Among the many assignments for college students, one of the most popular is an academic paper. A college paper aims to test and consolidate knowledge on a given topic. Despite this, many students have questions about how to write college papers correctly, what structure they should have, and what requirements they should follow when preparing them.

In this material, we will tell you the main things you need to know about college papers:

  • how to format them;
  • how to structure papers properly;
  • errors when writing college papers.

A college paper is one of the main forms of consolidation and control of knowledge, which consists of writing factual information on a specific topic. If you don’t know where to find or how to include that information in your writing, it is better to get help from a writing service like A writer will find the required material on the topic and write a high-quality college paper sample that you can use while writing.

How to format college papers

A college paper is a student’s independent work to study, comprehend, and summarize knowledge on a specific topic or problem. Almost every student faces the need to write a paper on a certain subject. For example, students may write about the life and work of famous writers for the English language and literature discipline, about the largest volcanoes in the world for geography, or about the Constitution of the USA for jurisprudence.

To learn how to write an essay correctly, you must adhere to the basic requirements for the format of its structure. You may stick to the following requirements:

  • writing style – scientific or academic;
  • page format – A4, orientation – portrait;
  • font – Times New Roman or Arial;
  • font size – 12-14;
  • line spacing – 1.5 – 2.0;
  • volume – from 1 page;
  • composition – title page, table of contents (for voluminous papers), introduction, main sections, conclusion, list of references;

Title page of a paper: simple writing rules

You can format the title page in different ways, but there are a few basic rules that you should follow when writing a college paper.

The list of main structural elements on the title page includes:

  • Margins: one inch on all sides.
  • The title of the paper should be double-spaced. Don’t put the topic in quotation marks. Center alignment.
  • Information about the student: locate it under the title of the paper. You should indicate who completed the work. Center alignment.
  • Full name of the educational institution: locate after your name. Center alignment.

Each college has its own guidelines for title page formatting. You can find them out from your teacher.

Formatting the table of contents

If you are writing such voluminous projects as a dissertation or coursework, you need to create a table of contents. It is necessary so that the teacher can understand how the student has built the structure and researched the topic according to plan.

The table of contents of the paper is a list of all sections contained under its title. It begins with an introduction, and then you need to indicate sections, subsections, and applications to the work (images, diagrams, infographics, etc.) in order.

The contents of the paper include:

  • Introduction;
  • Sections of the main part;
  • Conclusion;
  • Bibliography;
  • Additional materials (if available).

Write each section and subsection with a capital letter and a new line. The table of contents also indicates the page numbers where you locate these sections. To avoid entering all this data manually, we recommend formatting the table of contents automatically in Word.

How to format a list of sources properly

List of used literature/Bibliography (each name is correct) is a list of sources of information that the student used when writing a college paper on a given topic.

Requirements for the format of used sources:

  • Arrange the sources used in alphabetical order by the last name of the author of the book or by its title. The list of references used is the last page of the college paper.
  • Each line from the list must contain the following data: surname and initials of the author; full title of the book (manual, reference book, etc.); name of the publisher, year and city of publication; number of pages (marked with a small “p”).
  • If you use an electronic resource when writing a college paper, indicate the information differently. You should enter the name of the page, add the URL, and indicate information about the date of access.

Basic mistakes when writing and formatting a college paper

  • The topic of the essay was chosen incorrectly. A poorly chosen topic can paralyze your work on a college paper at the initial stage.
  • Incorrect paper structure. Quite often, students write papers hastily. They violate the structure of the work and forget to add the table of contents, conclusions, or a list of sources used in the paper.
  • Violation of format requirements. It’s quite easy to make such a mistake, especially when the paper was at least partially downloaded from the Internet. While working, you should clearly monitor the format and pay special attention to the following points: spacing, font, size, text alignment, and type of links.

If you follow the tips in this guide, you will write a perfect college paper and boost your academic performance.