Learning how to write a great college-level essay can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially for a freshman just starting out in a new university. Since you’re going to be spending the bulk of the next four years writing essays, you might as well get used it. With practice, good writing skills become second nature. Whether you’re a student working on a school thesis or preparing for a college level exam, these writing tips will help you score an “A!”
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College Writing Tips
These 14 important tips for writing a great college paper will get you on the right track.
- Don’t procrastinate! You’re not in high school anymore. Resist the temptation to wait until Sunday night to start working on a paper that’s due Monday afternoon. Let’s face it- there’s no way you’re turning in your best work. And your best is what it takes to get a good college education.
- Research your material. Do the work. Research your topic on the internet or at your university library. Collect information the way you used to collect Pokémon cards. Your professor isn’t stupid! He can tell the difference between a college thesis that’s been researched and analyzed thoroughly and one that’s been copied and pasted from Wikipedia.
- Argue with yourself. Really. Talking to yourself while writing is a great way to produce natural work and will also open doors to fresh insights related to your essay. Challenge yourself; ask yourself questions, then think about clever conclusions.
- Stick to one topic. Don’t try to cover the entire Turkish Empire in one essay. Rather, focus on one specific point about that time period, and make it the center of your thesis.
- Draft an outline. Before you get writing, make a rough outline organizing your main thoughts and arguments into separate points.
- Skip introductions. You still need a great opening paragraph, but don’t get hung up about making that the first step in writing your paper. Jump in anywhere you’re comfortable, and write to your heart’s content. The opener can wait.
- Use paragraphs to your advantage. In writing a good college-level paper, it’s important to know how to feed information in small bites, to make the whole essay more digestible. Know when to end one paragraph and start a new one. Paragraphs keep your essay moving without breaking the flow of the train of thought.
- Write. Erase. Repeat. Even the most accomplished writers make mistakes- they just don’t publish them! Get used to forming and reforming sentences, correcting mistakes, and then having second thoughts…
- Keep it natural…Forget everything your high school English teacher taught you in class. Writing should be an extension of your natural voice. Don’t try to put together cleverly-concocted yet grammatically correct prose. Just write it the way you would say it.
- And keep it fresh! College university professors have to read hundreds of papers each year. Want to get his attention? Give him something interesting to read, something unexpected. Avoid the tried-and-true safe thesis topics, such as “Why recycling can save the world,” and come up with a unique idea that’s all your own.
- Quote sources. Never ever plagiarize, and always reference an idea that’s not your own. Pick a system of footnoting, and stick to it.
- Cite lectures. Mention other college professors in your paper, and you’re bound to get a better grade.
- Put it all together now. A conclusion isn’t a summary of what you just wrote. Rather, a true college-level essay finishes with a paragraph that expertly ties all the loose ends together into one neat little package.
- Proofread! This is one of the most important yet overlooked steps in writing your college paper, and the reason why you should never to attempt to complete a whole college essay the day before it’s due. Put your work aside, and return to it several hours later. You’ll get a fresh perspective of your work, and any corrections that require editing will jump right out at you.
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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