In college, the challenges you face in your academic life will likely be far more significant than anything you experienced in high school. This is especially true when it comes to writing college-level term papers.
If you are sitting there right now wondering how you managed your way past your SATs and college application essays, you are not alone. The first (and most important) thing to remember is this: you did make it over those hurdles. That means that you’re probably better at this than you think.
Still, the coursework is going to be more challenging, and the demands placed on your ability to express on paper what you’ve learned in class will be higher. It’s enough to make anyone freak out a little. Our advice to you is simple: don’t. You have all kinds of help and support available to you, this article included. Here are a few free (yet precious) tips you can use to build confidence in your writing ability.
#1 – Listen Up In Class
The more you strive to understand the subject matter in class, the easier it will be to articulate what you’ve learned when writing term papers. Take good notes. Ask questions. If something seems particularly essential, highlight it in both your bills and your textbooks.
Any good professor will also be happy to meet with you one-on-one to discuss any areas where your understanding or grasp of the details are lacking. Most list their office hours right on the syllabus. Take advantage of the opportunity to pick your profs’ brains whenever you can.
#2 – Look To Reliable Sources When Doing Research
Even though it is becoming more acceptable to cite online sources in your works cited or bibliography, you want to pick from sources you know to be accurate. Websites backed by credible entities like Encyclopedia Britannica or the New England Journal of Medicine (just for the sake of example) are far more likely to have accurate and relevant information than your average Wiki site.
Choose your sources well and look for the same details from other source material. Whenever possible, use actual books backed by the reputations of their publishers. It’s a tried and true way to keep questions about the validity of specific details in check.
#3 – Use Your Online Helps
There are many free online tools that you can use to ensure that you are conveying your message in the most coherent, exciting, and grammatically sound ways possible. A quick search using terms like “online grammar checker” and “online essay editor” will uncover loads of options. Most are free or have enough features in their free versions to get the job done.
Among some of the better online help available to you are those that employ live writers, editors, and beta readers who can give you an honest, objective opinion of your writing. They’re qualified professional, trusted term paper writers and editors that can help you polish up the language of your paper and add an extra bit of authority to how you present your ideas.
#4 – Watch Your Language!
No, we’re not talking about swearing or using obviously derogatory language, but sometimes we let things slip into our writing that doesn’t belong. Academic book is all about conveying information formally and maturely. That means that a term paper will not necessarily read the same way as something less formal like this article.
Here, we’re having a conversation. We are sharing opinions based on experience. The communication is more two-way. Term papers and essays speak to facts, not opinions, and present them more singularly.
With that in mind, steer away from things like slang, contractions, and repetition. Academic papers are typically more static, authoritatively presenting facts. They demonstrate an understanding of both the topic and the language in which the article is written.
#5 – Proofread Everything
Start the writing process with the mindset of someone writing a draft of a paper. Never view essay or term paper-writing as a one-off endeavor. The more time you take to read back your ideas, the more things you will find that need improving. Don’t be obsessive – look for glaring mistakes in spelling, grammar, and formatting.
If something seems unclear to you as you read it back to yourself, it is most likely going to confuse someone else reading it. Make whatever changes are necessary to make your ideas as clear and concise in writing as possible.
#6 – Be Confident
Yes, we know, it’s easier said than done. If, however, you manage to adhere to the first five items on this list, you will hand in your paper with a much higher degree of confidence that you would if you decided to cut corners. There are some excellent lessons to be learned here. Take the advice you’re being given seriously.
Above all, remember that getting good at writing academic papers is a process. The helps you have at your disposal exist to make you better at this over time. Your work will not be subjected to the same scrutiny as a freshman as it would be if you were a senior. That gives you ample time to develop and perfect your craft. With that in mind, relax. It may seem like a big deal now, but it does get more comfortable with time and commitment.
Mary Kucher is a freelance writer and experienced content distributor interested in culture, management and psychology. Also a job search enthusiast, and career advice blogger, an active member of various writing websites and blogs.