Think about what usually stands out to you when you read something. While a strong introduction is important, an effective conclusion is just as powerful. Since a conclusion is the last thing your reader will read, it should be effective and memorable. To write an effective conclusion, you must first understand the purpose of the final paragraph in an essay. A conclusion is not simply a "bookend" to a paper; it is a final confirmation that the ideas presented within the essay are worth exploring and that the essay as a whole is beneficial to the reader’s compression of the topic and thesis points explored throughout the essay.
Summarize the Content
A good conclusion will effectively summarize the main points of the essay. Check the topic sentence in each of your body paragraphs and use the main ideas found within them to formulate a summary of that content. You don't want to repeat yourself, but you do want to reinforce what has already been said.
Bring the Reader Full Circle
If you introduced a scenario in the introduction, refer to that scenario in your conclusion and show how the information presented in your body paragraphs sheds new light and helps build a deeper understanding of that scenario.
Show the Big Picture
Demonstrate how the points you’ve made in the essay fit together with the conclusion. Take a global perspective, so you can redirect your reader to a larger, more substantial understanding. Show how your ideas fuse together to offer new meaning. Create a picture that helps your reader see that your essay was meaningful and useful.
Restate the Thesis Statement
Look at the thesis statement in your introduction and restate the same idea in a new way. Your thesis statement is the heart of your essay so it needs to be reinforced in your conclusion, but without repeating it word for word.
Challenge the reader to examine his own life or look to the future. Cite examples that the reader can relate to in his own life (or town or city) or implore him to imagine a world wherein a certain reality is prevalent. For example, if you are arguing for civil rights for all, ask the reader to imagine a world wherein her children are denied access to education and health care because of their race, gender or sexual orientation.
Have a friend, classmate or family member review your essay and provide feedback on it before you turn it in.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.