Writing a good essay takes a lot of time and effort, as it is about your presentation of ideas, research, and the writing itself. To make it easier for you, we prepared the most important college paper writing tips. Just pay attention to them, and your assignments will improve.
This is the most obvious one of the tips on writing a paper in college. Your essay cannot be perfect in the first draft, especially if you are only learning how to do it well. For that reason, you should work with a draft or two before submitting the final version of your writing. The most important thing that drafting gives you is an opportunity to be gibberish and disorganized. You can express your thoughts in short or incomplete sentences and not care about the order of your ideas, as you know you do not have to show it to anyone.
Another crucial part of working with your drafts is reading what you wrote. Check it another time, and magic will happen: you will figure out how to present these thoughts in a cohesive and eloquent way. The trick is focusing on one thing at a time. Thus, you can gather the core facts first, then determine the right order for them, and then verbalize it the way college or university students do.
Make a plan
Assigning you to write an outline without an essay is not your professor’s fad. It is, in fact, a great practice of working on a soon-to-be coherent and thoughtful essay. However, if you want it to be effective, you should listen to your professor’s instructions carefully. Usually, you need to outline your writing not to be lost in the topic and to build logical transitions between the ideas you introduce. With a plan, you will not fail to construct a strong thesis statement and back it up with trustworthy arguments, as they all have to be presented separately in the outline. Finally, it will help you to organize each paragraph, as an essay plan requires it to have a topic sentence, evidence, and a conclusion. So, if you write an outline for your paper, it will be twice as easy to complete the whole work.
One thought at a time
While writing a paper, you can have two different moods. First, the topic is complicated, and you barely find a single thing to say about it. And second, it is so interesting to you that you try to put as many facts as possible in one paragraph or even a sentence. In both cases, you should remember to present your thoughts logically and make your work easy to understand. For that reason, you should present no more than one idea or argument per paragraph.
This approach will ensure that you employ every idea with enough attention and depth. In a paragraph, you can present your own position on the issue discussed, the evidence you found on this position, and why this problem matters. Then, this tip will ensure that you do not repeat the same idea in the following paragraph, and you cover it completely and focus on the next one.
Lexical tips on writing a research paper in college
Academic papers are different from your everyday speech or the things you usually write on the internet. Compared to everything else, academic writing is based on formality and objectivity, which you need to demonstrate in your essay or paper. Thus, there are certain rules. The basic ones are understandable and easy to follow.
First and foremost, do not use colloquial phrases or contractions. You want your writing to look serious and credible, and use of such words may undermine it. It is also about phrasal verbs. It is better to avoid those and find specific ones for everything you wish to elaborate on. The reason is that academic writing must be objective, which is why it is important to use words with narrow denotative meaning. It reduces the ambiguity of what you state.
Second, try to use only the third person in writing. Again, it is to do with the objectivity and credibility of the work. “The evidence suggests…” works better than, “I think…” The first person doesn’t work because it is subjective and the second person is better to be avoided, as it may appear as a bias. In a paper, you make a logical appeal, not a personal one.
Show it to your peers
Sometimes, you cannot evaluate the work you have done adequately. There are also two extremes: either you are so proud of it that you do not even see the obvious flaws or the impostor syndrome kicks in, and there is nothing about your essay you like. In either of these cases, it is a good idea to show your paper to your friend. If you are excessively confident about your writing, it is an opportunity to get a non-judgemental second opinion and possibly see mistakes you have not noticed before. A friend will not criticize it too much, but if there is something you need to fix, you will know.
If you are always doubting your performance, you will make sure everything is not as bad as you might think. Even though there are several minor mistakes, a friend will support you and help you to do even better.
Mind your mistakes
Feedback from your teacher is usually not as lighthearted as your friends’ responses. However, it is an expert one, which is why you should take it easy and not personally. Even if the whole paper you submitted returns red with comments, read each one carefully. If you pay close attention to the things you need to fix in your writing and listen to your professor’s advice, you will not have to make the same corrections twice.
Revise the paper mindfully, and you will not make the same mistakes again. If you are lucky enough, your professor will explain why he or she thinks something is wrong and how exactly you can fix it. In fact, listening to your professor is always a good choice, as you can understand the instructions right from the beginning.