Tips On Writing A College Essay Paper

 

Use this checklist for 10 tips to help make that paper perfect.

1. Know the Assignment

Rule #1 – make sure you are following the assignment. Make sure you understand the requirements and expectations. How long should the paper be? Do you need to include specific sources? Do you have free range of topic, or is there a specific prompt?

2. Start With A Good Argument

What are you writing about? What is this paper trying to prove or show? Don’t just type every thought in your head in pursuit of that 2000 word count. Your paper should present a thoughtful, well articulated argument that reaches a nuanced conclusion.

3. Then Back It Up – Support Your Argument

Having a strong thesis statement is fundamental for any good paper. How do you prove your point of view? With evidence! Source and source and cite some more. Primary sources should focus on academic sources (research journals, newspapers, books etc). Secondary sources can be more diverse (magazines, interviews etc.). Obviously the types of sources needed will depend on the paper and the assignment. Some Professors require a minimum number of sources. Make sure you’re always following your writing prompt.

4. Proofread & Proofread Again

TYPOS ARE DEATH. Poor spelling and grammar mistakes can majorly hurt your final grade. And never rely on or trust autocorrect or spelling checkers to pick up on everything.

“The principle point of this paper is to explore the affects of whether on gorilla warfare in Asian.”

All of the above is spelled correctly, and yet totally wrong. Don’t let this happen to you.

5. Say It In Your Own Words – Don’t Plagiarize

This should go without saying – but don’t be a copycat. Plagiarism is a violation of every school’s academic code. Use your own voice and words when you write. With the amount of resources online it can be tempting to just copy & paste. But do the work and never steal from other sources. Many schools have plagiarism checking software that will catch plagiarism. It is not worth it.

6. Avoid Words You Don’t Know

Expanding your vocabulary is laudable (see what I did there?) but if you don’t really understand the word or phrase don’t use it in your paper. Don’t feel the need to pepper your paper with your old SAT vocab words. If you use a word incorrectly, it discredits your argument – and professors can see right through it.

7. Don’t Use These Words

First, second, and third are transitions that should be used sparingly and interspersed within paragraphs, rather than to initiate every paragraph. Sure, it’s okay to say, “First, Melvin learned to chill through the healing powers of hot yoga.” Beyond that, enumerating all of your points is a little basic and overused.

Avoid meaningless filler words. Additionally, accurately, factually, and simultaneously are not useful in forming or proving an argument. Removing instances of verbosity will make your language sound cleaner and more sophisticated.

8. Write & Revise

Congrats, you finished a first draft. Now the hard work starts. And in some sparkle. Make sure you read through the paper aloud to yourself. This will help you catch major errors but also help you review your argument. PRO-TIP you can also copy & paste your paper into Google translate & have it read back to you. Hearing your paper read aloud can give you a new perspective, and will help with editing.

9. Get Feedback – Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

Every get writer has a great editor. Whether that is someone to help proofread and check for mistakes, or just someone to help guide you to a better laid out argument. Use all the resources available to you. There’s no shame in getting academic help, and it’s always good to have someone look over your work before you turn it in.

10. In Conclusion

Make sure your paper leaves a good impression. The conclusion of your paper should be your mic drop. This is your chance to summarize your argument & convince your reader. So make it count.

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Get writing help 24/7 with Chegg writing tutors. Writing tutors can help you start your outline, form a thesis statement and more. We have experts in everything from zoology, to history, to religion. Boost your grade and turn your paper in with confidence.

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Writing an essay often seems to be a dreaded task among students. Whether the essay is for a scholarship, a class, or maybe even a contest, many students often find the task overwhelming. While an essay is a large project, there are many steps a student can take that will help break down the task into manageable parts. Following this process is the easiest way to draft a successful essay, whatever its purpose might be.

According to Kathy Livingston’s Guide to Writing a Basic Essay, there are seven steps to writing a successful essay:

1. Pick a topic.

You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. If you are given the topic, you should think about the type of paper that you want to produce. Should it be a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Narrow your focus if necessary.

If you have not been assigned a topic, you have a little more work to do. However, this opportunity also gives you the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. First, define your purpose. Is your essay to inform or persuade?

Once you have determined the purpose, you will need to do some research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that interests you? Jot these subjects down.

Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the mission of the essay, make sure that you are interested in your topic.

2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.

In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly. This structure serves as a foundation for your paper. Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them.

To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.

If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay.

3. Write your thesis statement.

Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas?

Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Bill Clinton and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Bill Clinton has impacted the future of our country through his two consecutive terms as United States President.”

Another example of a thesis statement is this one for the “Winning Characteristics” Scholarship essay: “During my high school career, I have exhibited several of the “Winning Characteristics,” including Communication Skills, Leadership Skills and Organization Skills, through my involvement in Student Government, National Honor Society, and a part-time job at Macy’s Department Store.”

4. Write the body.

The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.

Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.

5. Write the introduction.

Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay.

Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.

6. Write the conclusion.

The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.

7. Add the finishing touches.

After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Wrong. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.

Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.

Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.

Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Congratulations! You have just written a great essay.

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