If you’re not back on campus, you will be soon! Colleges and universities here in Kentucky are kicking off the fall semester this week. As you collect your syllabi and prepare for a busy semester ahead, follow these tips when writing those academic papers.
1. Don’t procrastinate.
Effective academic writing requires outlining, drafting, and revising. If you wait until the last minute to write that paper, you simply won’t have time for these key steps. Start your paper at least a week before the deadline, which will give you time to adequately research the topic. Then, you will be able to step away from the paper and return to it with a fresh mind, which will improve the revision process.
2. Know your style.
Professors have different requirements for the style and format of the paper. Read the requirements closely to ensure that you are following the appropriate style guide, whether it be APA, MLA, or Chicago. Look for any tweaks to the style — for example, APA prefers abstracts of 150 – 250 words, but some schools permit their students to write abstracts up to 350 words.
3. Cite carefully.
Unintentional plagiarism can have serious consequences. Always cite any content that is not your own, whether it is a direct quote or a paraphrase. Use both in-text citations and a detailed bibliography. Many professors use plagiarism checkers when grading your paper, so proper citations can be the difference between passing and failing.
4. Build in proofreading time.
Hastily writing a paper the night before it is due will likely result in plenty of typos or poorly phrased sentences. Set aside a few hours before your deadline to proofread the paper, focusing on the concision of your sentences, the overall flow of your paper, and adherence to proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. If that task sounds too overwhelming, we’re here to help!
Here’s to a successful fall semester!