Showing posts from December, 2017

How to make a good first impression as the author of a college-level English paper

Have an English paper due? I teach college writing, and I've read and graded thousands, if not tens of thousands, of essays over the years. 

What I have found is that first impressions matter. Most professors eyeball a paper before diving into reading it (this is known as previewing--it's a good strategy for any reader, as it familiarizes you with the broad outline of the paper). 
Here are my top three tips for getting that "A": 1. Be meticulous about how the paper looks. In MLA format, know the essentials: 1" margins, Times New Roman 12 (or 11, if you are my student), perfect in-text citations and Works Cited page, the correct number of pages/word count. You are trying to make a good impression, and all this stuff is easy, so do it right. It's like wearing professional clothes to a job interview--basic advice.
2. Make sure you have a thesis, and that it is clear, and that it is where your professor expects to find it. At my college, the consensus is that the…