15 Tips For Writing Your College Term Paper


It is April and you haven’t started your term paper yet. Shame on you! Seriously, procrastination is an art form and it can be fun to watch panicked students on library computers searching for ideas on what to write and how to get the job done fast.

That is, of course, the wrong approach to take — your ideas should be based on what your professor explained to you in class and likely reiterated through a hand out or a posting and updates to his web page. Click over to his site to find out what he wants and then take it from there.

15 Tips

If you need help getting organized and getting going, the following 15 tips can bring you through the entire process from concept to completion:

1. What she or he said — What matters most when writing a term paper is finding out what your professor wants and writing accordingly. Do anything differently and you’ll be performing an exercise in pointlessness. Your grade will reflect such carelessness.

2. Start. right. now. — With just weeks left in the semester, you need to put off the delays and start your project RIGHT NOW. You’ve lost precious time already which means you need to ditch the frat party or tell your significant other to wait.

3. Start googling — Plug key words and phrases into Google and watch what springs up. The top quality results are what you will make note of and visit for more information. Visit .edu and .gov websites for reliable sources; toss out anything that is suspect.

4. Stay out of trouble — Online term paper mills are enticing and are one way many students have met the grade. They’re also dishonest and a reflection of your character and the poor decisions you are prone to make later in life. Stay away from them.

5. Write or type legibly — Your notes should be clear or at least understandable to you. You don’t have to include complete sentences, but you should be able to figure out what you mean without retracing your steps. In any case, bookmark your sites for later reference.

6. Cite with care — Citations are the crux of every term paper which means you’ll need to find out which style your professor wants. That’s usually MLA — electronic sources are considered web publications and should be formatted as such states Purdue OWL.

7. Write up an outline — Take your idea — you have one, right? — and put it down on paper. Create an outline which will help you to build a very rough first draft. You need to accomplish this task right away or you’ll never get your paper started.

8. Collaborate with students — Likely, you’re allowed to work with other students, although the information in your term paper must be unique to yourself. Share ideas, but don’t give away important information that you need to include in your report.

9. Meet with your professor — Don’t make an appointment with your professor until you have at least written your first draft. At this stage of the semester you should be nearly done, but your prof can help you if you’re stuck or need direction.

10. Revise. trim. update. — If you’re feeling rather good about your term paper at this time, think again. Review your prose, rewriting whatever sounds stilted or can’t be supported by raw data. Remove extraneous phrases and eliminate repetitive material.

11. Take a break — If you’ve worked fast and furious to catch up, that’s a good thing. It could also spell trouble if you haven’t given yourself a break. Put your paper to the side, find something else to do and come back to one or two days later when you are refreshed.

12. Use live sources — Relying on the Internet may be fine, but if you’re looking for an edge, then contacting and interviewing a source can benefit your paper. Record your interview and take notes too. Compare both to come up with quotable, quality material. Follow general guidelines for conducting a successful interview.

13. Write to word or page count — Falling short of what your professor requires can hurt you. Double space your paper and turn word count on to ensure that your paper meets minimum requirements. Don’t pad your paper; add substantive information only.

14. Pull it all together — You’re ready to finish up which means you’re going to put the finishing touches on your masterpiece. Check for grammar, spelling and syntax problems and recheck your sources. Have a friend proof your entire paper.

15. Hand it in — Have your term paper completed at least one day before it is due. You’ll need that margin to carefully include the finishing touches. Review your professor’s guidelines to insure that every point required has been met and then turn it in.

Stress Pond

Next time, start your term paper as soon as your professor assigns it to you. You’ve made it through the stress pond this time, but anxiety has taken its toll and you’re weary from the battle.


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Categories: Study Tips