By Scott Ragin
Imagine being a college professor. A deadline for the latest written assignment passed, and your students sent their essays for you to grade. You open your inbox and find twenty essays. Tomorrow, another class will provide their assignments as well. That’s a lot of works to grade.
This is a routine that many college and university professors have these days. Just imagine how many academic papers they read every week. What this means for you as a student is that you need to improve your writing skills because it’s very hard to impress a person who reads essays on a daily basis.
If you’re still reading this, there’s a good chance that you need some pointers on how to make your academic works stand out in a sea of other essays. You’ve come to the right place.
Here are great tips and tools to achieve this goal.
1. “Hook” the attention from the beginning
As it was mentioned previously, it’s very hard to impress a professor who reads essays every day. You need something to persuade a viewer to continue reading until the end. Academic works that use conventional beginning may lose the attention of the readers very quickly.
We don’t want that, so we are going to use a smart approach. The secret lies in making the very first sentence in the essay as a “hook” that can grab the attention of the reader. For example, you can speak directly to the reader or make a bold statement. Note that a well-written research paper introduction is half a win.
2. Defend your position
Professor always appreciate if students have a strong stand on their topic. For example, if you just state your position and provide a couple of examples, it’s not enough for a really convincing paper.
Why? The answer is really simple. The approach that I just described might work for a high school (and not for long). You may have our own position on the topic, but is there any evidence that you’re right?
A position or a view should be defended using reliable evidence. This increases the credibility of your work and avoids making a weak point by talking around the main idea and hoping that the talk will eventually make sense.
I guess what I’m saying here is that you should rely on scholars and their evidence in defending your position in an academic paper. Clearly, your view needs to be supported with someone of worth, so only reliable sources are to be utilized. You can use specialized search engines for scholar research for that.
Moreover, you will have much more chances to convince your professor that you’re doing everything in the right way. Also, please get rid of this tiny print or buy your professor a dissecting microscope. He’ll be pleased.
3. Challenge an idea you discussed in the class
This is one of the best methods to attract the interest of the reader. Think of an idea, a concept, or a topic that you had a conversation about in the class recently. Can you challenge it? Yes? Then you definitely should!
To ensure that your arguments are solid, you should also use only credible resources. Don’t forget, you are challenging something, so you better have a good proof. Otherwise, your effort will not be looking so good in the eyes of the professor (you’ll get C for the effort).
Also, don’t be afraid if your professor may not support your position regarding that idea. He or she will appreciate the fact that you conducted a research and arrived at your own conclusions. This will definitely make your work stand out because the rest of the class probably just skimmed the surface and were lazy enough to dive deep into the topic.
4. Show that you learned something
This tip actually is a continuation of the previous one. Since you have conducted your own research and challenged the idea discussed in the class, you have a lot to say in your paper.
While researching, you have probably discovered some interesting points that prompted you to think differently than the rest of the class. This means that you learned much more because you were able to dive deeper into the subject at hand.
Your academic work should describe those points and explain how you came to the conclusions. As the result, you’ll demonstrate that you actually learned something instead of skimming the surface of the topic like most of other works.
Reading works like these would be a priceless experience for a professor. He or she will be glad to discover that you have done all that work on your own.
Academic writing tools
To make sure that you’ve covered all bases, use the following tools.
- Citation Machine. As we discussed it above, reliable sources are needed to make your paper credible. All these sources must be cited in order to avoid plagiarism. This tool is an automatic citation generating site that could be really helpful for creating reference pages and bibliographies in academic papers. Just provide the information about a source of paste a link so the system recognizes it and generates citation automatically.
- Hemingway Editor. As the website of the tool describes it, the main purpose it to make your writing “bold and clear.” It is achieved by highlighting complex sentences, advising on word selection, using active and passive voice. All you need is to paste your text into Hemingway online editor (a desktop app is also available). The readability of the text is measured by points (for example, 6 is good).
Scott Ragin is a qualified educator, author and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders and advising academic researchers. Scott covers different topics concerning higher education and educational technology and guides students through the admission process at admission-service.com.