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Writing a Persuasive Essay Outline [+ PDF Template and Samples]

Writing a Persuasive Essay Outline [+ PDF Template and Samples]

For college students, persuasive essays are about arguments. You learn how to choose and organize them in a paper for the audience to agree with you.

You research, analyze examples, and compile the most reasoning information on the topic. A persuasive essay outline is an instrument to create a compelling, A-worthy paper.

This guide is here to make outlining less challenging and time-consuming:

Here you’ll find the formatting rules for an argumentative persuasive essay. After reading, you’ll know what to include in the outline and how to structure it. (Let alone the bonus: a free PDF template for creating persuasive essay outlines!)

Let’s dive right in.

What is a Persuasive Essay Outline?

A persuasive essay outline is a step-by-step plan for your future paper. It's like a map showing off the paragraphs and the information you'll write in each.

It reminds the table of contents in blog posts or books, listing the paragraphs or chapters.

Middle school and college students craft essay outlines as bullet points or checklists.

Why write outlines for college papers

  • Note down the research so you don’t miss anything while writing
  • Systemize the knowledge to choose the most reasoning claims for your essay
  • Organize core points and prescribe evidence for every argument
  • Structure an essay beforehand to save your time and ease the process

With a detailed plan at hand, you won’t struggle with a “what-to-write-next” dilemma. You’ll expand ready-made and already-organized arguments. Even 5th-grade students learn to craft outlines for their papers, i.e., this skill is worth time and effort.

Attention! Outlines are for students, not teachers. I mean, you shouldn't submit them for review. (Unless a teacher assigns an essay outline, not a complete paper.) It's your worksheet, a la your writing plan to help structure persuasive texts.

How to Write an Outline for a Persuasive Essay

A college level persuasive essay has a 5-paragraph structure (1). Follow it when writing your outline:

  1. Start with an introduction.
  2. Go on with 3 body paragraphs, each with a new argument and evidence to support your point.
  3. Finish your outline with a conclusion.

Below you’ll find the elements to mention in each paragraph.


You don’t have to write an introductory paragraph word by word in your outline. All you need is to specify the following elements in brief:

  1. Hook: Decide on a catchy opening sentence to win the reader’s interest.
  2. Background Info: Introduce your essay topic. What issue will you discuss?
  3. Thesis: Specify which side of that issue you’ll support with arguments and evidence.

Body Paragraphs

A standard structure prescribes three body paragraphs in a college essay. But it’s not a strict rule to follow.

The number of sections depends on several factors:

  • How many claims you’ll use to persuade readers.
  • How long your essay should be.
  • Whether you add a paragraph with opposite views.

Add as many paragraphs to your essay outline as required to communicate your thesis. Note the following for each:

  1. Topic sentence: What argument will you use to persuade readers about your thesis?
  2. Example: Specify the evidence you’ll use to support your point. (Statistics, facts, and any other relevant information)
  3. Transition: Think of a transitional sentence to the next paragraph. How to glue all the info to sound logical and coherent?


The final paragraph of your persuasive research essay should have the following:

  1. Thesis restatement: Don’t copy but rewrite it with different words.
  2. Summary: Remind the reader about all the key points you discussed in your essay’s body. Thus, you’ll establish the significance of your position again.
  3. Food for thought: Leave the reader with a call to action or a question to think about after they checked your paper.

5-Paragraph Persuasive Essay Outline: Your PDF Template

Below is your free PDF version of an outline for persuasive essay. It specifies the core elements (2): All you need is to fill it in with relevant information about your topic. Feel free to use it as a worksheet or a sample for essay outlines.

This persuasive essay outline template saves you time on paper structuring. Here you can take notes on arguments, claims, and evidence you’ll use in a draft. All in one place to organize thoughts and not miss anything while writing.

Writing a Persuasive Essay Outline: Examples

And now, to practice.

Say you write a college level persuasive essay. The topic is “Journal writing is therapeutic.”

That’s what your outline might look like:

Title: The Therapeutic Power of Journal Writing

Hook: a compelling short story (Imagine a space where your thoughts flow freely, unburdened by judgment or constraint – a reality where you can explore your innermost feelings and experiences. Such a realm exists within the pages of a journal, where writing becomes a therapeutic tool capable of healing and self-discovery.)
Topic Background: Throughout history, journal writing has served as a means of recording personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions. From renowned figures like Anne Frank to contemporary individuals seeking solace, journaling is a powerful therapeutic practice.
Thesis Statement: Journal writing is a therapeutic practice that fosters emotional expression, self-reflection, and personal growth, ultimately leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.

Body Paragraph 1: Emotional Expression and Catharsis
Argument: Journal writing provides a safe and confidential space for emotional expression, allowing individuals to release pent-up feelings and achieve emotional catharsis.
Evidence: Research conducted by Pennebaker and Smyth (2016) demonstrates that expressive writing in journals can reduce stress and improve mood by encouraging the release of repressed emotions.
Transition: By unburdening oneself through the written word, individuals pave the way for greater self-understanding and resilience.

Body Paragraph 2: Self-Reflection and Insight
Argument: Journaling fosters self-reflection, enabling individuals to gain insight into their thoughts, behaviors, and thinking patterns.
Evidence: A study by Lepore and Greenberg (2002) found that regular journal writing enhances self-awareness and can lead to a deeper understanding of one’s motivations and reactions.
Transition: Through introspection, journal writers embark on a journey of self-discovery that contributes to personal growth and development.

Body Paragraph 3: Personal Growth and Empowerment
Argument: Chronicling experiences and setting goals in a journal promotes personal growth, empowers individuals to take control of their lives, and encourages the pursuit of positive change.
Evidence: A study by King (2001) revealed that individuals who engaged in journal-based goal-setting exhibited higher levels of motivation and achievement in various areas of their lives.
Transition: By documenting progress and aspirations, individuals are better equipped to overcome challenges, make informed decisions, and shape their futures.

Thesis Restatement: In an age of constant stimulation and digital distractions, journal writing emerges as a therapeutic sanctuary that nurtures emotional expression, self-reflection, and personal growth.
Arguments Summary: Throughout this essay, we have explored how journaling serves as a vehicle for emotional catharsis, self-awareness, and empowerment, all contributing to improved mental and emotional well-being.
Final Thought for Readers: Embrace the power of journaling and embark on a path toward greater self-discovery and emotional healing.
Persuasive essay outline example

Please note: The above outline is a sample. It’s here for help and informative purposes only. So, don’t copy but feel free to use it as a reference when writing outlines for your own works.

Another persuasive essay outline example:

Let’s say the topic is “Trump era brings the end of democracy to the entire world.”

Title: The Impact of the Trump Era on Global Democracy
Hook: Is the Trump era a harbinger of the democracy demise?
Topic Background: The Trump era, spanning from 2017 to 2021, was marked by unprecedented political dynamics and policy decisions that sparked debates about the future of democracy around the globe.
Thesis Statement: While some argue that the Trump era sounded the death knell for democracy worldwide, a more nuanced examination reveals complex implications beyond a simple cause-and-effect relationship.

Paragraph 1: Erosion of Democratic Norms
Argument: The Trump era witnessed a decline in democratic norms, characterized by attacks on the media, undermining of institutions, and disregard for checks and balances.
Evidence: The former president’s labeling of the media as “fake news” and “enemy of the people” cultivated an environment of distrust, weakening the role of a free press in holding governments accountable. His tendency to bypass traditional governance channels and rely on executive orders demonstrated a lack of respect for institutional safeguards.
Transition: The erosion of democratic norms raises concerns about the fragility of democratic systems in the face of leaders who prioritize personal agendas over democratic principles.

Paragraph 2: Global Influence on Democratic Backsliding
Argument: The Trump era set a precedent for leaders worldwide who seek to curtail democratic freedoms and consolidate power.
Evidence: Leaders in various countries have taken steps to weaken democratic institutions and suppress dissent. Examples include Hungary and Poland, where governments have used tactics reminiscent of those witnessed during the Trump era, such as attacks on the judiciary and restrictions on civil liberties.
Transition: The influence of the Trump era on democratic backsliding abroad emphasizes the interconnections of political developments and the potential for a domino effect on democratic values.

Paragraph 3: Resilience of Democratic Institutions
Argument: Despite the challenges of the Trump era, democratic institutions and civil society have demonstrated their ability to resist and adapt.
Evidence: The resilience of the U.S. judiciary in responding to attempts to undermine its independence, along with the active engagement of grassroots movements and civil society organizations, serves as a testament to the strength of democratic mechanisms.
Transition: The struggles faced during the Trump era underscore the importance of ongoing vigilance and civic engagement in safeguarding democratic ideals.

Thesis Restatement: While the Trump era undeniably raised concerns about the future of global democracy, a more comprehensive analysis reveals a multifaceted impact that extends beyond a simple causative relationship.
Arguments Summary: The erosion of democratic norms, the global influence on democratic backsliding, and the resilience of democratic institutions collectively contribute to a complex narrative of how the Trump era has affected democracy worldwide.
Final Thought for Readers: As societies continue to grapple with the implications of the Trump era, the lessons learned provide an opportunity for reflection, renewal, and a renewed commitment to the fundamental principles that underpin democratic governance.
Sample for outline of persuasive essay


In this post, I’ve demonstrated how to do an outline for a persuasive essay. Now you have a template and samples to consider for your own works. So:

  • Follow the formatting rules.
  • Ensure you add all the arguments and up-to-date examples to support your claims.
  • Note down everything in brief to ease the writing process.

A persuasive essay outline is a map. It showcases all the information you need to mention for the audience to agree with your points. It’s an essay plan to organize your paper for better coherence and engagement.



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