Being able to write a strong academic essay is a critical skill for college and university students. It is also a skill that will continue to serve you if you plan to go into an academic career, or any field that involves persuasive or analytical writing. In order to write a successful essay, start by following any assigned instructions carefully. Before you start writing, research your topic thoroughly, using good, reputable sources. Organize your essay clearly, and edit it to make sure there are no problems with organization, grammar, spelling, or punctuation.