Originality in an academic essay is all about the way that you interrogate the material in front of you and the way that you put the material together. So, regarding the first of those points, if you are dealing with evidence, examples, theories, other people's writing - question it, adopt a critical standpoint, evaluate it, don't just accept.
Example writing essay. Looking for Paper Samples? Getting your college degree sometimes may require students to write different types of essays. Usually professors provide students with specific instructions, however, it is very hard to distinguish how exactly types of essays should differ.