Essay Writing Guidelines


Writing an essay is much like building a house on paper. You must first build the foundation by writing an introduction with a thesis statement; and then carefully build portions of the essay on top of the introduction with layers of the body, one on top of each other. Once the introduction and body are written, the conclusion wraps up the entire essay to conclude your well “built” essay.

            When learning how to write an essay you will find out that most college essays should be written in Times New Roman with 12- font lettering. Unless otherwise instructed by the professor your essay should be double spaced and the sentence of each paragraph should be indented (this may differ in some formats). There are several types of formats that the essay paper may require and those formats are: APA (American Psychological Association); MLA (Modern Language Association); Harvard; Chicago/Turabian or AMA (American Medical Association- for medical papers only). The most commonly required formats for college essays are the APA and the MLA.

            The APA requires a title page with a “Running Head”. The Running Head is a simplified version of the title which must appear on every page on the top left part of the paper’s header. Usually the pages are to be numbered on the upper left hand corner, consecutively. There must always be a title page for the APA paper and it should contain, centered, on the first page containing the title of the essay, the student’s name, the name of the university or college, and the date (again the instructor may ask for some variations, and the student must follow the instructor’s requirements). All text citations must be cited with the reference’s author’s name and the date…if book sometimes must place page numbers on citations:

i.e….(Jones, 2003, p. 3-4). These references must be cited on a reference page in this style:

Name, First Name Initial, date. Title of article or book. Name of periodical/Journal (italicized) or Book Publisher and address. (If electronically retrieved must place…Retrieved (date of retrieval)
and URL.

            The MLA paper usually does not require a title page. You must ask your professor if he wants a title page…one can be provided similar to the title page on the APA. If not required by the instructor to have a title page, the MLA paper starts with the information in the upper left hand corner as follows:

Student’s Name:
Name of Instructor:
Name of Course:
Date:

            Each page of the MLA paper requires that the student’s last name and the numbers of the paper appear consecutively on the upper right hand side of the paper (usually within the header).If you ever need help with formatting your paper try out professional writing services.

This paper also uses in text citations, but these are cited as follows: (Author’s Last Name, p. numbers).

The in text citations must be listed on the reference page as follows:

Last name, first name. Name of book or article (Book italicized, Article in Quotes). Name of Journal or publisher (italicized), year, pp. vol. numbers, for articles, or address of book publisher, date. If electronically retrieved place URL in brackets.