Do you remember studying Newton's Third Law in school, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction? The same holds true in life — and that’s what cause-and-effect essays are about.

It could be individual or societal, unexpected or circumstantial, joyous or unfortunate -- but if there’s a cause, you can be certain there will be an effect that follows.

So, how do you write a cause-and-effect essay for college?

In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a cause and effect for college, along with practical tips and topic ideas to help you along the way.

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How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay in 7 Steps

A cause-and-effect essay examines the reasons behind a situation or issue and evaluates the impact of those reasons.

For example, eating disorders can be the situation (cause), and the consequences (effect) can range from deteriorating mental health conditions to malnutrition and drug addiction.

Here’s how you can write a cause-and-effect essay for college in seven steps.

Brainstorm essay topics

The first thing that your professor sees is your essay topic, so you need to come up with a good one.

Cause and effect essays require critical thinking and a smooth structure, and coming up with a good topic for these essays involves observing the world and the environment and speculating for possible causes from it that you can pick out.

Choose a topic that you are passionate about and something your readers would want to learn more from. Here are a few topic areas you can consider:

  • social and cultural movements;
  • human body;
  • works of literature;
  • science;
  • natural phenomenon;
  • technology;
  • human rights and the political system.

This will help you write a more genuine and interesting essay, helping you achieve better grades.

Create an outline

Once you know your topic, your next step is to figure out the outline technique for the essay.

Some of the topics that you brainstorm will require you to use focus on causes and focus on effects technique, while some of the topics can use the block or the chain method, which studies and analyzes the causes and effects of the selected topic simultaneously.

In the block method of outlining, the causes are listed first, followed by the expanded effects that come along with it. In the chain method of outlining, you can write each cause with its effect right after.

After establishing a thesis statement in the introduction, your body paragraphs should define proper examples and facts and come back to why the thesis statement is true. Outlining each portion of the cause-and-effect essay will help explore the relationship between the effects and their causes.

Establish a thesis statement

Crafting a strong thesis for your cause-and-effect essay is crucial when writing quality academic papers for top grades. As you read through and research your topic, you will find out your stance on the subject.

This stance will be subjected to the thesis statement on which your essay will be based. The thesis statement shows why you are holding onto your position for the essay and will give significance to the subject. It will also let your professor know what they should expect to learn from your essay.

Keep in mind to mention your position in your thesis statement or the introduction paragraph and the technique you will be using to write your essay.

Research and organize your data

Conduct thorough and proper research for your cause-and-effect essay, and avoid using sources such as personal blogs, unverified websites, or Wikipedia for your reference. Instead, look for credible sources, publications, research work, etc., as your primary source of information.

To make your essay flawless, you need to find valid and significant arguments, facts, examples, and responses that support your thesis statement for your cause-and-effect topic. This step will also help you gather additional questions, common trends, and other pivotal information about your topic.

This collected information needs to be organized into a structure that is easy for you to frame your essay and for your audience to understand the flow of the write-up without any trouble.

Divide all these sections into the introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs, and build a coherent, clear, and interesting cause-and-effect essay.

Here’s an interesting video by Caro Porras on structuring a cause-and-effect essay.

Use transition phrases and words

Since you’re working on a cause-and-effect essay, there are some words that you need to know how to use and when to use them in your essay. Transition words are very important in academic essays like these as it provides the best and the easiest link for you to bridge two paragraphs for an easier flow.

Transition words give your professors an easier time to move from one point, discussion, or argument to another. They provide balance and bind all the important points together to form one complete quality paper.

Some transition words that are generally used in cause-and-effect essays are:

Addition (to describe adding something more to the statement you just wrote)

  • furthermore, too, also;
  • moreover, in addition,;
  • besides, lastly, secondly, finally.

Time (to help understand the timestamp of the argument or point, for adding relevancy)

  • next, never, immediately;
  • during, meanwhile, sometimes;
  • subsequently, whenever, always.

Compare and Contrast (if you are planning to compare and contrast some facts in your essay to make it easier to bring proper effect)

  • likewise, otherwise, in contrast;
  • nevertheless, notwithstanding, though;
  • in the same way, similarly, after all.

Write the first essay draft

With the essay topic, structure, thesis statement, and vital information gathered in place, it is time to start working on your cause-and-effect essay draft.

Keeping your stance on the topic in mind, use the structuring technique that would make it easier to expand on your subject.

Give enough time to edit between your first and second drafts, and take a day or two to write the final draft. You will most likely notice mistakes and errors that went unnoticed while you were writing your first two drafts.

Review, revise, edit and proofread

The last and most important step is to review, revise, edit and proofread your cause-and-effect essay thoroughly as well as multiple times before submitting it to your professor.

Through this, you can eliminate common errors that are most likely to happen in cause-and-effect essays, such as:

  • unclear thesis statement;
  • irrelevant or confusing examples, anecdotes, and evidence;
  • spelling mistakes;
  • wrong punctuations;
  • grammatical errors;
  • incorrect format or structuring;
  • vague arguments.

8 Tips to Write High-Scoring Cause and Effect Essays for College

Now that you know the process of writing a cause-and-effect essay, here are some valuable tips to help you along the way.

1. Before starting your essay, make it a point to choose your topic and write three causes and effects of it. You can then pick the one that is the most interesting and write your paper on that stance.

2. Mind mapping is an essential brainstorming activity that will help in spilling out creative ideas and getting your thoughts organized before you start collecting your information.

3. Choose a topic that you are passionate about or are very interested in because if you choose a random topic that you don't know much about, your professor can clearly notice the lack of interest in your paper. This will eventually influence your grades.

4. Define the purpose of your essay and keep that in mind throughout while drafting your paper. You should not lose track of the main idea behind why you are writing this cause-and-effect essay, as this will, in turn, make you choose the wrong arguments and illogical examples for your topic. Your goal is to either inform or persuade your professor through your essay.

5. The main focus of your essay should be the immediate causes and their effects. Be sure to only include direct and clear causes and effects that add value to your paper.

6. Make sure to use grammar and plagiarism-checking tools on your essay, as this conveniently points out grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and wordy sentences that you may have missed out on while revising. Plagiarism checkers can help you identify plagiarised sentences, which you can edit to ensure authenticity and originality.

7. Avoid adding irrelevant information, and carefully check for any formatting irregularities or any other compliance issues with the essay guidelines.

8. Ask your friends or family members to proofread your paper. They might come up with a different perspective and give ideas that you didn't think of and identify places where you can improve, use better arguments, and give impartial feedback on the general quality of your essay.

10 Cause and Effect Essay Topic Ideas to Inspire Your Essay

1. Increased technological advances have increased online shopping but does it motivate people into increased online shopping?

2. Deliberate on the causes of the no homework policy for kindergarten kids and its impact on education effective next.

3. What causes some women to be repeatedly entangled in destructive relationships?

4. The cause and effect link between nutrition and health.

5. Social media and cyberbullying: What is the connection between the two?

6. Social media influences psychological health: Discuss.

7. In what ways does gender inequality influence the wage rate?

8. Covid-19 prevention measure - quarantine has a severe effect on the economic welfare of a country when it comes to games and teenagers. What causes addiction?

9. The repeated consumption of junk food increases the chance of developing obesity.

10. The fast food business has a severe impact on individuals' health.


When writing a cause-and-effect essay for the first time, it is a good practice to research and know more about how you can excel in the qualitative and quantitative aspects of your essay writing.

And now that you’ve learned how do you write a cause-and-effect essay for college - take notes of the entire process, keep simple yet effective tips in mind, adhere to the appropriate structuring, and work toward delivering a stellar essay based on the basic notion of how you can portray your cause and effect diligently on paper.

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Achieve Academic Success with Expert Assistance!

Custom Essays:

Crafted from Scratch for You.

Plagiarism Removal:

Ensuring Your Work’s Originality.

Rewriting & Paraphrasing:

Transform Your Draft into Excellence.

Editing & Proofreading:

Perfecting Your Paper’s Grammar, Style, and Format (APA, MLA, etc.).