The University Writing Center (UWC)
The essay may be the most common form of writing at the college level. The essay typically consists of three major elements: the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion. While many teachers focus on the five-paragraph essay, we encourage you to think beyond this format, as many of the best essays go well beyond five paragraphs.
In the introduction, the writer must introduce the reader to the topic. Here, the author must state the purpose of the piece of writing. Usually, the thesis statement of the paper will be located in the introduction. The thesis statement explains to the reader what should be expected throughout the essay.
The body paragraphs expand the main ideas stated in the thesis statement. Each main idea should be separated into different paragraphs and expanded with supporting information relevant to the topic. The standard five-paragraph essay contains three body paragraphs. However, do not feel limited to writing only three body paragraphs (unless otherwise specified by your instructor). More material often bolsters the strength of your paper.
Here is another useful website with information about body paragraphs from Furman University.
All writing must come to an end. The conclusion restates the thesis statement in an original way, different from the manner it was presented in the introduction. A conclusion paragraph should summarize the paper, and provide the reader with a sense of closure.
Here are some useful websites with more information about conclusions: