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How To Write a College Paper In 5 Easy Steps

Updated on May 28, 2015

So Your In College! Good Job....

But wait.....

No one told you that besides the late night partying, long naps, beer kegs, and enormous books you'd be writing your way through college? That's right buddy your college career will consist of a TON of writing. In fact it's pretty safe to say about 50% of your college life will be spent in Microsoft word.

Now what do you do? High school wasn't nearly as picky about sources, spelling, big words, formatting, and having to actually read the books.

Now before you pack your bags, throw in the towel, and head home let's see if we can't figure out a way to simplify your college writing career.

Read on, I'll fill you in...

Where Do I Start?

Does just staring at your syllabus and the instructions to your next masterpiece intimidate you? Minimum of 1500 words, double spaced, 12 point font, etc. Wait WTF is APA formatting anyway?

No worries my friend here are five simple steps to help you tackle that college paper and get you back to the important things at college like dating, parties, and all those other things you knew your college life would entail.

My Professor's Say an Outline Helps....

Of course it helps but it's time consuming and you can easily create your own unique outline. The secret is a fill in the blank type outline. Watch and learn you can thank me later...

Your Fill In The Blank Outline...

So were going to say you have a 1200 word paper in your psychology class due. The topic of this paper is based on last weeks readings of Erik Erikson's development theory ....ready set go.

Oh wait. Lost at where to start? Lucky for you I'm not.

Let's go slow.

Open Microsoft word.

I'll wait.

Step 1: Create Your Easy Outline

Now that you have word open you want to look at the instructions on your syllabus carefully. Most of the time the instructions will write the paper for you. What is called for? Does the professor ask you anything specific to elaborate on? Copy and paste all that info into your word document. How many sources are needed? Copy and paste that info too.

Your Fill in the Blank Outline

Step 2: Finding Credible Sources

Now we need to find our sources. Of course they must be credible otherwise you'll get slapped with plagiarism and risk getting put on academic suspension. We do not want that so we are not even gonna mess with sources that are not credible.

Repeat after me Wikipedia is not a credible source....

My favorite site for finding credible sites is Google Scholar. Just like Google, this puppy will search for anything you want it to BUT Google Scholar will only bring up credible references.


No questions about the author being a fly by night con artist. Nope these are real legit journal type articles.that your professor will woe over.

Google Scholar Citation Tip

When you search in Google scholar you will notice under the information for the link there is a little area that is highlighted blue it reads 'cite'. By clicking this link you will be given a variety of citations formats to choose already cited for you - your welcome. Copy and paste that sucker right onto your reference page.

*See Below

We Have Our Sources. Now what?

Cool. If you used Google Scholar your reference page should be very close to done. The trick now is to start creating our paper.

And where do we start?

Step 3: How to Create Your Introduction

Ok so here's where Wikipedia comes into play.

BUT do not I repeat DO NOT copy anything word for word. Professors are not dumb they will know. Remember they went to college for 4+ years before you did. You are not the first person to look at college writing and think A-HA I'll just copy and paste.

Now listen carefully....

Were going to use Wikipedia to gather info for our introduction. If we Google Erik Erikson's Stages of Development we get all kinds of info. We want legit info to fill our brains, think of it like cliff notes of the 21st century.

So Google your topic and get an idea of what it is were going to use to fill our introduction.

Your Thesis

Your thesis statement is the 'meat' of you paper and will be the last sentence of your introduction.

Your introduction (3-6 sentences before your thesis statement) is going to say 'hey this is what I'm gonna tell you about'.

But your thesis is gonna take a stance of some kind. In our Erik Erikson scenario a thesis statement could read Erik Erikson provided the field of psychology with a solid foundation to base human development on from infancy to maturity.

BAM - outta the park! Easy!

Get it?

If not you can always try a thesis generator. Generators help you get the swing of it, but soon you'll be a pro at creating your own thesis statements.

Organization is for the Birds

If you think of something outside of the paragraph your working on or you can't think of anything for a particular paragraph, move on. You can make it all look nice when your finished. Right now our goal is to get together the information we need to create our paper. No time for writers block, if it doesn't flow move on to the next paragraph, take a break, or eat something but save the keg party till after the paper is finished ok?

Step 4: Your Paper

In your paper we want to address at least everything the professor asks for. In our scenario we're going to talk about stage one of Erik Erikson's developmental theory: Infancy. So were going to quickly scan our reference that we choose for stage one for a good piece of information. A sentence or two (no more) to elaborate on to create a 5-8 sentence paragraph. Once you find a good piece of info provide an example or an explanation and your well on your way to being done with your second paragraph.

Do the same for paragraph 3,4,5,6, and so on and so on until you've answered every question in the instructions for the assignment.

Step 5: Your Conclusion

Your conclusion is a recap of everything you addressed in your paper. It also reinforces your thesis statement and usually starts with something like "In Sum," or "In Summation,". In our Erikson example we should now have 9 paragraphs completely covering all aspects of the assignment, 5 (or more) sources cited within the paper, and now it's time to reiterate what you wrote.

If All Else Fails...

You can always cheat. That's right you can hire people to write your paper for you. Some of them are pretty good - trust me I know first hand.

The following are sites that offer 'writers for hire' that will quickly turn your problem into your project.


I do not advocate cheating but sometimes there is a good reason. You decide what that reason is and do your research as to which paper creator website will work best for you. Party on dude!



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    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 3 years ago from Florida

      You need to go through the application process. Find a site that does this kind of work and apply. The hiring period's open and close quite frequently but just keep at it. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      It seems to simple but writing an essay requires lots of work. Your advice will make it much simpler for college students.

    • Rebeccasutton profile image

      Rebecca Sutton 3 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Loved it! It can be overwhelming to have to write papers, for sure. Rfordin, how does someone get signed up for writing for one of those websites? I am a rare breed as well :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Great tips and I remember it well, very! I know someone who constantly 'read' wiki, and when I said to them, what are you writing he said, er nothing, not copying honest! lol!

    • LailaK profile image

      LailaK 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hehehe I really enjoyed your hub! Interestingly, one of my professors told us that he didn't mind us using Wikipedia. Great hub! Voted up :)

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 3 years ago from Florida

      Yes it is. That's why there are so many sites that pay people to write college papers for other's who can't or won't. I actually write for one of them and enjoy it but then again I'm a rare breed. Thanks for stopping by!

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 3 years ago from Ireland

      You're right about Wikipedia. The only good things one might get on there might be the legitimate references put up by some people. That can reduce the hours of research. I think writing college papers is a job itself. :)

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 3 years ago from Florida

      It's great to see you too Mr. Buc :). I took up writing college papers for cheaters so it's just a simple 'outline' of how I get through it so quick. My college days are over as well but I enjoy learning about all the things crazy professors desire from their students now-a-days. Oh and the money helps too.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If it's all right with you, I don't think I ever want to write another college paper. :) But great tips. Good to see you again.