What does it mean to write a great college paper? Most importantly, a college-level paper should convey your knowledge in a clear, cohesive, and concise manner.
At its bare essentials, an academic essay needs to make an argument, support any claims, and lead the reader to an inevitable conclusion based on facts presented. Writing a successful college paper is a skill you can learn and here are some tips to help you work on that skill.
- Read Ahead
Ridiculous as it sounds there is really no substitute for reading. In order to write well and perform better in class, you should read ahead so that the concepts become clearer when discussed in class. The best thing about reading is that it can be done anywhere at any time, so on your commute back home or whenever you find yourself waiting, try and get some reading done. The main problem faced by students when writing is that they cannot find suitable words to express their ideas, and reading not only grants you a better grasp over a concept it also allows you to explore various writing styles and vocabulary, aiding you in improving your expression in writing. It might even help you develop a better idea of what an academic essay should look like.
- Know What You Are Writing About
While reading ahead can help you, you should also use other resources to gather information more specific to the topic. Planning out how you are going to follow the topic and what points you would like to add and which points would need to be emphasized on. You would also be looking for information based on what it is you are working on, you’ll be looking for resume writings tips if you are writing a resume, similarly, you can search for creative writing tips and college essay writing tips, when you are writing college essays or doing some creative writing. Looking at these things up will help you in identifying the different approaches that are to be used for each academic writing.
- Know Your Audience
Once you know what you are writing and what to include while writing; now you have to get a better idea of who your audience is. When framing a research question you would already have some idea about who the stakeholders of this research are. For example, if you are working on figuring if higher divorce rate amongst parents is leading to an increase in juvenile delinquency, then you already have some idea of who your audience is because they are similar to stakeholders, so family planners and social service workers, psychologists and concerned parents as well. Knowing your audience will also help you decide which approach you will be using, if you’re writing an essay for parents you will avoid using jargon and difficult terminology and try to stick to simple explanations and words.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Second Drafts Or New Genres
If you feel unsatisfied by your current work or your instructor has asked you to write up another draft, don’t take it to your heart. It doesn’t mean that you are bad at writing or that you know nothing about the subject, it only means that there is room for improvements and the teacher has seen the potential in you to consider you worthy of those improvements. Being afraid and falling into a chasm of self-doubt will hamper your ability to write effectively and communicate your ideas to the audience. So try to take everything in stride, without fear of being bad at something. Explore new topics and styles, in order to be good at something you have to be bad at it first. So don’t worry about the comments you got on your work; you did it once and you can certainly do it again, you can do it better this time.
- Keep It Simple
Like it is mentioned earlier, if you aren’t an expert do not try to sound like one while writing. Avoid jargon and complex vocabulary so that you can cater to a wider audience. Keeping work simpler for yourself also includes not focusing too much on the nitty-gritty details, rather while writing try and focus on answering the question at hand. You may also use aides like grammar correcting applications and citation generators to help make life easier for yourself. Remember you will write better if you are less.
- Avoid Clichés
While there is no pressure on you for writing a unique paper that transcends the content in the entire universe, try being original when you most find yourself leaning towards a cliché. For example, many students find it difficult to start a paper and they think too much about how to start it off right, they end up resorting to clichés like starting your essay off with a quote. It might make your essay look and sound impressive but when you are an instructor who has seen 15 essays just like this one, you won’t be giving out good grades to these people. Instead, take a risk, and develop your own style of starting off an essay. For example, some people like to start their essays with elaborating descriptive examples of the issues that they’ll be addressing. Introduce a little variety in the sight of your instructors to really make your essay stand out. This is the most important of all the writing tips for students.
- Write What Comes Easily
Don’t beat yourself up if you are having trouble writing the introduction of your essay, jump a few sections ahead and write the literature review first, or maybe you feel like writing the findings section so do it. Writing what comes easily to you will help you complete your work faster because instead of waiting around to feel like you want to write an introduction you go ahead and work on the next section, helping you maximize your productivity by not wasting time. This is one of those daily writing tips that will guarantee more work done in lesser time. Don’t force yourself work on something else so that you don’t waste your time. If you force it you might not be satisfied with the output and would be bound to come and write it again. Another writing tip is that add your headings to your document first so that you can easily write whatever you feel like writing on at the time.
- Cite Your Work
Supporting all the facts you present in your essay and all the claims that you make is also one of the important essay writing tips for college students. Your instructor will never take your work seriously if you don’t cite it and you might risk your grade as well. So use automatic citation generators like ‘citation machine’ or ‘easy bib’ or you can also use citation options in your word processing software to help you cite in whichever style required by your instructor.
- Read It Out Loud
Reading your essays out loud will really help you see the essay from a different point of view. It will also help you identify your mistakes and the overall voice of your essay. If you are too tired to read it out loud to yourself, or you just don’t like the sound of your own voice, you can always copy paste the text into Google translate and let it read it for you. While you rest your eyes, you can listen to your essay and fix your mistakes. Reading essays or any other written work is one of the easiest and quickest ways of identifying mistakes and fixing what sounds wrong or nonsensical.
- Proofread After A Few Days
After having written your work a few days in advance, come back to it at a later time to proofread and make improvements. You’ll be fresher and more ready to fix your problems than if you try to proofread at the same time. When writing and reading and then re-reading your work, your brain will stop thinking of each word separately and will make it harder for you to identify your mistakes. Putting some distance between you and your essay will help you in effectively improving your essay.
- Never Start With A Blank Document
A blank document will block your mind so quick you would never know what happened. That is why you should try and start by compiling all your notes onto a document so that you don’t have to see a blank document. Then start writing your essay on the same document so that you don’t waste time going back and forth between programs looking for stuff to write about.
- Get Help Whenever You Feel Stuck
When you need help, all you have to do is ask. Don’t feel ashamed of getting help, you can’t possibly learn everything on your own. So call a friend if you don’t understand something or better yet get experts to help you out through online essay writing service. Talking to a friend might bring up some idea that you had disregarded earlier or simply bring out a perspective you weren’t thinking from. It’s always a good idea to get some help.
So we decided to compile a list of tips to help you write fearlessly and confidently because there is no reason you should doubt your abilities. These tips that we offered include suggestions on how to go about writing an essay, to how to proofread and make essay writing easier for yourself.