Conclusions for Academic Essays

Just as introductions are your first impression, conclusions are your last chance to communicate your point and to convince your audience. This handout aims to help you write effective conclusions.

What Should a Conclusion Do?

Conclusions establish the significance of your essay’s topic and argument. They also point toward the implications and applications of your argument for the future. Conclusions have two primary goals:

  • To briefly reiterate the overall argument of your essay. Without restating every main point–just the overall and most important point. Emphasize what your audience should know and remember after reading your essay.
  • To suggest the significance or implications of your argument. Conclusions should tell the readers why your argument is important and what they can now do with the knowledge you’ve provided. Many times, this takes the form of a “future statement”: how your argument might affect future scholarship or activity.

Example Conclusion

[overall argument] More exposure to professional soccer will build American interest and enthusiasm for soccer. As players and teams become more well-known and strategy becomes more transparent, American audiences will begin to identify with soccer in ways similar to baseball or football. This will require notable investment from MLS, but that investment will pay off. [implications] As soccer culture grows, the US – both fans and players alike – will finally be able to participate in the world’s largest international sport. Who knows? – we might even call it football someday.

More Hints and Tips

  • If you’re having trouble writing your essay, try writing your conclusion first. Once you have a conclusion, you’ve created a goal for yourself–a vision of where you want to end up. You can then write with a clear idea of your overall argument and with a destination in mind. Be sure to reread and revise your conclusion after finishing your draft to ensure it still matches  what you've actually written in the essay.
  • You do want to have strong and important implications for your essay, but be wary of overly dramatic language. In other words, recognize that your academic essay will most likely never save mankind or solve its major problems. Be realistic about what your solutions might effect.
  • The conclusion should not introduce new information, such as points for your argument or references to new material. If it is not already a part of your essay, it should not appear in your conclusion.