10 Tips for Writing A College Term Paper

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New college students often struggle adjusting to the rigors of college-level writing. It typically takes some trial and error before students become comfortable writing college essays. They often receive insufficient writing preparation while in high school. Utilize these tips to earn better grades on college essays:

Tip #1: Before you get started, make sure you know exactly what the professor is looking for. Thoroughly read the assignment instructions. Clarify any questions with the instructor. Most instructors schedule office hours, so take advantage of this time to discuss ideas with your teacher. Students who do not follow assignment instructions typically receive lower essay grades.

Tip #2: Make sure to come up with a topic that is a good fit for the assignment. Students often select unoriginal essay topics. Set yourself apart from other students by choosing a unique topic. Likewise, choose a topic of personal interest, or you will struggle with the essay. If you struggle choosing a topic, conduct some brainstorming and seek suggestions from your instructor.

Tip # 3: Prepare an outline. Begin every essay by developing an outline. An effective essay is always well-organized. It’s very difficult to effectively organize an essay without a good outline. It’s not necessary to develop a detailed outline since your ideas might change as you conduct research and write the essay. After you’ve finished an outline, don’t hesitate running it by your instructor.

Tip #4: Alway back up your claims and assertions with strong evidence. You must support the claim made in your essay with evidence. Claims can be supported with empirical evidence, expert opinion, and logical anecdotes. For example, if you claimed that carbon emissions are warming the planet, you must support it with scientific evidence or expert opinion. Refrain from using excessive amounts of examples since isolated ones do not effectively prove your point. Writing about time spent in Chicago during a particularly hot summer does not adequately support your argument. However, if supported with scientific evidence, this can be an effective example.

Tip #5: Write a stellar introduction. Good essays contain catchy introductions. Consider using an interesting story or shocking statistic to capture the attention of your audience. Be creative and brief.

Tip #6: Make sure your thesis statement is clear and that it provides a preview of what your paper will address. You must have an effective thesis in order to earn a good grade on an essay. Your essay should be organized around the thesis. Within the thesis, state your claim and the evidence used to support it. Use language from your thesis in the topic sentences of each supporting paragraph. Present your arguments in the same order listed in the thesis. The thesis should be clear and simple. Do not add ideas unrelated to it.

Tip #7: Use reliable and authoritative references and sources for your paper. Students often reluctantly cite sources but do so since it’s usually an assignment requirement. Using good sources is the difference between a good and bad grade. Select sources that come from credible journals, books, or scientific studies. Do not use outdated or irrelevant sources and refrain from over citing a single source. Likewise, refrain from listing sources that are never used in the essay since it’s dishonest. Do not hesitate using more than the minimum required for the assignment.

Tip #8: Get rid of any B.S. Instructors will dock your paper for irrelevant information used to fill space. Students often write long introductions and conclusions full of non-essential information to reach minimum page requirements.

Tip #9: Don’t plagiarize. Never commit plagiarism. You’ll more than likely receive a failing grade and risk formal school discipline. Plagiarism occurs when writers use others’ work without properly citing it.

Tip #10: If you’re struggling, get help. If you struggle with college-level writing, seek assistance from your instructor or peer tutors. Most schools contain peer tutoring centers, and instructors make themselves available to answer student questions during scheduled office hours.


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