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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Writing a paper is one of the most classic college assignments. Regardless of your major or grade level, you will probably have to write at least one a semester. For my friends in the humanities and social sciences: you probably already know that one paper a semester is almost unheard of.

So how can you make writing a paper easier? Here are a few tricks!

Type out your notes as you research

You will have to conduct research for most of your papers. Whether you are looking in a textbook or at an academic journal article, write down lines you think could help you in quotations and include a brief citation so you know where you got it from. This helps you with organizing your thoughts and makes embedding quotes ten times easier!

write an outline

Outlines can be as simple as listing out your thesis and three main points, or it can be as complicated as including every citation you want to use and the arguments you have for each one. The benefit of making an outline is that you get to see a rough picture of your overall argument and how strong it is. No more writing the entire paper before realizing what your point is!

Write your body paragraphs before your introduction and conclusion

This is a pretty common tip when it comes to writing a paper. By fleshing out the meat of your argument first, you’ll be able to easily identify what main points should be mentioned in the first or last paragraphs.

Take a break

This tip isn’t very useful if you’re working right up against the deadline, but for people who like to work ahead, taking a day or two away from your paper is the best thing to do when it comes to editing. Even fiction writers are encouraged to take time away from their manuscripts before going back for edits. This time helps clear your head and makes less overwhelmed when you sit down to make adjustments.

Let someone else read it

Is it really a paper you can be proud of if you haven’t sent it to your mom (or mom friend) for approval? Having someone read over it is a great way to catch silly grammar mistakes and highlight sentences that might not make sense. Even if you haven’t finished the paper, letting someone else take a look at it can help you brainstorm where to go next.

The most important thing to remember when writing a paper is that, at the end of the day, it isn’t THAT important. While you should do your best, one essay doesn’t determine your worth or ability. If you don’t get the grade you wanted, make sure to talk to your professor or sit down with your school’s writing center to see how you can improve going forward!

Adrienne Poissant

Gettysburg '22

Adrienne is a senior at Gettysburg College studying political science and religious studies. Besides being a Campus Correspondent, she is involved in the wind symphony, Model United Nations, and enjoys reading and writing for fun!
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