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Tips for Writing Term Papers

Denise Ferris, our VP Student Life, shares some tips of how to write a solid term paper without burning yourself out.


It’s that time of year again, when grouped courses are starting to wind down and will be finished in the middle of December. With the end of each term comes the wonderful term paper that usually accounts for a significant portion of your grade. The best thing that you can do to ensure a successful grade on a term paper is to give yourself ample time. The average term paper requires time to research, analyze, write and edit. It is helpful to write a schedule of what you need to accomplish by when. Organization will help you stay on track.

Well-written papers have a solid thesis statement. This is the question you propose to answer in the paper. When selecting a term paper topic, keep it simple and specific. The more specific and simple the thesis statement is, the easier it will be to do research. Another critical step is to create an outline. The outline will help you understand what information you need and where it should go.

Finally, all papers need several drafts. This goes without being said! Edit, edit and edit. When you have finished the rough draft go back and check for accuracy and completeness of facts. If you think sections are too long or short rework them. Scan paragraphs for unity and coherence. Focus on making your sentences seamless with structure, grammar and punctuation. One suggestion that works to identify errors is to read the paper aloud.

Lastly, well-written papers are not written in a day. Good writing takes days or even weeks to structure the argument, make revisions and edit. It is always best to leave a day or two between writing and editing so you have fresh eyes to review the paper!