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How to Write a College Paper - Tips for Students
College Paper Writing - Useful Tips for Students
If you are here, it means that you are stuck with your college paper. Well, you have now discovered the land of amazing academic help! Here, we give college writers some essential tips and recommendations on how to write a good paper and discuss all the specifics of such an assignment. If you have never tried to write a college paper, our recommendations will help you make your first writing experience a positive one!
College paper is an academic assignment where you have to prepare an overview of a specific subject, analyze the selected topic, and consistently express your thoughts and arguments. By assigning such type of work, your professor is able to estimate your level and depths of knowledge. That is why you need to tread lightly. To create a good paper, you have to be thoroughly familiar with the chosen sphere, understand the assignment, and stick to specific requirements, like college paper format. There are lots of nuances you need to consider, and it may sometimes seem that it's too much. Well, don't worry, as our professional authors have prepared a list of tips on writing a good college paper, and it is here for you!
How to Write a College Paper?
Here are the prominent features that define a good college paper writing.
- You have to follow a specific college research paper outline. If you miss this point, your work may be considered unsatisfactory. If the paper is well-structured, then it has every chance of being highly rated.
- Short and precise representation of arguments. If your thoughts are short yet informative, it means that you are familiar with the chosen subject.
- Appropriate college paper heading. Check the rubric, keeping in mind that the better and more substantial your title is, the higher will be the mark. Brevity is the soul of wit!
- Use relevant information. Always check your data before adding it to your paper. Don't neglect to conduct thorough research - it takes time but gives good results.
- Innovative ideas. Show your interest in the subject by using your own ideas or solutions. Indicate that you got the point of your own paper.
- Grammar. No matter the field of study, you should never forget about the proper syntax. Even if your project is on math, not a single comma should be out of its place.
- Interesting topic. Try to find an issue that isn't common. The reader wants you to entice them, so choose something unusual and engrossing.
These are the most critical factors in the evaluation of your college paper. If you select a fascinating topic and present it using appropriate scientific language, your high grade will be guaranteed!
8 Steps to Writing A College Paper
Those were the factors that reflect the quality of your college paper. But only knowing these things is not enough. To make the most of your writing, you also have to plan out your time rationally. If you spend sleepless nights over your college task, your work will turn out to be of dubious quality. Look at the tips below and try to follow them to make the process of writing pleasant and effective.
- Step 1
- Step 2
- Step 3
- Step 4
- Step 5
- Step 6
- Step 7
- Step 8
Step 1. Start early on
You might be given weeks or even months on doing your assignment. But procrastination may be your worst enemy here. Don't start writing your paper the day before the deadline - you will not have enough time to study all the necessary material, and, as a result, your efforts will be in vain.
Step 2. Select a fascinating topic
How to start a college paper? Begin with the choice of the topic that instantly generates an interest. Along with that, come up with a substantial college paper heading. If you like the theme of your research, the process of writing will go significantly easier. But you may be not given freedom of choice of the topic. In this case, try to find as much info on the subject as possible. Make sure to keep your topic broad enough, but narrow it to develop your ideas and support them with arguments successfully. Also, you can seek a piece of advice from your classmates and the professor.
For instance, one of the universal research paper rules is that you should narrow the topic not to make it a general overview of the subject. So, choose a certain aspect or an idea of your theme and make it as specific as possible. As an example, when you need to write about global warming, try to narrow your topic down to the consequences of global warming for human health.
Step 3. Write a perfect thesis statement
When writing college papers, you need to come up with a solid thesis statement, which is the focal idea of the entire work. It is supposed to reflect the central topic and the way you will develop it in your assignment. For instance, if you are going to write a research on the topic "The importance of adding exercise to a daily routine," a good thesis for this paper would look like:
Americans should add exercise to their daily morning routine because it not only keeps their bodies at a healthy weight but also reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
The Internet serves to expediently connect people across the globe, fostering new friendships and an exchange of ideas that wouldn't have occurred before its inception.
[There are several rules for writing an effective thesis statement.]
Or, analyzing the focal point of your essay on the topic "How the Internet has contributed to our lives," an anchor sentence may be:
- A thesis should present your exact position.
- Your thesis statement should reflect the type of paper you are going to write.
- The best place to put your thesis is the last sentence of the first paragraph.
- A thesis statement should be concise.
A good working thesis will guide your investigation and help you stay focused on your topic.
Step 4. Use reliable secondary resources
If possible, do not rely on one work only when searching for info for your paper. The more sources you will analyze before writing your work, the more variable and informative materials you'll be able to include. Also, be aware of using outdated resources as it will significantly affect the mark you'll get for your paper. All in all, try to collect info so that you can use it as arguments to support your points.
At this stage, you need to note your sources and document them adhering to a citation style. Here, you have to know for sure what the prof wants you to use. It may be APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc. There are a lot of things to take into account when writing in each of the styles, along with the fact they are regularly updated. So, be sure to use the latest edition of a particular style guide.
Step 5. Note down each idea
No number of notes will be too many. Write down everything you deem even slightly relevant to your paper when you're researching. Break those notes down into categories and highlight the main points. It will help you find the necessary information much faster later on.
Also, noting down the ideas you want to use in your writing is vital as you need to mention all the works where you took these ideas from to avoid any signs of plagiarism. After all, as a writer, you'd probably want everybody who uses your work to mention it? That is why you need to cite all the sources where the author is known or even unknown when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize works of other people. By using notes, it will be much easier for you to remember their writers when you will get to the bibliography or a reference list.
Step 6. Make an outline
After the research, you may collect many worthy ideas. Before writing the paper, make a brief plan to prepare a roadmap for your future work. Mention all the aspects of the topic you are going to cover. With a flat outline, you won't face drifting in the uncharted waters when writing and will be able to keep yourself focused.
It is not a hard task when you have already come up with your thesis statement. You have to find key points that would help support your idea. Later, these points can be used as subheadings for the body of your paper. Get back to your notes and look through them to find info to support the idea in each of the subheadings. Here, you have to include only relevant info that would fit a particular point and directly support the central idea of the paper. You may also face info that seems very interesting to you but doesn't fit into any part of your outline. In this case, try to resist the temptation and refrain from including it in your text.
Do not think that making an outline is unimportant. If you don't give due attention to it, you will need much more time for revision of your draft, trying to organize your swarming thoughts in a coherent paper.
Step 7. Build the first draft
Writing a draft is the middle of the process. Without an outline, you might spend hours from the moment you took up your pen till the moment you get your first version of a paper. But when having a clear direction of what to write about, you're ready to create the first draft quickly and smoothly.
Put a special focus on the title of your writing. You want to make a good impression on the reader and entice them to read your work, right? That is why a title should be eye-catching and promising to provide an interesting story, analysis, or research. The reader will know what to expect from your work.
"How do you create an effective title?" you may ask. One of the good methods is to list the keywords that present the theme of your work, method of research, and the results you end up with. After that, create a sentence that would include these keywords linked together and exclude those you don't need. Then, delete info you find non-essential for your topic and put words you have left in a logical order. And make sure your title is short to let the reader perceive it easily.
Then, proceed to the text of your college paper, which also requires following some recommendations to make a top-notch work.
1. An introduction
To make an attractive beginning, add an attention grabber such as a rhetorical question, statistics, or even an anecdote. Don't be afraid to do that as writing an academic paper doesn't require being boring from you. Also, include the background information and write your thesis. Make sure your introductory part is not too long.
When you have an outline, it will be much easier for you to convert the notes written there into structured body paragraphs. The most important thing is to keep focused on your central idea and to remember about keeping the logical sequence of your points. With college essays, especially narrative ones, you need to put body paragraphs in the logical order as the story progresses. If you are writing a research paper, divide the body into paragraphs following the rule, "one paragraph for one key point." Start each of them with a topic sentence and support it with arguments and evidence. Always support your ideas since the presence of scientific evidence shows that you've analyzed your topic in detail and worked hard on it.
3. A conclusion
A conclusion provides an opportunity to restate the thesis and summarize the key points of a paper. Remember that after the concluding part, you may need to add a reference list or a bibliography written in a certain format. Also, check if you've included all the works where you found ideas for your paper in these chapters.
When you make the first version, you'll be able to go back to the flat outline and your notes and check if you included every important piece of information. Also, the draft will help you make sure the text flows easily and doesn't overload the reader with complicated phrases. If not, it will make them hurryingly go through the assignment sheet with the end in mind as their salvation.
Step 8. Revise the paper
Now, move on to the revising stage. The first draft is intended to help you write a rough version of your paper and end up with the second example of the utmost quality. To make sure that this writing is on point, check it for grammar, spelling, and style mistakes. Do not hesitate to proofread your essay twice or more to hand in a well-written work to your prof.
The word "revision" also includes checking the logic and structure of your paper. Thoroughly check the transitions between paragraphs and sentences within them. Switch the order of your body paragraphs if needed. Make sure every idea is reinforced by persuasive and relevant evidence.
To do your best to get the flawless piece of writing to your professor, ask your relatives or friends to read your work. Their fresh look will help you notice things that are unobvious after reading the same text many times.
Now that you know the crucial tricks, you will be able to make the process of writing as stress-free and productive as it can be. Everything is easy: time-management and detailed analysis are your recipes for a good college paper and the best mark.
Formats of College Papers
As we've mentioned before, you may need to write an assignment in different styles. In the educational community, there are "the Big Three" formatting styles that may be met more often than others.
MLA. This format was put forth by the Modern Language Association and is mostly intended for students in humanities - artists, English majors, and theater students.
APA. It is short for American Psychological Association, which is most common for papers written by students in the sphere of social sciences, e.g., psychology, sociology, or medicine.
Chicago.You can find the guidelines for this style in the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and you will probably face it if you're studying literature, history, or arts.
These formats share margins and spacing, but referencing and some other characteristics have some differences. Taking into account these distinctions is essential as mistaking APA "references" for MLA "works cited" may affect your mark for a paper. Indeed, you will use one of the styles for most of your classes, but you may also need to use other styles sometimes. With format guidelines easily available on the web, you can get up to speed on any of them.
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