How to Head a College Paper - Writing & Formatting Approach


Far from all the students are capable of easily expressing their thoughts; there are many of those who spend a lot of time on college paper writing and formatting of the ready-made piece. The absence of clear rules and easy-to-follow guides is what makes students stuck with the task.

If you don’t know how to head a college paper and what to focus on when writing a piece, then our guide will be useful to you. Let’s see what to start a task with and how to make sure it is done according to the strict academic rules.

What’s important in college paper writing?

Before you familiarize yourself with the instructions for essay writing, you need to remember what its structure should be, how it should be formatted and designed. All these are considered by a teacher when putting you a grade for the writing assignment. A single mistake can spoil the general impression from reading even the most brilliant piece. 

1. College paper structure

There are four mandatory elements of any paper; every piece should contain an introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion. 

  • The introduction is to provide background information to the reader, introduce the one to the topic being discussed further in the text. It is also recommended to use the introductory paragraph to demonstrate the importance and acuteness of the theme.
  • A thesis statement is the main idea of your text. It is usually a short statement, 1-2 sentences long, that reveals the essence of your work. As a rule, a thesis should be placed in the introduction and be duplicated in the concluding paragraph.
  • A body is a part of an essay that covers all the information, facts, and arguments that refer to the theme under discussion. What’s important in the body is that it is divided into paragraphs - each containing a single argument or idea and being logically connected with the next one.
  • A conclusion is intended for summarizing all the information highlighted in a college paper body. To make your essay even more effective and straight-to-the-point, it is also recommended to duplicate a thesis statement there. Thus, you will ensure the reader remembers your opinion.

For you not to get lost in a difficult college paper writing process, it is recommended to develop an outline first and then stick to it. The outline serves as the backbone for your text and allows you to develop the most effective structure with a well-thought-out argumentation strategy.

2. College paper format

Apart from the text structure and contents, it is also critically important to remember how a paper should be formatted and what formal elements it should contain. Of course, it all depends on the formatting style assigned to it - each of them has its own peculiarities. Among the most popular ones are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard. 

Obligatory elements of a college paper:

  • Title page (APA, Chicago, Harvard);
  • Abstract (APA, Chicago, Harvard);
  • Your work itself;
  • Reference page (if you are citing or referring to any external resources).

So in case of the APA, Chicago, and Harvard, your paper should contain a title page with a topic, student’s name, and institutional affiliation. When it comes to works formatted according to the MLA standards, there are different specs to be followed. No title page in MLA - the work begins with a section on the left, which contains information about the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course number, and the date when a paper is submitted. This order should in no case be violated.

If you are writing a serious work with many terms, and any information to be explained to the reader, then you should have an abstract. Its main function is to introduce the reader to the theme, list key terms, and interpret some scientific abbreviations if any.

A reference page or bibliography is a vital part of your work. It allows a reader to understand what sources you have used for the text creation and access any of them in full if necessary. The reference list should be formatted on a separate page and be at the very end of your work. At this point, it is also important to add a reference to the text every time you are citing or referring to any author. There are different standards of in-text citation formatting in different styles, so make sure to stick to them.

3. College paper formatting

There a lot of things to check when formatting a work; these are not just a title or bibliography page. Here is a quick list of elements to check:

  • Title page;
  • Headers (first-, second-, third-, fourth-level);
  • In-text citations;
  • Captions;
  • Titles of books, magazines, articles, movies, etc.;
  • Footnotes/ endnotes (Chicago);
  • Bibliography page.

Whatever formatting style you have to stick to, the text of your work is to be typed in 12-point Times New Roman, divided into logical parts, and contain headers separating one section from another.

Any problems? Get them fixed

We understand that it may sometimes be difficult to write a brilliant college paper and correctly format it according to the general rules. It requires years of experience and solid knowledge of all the technical specs. If you do not want to risk your grades and be on a safe side, you can always order professional help.

In our dedicated writing agency, we know how an A-paper looks like. We can write you an essay from scratch, proofread a ready-made piece, or help you with an outline at any stage of the writing process. Let professionals take care of your academic performance.