June 13, 2016 - Posted toWriting Tips
Essays and papers take on a whole new meaning in college. Instructors will not be as lenient as your high school teachers were about structural errors, grammar issues and that pesky punctuation. They expect high quality, whether you are in an English, history or science course, and your writing skills will be a part of every essay or paper you produce in any class. It’s probably worth your while to review exactly how to construct essays and papers for college so that you can get the good grades you want.
There is a tiny percentage of people who can sit down and knock out an essay from scratch without going through the steps for solid writing. This is probably not you. But what follows here will show you how to write great essays/papers in college with as little pain as possible.
Even if you dislike everything about the course, you will have some options for topics, so choose one in which you have interest. If you don’t, you will hate every minute of the task. And if you select a topic about which you already have some knowledge, so much the better.
You probably already know that writing a college paper will require more than Wikipedia for resource materials. Instructors expect scholarly sources, so find articles from professional journals, or books whose authors have Ph.D.’s in the content field.
Here’s one of the best hacks to write a college paper that you have not been taught. Once you have your topic, go online and find essays and papers on the same topic. No, you’re not going to try to re-write them and use them as your own – that is usually a disaster. What you are going to do is see how the topic has been organized. What are the big sections and in what order have they been covered? You can actually make an outline from someone else’s great paper and save yourself lots of time.
If you have your outline before you do the research, it is so much easier to organize the notes as you take them.
The other hack is this – if the paper has been recently written, check out the resources the author used. If the dates are recent, they may be good resources for you too.
See? Things are already easier. Your fellow students who are struggling to organize their notes and craft an outline are in pain – you are not.
Remember, you are not one of those people who can sit down and hammer out an essay or paper and have it perfectly written. When you write your paper, there will be a rough draft first. Just accept it and get started.
Follow your outline as you work through each section – remember it is based on a paper that was rock solid. There are different approaches, however. Some people like to begin with the introduction; others prefer to wait until after the body is written before writing that intro. They seem to have a better “feel” for what that introduction should say if they do. Holding off on the introduction is probably a good idea.
When you are ready to write that introduction, try to think back on the tools for creative writing that English teachers have taught you over the years. The introduction should be a bit creative. Start it with a very short sentence that will grab attention. Or, provide some startling fact or piece of data. For example, “Fourteen million American children go to bed hungry every night.” Once you have the reader’s attention you can address the topic of your work and introduce your thesis.
The best pieces for editing are this. Get a good piece of editing software, copy and paste your piece in, and fix the errors that are pointed out. A good tool will make suggestions for fixing the issues – follow them and your final draft is finished.
Use software to create your citation in the required format – ain’t technology wonderful?
There you have it – the least painful way to create great essays and papers. Follow these suggestions and you’ll get a good grade every time.