Believe it or not, procrastination is the most common "feature" that students possess, regardless of the period they have in college. The first piece of advice that might assist you in learning how to write a college paper is to learn how to manage your time and create a schedule that works for you. There are not general rules that apply to every type of student, there are only some pieces of advice that you can adapt to your learning style so that you can make the best of your time. You can't avoid procrastination because the temptation of Facebook, blogs, or other online environments is big for all of us, the best way to handle it is to learn how to cope with those moments.
One of the most popular methods to handle your time and procrastination as well is the Pomodoro technique. It is known for building up efficiency, raising productivity and focus. The main idea of this method is to structure your working sessions in segments of 30 minutes. You start working for 25 minutes, then you take a 5 minutes break. It might sound easy, but most students talk about the fact that they get distracted after 15 minutes and have the tendency to check their phones, send a text or scroll down on Facebook. But in time, you can learn to master these Pomodoro segments and become much more efficient. There are even corporate employees who use this technique and talk about a raise in their productivity levels with more than 50% in a far less amount of time. The secret? If you keep your mind focused on just one task and stick to it for 25 minutes, you will focus on what you have to do.
One of the most common issues that students face when it comes to their college assignments is that they don't understand the task they have to accomplish. In order to get a better grasp on how to write a college paper you need to know first what it is about, what are the expectations of your teacher and last but not least, if he has certain expectations regarding the format or structure, you should know before starting your work on the project. In this way, you are more likely to get the best grade possible, if your content is good, of course.
Research is an important part of the process because it's the place you take your information from. Wikipedia is a great environment to use when it comes to the normal and day to day tasks and routines because it offers basic information and common knowledge. But when it comes to a college paper, you should really expand your research universe and check out the following other environments:
Another key point in the research stage of your project is to always get the most essential piece of information from there. Don't just go and copy-paste it from the website, try to use your knowledge and understanding to make something of the information and start writing based on that.
One of the things that most professors won't tolerate is the same information in the papers of multiple students. Think about it, wouldn't you be fed up with reading a material if you have read it 100 times before? The idea here is to come up with something interesting to read and more importantly, something that hasn't been said (if possible) before. Teachers don't aim to terrorize you when they give you these assignments. They aim to challenge your thinking and creativity and learning how to write a college paper can be more than putting some information together and hitting print.
There are many examples of students that were so over zealous that they delivered pages and pages of information without considering the fact that teachers and professors might not read them all. One of the teachings of college is to learn how to filter the information, take what is important and use it in a certain task. That's how real life happens as you don't get to put a 100-page report in front of your boss and say: "Ok, now read it". You have to learn to be concise, structured and with some solid arguments, within the given number of pages. Additionally, it helps you not to be seen as boring.
One other great tip when it comes to learning how to write a college paper is to use an appropriate terminology set. One of the things that teachers test when they give these assignments is the way you are able to use the terminology in a certain niche or topic. The idea is to learn to combine the terms in order to sustain your arguments. Another piece of advice here is to always explain the terms you are using if you are not sure the teacher will understand you. If you want your point to be made, be sure to convince the reader that you know what you are talking about.
As mentioned above, there are professors that want your collage paper to look in a certain way. Maybe it's their own preference, maybe they are trying to teach you about something. Nevertheless, there is a universal way of handling any type of paper: introduction, body (with at least 5 paragraphs) and conclusion. If you are not sure how the teacher wants the paper to be done, follow these simple guidelines and you will surely score big, without any doubts. The introduction means that you should expose the theme of the paper, your hypothesis and expectations and how you plan to cover those. The body follows an expansion of the theme and topic with arguments, examples and explaining your points of view. The conclusion summarizes the whole college paper and offers a general perspective on the matter that has just been discussed.
One last thing to pay attention to when it comes to learning how to write a college paper is the question session that might come after your presentation (if it is the case). This is the teacher's idea to test your knowledge about the matter, so expect to have questions about the paper or the topic after you deliver your paper. It is not a common practice, but it really depends on the teacher and how he wishes to test his students. Also, it is a great test to see if the paper was done by you or just copy-pasted
Basically, these are just some useful tips to follow when you are elaborating your college paper. It's not a very hard task to handle, you just need to pay attention to certain details and aspects that might please your teacher. Oh, and one last thing: try to learn something from this experience. As this is a mandatory task, why not make fun in the process?