Undergraduate nursing students often find essay writing challenging, and feel underprepared, yet the impact of using online feedback to support essay writing has been underexplored. First-year nursing students from a regional university were involved in a project that encouraged them to access an online tutoring service, as part of their development of an essay task. Significant differences were found in students’ final essay marks for those who accessed the online writing support. Students who accessed online writing support were also more likely to be deep, rather than surface learners. The findings indicate that the provision of prompt or ‘just in time’ feedback, using an online feedback mechanism, can greatly enhance students’ essay writing performance.