Perfecting College Papers

Today’s universities are specifically looking for quality writing from their students. The beginner student can achieve this by approaching the assignment in a practical way. The college paper may vary in the demand, but the approach is similar in all respects. Most students need to explore the subject matter. What to write can be excruciating – a big tipoff is what the instructor is interested in. Write to please the master and the master will please the student.

The subject must be researched. The student has to have several approaches to a topic to be able to deliver a sensible, sizeable paper. The approach of searching loosely to find the subject matter and letting the topic bring itself to the forefront for the content of the paper is a much more efficient use of time. It can be very difficult to plug in a topic which is wide and varied and come up with a paper that is tied together and cognizant. Discovering the topic in research and expressing what is learned accurately is a better approach. This brings up the subject of plagiarizing. It is an absolute to give credit where credit is due. Look up the instructor’s format for citing and follow it. Sometimes the more that is cited, the better the paper. It is not a good idea to cite one source several times in one paper. As the ideas are forming in research, the student should be ready and willing to twist the original concept in a different approach. A paper can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle. Once the pieces are all collected, the assembly is needed.

In the assembly of the paper the foremost rule is to make a strong claim, also called an argument. Introduce the topic and then make a statement that engages the reader. This is the purpose of the first paragraph. The points that are going to be demonstrated to support the claim are briefly introduced here as well.  Each supporting paragraph will do just that – support the claim. Long gone is the traditional limit of three supporting paragraphs of equal length. Paragraphs must have the skill of supporting the claim, but they can be of varied sizes and can actually be broken up into different paragraphs. The goal of the paper is to make a claim that will convince the audience to embrace the argument. This approach keeps the writer directed to the bottom line of what the message is trying to promote.  It is always good to have an opposing view to the paper’s claim and then to dismantle it; this should come as the last supporting paragraph. The use of the opposing view is considered the strongest sway of a claim. Use it carefully and cleverly.

Logistics for a paper include the flow and the transitions. A paper should graduate to a higher and higher stance as it progresses – the tone should flow smoothly and progress in an orderly fashion. Each paragraph should have an opening sentence that helps the prior paragraph come into it. This is called transitioning, and most use an idea or word or a group of words to flow from one to the next. These are links that concretely keep the reader reading; the stronger the links the better the paper. Transitions seem tedious and monotonous to the writer, but the reader needs these to reinforce the message.

Lastly is the conclusion. This does restate the claim, but in a fashion that reemphasizes the argument. It is not a repeat of the first paragraph. This paragraph should end with a bang and pull the whole paper together. The most creativity happens here. Use this paragraph to couple the title with the argument; therefore, do not title the paper until the end is near and the grand finale presents itself. Writing in this fashion for universities gives the professionalism they are looking for in potential graduates. Grades will rise the more this skill is perfected.