Remember those reflection papers your high school teachers require you to submit the next day? You will have more of those in college, not only in quantity but in sophistication because unlike high school papers, excellent college papers need to be specific, organized, accurate, and above all, discussing a significant topic. Having to deal with not only one, but many college-level papers, is stressful and scary. But do not worry—we got your back.
Learning how to write a college-level paper is difficult, and the hardest part of it is not knowing how to start. Often, you will find yourself staring at your computer, counting the times your cursor has blinked, all but not being able to type even just a single word. Read on to see a step-by-step guide on how to write an excellent college paper, and not only that, but also how to write a college paper fast.
How to write an excellent college paper
Trying to figure out how to write a good college paper starts with understanding what you need. What do you really need to write? Is it a college essay, a college research paper, or a thesis? You have to be certain what you want for an output, because this will set your direction. We will talk more about college research papers, but before that let us stick with the basics: a simple essay or white paper in college. A college assignment on writing can range from 600 words to a thousand, or even more in some courses.
Write on a unique topic
Deciding on a topic is not as simple as “Oh, I would like to talk about culture.” You may think it is interesting or relevant. It probably is, but it does not end with that—why? Because there are a lot of things you can discuss about culture, and if you are given 600 words to expound on that, then you will have a really tough time cramping everything into your paper in college. As a result, your college papers will just become incoherent and confusing instead of understandable and engaging. So, what you need to do is choose a very specific topic.
Say you want to write about how a set of redundant practices becomes a local community’s culture. Find a topic that is not too shallow for you to have enough information to write a paper for college, but not too broad so that your paper in college will have a focus.
Formulate an engaging thesis statement
Another point that you need to keep in mind at all times in learning how to write an excellent college paper is the need for a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a statement where you mention your main argument. Take the example we used: “how a set of redundant practices becomes a local community’s culture.” Your thesis should revolve around this while also stating how and why you want to discuss this specific topic.
For example, “This paper aims to understand how a set of practices being repeated by a set of social groups becomes the culture of its community.” This kind of thesis is enough for a 600-word college paper, but if you have to figure out how to write a good college paper that is longer or you need to learn how to write a college research paper, your thesis statement must be more elaborate.
For instance, you can transform this statement to “This paper aims to understand how a set of practices being repeated by a set of social groups becomes the culture of its community by gathering first-hand information through group discussions and immersion along with an in-depth study of secondary sources.”
Your thesis must be clear, concise, and complete in order to catch the attention of your readers. Remember, an ambiguous thesis statement means an ambiguous discussion, and a college-level paper should never be ambiguous. Once you have formulated the thesis that best embodies your aim, it is time to find the best sources.
Hunt the best sources
In university, hunting the best sources is a part of learning how to write a college research paper step by step and even with learning how to write a college paper as a whole. Do not get too curious about the importance of sources to college papers yet, as we will get to that later on. For now, take note that you need to keep an eye out for the sources that cater to your thesis statement that encapsulates your paper in college.
This is why you need to set a specific thesis, as it will also set the focus on the sources that you need to find. You see, with the bloom of the information era, not having a specific criteria for finding sources is a one-way ticket to drowning in a sea of those books, journals, and articles. In this case, when you hunt for reading materials about culture per se, you will get at least a thousand of them in one click. However, if you try to find something about “redundant practices that form into a culture,” you will find a number that is possible for you to read through.
Keep the body of your piece in one track—create an outline!
Regardless if you are dealing with how to write a college paper in general or how to write a college-level research paper or even just an essay, each paragraph of your discussion must exist harmoniously with each other. This means that when you are writing for a college assignment, what you write on the first paragraph must be related to the next paragraph.
Hence, you need a thesis statement that is clear and concise, as you have to set a straight line for your discussion to follow—and that straight line is your outline. An outline, even for long papers, should not exceed three pages. A simple outline will, in fact, fit into just one page. If your ideas keep on flowing, a simple outline is a better option, but if you could muster up the control focus, it is best to come up with a descriptive outline.
It will take more time, but trust us on this: once you are done with an outline, writing a college paper will be just like gliding on a water slide—smooth and thorough. You also reap the benefit of already lining up what you want to discuss and figuring out the information that you need to include for each part, thereby keeping track of your sources and everything you have researched.
Additional tips on how to write an essay in college
- Do not underestimate the importance of reading before writing. You need to keep it real—if you really have no idea what to write or discuss about for your college assignment, then do not expect an excellent college paper. Read, read, and read. That is the foolproof way to write a paper for college.
- Create an outline, if you really want to master how to write an excellent college paper and how to write a college paper fast. You will feel that writing an outline will only eat up your time, but that is not true. Your outline is the shortcut to coherence and organization—traits which you cannot afford to lose when writing a college paper. Also, the outline is the quickest way to get a bird’s-eye view on how to format your college research paper, and is basically your personal manual on how to write your college research paper step by step.
- Proofread your work. Do not rely on auto-correct or spell-check at all, as these cannot tell you if you said something that is irrelevant to your topic. The only way to determine if there is, is reading your paper over and over to be sure that you got all that you need.
- Keep your head above all the ideas. That is what learning how to write an excellent college-level paper will really teach you.
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