writing papers

writing papers

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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How to Bust Through Writer’s Block

writers-blockMost students have encountered writer’s block while working on a paper. Sometimes stress or our fears about writing can leave us immobilized. But you don’t need to feel paralyzed by a white screen and a blinking cursor. Here are ten tips to help you cure writer’s block.

1. Identify the problem.

If you don’t know how to proceed while working on a paper, it’s good to pin-point the problem. Are you having difficulties starting? Is your paper too short? Are you having trouble organizing your thoughts? Are you worried about how your paper will be received? Figuring out your stumbling block will help you know how to proceed.

2. Is it really writers block or is it procrastination?

Sometimes students label avoidance “writer block” when they really just don’t feel like working on a paper. Just sitting down to start can be enough to get over this problem. Even if you don’t think your ideas are fully formed or polished, start to type them out.

3. Get scratch paper.

Fear can be a cause of writer’s block, particularly when the paper is for an important grade. One way to get over this fear is to start writing in a format that your professor or peers will never see, like on scrap paper or in a notebook. Writing out notes can also help you organize your thoughts.

4. Talk it out.

Sometimes we know what we want to write, but not how to write it. For some people, a verbal discussion can clarify your thoughts. Talk about your paper topic with a classmate, professor, or even a parent. They may even be able to suggest something you haven’t considered.

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How to Become a Better Writer

write-a-better-paperWhile test-taking is a major part of university life, it’s not a skill that translates directly into real-world applications. Writing, however, is an ability that students will need for almost any career. We all know that good grammar and spelling are important, but it takes a lot more to produce a well-crafted paper.

1. Give yourself time.
Many students say they work better under pressure, but when it comes to writing, this is rarely true. Sure, you may produce a paper faster at the last minute, but it’s rare that the quality will be higher. Students may feel it’s easier to churn something out at the last minute because they don’t have time to think critically or to doubt their arguments. Start your paper early, and revisit it over several days. Writing takes practice, and that means making a real investment of your time. In an ideal world, students would work at writing every day—like practicing a sport.

2. Make writing your top priority.

If you have a paper to write, put it on the top of your to-do list. Writing is hard work, so you should do it during the part of the day when you are the most productive and the most alert.

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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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