Compare and contrast essays can be difficult to write. Often, the elements being compared are numerous and complex, which means the writer must be organized and focused to approach this task. High school teachers and college professors alike assign compare and contrast essays, and one issue that can be examined and sustain such an essay is which colleges are best, worst and why.


A compare and contrast essay must provide its reader with a comprehensive look at a particular subject but remain focused. For the topic of choosing a college, a typical academic paper doesn’t have the length to compare every college in existence. Narrow the scope and choose colleges to compare that are relevant to the course, the assignment, and are schools that you find particularly interesting and intriguing. For example, it is manageable to focus your compare and contrast essay on community colleges in the state of Rhode Island.

Similarities & Differences

The core of a successful compare and contrast essay examines similarities and differences. It may be helpful to make a Venn diagram or chart to map these out. When comparing colleges, elements such as location, price, majors, minors and other essential characteristics of each college are fine points to examine.

Central Argument

The main objective of a compare and contrast essay is to provide the reader with a well rounded view of a particular topic, and like many thesis-driven essays, your central argument is the dominant thread that unites the entire paper. In analyzing (through comparison and contrast) the elements of different colleges, your purpose is to come to a decision as to whether a school is a good or bad fit for you, and why.


Have an idea of how you’re going to organize the body of your paper. Each point that you make will compare and contrast various elements of particular colleges, and even though each point stands on its own, your compare and contrast paper is one, holistic piece. A successful compare and contrast paper possesses points that work together in harmony. Build one point off the other to reach thought provoking and engaging conclusions.

Related Articles