How to Write Papers Your Professors Will Love

We all know the struggle of putting all your time and energy into writing the perfect essay, only to get it back and find out you got a C. The fact is, no matter how great of a writer you are, you won’t make an A until you find out what, specifically, your professor is looking for. This can be frustrating, so here are some tips for dealing with a professor who just doesn't like the way you write.


Ask them for advice


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This may seem obvious, but it’s going to be hard to find out what your professor wants if you don’t ask. It can be intimidating but they will most likely be happy to help you improve your writing. It never hurts to email them or stop by their office hours and get to know your instructor a little better. This is a great way to make it through a difficult class and make an A on that next big essay.

Don’t forget to Proofread

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Forgetting to double check your paper for errors can easily cost you a letter grade. If you send your professor an assignment without proofreading, they will probably notice some simple errors that could have been easily avoided with a second look. Your professor wants to see that you put your best effort into your writing so if you’re aiming for an A, you should make sure that your paper is free of any simple errors before showing it to them. Spell check is a great tool and you can also try reading your paper out loud to make sure everything sounds right. Proofreading is an excellent habit, and it shows your professor that you’re serious about improving your writing. 

Avoid clichés


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Professors tend to be impressed by writing that is original and shows your unique thought process. It’s best to avoid overused phrases and other mistakes that show a lack of original thought. For instance, if you’re using an outside source, make sure that the ideas in your paper are your own and not just repeating what the source says. While you should be careful to follow the directions of the assignment, one way to make an A is to surprise your professor by introducing a creative or unexpected idea and having a strong argument for it. After a long day of grading papers, your professor will find it refreshing to read an essay that doesn't sound the same as everyone else’s.

Make your ideas the focus of the essay


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One mistake a lot of students make is attempting to cover up their lack of an argument by using lots of big words. Professors can see through this every time so when in doubt, try strengthening your argument instead of your vocabulary. A good guideline to avoid looking like the thesaurus wrote your entire essay is to simply not use a thesaurus and only use words that you already know. Chances are, your vocabulary is already strong enough to write a great paper and nothing will ruin the clarity of your paper like using big words incorrectly. If you really want to wow your professor, focus less on word choice and more on showing them how great your ideas are.

Explain away


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One issue that professors have with their students writing is when they make a claim without explaining it. If you notice that your professor isn’t satisfied with your explanations, try spending more time developing the connection between the claim and your thesis. Your professor isn’t a mind reader, so if you don’t explain enough, they may not understand what you’re trying to say. It helps to have a friend read over your paper to make sure that your ideas are clear and easily understood.


If you keep these tips in mind when writing your next paper, I'm sure you‘ll see an improvement in both your professor’s opinion and your grade. Good luck and happy writing!