Writing college papers is one of the most difficult calls that universities make to students. However, this is unavoidable, and it is mandatory as part of the various programs offered. Many students see college papers as the major hindrance towards their academic performance.
Viewed from another angle, writing academic essays and other papers requires coherence in ideas and formation of strong arguments. Essays are essentially linear and they offer an idea at a time. For this reason, the idea presentation must be in such a way that the reader gets the most sense out of it.
The reader’s attention and logic are the most important point of focus and to a larger extent dictates the structure of the paper. The end goal is to come up with a quality paper that will be accepted by the college as an authentic presentation of an idea. The following tips can help you come up with an essay worth the paper it is written on.
1. Understand the Assignment
Every paper is written in response to a question posed. The worst mistake and ultimate waste of time is when the paper doesn’t even address a fraction of the question. It is, therefore, important that you seek clarification if you find the topic vague.
What may be obvious to the professor who assigned you the task may not be so obvious to you. While they are experts, you are slowly finding your way up and some things will be overly technical at the beginning stages.
Spending hours researching and writing a paper whose question is not clear will lead to frustration on your part and bad grades.
2. Research Efficiently
Once you understand what the paper requires you to address, the next important area is to research extensively. This stage is usually one of the most tedious points and often-times students procrastinate when they hit a snag. Researching on just a single source can take you hours or even days.
To overcome such hurdles and the temptation to procrastinate, work with time limits. Don’t spend more than 30 minutes on a single page of your paper. If the paper has a total of 5 pages, spend 2.5 hours on research. If you feel inadequate on this area which is pretty common, there are experts online from sites such as collegepaperworld.com to help you break the deadlock and get you moving.
3. Create Your Outline
A typical college paper brings on board different kinds of information arranged in sections. The hierarchical outline of your paper shows the reader the flow of thought and, therefore, it is important to have it as early as this point in your essay.
Among the things to include in your outline are:
- Introducing the argument
- The possible research sources to use
- Identification of the gap you are addressing
- Data analysis and presentation
Your essay should address the what, the how and the why.
Related read: How to Create the Best Essay Outline
4. Identify the Best Writing Environment
Putting pen to paper requires that you find a conducive environment where you can concentrate and let your thoughts flow. A quiet place in a library where there are no distractions can help you concentrate. Before you start writing, ensure all your supplies including the source materials you will use are right there with you.
If some slow background music doesn’t distract you, you can go ahead and pump up your play list with your favorite tunes.
5. Focus on the Quality of Your Paper and Not Pages
There is a tendency for students to exceed the page count for their college papers. By writing one or two more pages doesn’t make you a hero, but on the contrary may cast doubt on the quality of your paper over quantity.
Stretching out your paper can dilute your arguments making it counterproductive at the end of the day. Remember to spellcheck and stick to the third person perspective.
6. Drafting and Editing Should be Separate
The temptation is always to draft and edit at the same time so that as you go along, your paper is well organized. This may seem logical and a strong argument for writers, but it can prove inefficient and grossly counterproductive.
The best approach is to devote your full attention and effort to the drafting process and thereafter edit. In case you are writing, and you come across something you are not quite sure of, make a note of it and at the end come back and check.
7. Introduction and Conclusion Should be at the End
Starting a paper with an introduction is one of the barriers to quality writing. Introducing something you haven’t created as yet is a challenge and can block off your mind. The best time to do your introduction is when you are done with the main body of the paper. The same applies to conclusion.
8. Make Proper Citations
After spending hours on your college paper, adding citations may seem a herculean task. Instead of spending hours paging through your work and thinking what citation style is advised and actually putting it on paper, use a citation generation tool. It makes your work easier.
If you can enroll for an intensive writing class, it can help you come up with some of the best writing techniques.
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