English students often dread the thought of writing an English paper, especially if they are new college students. However, if you let a college English paper intimidate you, you won’t succeed in college. Fortunately, you have all the resources that you need to write a good English paper. Here are the basics:
1. Good English professors or teachers will usually give you the essay prompt(s) at least one week in advance. If you still don’t have the prompts one week before the essay is due (and make sure that you always know when an essay is due), ask your teacher for them. They will be happy that you at least remembered. When you get your prompts, give yourself at least one day to think about what you are going to write about. Usually, this will take a few hours if you are intensely focused.
2. When thinking of how to answer a prompt, don’t think of what your final thesis is going to be just yet. Look at the prompt and notice how it is worded. How can you answer every part of the question? How can you put this into a coherent, yet concise, thesis?
3. After you have figured out what you are going to include in your thesis, write a few drafts. Take all of these drafts to a friend or a classmate. Once you have narrowed down your choices to one, take both of these and show them to your teacher.
4. After you and your teacher have made a decision about a thesis, you can then begin to write your paper. Sometimes, students will begin their paper without an introduction, write the body paragraphs, and then finish the essay by writing the introduction and imbed their thesis. What is important, however, is that you have the thesis in front of you at all times and that you read it often.
5. Take your finished draft to your teacher so that he/she can proofread it (this step can be optional if your teacher does not allow this). If you prefer, take it to another teacher or to one of your classmates.
Remember that a good English paper is not just filled with facts; you have to write down your comments after every fact. You have to prove that those facts aren’t opinions. And, you have to make sure that you are writing a paper that defends its thesis with excellent examples. When you do this, you will write an excellent English paper.