Writing college papers is hard, exhausting and can be plain annoying if you don’t know what you’re doing. A lot of students struggle with writing papers because after High School they are completely new to writing long articles. They also have to write scientifically and research and follow the styling guidelines and they have only written two or three papers in their life that were only around two pages long. I get a ton of question from my first-year students about how to write a college paper, so I thought I’ll publish them here and help some more college starters.
First off, you’ll have to pick your research question. I already published an article on how to do that, so head on over there if you don’t have a clue where to start. It’s my foolproof way of choosing an interesting topic that your professor might want to read. However, keep in mind that we professors have to read your paper no matter if we like the subject or not, so don’t worry too much about us.
One thing all students struggle with is time management. Set yourself a specific time when you want to do your research, when to write and when you want to finish your work. Remember to add time for proofreading, editing and so on. For a 15-page essay, I’d plan two or three days for research, then around a week for writing if you work on it every day and then add three more days, so the chosen people have enough time to proofread. You can, of course, shorten the research time and the time for correcting, but I noticed that this formula works marvelously.
Next, comes research and finding relatable and trustworthy sources. A scientific paper has to have at least three reliable sources which must be included in the bibliography of your text book or you’ll ask your professor about authors and books that he or she knows. If you do that, make sure actually to include the stated source, or your professor could be surprised when reading your paper. Make sure to read your sources and summarize each with notable quotes and thoughts. It will help write your paper quicker and better.
Before finally writing the paper now, you should draft an outline that you can hang on to when you’re stuck. Introduction and conclusion should be around ten percent of your paper, leaving the central part to around 80%. Try to have a red line throughout your whole article that guides the reader from one discussion point to the next and leaves him without confusion. Your personal opinion does not matter in a college paper at all, however, in the conclusion you could write that the topic hasn’t been researched enough yet or what questions are still left open and so on.
The last step will be editing the essay according to the style guide, proofreading and finally turning your masterpiece in! I’m sure you did a great job.