I still recall the very first essay I was ever given to write in my first year of college. My professor basically ordered us to discard all we had previously taught about beginning sentences and question rephrasing.
They basically trained me to write a certain way during my entire elementary school career, and now they wanted me to do something completely different?
Because I wasn’t sure how to make my first college paper stand out in a way that would wow, not depress, my professors, I may or may not have experienced a mild panic attack.
Fortunately, I improved steadily over the years, and by the time I started my master’s program, I was completely aware of the steps I needed to take in order to complete every writing project with an A.
I want you to succeed, therefore I’m going to share some advice with you about how to make your college paper stand out (in a good way, of course).
How Not to Write a College Paper (RELATED) (So You Get Better Grades)
1. GET UP AND STAND I didn’t understand how forgiving my high school teachers were until I enrolled in a college English class and received a failing grade for taking too weak a position on my selected topic.
The old me believed that all it took to produce a convincing paper was to state your opinion and give a few reasons why.
I had no idea that college wouldn’t operate in that manner.
I had to realize that in order to write a unique college paper, I needed to look for academic sources to back up my viewpoint. I also had to state my position unequivocally from the outset. I couldn’t merely sidestep a crucial issue and pray that my remarks would ultimately make sense.
No, I needed to be sure that my voice was being heard and understood the reasons behind how it was being delivered.
Writing out all the key points I intended to discuss proved to be one of the simplest strategies to assist me make my case. Each of those ideas would have at least one or two references listed beside it, proving that it wasn’t just my opinion. This supported my responses and gave my writings a more academic tone.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you need to be heard in your college papers, and you need to have a credible source to back you up.
You’re doing something properly if your writing can persuade your teachers of something!
2. PERFORM EACH PROFESSOR’S REQUIREMENTS IN YOUR WRITING In other words, your writing must be adaptable!
Every professor will have their own distinctive approach, so while one may compliment you on your word choice, another would advise you to make changes on the following assignment.
It’s important to think of your first written assignment as a test. You ought to at this stage at least understand what your lecturer is looking for (either because they gave you a grading rubric or theyve shown you what information they want you to include).
You should use that knowledge to create the greatest possible initial paper. Make sure you take the time to proofread your writing for proper punctuation, spelling, and layout. These may seem like inconsequential issues, but it’s true that making mistakes in these areas can significantly lower the score you receive for the entire report.
Make a note of any edits or comments your professor made whenever you receive your paper back from them. Did they ask you to elaborate more on your points? Did you need more sources to back up the information you provided in your paper?
The following paper should relate to all of the helpful input they give as a guide for what the expectations are going to be.
As you move through college, you’ll improve as a writer and learn to change your writing style to correspond with what each professor views as excellent writing.
Bonus Advice: Get in touch with a former student of the professor and request to see one of their graded papers. Before you even start writing your first paper, you’ll be able to obtain an idea of what the expectations will be, which is a huge benefit! This will undoubtedly show you how to compose a unique paper from the start!
3. TO SEE ERRORS, READ YOUR PAPER BACKWARDS AND OUT LOUD. Turning in a paper that is error-free is one of the simplest methods to make your college paper stand out.
Sorry, folks; today’s spelling check simply won’t do.
You should read your paper aloud and backwards in order to really give yourself the advantage and ensure that you have proofread it to the best of your ability.
REASONS THIS WORKS When we proofread this way, our brains become so accustomed to reading from left to right that we frequently fail to spot any mistakes in our work.
You need to switch things up a bit and have your brain focus on the errors that actually exist in the words you’ve typed in order to trick it into doing so.
Halfway through my undergraduate career, I began adopting this proofreading strategy, and I wish I had done it earlier. When you write several papers a week, you’d be astonished at how many small mistakes you’d make. Because your fingers simply type away without your brain ever digesting what is happening on the paper half the time, I refer to this as “paper hypnosis.”
So keep in mind to read your college paper aloud and backwards before turning it in for final marking the next time it is due. Later on, you’ll thank me.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO PUSH THE BOUNDARIES. Do you really want to stand out with your college paper?
Try disputing one of the concepts you discussed in class.
You’ll not only pique your professor’s interest, but you’ll also show that you’re not afraid to employ critical thinking to solve problems.
Now, it’s crucial to keep in mind that if you choose to contest something, you’ll need references and some kind of evidence to support your assertions.
Oh, and don’t worry if the professor would agree with you or not; I noticed that teachers gave better grades to students who actually worked through the material and came to their own conclusions than to those who only skimmed the top and didn’t delve deeply into the matter at hand.
And the next point is number five.
5. ACTUALLY SHOW WHAT YOU LEARNED A college paper won’t stand out if it has boring writing that reads like a rehash of all the material covered in class.
No. You must take a more significant action than that.
This is one of the instances where giving examples, academic backing, and connecting information are useful.
The college papers that linked concepts from week one with those we were talking about in week ten were where I discovered some of my best work that received good grades. I was able to recognize parallels and discrepancies, and I used that understanding to produce a report that showed I understood not just the subjects at hand but the entire course as well.
6. USE DIFFERENT VOCABULARY AND CUT THE FILLER WORDS When there is a minimal number of pages required for their writing, many pupils frequently use filler words.
My recommendation is to identify an academic source to cite in place of filler words so that your college paper has some solid evidence rather than just meaningless blather. ( How to Write a Research Paper provides extra information on how to properly cite sources.)
By doing this, you are demonstrating to your lecturers that you are able to think creatively and to draw information from sources other than your own (always a good thing to do when youre writing at the college level).
You should also utilize a thesaurus to help you come up with alternative word choices for the same terms you wish to employ again in addition to eliminating the filler words.
Don’t be scared to mix things up a little bit because nobody loves to hear the same term in every sentence!
SUFFERING FROM THE NEED TO MAKE YOUR COLLEGE PAPER STAND OUT? ASK YOUR PROFESSOR TO CHAT! You shouldn’t be scared to ask your teachers how you can improve your writing because I know many students struggle to make their college papers stand out.
I had numerous discussions with my lecturers, which helped me learn more effectively.
I also have an other article that might be useful to you. If you want to get better grades, be sure to read How Not to Write a College Paper.
And if you’re finding that college in general is giving you trouble, consider reading any of these posts to gain more success advice: