Regardless of your major, you will be responsible for writing long essays and research papers during your college years. These can be extremely challenging, if only for the amount of time you need to devote to the process. Many students, especially underclassmen, underestimate the commitment required to do a thorough job on these projects. Longer papers typically count for a considerable amount of a course’s final grade so professors expect high quality in return. As you move through the semester you can start to figure out how you will craft final paper. It is important to start this process at least a couple weeks before the due date. Inevitably, you will have tons of other work piling up at the end of the semester so you need to budget your time wisely.
Many students scoff at the idea of starting a paper early. College students are a procrastinating lot. Usually, after putting a major paper off to just a couple days before it is due once, students will realize they need to get started much earlier in the future. Sometimes, you need to learn your lesson the hard way. Moving forward, the hope is that you will recognize the disservice you do to yourself and your paper by waiting until the last minute to get started. Professors will usually announce the paper’s guidelines well in advance of the due date. Start doing preliminary research at this point so you can zero in on your subject. You are not expected to start actually writing your paper right away.
Completing your research can be the most taxing aspect of the writing process. In order to produce a solid paper, you need to exhaust all the tools at your disposal. Spend some time with a research librarian who can help steer you in the right direction. This will help you with your time management. If you spend too much time looking through materials that are not going to help you write your paper, you are literally wasting your time. Make sure your sources are reputable. When it comes time to writing your paper, your voice needs to dominate. Your sources are like your backup singers. They can help you support a claim you are making; they are there to make you look good. So, make your sources count.
Proofreading your work is the crucial final step in the writing process. You have probably heard this a million times over the years; yet, it remains as true as ever. After you have spent so much time constructing your paper, you would be a fool to hand in something that had correctable errors. If you are wary of your editing skills, go to your school’s writing resource center. You can find a trained individual to help you go over your paper for errors. This is much more fruitful than relying on your computer’s spell and grammar check. Be proud of your work and submit a final product that is polished and worthy of having your name on it.