive essays about nature. For example, you can write about the family trip to the mountains, your first visit to the seaside or an experience you’ve got by visiting a particular destination abroad. Did you truly love it? Describe your feelings, smells, emotions, and the entire environment you enjoyed. For example, you can share your emotions when you first see Niagara Falls. If you’ve never been to such an outstanding place, you can describe any destination that impressed you.

It might also be great to compose an essay about a scary place you’ve visited. What made you feel scared? Would you like to see this place again? Come up with advanced characteristics of what you felt before and after the scariest moment. Remember that it is essential to include as many sensory details as you can.

Topics About Object

Many learners believe it is much easier to describe a certain piece of art than a particular place or person. If you are one of them, feel free to choose a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artwork to come up with an advanced description. However, it is necessary to pick up an object that truly touches your heart. Otherwise, you might fail to describe the strong feelings you experience when looking at it. For example, the particular photo might make you remember your childhood, grandparents, school friends, or any positive moments.

If you don’t want to dive into the memories, feel free to come up with a paper about your hobbies. For example, if you collect stamps, you can describe a unique item from your collection. Where did you get it? What did you feel when you bought it? Try to enjoy your writing process - this way, you will create an astonishing essay with minimum effort.

Topics About Experience

Experience is what makes each person unique. You can choose any memorable moment to describe in your paper. For example, if you are fond of sports, you can compose an essay about the first time you took part in the competitions or your first training. However, don’t focus on the technical details or sports concepts but cover an emotional side of the process.

You can also share some memories of happy moments. Feel free to describe the best day in your life (if you have any) or just share some funny cases that still make you smile. Try to convey the atmosphere of the day or event, portray the features of the main heroes from your story, and make your narration look bright and creative.

Best Topics for Your Descriptive Essay

If you don’t want to come up with unique and out-of-the-box ideas for your academic assignment, we are here to help. Feel free to select a good descriptive essay topic from the list below to create an exclusive paper within the shortest terms:

  1. How did you make the world better?
  2. The role of love in your life.
  3. The day you met your best friend.
  4. Your first day at college.
  5. The worst day in your life.
  6. The scariest moment in your life.
  7. The craziest thing you’ve ever made.
  8. Your volunteering experience.
  9. How you saved an animal.
  10. Your first trip to the seashore.
  11. The best family vacation you’ve ever had.
  12. A person you admire.
  13. The most mysterious event in your life.
  14. Your favorite cartoon character.
  15. A special place for you.
  16. Your favorite song.
  17. Your desire to become famous.
  18. How you earned your first money.
  19. The most inspiring moment in your life.
  20. The unusual talent you possess.
  21. Your favorite kind of sport.
  22. The luckiest moment in your life.
  23. How you won the lottery.
  24. Your first professional gaming experience.
  25. The place you dream about.
  26. Your best childhood memory.
  27. The creepiest thing you believed in childhood.
  28. Your first visit to the pop group’s concert.
  29. The greatest lesson you’ve learned.
  30. How you won an important competition.
  31. The event that helped you discover your leadership skills.
  32. What will you do if you are a magician?
  33. The most important person in your life.
  34. How you first met your roommate.
  35. The most positive experience you’ve ever had.
  36. How you’ve learned how to remain optimistic.
  37. Your first visit to Disneyland.
  38. What makes you happy?
  39. The way you cope with all the difficulties.
  40. Your most treasured item.