Top Mistakes You Make in College Essays

What You Are Doing Wrong When You Write Your Essays

All too often, students pay too much attention to trying to find out how to write better essays. There is nothing wrong with it, mind you. The problem is, however, that learning all the tricks of writing a top-notch essay takes a lot of time, research, and practice – and there is still no guarantee that your academic papers will earn you good grades. In other words, it is difficult to learn the right way to do things, because it may be different for different people, depending on their natural stylistic preferences and other factors. What you should truly focus on, at least when you study the basics, is learning the wrong way to do things and avoiding it at all costs. In this article, we will cover what you are probably doing wrong in your paper writing – and how to avoid it.

1. You Do not Edit Your Writing Properly

If you think that editing and proofreading your paper boils down to reread it once immediately after you finish writing it and correcting a few spelling mistakes, then you are sadly mistaken. If you want to edit and proofread your paper properly, you will have to go over it multiple times and spend a fair amount of time on it. It is an involved process, especially when you are your own corrector, proofreader, and editor, as you are much more likely to miss mistakes in a text you wrote. All things considered, you may want to hire a professional to do your editing and correction for you. You can easily find online services offering this type of help – simply visit the website of such a company, contact its customer support and say, “Please, edit my paper for me”.

2. You Use Too Many Quotes

Some students believe that quotes are an easy and cheap way to increase the size of their essays with minimal input from themselves. In some especially poorly written essays, the author barely says anything at all – his/her words serve as little more than transitions from one quotation to the next. However, do not expect a good grade for such a paper – this tactic is immediately obvious and is a surefire way to get into your teacher’s/professor’s black books.

3. You Do not Properly Mark Your Quotes

Failing to use quotation marks and referring to the sources when introducing quotes is not just bad manners towards other writers – it is an easy way to earn an accusation of plagiarism. Whether you quote books, newspapers articles, scientific magazines, or websites, you always have to make it clear that these are not your own words, as well as point out whose words these are.

4. You Use Sources of Poor Quality

In our age of the Internet, it is easy to type in a keyword and find dozens upon dozens of sites with information on your subject matter. Not all sources, however, are created equal, and you have to be very careful what and whom you quote. Even if you buy a book, and it seems to come from a legitimate publisher, you have to check its credentials. Who is its author? Is he/she likely to have his/her own agenda? Was it originally written in English, and is it likely that something was lost in translation? How long ago was it written and published? Is it outdated? Is it my only source of information mentioning this or that fact? These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself when analyzing a source of information.

5.   You Use Long and Confusing Sentences

Long, multi-clause sentences peppered with long, multi-syllable words are not a very good way to demonstrate your intellect and sophistication. On the contrary, they immediately make it look like you try to put on airs and are a little bit too eager to impress the audience. More often than not, it is not impressive, but annoying. Again, you may hire an editing service with specific instruction to make your essay a little more streamlined and readable, or buy one of many essay samples on sale to see what kind of academic language you should imitate.

6. You Do not Provide Enough Evidence

When you say something in your essay, you have to back it up with facts (mentioned in well-respected sources, of course), statistics, or logical conclusions. Make sure you never make unfounded or weak statements. If you notice them in your writing, find the necessary evidence to support them. If you cannot do it, better omit them altogether – this will prevent uncomfortable questions later on.

Before you start learning how to write good essays, your first step should be to learn how not to write bad ones. We hope that these tips will help you in this endeavor.

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