college papers

college papers

Know the Quality of Your Source Before You Cite

The plethora of information on the internet that can be accessed with just a few clicks of a mouse may be overwhelming. Typing almost any topic into an online search engine will generate a multitude of various sources in an instant. The ease of research today is especially useful to college students, who can avoid long hours of searching in libraries, but the simplicity in finding information must be balanced with the ability to determine the quality of the source.

Research papers written for college level classes should only use academic sources. A strong argument is best supported by factual information. Finding these sources is the key; the term “peer-reviewed” is always a good start. This means a work written by a professor, scientist, historian, etc. has been read by several of their peers, facts have been validated, and any errors have been addressed. Remember peer editing in junior high and high school? This is similar, at a higher level.

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Students Pay Big Bucks for Professionals to Write Their Papers

typingAn East-coast writer recently shared the details of his career with The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s not the story of a novelist, poet or a journalist. It’s the story of a person who makes money by helping students cheat.

Under the nom de plume Ed Dante, he reports that he’s written over 5,000 pages of academic text, all to be handed in by someone else. He works for an online company that allows students to pass their classes without putting in the work, and he makes about $66,000 a year.  He is paid based on the number of pages for a given assignment, and the deadline. He has no qualms about lying about his academic background in order to reassure a client. This form of cheating is virtually undetectable.

The writer does not seem particularly proud of what he does. He describes himself as having no style. The students he must deal with are desperate and inarticulate. “Whenever I take on an assignment…I get a certain physical sensation. My body says: Are you sure you want to do this again? You know how much it hurt the last time. You know this student will be with you for a long time. You know you will become her emergency contact, her guidance counselor and life raft.”

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10 Tips for Writing Better College Papers

college paperWhen I was a professor, one of the things that frustrated me the most was the quality of papers that some students turned into me.  After a while, I started to see some of the same mistakes being made repeatedly.  Based on my experience with student paper problems, here are some tips on how to write better college papers.

  1. Read the directions, and make sure you understand the assignment completely!  If you don’t, ask the professor for clarification.
  2. Obey the rules when it comes to page limits.  If the teacher says 5-7 pages, turn in 5-7 pages.  Do not turn in 4 pages and a short paragraph, as this annoys professors and does not count.  And don’t monkey around with the margins or use a big font.
  3. Staple your paper, or otherwise attach it professionally and effectively.  Papers with crinkled up corners send a message to the grader that you don’t care about your work. Read the rest of this entry »


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