No matter what major and minor you choose when you finally get to college, the one thing that you are not going to be able to avoid during your time there is the fact that you are going to have to write a lot of papers on a regular basis. Whether you like it or not, written assignments are still the most popular way for professors to assess a student’s intelligence and knowledge of a subject, and the negative side of this is that even if you had extensive knowledge of your topic, if you don’t possess the appropriate writing skills, your finals mark and grade is going to suffer.
Though some students find the art of college paper writing extremely easy, others tend to suffer with the structure and format. If you feel as if you are one of the many who falls in to the latter category, then read through this handy list of college writing tips that will help you to improve your papers and get the marks that you deserve.
Choose Your Topic and Take a Meaningful Stand
When it comes to producing a truly great paper, one of the most important factors is to pick a topic that you have a true and genuine interest in. Many people make the mistake of picking something that they think the professor wants to read instead of something that they actually want to write about, and the problem with this is that you soon find that you lose all and any motivation that you started with, simply because the subject matter does not interest you in the slightest.
Similarly, once you have decided on a topic that you have a particular passion for, make sure that there is a core argument and stand in your essay rather than it being a vague, ambling piece of writing that does not really have a point. The best papers are not vague stories; they are pieces of writing that set out a clear argument in the introduction and use the body to provide evidence that they can wrap up succinctly and successfully in the conclusion.
Write a Clear and Precise Plan
Lots of students make the mistake of throwing themselves right in to the body of a paper without writing a plan, and this is a recipe for disaster. The first thing you should do before every paper is to sit down and write as detailed a plan as you possibly can. By writing a plan that is filled with all of your vital points and essential secondary sources, you have something that you can always look back on that will help you to stay on track, and this is particularly helpful when you have a strict word limit to stick to. A structured plan can stop you from going off on unnecessary tangents in your essay that will only serve to weaken your overall argument.
Lay It All Out in the Body of the Essay
An essay should not be structured like a fiction novel where the big reveal comes at the end with the reader kept in the dark until the last minute. In order to get the very best marks, the entire body of the essay needs to be filled with argumentative points and evidence that help to lay out your opinion from the very beginning.
Rather than thinking about your conclusion as the moment that you finally reveal your argument, you should instead think of it as your opportunity to tie everything back together in a neat package for the reader to go away with. You should not be introducing any new material or evidence in the conclusion part of the essay. It should solely be a paragraph in which you refresh the reader’s mind of the main points of your argument and guide them to a persuasive end that encompasses all of your strongest points.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Complete It
The word ‘deadline’ is arguably the greatest enemy of the high marking assignment. To put it bluntly, you are not going to come away with a good grade if you wait until the night before the deadline to start writing it. Work backwards in your head from your deadline date and allot a respectable amount of time for yourself to be able to write at a leisurely pace, perhaps 400 – 500 words per day. Doing it this way will make the paper feel like much less of a chore, chipping away at it bit by bit rather than being faced with producing 2000+ quality words under extremely stressful conditions. Take the time to really be able to write at your own pace.