How to write a term paper for college: a guide for freshmen

When you reach the college level, the expectations of your writing are slightly raised. College writing moves beyond a traditional five paragraph essay and into more coherent and analytical style essays.

While you may not have a standard five paragraphs, you will nonetheless have the standard three sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Conclusion


When writing the introduction, remember that you need to create a roadmap that the reader can follow. This map should move them throughout your analysis. The introduction needs to bring the reader out of their reality, and into your paper. You want to hook the reader and ensure you provide your thesis statement with enough supporting evidence.

You will never have another opportunity to make a good impression, which is why the introduction is so important. Don’t let it be vague or full of errors. Make it something that captures the attention of the reader and makes them want nothing more than to continue reading your paper.


The body is made up the paragraphs. These paragraphs should constitute a coherent set of ideas that are all form a unit. The length is not as important in college as the content. In some college papers, a single sentence or two may constitute a paragraph. Just remember that everything in one paragraph should relate to a single idea. That idea should relate to your thesis. The body needs to be well developed and arranged logically.


The conclusion is where you state your last word. If is where you remind the reader why your thesis was important and what it has to do with the bigger picture.

Once you reach college you may be asked to come up with topics on your own too, rather than being handed the topic. That being said, consider it an opportunity to explore something you love or something that interests you. The area of ethics brings with it a great deal of potential paper topics.

You can write a paper addressing whether the morning after pill should be available over the counter around the world You can write an essay that addresses whether people who are HIV+ should have to identify themselves as such legally You can write about whether illegal immigrants should be denied health care You can write about issues related to homosexuality in the military. You can craft a paper that focuses on the ethical, or unethical, treatment of Native Americans living on reservations.

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