Top 10 Tips for College Level Essays

I noticed that many students in college come out of high school unprepared to write academic essays, so I wanted to provide many simple tips.
The Top Ten
1 Cite sources

Quote authors and other relevant sources. You need to properly source and credit them, or you risk being accused of plagiarism. Additionally, quoting experts on a specific topic demonstrates that you are discussing a legitimate academic subject, rather than simply expressing your own opinions.

Paraphrasing is optional, but as long as you do not alter the main topic and properly cite the author, you should be fine.

This is likely the most important point.

2 Follow the assignment

Read the assignment at least three times and read it carefully. You must fulfill the teacher's requirements. If your paper is brilliant but fails to answer the questions posed, it is not a good essay. You cannot merely write about whatever you want.

3 Keep a neutral tone

Unless it is a personal essay, avoid attempting to be funny, witty, sarcastic, sad, angry, or joyful in your essay writing. Essay writing is distinct from creative writing.

Maintaining a neutral tone is key to ensuring that readers approach your essay with a neutral perspective.

4 Use proper MLA or APA format

Look it up online. Create a sample page in MS Word (or whichever office suite you use) that has the appropriate font, header, and spacing. Also, learn the correct method for citing sources.

5 Don't use the same word too often
6 No personal pronouns

Avoid using "I" or "you," unless you are quoting someone.

7 Don't be repetitive
8 Use specific words
9 Improve your vocabulary

It would be unfortunate if your college professor couldn't understand unfamiliar or rare words in your essay. Unless you have a private one-on-one tutor, spending time looking up word definitions detracts from reading other essays. However, a rich vocabulary can help convey your intelligence while keeping your points concise.

10 Follow the length

Don't fall short of the required length, but don't exceed it either. Many teachers are busy and dislike having to read more than necessary. Additionally, length alone won't impress a teacher.

The Contenders
11 No contractions

I use this strategy to make my essays appear longer because I struggle to write essays that exceed three pages.

12 No immature content

In other words, refrain from using acronyms or colloquial language that you would use when texting friends or family members. Avoid swear words as well.

13 No absolutes

Avoid words like "always," "never," "all," and "none," as there are exceptions to many rules. Instead, opt for terms like "often," "rarely," "almost all," and "almost none."

Yes, this makes the essay appear slightly less unprofessional.

14 Don't go over the maximum number of sources required in the assignment
15 Don't cite or use Wikipedia
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