Much of your work as a college student consists of writing papers. Sometimes writing a good paper can seem impossible. You might ask questions like “How do I start?” or “What do I write about?” When you first get to college, you might not know what you’re expected to write for college as opposed to high school. First off, take a deep breath and relax. It’s not as difficult as it seems. If you start early, take it slow, and get help you can write a great paper. Here are a few pointers to help you figure out how to write a good paper.
When you are assigned a paper, your professor will usually provide you with a sheet that details the requirements for the paper. This will be your most helpful tool in writing. Read and understand exactly what it is that the professor wants you to write. If the assignment is to write a character analysis, don’t write a book review. If you’re asked to do a research paper, don’t write an opinion paper. If you’re uncertain about what kind of paper you’re supposed to write, ask the professor in class or during his or her office hours to explain it in more detail. Understanding the assignment details will help you to create a strong and effective thesis.
One of the most important parts of paper-writing is developing a strong thesis. A good thesis is composed of two parts: what you’re trying to prove and why you say it’s true. For example, “Writing papers is an effective teaching tool for college students because it causes them to develop critical-thinking and communicational skills.” This thesis statement says what I’m proving (writing is good for students), and why it’s true (because it develops skills). Now in my paper I would give details and examples explaining how writing develops critical-thinking and communicational skills.
Supporting your thesis with details and examples is another important part of writing a good paper. You need to be able to back up everything you say with evidence; don’t make any claims that you can’t support. Any information, facts, statistics, example, or any other kind of evidence you bring into your paper should relate directly to your thesis. Filling your writing with “fluff” that isn’t helping to prove your point will make your paper weaker.
These are just a few rules that will help you focus, give you direction, and make writing easier. There is much more to learn about writing than I can write here, but there are plenty of people; professors, tutors, Writing Center Consultants, and more; that would love to teach you as much as you’re willing to learn about writing. When you’re given a paper to write, don’t panic. Start with these simple rules and you will be on your way to writing a good paper.