We all know that feeling of anticipating a new adventure when the last bell rings on the school year. You passed all the exams and got into the college of your dreams. The most exhausting step is behind you now, and you have a whole summer of fun and friends ahead of you before packing up and going to the dorms.
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It is an extremely pleasant time, but it is underlined by worry, the thoughts of meeting new people and teachers, moving to another city, and starting your adult life consuming you.
The summer passes, and you eagerly enter the academic life only to stumble before your very first college paper. New issues to cry over start pouring in at a rapid speed - you have to deal with tons of assignments and sleepless nights you spend trying to meet all the deadlines.
When you find yourself in the eye of the storm trying to figure out how to write a college paper and make it shine, do not fret! We've prepared a remarkable guide to help you enhance your writing skills and astonish all your teachers, and even that one nasty assistant professor of English everyone is calling an old bugger! When you ask yourself, "How do I do this?", turn your gaze to this article.
First, we shall establish the meaning of a college paper - it is an academic research piece of varying length that is written on a specific theme or issue. You have to analyze the received info and draw relevant conclusions. This paper is a mandatory part of the educational syllabus in every reputable university. Sounds like a challenging task, but its excellent execution can show the prof what you're worth.
You should come to terms with the fact that you will have to write dozens of different papers during your college years. It is depressing, yes, but look at it as an excellent chance to build your experience in paper-creating.
And to start you off, we created this expert guide on how to slay all your writing assignments!
College Paper Writing Tips
Let's kick it off with some basic first-timer tips to get you into the proper mental space.
- Stay focused on your paper and don't let your attention wander.
- Eliminate the distractions - your phone and other devices that are useless for studying.
- Be well-organized and don't postpone completing the assignment.
- Make sure you understand the task and what the prof wants from you.
- Always double-check for grammar mistakes and typos.
- Structure every argument logically and in keeping with the paper flow.
Sometimes, you don't have the option of choosing the topic to work on, but when it is presented to you, pick the area that you are interested in. That is the only way you can write an excellent college paper as easy as ABC. You need strong motivation to do your best, and an exciting topic is a way to go.
Use the brainstorming method and write down all your ideas, or even draw a whole map of those. Don't forget something crucial - your topic should be wide enough to find a sufficient amount of sources, but narrow enough to help you stay unique and create something unparalleled.
The major reason for the need of time managing is a big difference in deadlines. Some teachers give you three months to write your paper, but someone can demand it to be done by Friday.
The best idea is to start as early as possible, preferably upon receiving the task. If that's not an option, go with around three weeks prior to the submission date, because you can get stuck on some paragraph for a long time and lose your progress.
College paper can be a stuffy task to complete. But, if you break the writing down into small steps, it will make the process much easier and faster. The first thing you need for a good plan is a short time-frame. Mention the date when you start and when you must finish your writing.
Also, you can point out how much pages or chapters you should write per day, as it will make your plan more detailed. Don't forget to include the portion of time reserved for the researching.
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There are three types of sources - primary, secondary, and tertiary.
- Primary resources are original materials - interviews, diaries, poems, research or some fieldwork, academic journals.
- Secondary are those that are based on monographs, biographies, dictionaries, and articles that analyze an original work.
- Tertiary combine both primary and secondary sources, usually by summarizing them.
The most commonly used ones are secondary resources because the information is already processed for you to create your own analysis on the foundation of someone else's work.
The title, introduction, paragraphs names, and the conclusion - a good college paper outline should include all these items.
The outline will help you stay focused on the process of writing and avoid making a mess of mistakes in the document. Make your outline well-structured and logical. If it is difficult for you to write such a framework by yourself, try to find a sample on the Internet.
In the statement, you can demonstrate how your ideas and arguments will be developed. Your thesis statement should take up only a sentence or two at the beginning of the paper.
Bear in mind that a good thesis statement should raise all the questions you need in the reader's mind and push them to pay attention to the rest of your essay.
Fear the day you make your reader bored. That will mean your thesis is not strong enough.
I.e., if your topic is "Modern Art in the US," a proper thesis statement could sound like - "Modern art in American society and culture as the driving force of the moral values evolution."
The draft is a rough stage of the text that sometimes can become the final version, but usually, it should be developed more. Some students think that the stage of drafting is not worth wasting their time on and skip it. In most cases, though, neglecting to prepare will cost you a good portion of your grade.
For the birth of an A+ paper, you need to really push.
Look at the outline or draft and transfer your ideas on the paper. The main goal you need to achieve is the setting of the main direction for the future development of your thoughts. You should provide your reasoning logically and point by point.
It is essential to go to the right place where you will not be distracted.
It could be a quiet library, coffee shop, or your room. Apart from silence, it should also be comfortable, as it is impossible to focus on writing if your chair is giving you cramps. Your place should be soft and cozy, but don't write in bed, because you can fall asleep quickly.
Turn off all the digital distractions - close all unrelated programs and put your phone into airplane mode. If you feel a bit addicted to your devices, you can download a special blocking program that will not let you goof around while writing. If the music is not distracting to you, it is a good idea to turn on your favorite playlist for inspiration.
Don't underestimate the importance of breaks! It can be anything relaxing - go for a walk, eat some food, play with your pet, or take a short nap.
Proofreading can be boring, but you should never skip it. Ensure that there are no typos or grammar errors, or logical and structural flaws. To play it safe, ask your friend or someone you trust to read your paper and give you some relevant feedback.
College paper writing requirements are specific for each educational institution - consult with your college's official guidelines and the rubric provided by your professor.
It is also essential to check your work for plagiarism because it is forbidden to steal other people's papers or articles. If you can't avoid using someone's words, it is allowed to provide citations with proper referencing.
When all is done, check out these few launch status checkpoints.
- How easy is your paper to read?
- Did you include numbered or bulleted lists in the text?
- Are there some highlights or emphases on important information?
- Is the structure of arguments logical and consistent?
Concluding Our Guide
Well, let's sum up the knowledge you got from our guide!
- Always follow the general writing tips, they are the foundation for good writing skills.
- Start your creating process with brainstorming because the interesting topic is the first step to a spectacular college paper.
- Effective time management. Create a plan to track your writing progress and save time.
- Information research. Read as many sources as possible to gather the basis for your ideas and arguments.
- Follow the outline that you always create.
- Make your thesis statement short but full of valuable info.
- Don't skip the drafting. It will help you develop your thoughts and organize key ideas.
- Focus and get rid of distractions. Your argument in every paragraph is only valuable when you're of a sharp mind.
- Revise and proofread the text. It is your own paper you need to treat like a garden that requires trimming.
Now that you are almost ready for college paper writing, we have one last tip for you. Keep improving and going forward, and one day, you will start creating fantastic college papers on the go!
And never forget that you can get your own paper right on this website. Good luck!