Process Essay




In this kind of essay, the aim is to describe how something is done in a sequence of steps or how something operates. This is the type of essay we use when we are explaining how online registration is made in Boğaziçi University or how the ABS brake system in a car works.



Two kinds of organization are possible:


1.    In the first one, we give a set of instructions in detail so that the readers can perform the same actions and do the process themselves. We introduce the process and the materials or tools required for the process. Then, we list the steps they must follow. The most important thing to bear in mind is to tell the readers everything that needs to be known. The readers who are doing the described process for the first time do not have experience so they should not be frustrated.


2.    In the second kind of organization, we focus on the understanding of how something happens rather than the steps explained in detail. The aim of the writer is not to enable the reader to perform some actions but to explain the overall process.


After writing the essay, we can check to see whether the steps are clearly explained and are in chronological order and proper transitions are used. In the first kind of organization, there should not be large gaps between the steps, and in the second one, there should not be any question marks in the readers’ minds about the overall process.



The steps should be written in chronological order, in the order that they happen. The readers should also be guided with transitions such as first, next, finally.


Sample process essay:


 Online Registration in Boğaziçi University


Online registration started in Boğaziçi as of September 2000. Online registration has made registration quite practical for young people who have chosen to be students of Boğaziçi University since they do not have to get into long queues to fill in the forms or try to find their advisors to ask for the courses they are eligible for. They can also add or drop courses. There are some steps that students should follow for the online registration.


Students can reach the registration system on the Web address: . When they see the Welcome Screen, they have to click on “Click here to continue”. If they do not see the welcome page, they can skip this step.


When they reach the registration program, they have to click on “Course List Preparation (Students)” link for registration. If they are attending prep classes, they do not need to prepare a course list, but they must check their ID information on the screen. For registration procedures, they should enter their student number into the ID Number box and their password which they must have obtained from the Registrar’s Office into the box where it says Password.


In the Course List Preparation Screen, the students can find information on the schedule (weekly course schedule which shows clashes in course hours), curriculum (the list of all the courses they must complete in order to graduate), past data (transcript of the student), and ID Information (personal information). Students who are in “repeating status” will find that all courses in which they had received an F grade will automatically be included in their course list if those courses are being offered that semester.


To add courses to their lists, students first they choose the type of course to be added (example: Required, HSS, etc.) and click on the “Add” button. They must wait for the list of courses to appear on the screen. Then, choose the course they want to include in their list by clicking the little button next to the course code. They must click on “non-credit” if the course is to be taken as a non-credit course. They go to the top of the list, then click on “Add Selected Course“. The course will now appear in the course list on the “Course Preparation Screen”. The hours of this course can be seen in the Schedule. To add another course, they have to repeat the same procedure. If there are any restrictions in taking a certain course, the reason why they cannot add it to their list will appear on the screen. In that case, the students should go back to be “Course Preparation Screen” and try to add another course.


When dropping a course, the students choose the course they want to “drop” by clicking on the button next to it. Then, they click on “Drop”. If the course cannot be dropped, the reason will appear on the screen.


It is also possible to send a message to the designated academic advisor. To send a message, they have to click on “Send Message to Advisor”. They can now write a message of up to 255 characters. After finishing writing, they click on “Send message”.


After having completed the “Course List Preparation”, it is important not to forget clicking on LOGOUT. If the system is left without logging out, it is not possible for the student to re-enter it for the next 20 minutes. The only step left is to send the course list preparation to the advisor for her/his approval.


Written by Oya Ozagac, May 2004