Common Mistakes Students Make When Writing College Term Papers

College Degree Finder

The following are common errors frequently made by students who are writing college term papers:

  • Not following instructions. Thoroughly read essay instructions. Ask the instructor for clarification if you’re confused about instructions.
  • Forgetting to proofread. Carefully read the essay for grammar, spelling, and other errors.
  • Poorly developed introduction and conclusion. Without a catchy introduction, your audience can quickly lose interest. Likewise, the conclusion provides you with an opportunity to re-summarize and emphasis main points.
  • Incorrect capitalization of proper nouns. Capitalize proper nouns, but don’t capitalize common ones. Proper nouns reference specific people, places, and organizations, and common nouns reference general places and things, such as mountain, computer, or man.
  • Incorrect use of IT’S and ITS. This is a very common mistake. Its is a pronoun for singular, non-gender specific nouns, while it’s is a shortened form of it is.
  • Poor use of paragraph breaks. Every paragraph must relate to the thesis. Begin a new paragraph when presenting new ideas. Students frequently submit essays with long paragraphs. You should have at least one paragraph per page.
  • Failure to meet the page limit. Always meet the minimum page requirements. Do not use excessively large font sizes to fill space.
  • Incorrect use of commas. Commas are used for various reasons, but they’re most often used to signify pauses. During the editing phase of your writing, read the essay aloud. If it doesn’t flow naturally, check for comma problems.
  • Run-on sentences. Two independent clauses without any punctuation is known as a run-on sentence.
  • Comma splices. Two independent clauses separated with a comma is known as a comma splice.
  • Papers that are not properly attached. Instructors are usually responsible for grading numerous essays. If you do not properly attach essay pages, some of your work could get misplaced. Use a staple, binder, or clip to attach all the pages in your essay together. Use your last name as a header on every page to ensure your essay can be reassembled if pages get misplaced. Do not hand in essays with bent or torn pages.

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