Author Archives: Steve Aedy

The Ultimate Checklist for Research Proposal Writing

the-ultimate-checklist-for-research-proposal-writingHow to convince the committee that you have a distinguished project and an exceptional plan to prepare it? To write an outstanding research proposal!

There is no single format for all research proposals because different disciplines and academic institutions have different formats and requirements. However, there are some components that should be included in every proposal.

We’ve prepared this ultimate list for research proposal writing to get you through the process as smoothly as possible.

Cover Page

Make sure that a cover page includes all necessary information to identify your topic, institution and degree:

  • concise and eye-catching title
  • your name and qualifications
  • department and university
  • your supervisor’s name

Your cover page provides the first impression of your proposal, so check one more time whether the title introduces the key ideas of your project and presents the right direction of your investigation.

Table of Contents

Make certain the table of contents:

  • presents the parts of a research proposal in a hierarchical way, with the help of titles and subtitles
  • indicates exact page references for every part

Introduction

The main aim of the introduction is to provide background for your research problem. Think about it as a narrative written to answer these 4 important questions:

1. What is the core research problem?
2. Which topic of study is related to it?
3. What methods should be used to analyze the problem?
4. Why is this research important?
After reading your introduction, the reader will have an understanding of what you want to do. Your introduction may include a theoretical starting point, a personal motivation or historical/cultural/ social/political information about the research question.

Purpose and Aims of the Study

This section describes the objectives and desired outcomes of your work to find the answers for the researched problem. Make sure:

  • the purpose is expressed in terms of the broader context of the study
  • there are not too many research questions, so the focus is manageable
  • the aims are related to the stated purpose

Literature review

The literature review demonstrates that you are aware of the diversity of material that is related to your research proposal. You need to show understanding of the relative theories, studies and models. Successful literature review:

  • keeps focus on the literature essential to your investigated problem
  • combines various theories, findings and arguments on the topic
  • gives the reader enough ties to the literature that you have found and read during the research
  • shows that you can take a critical approach to your area of research

Research Design

The research design is aimed at describing your plans and methods and should:

  • indicate the research operations you will use and the way you will interpret the results of these operations
  • specify why these methods are the best way to investigate the problem
  • anticipate any potential challenges you may face while finding information or analyzing data
  • provide a timetable and action plan to explain how each of the tasks will be carried out

Expected Outcomes

Surely, you don’t have the results when you start writing your proposal, but you should have some suggestions about the possible outcomes. Therefore, this section should provide:

  • the expected results
  • a series of paragraphs foreseeing the importance of the research

Glossary of Terms

Make sure you have a list of:

  • specialised terms
  • words
  • concepts
  • acronyms

and their meanings.

References

Be sure to reference texts and sources that play a significant role in your analysis, in addition to your planned readings. These include:

  • all textbooks
  • journal articles
  • relevant books
  • Internet sources

These references will help you avoid plagiarism, so make sure to cite them properly.

A high-quality proposal not just promises success to your project, but also impresses your committee about your potential as a researcher. Therefore, make sure your writing is coherent and compelling, and your research idea is clearly stated and persuasive.

Before submitting the completed work, check it carefully to make certain that your research proposal has all essential sections and follows all specified instructions. Our ultimate checklist will help you with that!

Common Mistakes in College Paper Writing

essay-writing-mistakes

Writing assignments for college credit take all different shapes and requirements—and of course, present a variety of stresses. Ultimately, though, a paper is a great opportunity to explore your own ideas and express independent conclusions. Even if you admit to not being the best writer, there is room for success in college paper writing, as long as you see the pitfalls coming and divert via the route of clarity, logic, and compliance.

To follow are some common mistakes students make in college paper writing. Take heed and weed costly errors out of your prose; after all, mistakes are less often related to your skills as a writer, and more often the result of carelessness and bad habits.

Failing to Understand the Assignment

Not taking time to comprehend what a paper assignment calls for is a huge error. Most professors offer ample detail about what they want, so get into the fine print. If the professor assigns 500 words, meet that expectation. Don’t short the essay by 19 words and assume it’s fine because it’s still “in the ballpark.” It is always better to go over by 5 to 10 words (no more) than to miss a word-count benchmark. And don’t question this part of an assignment: there’s method to a prof’s madness in requiring that writers get it said in so many words.

Get clarity, too, on documentation requirements: are in-text citations appropriate, or does this instructor craves footnotes? Ask about how much and what kind of source material you should access and annotate, then dig into research.

Informal Language and Colloquialisms

An academic paper should be presented in formal, academic English; this is no time for “street talk” or for “text speak.” A good rule of thumb is to avoid abbreviations altogether (that includes contractions) and never to rely on slang or jargon. For example, the phrase “a lot” seems to convey something like “many” or “much.” In all actuality, though, “a lot” presents like a noun, especially with the article in play. The phrase is vague; leave it out.

Steer clear of everyday expressions and “trendy” language too, unless the professor indicates this college paper can accommodate it. Elevate tone, elevate content, and elevate end results.

Using First Person and Direct Address

Academic writing typically calls for some amount of objectivity, where first-person announcements like “I feel” or “I contend” aren’t the best options. After all, it is your essay, so isn’t the “In my opinion” construct a given? Take a step back. Distance yourself from the “speaker” platform by using “the author” in place of first person; just don’t get too carried away so that you end up sounding like a stuffed shirt!

And direct address (writing “you this, you that”) is just one more common mistake—and it’s particularly dangerous. Plug in “one” to keep from putting words into a reader’s mouth and to avoid making the reader feel targeted.

Misusing Basic Punctuation

One major pitfall for most writers, especially in college paper writing where authors are spread thin and in a rush, is punctuation. Being comma-happy means your prose is interruptive and stilted; not having an independent clause on either side of a semi-colon confuses a reader. Slow down and edit carefully. In fact, keep a style guide on hand: make use of writing resources available in the library and via online platforms, because every writer needs instant access to the rules and regs regarding grammar, punctuation, and usage.

The Best Quotes to Beat Procrastination

procrastination-writing

Procrastination is a particularly cunning beast. It lures you into feeling of false comfort and then disappears, leaving you face to face with panic and work overload monsters. And be sure: it will never be your ally in this battle.

Luckily, you don’t have to be the first person to fight the traitor. Lots of great people have conquered it and developed their own successful tactics and strategies. We’re not going to instruct you on the ways to do so. The ultimate goal is to inspire you to find the one that works particularly for you.

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

The saying belongs to Pablo Picasso. We tend to think artists and the creatives in general are usually in conflict with schedules, deadlines and all kind of organizational pressure. However, Picasso’s example vividly demonstrates that even the most unconventional thinkers realize: getting things done is a precondition of success.

“It is awfully hard work doing nothing.”

A brilliantly witty playwright Oscar Wilde, obviously knew a thing or two about life in general and procrastination in particular. Postponing a task till the very last minute is actually exhausting, since the looming perspective of the need to face it never leaves your mind, bringing you to the state of constant anxiety. Eventually, you get tired of procrastinating, not of the actual dealing with a problem. Add the feeling of guilt and you’ll get the bitter cocktail no one really wants.

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t get it wrong. Fear of failure is one of the most common reasons of delaying work on a task. The trick is that it automatically leads to failure. Mistakes often lead to fascinating experiences. They make you ask for help, get to know more people and generally go down the path of self-development. Procrastination is a way to nowhere. In fact, it’s not even a way.

“If and When were planted, and Nothing grew.”

This precious piece of wisdom says it all. You don’t get to see the results of your work unless you actually do something.

Of course, the most complicated thing here is to make the first step towards change. However, you may use a couple of simple tricks to make the transition far more manageable.

  • Divide the task into small chunks. Let’s say you’ve got a research paper to write. Most of the time you’ll be reluctant to even think about it, taken all the weight of responsibility into consideration.
    Why not try a different way? First, you may google the topic to find proper sources to quote in your work. Then you get to the point of formulating a thesis statement. After that, you craft a detailed outline. And then fill in the gaps!
  • Push through the hard times. Perseverance is often the key element that brings you to the successful completion of the task. This will definitely require significant effort. Nevertheless, once you conquer the first obstacle, the following ones get a little easier.
  • Praise yourself! Positive reinforcement does miracles to one’s productivity. Having finished a small task, reward yourself with a little prize. A piece of fruit, time to surf social media, a short nap – something that makes you feel awesome emotionally and physically.

Any struggle gets easier when you’re no alone. When it comes to fighting procrastination – you definitely have a great crowd to accompany you. So get inspired and get down to work!

Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write an Assignment

writing-assignments

The best writers seem to effortlessly tap into their creative juices, then spontaneously produce gorgeous sentences—the kinds of sentences with which a teacher could never find fault.

But what if you’re not the best writer? What if you’re positively terrified at the thought of having to express yourself in prose, to the point that some sort of temporary paralysis descends on your hands: so there you sit, fingers poised to tap-tap-tap away at the computer, and your digits won’t budge, instead hovering idly over the keyboard, never striking a single letter?

You’re not alone. Trust me, you’re not alone. And also trust that there are developed strategies for getting over this very common anxiety and for moving toward productivity as a writer. Read on and then practice what I preach.

No One’s Perfect

Repeat this phrase ten times. Make it your motto for academic life. No writer fluidly crafts perfect prose, all at once, all the time. Every writer has to work at it, even though it definitely comes more easily to some than others. The point is that every writer has room for improvement, on every assignment, and that alone should motivate you to start a writing assignment. After all, who doesn’t relish the chance to produce something, refine it, and then perfect it? A writing assignment is just that—the opportunity to achieve something meaningful, and to enjoy the credit for doing so.

Write—Edit—Revise—Re-write

Don’t let these multiple stages discourage you; in fact, embrace the process, from the first brainstorming session to the rough outline, to the draft and finally to revisions and a re-write. The best part of this sequence is that you’re likely to find your voice, all while working on a writing assignment! Imagine, in fact, that the assignment is the vehicle for expressing your convictions, your philosophies—and to conveying thoughts you wouldn’t otherwise have conjured, invented, or verbalized. What’s more motivating than that?

Recognize that the written word is that powerful, and that a writing assignment puts that power in your hands—literally.

Know Why It Matters

Think carefully about why the writing assignment is crucial for you as a student, a thinker, and as a participant in academic life. Consider where in your “big-picture” this essay or research paper might fit, and imagine ways that you could turn it into something bigger: could you later share the essay as a blog post, or could you develop a narrow research project into a broader academic thesis? Of course, not every writing assignment proves relevant to your life, but with planning, speculation, and imagination, it’s possible to relate a writing assignment to future scholarly conversations, or to opening fresh dialogue via social media. Get motivated to write with the goal of articulating something about yourself and your future.

Settle In for Success

Start every writing assignment with the intent to finish it. Nothing motivates more than the realization that you CAN and WILL see this through. Take that single-minded approach to every writing task, and motivation will course through your veins! To secure that ultimate success, find—or create—a quiet, focused environment that supports you doing your best work. Even the most competent writer can falter if distracted. The library may be an option, but if it’s noisy or too social, get off campus and try a more isolated location; move out of your immediate zip code if necessary! Be sure to have on hand everything you need, from source material to your laptop charger to snacks. With all of your needs met, no interruptions and no excuses will result in success.

How to Do Research for an Essay Without Wasting Time

essay-research

So, it sounded like a good idea to take six classes this semester, but now that you have four or five essays all due by midterm, you’re rethinking that decision. Relax, you’ve got this. Doing the research for your essay is arguably the most challenging part of the whole process, so knowing how to do it quickly and efficiently puts you a little closer to finishing your essays on time and with good results. Let’s look at how to expedite essay research when you’ve got a goal to achieve and deadlines looming near.

Create an Outline

The outlining step to writing an essay can’t be skipped, no matter how short on time you are. Determine how you want to open the essay and what you want to say in the body and the conclusion. Determine if any research is required for information you plan to include. List the facts you want to substantiate as you make your outline, since this streamlines what you’re looking for when you dig into research.

Review Requirements

Essay requirements are like Forest Gump’s proverbial box of chocolates; you really never know what your professors are going to ask of you when it comes to writing assignments. One professor may require that you use peer-reviewed sources only, while some others may even accept Wikipedia as a source. Refer to the specific requirements of the essay before you start researching, and get up to speed on what is expected of you (instead of finding out later that a source is not acceptable).

Reserve Materials

Plan well in advance for your essay by reserving any materials that you need from the library. You don’t want to be the 12th student waiting on a particular book when you have to tackle the nitty-gritty and get your paper written. If your school doesn’t have an item that you need in its campus library, turn to your public library instead. Many librarians will even order books and other media that patrons need if the facility does not own the item already; all you have to do is ask.

Take Advantage of Your School’s Library Database

Now you probably prefer searching the materials online, but at one time, students just like you had to actually go to a library and page through peer-reviewed journals themselves to find scholarly articles and studies. Today, even the smallest community colleges usually provide students digital access to databases of material such as EBSCO, Medline/Pub Med, Health Reference Center Academic, Oxford University Press, and more. With just a few search terms entered into your library’s collective databases, you can find oodles of information in seconds and sort it by resource type. Some databases even include a works cited entry for journal articles and other publications, making it easy to construct your works cited page as you choose your resources (be sure to determine if your professor prefers MLA or APA style first).

Take Notes

Note what you want to use from each source as you evaluate and research, keeping the notes organized in the order in which you plan to use the material in the essay. Making a single page for each resource can make it easier to cite things as you go along and keep you on track and moving toward the finish line. You can also make use of research management tools, sometimes available in library databases, such as EndNote or Zotero, to help you organize your material, annotate your work, and generate the reference list for you.

Finally, pace yourself and avoid getting side-tracked. Staying on-task is important to efficient research, within reason. Be sure to allow yourself a break to stretch or even grab some fresh air to keep you alert and in tune to the job at hand. Before you know it, you’ll be finished and ready to move on to the next essay in your pile.

How to Write a Proper Cover Letter for Your First Job

job-search-cover-letter

Employers often get hundreds of applicants for a single position. Applications and resumes turn into a sea of sameness when there is nothing to distinguish one candidate from another. Because of this, submitting a cover letter essentially increases your chances of landing the job. But how do you write one when you have no job experience at all?

The Anatomy of a Cover Letter

Before we touch on what to put in your cover letter, let’s look at how it is laid out. When writing a cover letter, it’s good practice to follow a basic outline that most employers recognize. This includes:

  • Your name and contact information, including your email address and current phone number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • The name of the business or the human resources contact’s name on the left.
  • Clearly stated purpose of the letter. For example, “Re: Application for Chief Candy Tester.”
  • A salutation to the person reading the letter. For example, “Dear Mr. Wonka,” or some other cordial greeting.
  • An opening paragraph to introduce yourself to the reader of the cover letter.
  • A main paragraph highlighting your skills that are relevant to the job sought.
  • A closing paragraph, asking to be considered for the position and expressing your interest in an interview.

Writing a Cover Letter with No Job Experience

Don’t consider writing a cover letter for a first job to be an obstacle; use it as an exercise in creativity. What you lack in formal experience, you may make up for in real-life background. For instance, if you are applying for a job as a secretary, highlighting your office skills is a good strategy. Do you type at blazing speeds, know how to run MS Excel, and have experience with MS Word? These are all translatable to the position you are seeking.

Volunteer work can also be useful when you have no real work experience to cite. Did you volunteer at the local church to answer phones for the pastor’s office? Did you make flyers for the Beta Club in high school or design pages for the yearbook? Think out of the box, recalling previous experiences where you had an opportunity to shine when performing tasks related to the job. Here’s what you may want to highlight:

  • your strengths and any personal attributes that set you apart as an asset to the company;
  • educational achievements that put you in a good light that are relatable to the position;
  • participation in community or school volunteer organizations;
  • hobbies and personal interests that are related to the job;
  • experiences that highlight your capacity for teamwork.

Traps to Avoid

Now that you know all the “do’s”, it’s time to take a close look at the “dont’s”. Simple writing blunders can quickly ruin the impression from your awesome cover letter. Luckily, they’re easy to avoid.

  • Overly long cover letters. Hiring managers are busy, so keep it short, simple, and to the point.
  • Unnatural language. While the letter should be semi-formal, it shouldn’t use overly formal language. This can come across as disingenuous. For example, instead of saying “advantageous,” sub in “helpful,” or instead of “subsequently,” use “later” or “after.”
  • Underselling yourself. One of the hardest things in life is to boast about yourself, but a cover letter really is a brag letter for all intents and purposes. Don’t be shy; be your own biggest fan.
  • Fluff. Don’t write words just for the sake of filling up the page. For example, don’t use a string of adjectives when one will do. Avoid constructions such as “I’m sincere, honest, and trustworthy;” these words all say the same thing.

With some nonconventional thinking, it’s altogether possible to write a “wow” cover letter, even if you’ve not yet earned a penny in the workforce. Show confidence in your assessment of yourself, and it will spill over into the impression that you make with potential employers.

Best Music to Write Essays to: Focus, Think, Write

essay-writing-music

If you’re like most students, writing can be frustrating, especially if you’re tense, stressed, or facing a looming due date for an important essay. The answer to staying focused and tapping into your creative juices may be as nearby as your earbuds: music. A whole body of research suggests that listening to music while you write boost’s your brain’s capacity for spatial-temporal reasoning, which is responsible for creative thinking (and thus, writing). So what type of music improves your concentration and focus the most?

Choosing a Genre

Various studies have been undertaken over the years on music and focus, particularly when it comes to writing (and also, studying), and researchers have found that music sans lyrics is the most effective at keeping you on task and churning out meaningful words. Music with words can be distracting to some writers, causing them to pay more attention to the lyrics than they are to the creative process.

That’s not to say you can’t throw on an epic soundtrack if you’re dealing with a bugger of an essay, a little Kanye, if you’re feeling like a superstar at a particular moment in time, or even some Adele to soothe your soul while you bring your ideas to life. However, electronic music, with its ambient notes and repetitive beats, and Baroque-period classical music, with its harmonic chords, are thought by researchers to be the best at releasing the inner Stephen King or G.R.R. Martin. “Brandenburg Concerto #3” by Johann Sebastian Bach gets numerous nods from researchers when it comes to heightening concentration and productivity.

Although choosing music from these genres can be as personalized as your own specific tastes, there are lots of recommendations floating around the interwebs when it comes to the “right” songs for writing. But don’t worry, we have a writer-approved playlist to help you focus and unleash your creativity.

  • First Breath After Coma” by Explosions in the Sky. If you’ve watched “Friday Night Lights,” then you’ll recognize this tune as the theme song for the show. This instrumental has limited vocals and is interesting enough without being really intense, so you can focus on the job at hand – writing.
  • You Wish” by Nightmares on Wax. This electronic instrumental has an R&B twang and provides tranquil background noise to get your neurons pumping and the words flowing.
  • So What” by Miles Davis. This 60’s instrumental from one of jazz’s greatest will help you maintain focus without distracting you from what you’re writing about.
  • The Bridge of Khazad Dum” by Howard Shore on “The Lord of the Rings” soundtrack. You don’t have to live in the Shire to appreciate this soothing instrumental.
  • Metamorphosis II” by Philip Glass. This piano solo provides mood-lifting background noise for your late-night writing enjoyment.
  • Time” by Hans Zimmer from the “Inception” soundtrack. This peaceful instrumental will keep you focused and relaxed.
  • Shempi” by Ratatat. This vocal-free instrumental has a high-energy feel, helping you stay alert and keep your focus on pushing through the last few hundred words of your research paper.

White Noise

White noise is also worth a mention for breaking the boredom of silence that weighs down some writers. Picture it: crickets chirp, birds sing, and thunder rolls in the background while you pound out 1,000 words on the French Revolution. Words flow like milk and honey from your fingertips, and you finish up your piece with enough time left over to binge watch a few eppys of your favorite show before heading off to bed. That’s the power of white noise. Although not exactly music per se, white noise can put an end to the monotony of quietness, which can, ironically be a big distraction.

Create your own white noise mix with Noisli, a free app (also available on laptops and PCs) with an on-board mixer that lets you add nature sounds, storm sounds, coffee shop sounds, and water sounds, among others, to find the right level of background noise for your tastes.

Music is a great source of inspiration. Find the perfect tune and have fun working on your next assignment.

Skills You Need for College

skills-for-college

You have finally made it to high school graduation and college is looming large in the near future. But are you ready? You know your way around a scientific calculator, and you can write a killer research paper, but do you have the soft skills to be a successful college student? Being academically prepared and being prepared in other areas of your life are two different things altogether.

College readiness goes beyond the courses you’ve taken and the SAT and ACT exams you’ve sat for. Some of the skills that you need to be a successful college student are often not found in a classroom setting. Let’s take a look at some skills you need to ensure your successful passage from graduating senior to lowly freshman undergrad, ready to “adult.”

Time Management

Time: we only get so much of it, and what you do with it really matters. For this reason, one of the most valuable skills you need to hone prior to heading off to college is time management. (Consequently, mastering time management is a good idea, since you will need this skill in nearly every area of your life in adulthood). Learn now how to prepare a schedule that factors in time spent in class and time spent studying and preparing – really studying and preparing – for each class. Now balance that with everything else that you’ll want and need to do once you’re “out on your own”. Maybe you need to factor in time for working, and you’ll naturally want to make time for attending student activities and hanging with your friends. Creating a schedule that works for you is a skill that must be learned, even if on the fly, by all successful college students.

Study Skills

Even if you have some mad study skills in high school, college-level work is another animal altogether. What was “good effort” in high school may not equally translate in college. Learn how to take notes effectively, use the library for research, and hone your study skills now – you’ll need them when you’re taking advanced classes in college.

Managing Stress

Stress management is essential for college students. Whereas before, you were in a more sheltered high school and home environment, living on campus means doing many of the things that adults have to do, all on your own. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to keep stress to a minimum. Find coping mechanisms, whether it’s prayer or yoga, to help you de-stress.

Managing Money

While some high school graduates have the money management thing down pat, the truth is most kids fresh out of school have no idea how to budget and handle money. Learn all you can now about making and sticking to a budget, balancing your checkbook, and living within your means. Most college students live on a shoestring budget, so learning how to get the most for your money and avoiding indulgent purchases is important.

Self-Care

You’ve so far had your parents to monitor your health for the most part. Now you’re in charge. You have to learn how to care for your physical health. Practicing good hygiene and self-care, making time for proper nutrition, and seeking medical attention when a problem arises is all on your shoulders now.

Personal Responsibility

Learning personal responsibility is key to mastering all of the above skills. Personal responsibility means being honest and having integrity, but it also means respecting the rules and following them. It is also your responsibility to avoid risky behaviors that are often enticing to young students and making smart choices now instead of making decisions that might negatively impact your otherwise bright future. In essence, you are the master of your ship, and it’s in your hands how you steer your course.

Writing a Strong Hook Sentence: Start with a Knock-Out

hook-sentence

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens in his “A Tale of Two Cities.” This sentence, with its riddle-like structure that both challenges and enthralls the reader, is often used to define the hook sentence concept. As the name implies, a hook sentence “hooks” the reader from the get-go and keeps him actively engaged with the words on the page. Getting the reader’s attention early on in your essay is paramount to keeping his attention going so that he’ll actually want to read the rest of your work. The good news is that you don’t need Dickensian aspirations to come up with a killer hook sentence for a simple essay. Let’s look at how you can sell your reader on what your essay has to offer.

Identify the Audience for Your Paper

If you’re writing an essay, you likely are writing to please one person only – your instructor, teacher, or professor. In this case, your audience is clearly defined, and the hook sentence that you write for this type of essay may be completely different from the hook you might come up with if you were writing an essay to share in the school paper with your friends. The audience determines the message that you portray in your hook sentence; it should speak directly to the audience, and the audience should be able to easily relate to what you say on its own level.

Figure Out What Matters to Your Audience

It can also help to determine what matters to your audience. Your professor is looking for specific information; likely this means that you should demonstrate knowledge of the subject being discussed. The professor may also be looking for mastery of APA or MLA style elements. By contrast, if you’re writing an opinion piece for the newspaper, then write with an eye to appealing to like-minded readers with whom you share a common concern.

Effective Hook Sentences

There is no formula for creating a hook sentence, so let your creativity and a few proven strategies guide you. Consider these examples:

  • Give advice. “If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend first.”
  • Provide an anecdote. Use a short or unbelievable factoid or story about an incident or person to get the reader’s attention. “Mariah Carey lives in an apartment worth millions of dollars, but her sister is homeless.”
  • Make a bold statement. “Before long, doctors will be able to print new kidneys using 3D printing systems.”
  • State a contradiction. “Donald Trump claims he can balance the national budget, but he’s filed bankruptcy several times.”
  • Define something as your hook. “Agoraphobics are people who do not go out of their homes for extended periods of time; some haven’t been shopping in years.”
  • Present the reader with a dilemma. “Enforcing immigration laws keeps terrorists out of the country, but it also breaks up families and destroys lives.”
  • Go for a quote. “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for, I don’t know” – W. H. Auden.
  • Open with humor. “I am not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
  • Ask the reader a rhetorical question. “What does it really mean to be bored?”
  • Share a statistic or factoid. “As many as 80 percent of students report cramming for finals the night before.”
  • Share a personal tidbit. “When I was growing up, there was no Internet, so kids looked up information in encyclopedias.”

Ultimately, the hook sentence you choose should be one that sparks interest and that is directly relatable to what you plan to write and the style you choose for your essay. A good hook can make or break your essay, so put a little elbow grease into crafting yours to make your essay shine.

How to Write Better in College: The Tips You Should Try

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What are your plans for the upcoming semester? Wild parties? Meeting tons of new interesting people? Taking part in numerous fun extra-curriculum activities? Yep, all of this is great. But, apart from that, you’ll need to write. A lot.

College essays, research papers and case studies often constitute a significant part of your overall grade. Thus, you need all of that to be really good. No one is born a genius writer. Acquiring and perfecting this skill takes time and practice. With our tips you can definitely make it happen.

Strive for Clarity

Almost every type of college paper has rigid structure. Following it has nothing but benefits. First, you have clear understanding of the succession of the ideas you’re going to present. Second, your professor won’t have to suffer, wading through the forest of your thoughts. Third, you’ll train your mind to organize your thoughts in an efficient way, which will certainly be helpful in your future workplace. Just think of a persuasive essay, for instance. You’ll always need a thesis, supporting arguments and a killer conclusion. Isn’t it the structure of “give-me-a-raise” speech? See, following the structure is great for you. Not only in terms of college essay writing.

Develop Your Vocabulary

Academic writing assignments challenge you to demonstrate not only clarity and cohesion of thoughts, but also command of English. That’s why the use of proper and sophisticated vocabulary is absolutely essential. There are plenty of ways to enrich yours. You may subscribe to the word-of-the-day email, use thesaurus, and, most importantly, read as widely as possible. Your mind will have to build connections between different concepts and come up with more effective solutions every time you write a paper.

Read Other’s Work

Of course, you don’t have to sneak into your professor’s office to take a peek onto your fellow students’ essays. Just read them whenever you have the opportunity. Try to be as unbiased as possible. However, don’t hesitate to make a little note in your head, whenever you see a mistake or the need of improvement (telling your peer about it won’t hurt also). This approach will help you sharpen your editing skills and facilitate work on your future assignments.

Refer to the Prominent Figures

The topic you’ve been asked to write an essay or a research paper on has probably been already studied. Include the opinions of the most influential people of the field into your work. It surely has to be based on your thesis, the result of your reflections and analysis. However, mentioning the most important players of the field certainly adds credibility and authority to what you have to say.

Make sure to cite each source you use properly. Stick to the guidelines, provided by your professor. Whether it’s APA, MLA or Chicago formatting style – use it. Having followed this rule, you won’t have to worry about being accused of plagiarism or having your paper returned for corrections. It may seem complicated at the beginning. However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Examine Every Detail

Correct spelling, punctuation and syntax cannot be underestimated. No matter how brilliant your ideas are, they may get lost in typos and grammatical mistakes you’ve made. Thus, stick to the good old revision and editing. Have a friend or a family member read your work. You may miss disappointing errors just because you’ve developed “editor’s fatigue”. That’s why having someone else read it for you certainly won’t hurt.

Writing is a demanding craft. However, every challenge it poses helps you grow and develop not just writing, but also cognitive skills. Use our tips and enjoy the ride!