The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that they will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove their point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, they still have to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and they already know everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality they expect.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write a Perfect Assignment: Step-By-Step Guide


Table of contents

  • 1 How to Structure an Assignment?
  • 2.1 The research part
  • 2.2 Planning your text
  • 2.3 Writing major parts
  • 3 Expert Tips for your Writing Assignment
  • 4 Will I succeed with my assignments?
  • 5 Conclusion

How to Structure an Assignment?

To cope with assignments, you should familiarize yourself with the tips on formatting and presenting assignments or any written paper, which are given below. It is worth paying attention to the content of the paper, making it structured and understandable so that ideas are not lost and thoughts do not refute each other.

If the topic is free or you can choose from the given list — be sure to choose the one you understand best. Especially if that could affect your semester score or scholarship. It is important to select an  engaging title that is contextualized within your topic. A topic that should captivate you or at least give you a general sense of what is needed there. It’s easier to dwell upon what interests you, so the process goes faster.

To construct an assignment structure, use outlines. These are pieces of text that relate to your topic. It can be ideas, quotes, all your thoughts, or disparate arguments. Type in everything that you think about. Separate thoughts scattered across the sheets of Word will help in the next step.

Then it is time to form the text. At this stage, you have to form a coherent story from separate pieces, where each new thought reinforces the previous one, and one idea smoothly flows into another.

Main Steps of Assignment Writing

These are steps to take to get a worthy paper. If you complete these step-by-step, your text will be among the most exemplary ones.

The research part

If the topic is unique and no one has written about it yet, look at materials close to this topic to gain thoughts about it. You should feel that you are ready to express your thoughts. Also, while reading, get acquainted with the format of the articles, study the details, collect material for your thoughts, and accumulate different points of view for your article. Be careful at this stage, as the process can help you develop your ideas. If you are already struggling here, pay for assignment to be done , and it will be processed in a split second via special services. These services are especially helpful when the deadline is near as they guarantee fast delivery of high-quality papers on any subject.

If you use Google to search for material for your assignment, you will, of course, find a lot of information very quickly. Still, the databases available on your library’s website will give you the clearest and most reliable facts that satisfy your teacher or professor. Be sure you copy the addresses of all the web pages you will use when composing your paper, so you don’t lose them. You can use them later in your bibliography if you add a bit of description! Select resources and extract quotes from them that you can use while working. At this stage, you may also create a  request for late assignment if you realize the paper requires a lot of effort and is time-consuming. This way, you’ll have a backup plan if something goes wrong.

Planning your text

Assemble a layout. It may be appropriate to use the structure of the paper of some outstanding scientists in your field and argue it in one of the parts. As the planning progresses, you can add suggestions that come to mind. If you use citations that require footnotes, and if you use single spacing throughout the paper and double spacing at the end, it will take you a very long time to make sure that all the citations are on the exact pages you specified! Add a reference list or bibliography. If you haven’t already done so, don’t put off writing an essay until the last day. It will be more difficult to do later as you will be stressed out because of time pressure.

Writing major parts

It happens that there is simply no mood or strength to get started and zero thoughts. In that case, postpone this process for 2-3 hours, and, perhaps, soon, you will be able to start with renewed vigor. Writing essays is a great (albeit controversial) way to improve your skills. This experience will not be forgotten. It will certainly come in handy and bring many benefits in the future. Do your best here because asking for an extension is not always possible, so you probably won’t have time to redo it later. And the quality of this part defines the success of the whole paper.

Writing the major part does not mean the matter is finished. To review the text, make sure that the ideas of the introduction and conclusion coincide because such a discrepancy is the first thing that will catch the reader’s eye and can spoil the impression. Add or remove anything from your intro to edit it to fit the entire paper. Also, check your spelling and grammar to ensure there are no typos or draft comments. Check the sources of your quotes so that your it is honest and does not violate any rules. And do not forget the formatting rules.

with the right tips and guidance, it can be easier than it looks. To make the process even more straightforward, students can also use an assignment service to get the job done. This way they can get professional assistance and make sure that their assignments are up to the mark. At PapersOwl, we provide a professional writing service where students can order custom-made assignments that meet their exact requirements.

Expert Tips for your Writing Assignment

Want to write like a pro? Here’s what you should consider:

  • Save the document! Send the finished document by email to yourself so you have a backup copy in case your computer crashes.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to complete a list of citations or a bibliography after the paper is finished. It will be much longer and more difficult, so add to them as you go.
  • If you find a lot of information on the topic of your search, then arrange it in a separate paragraph.
  • If possible, choose a topic that you know and are interested in.
  • Believe in yourself! If you set yourself up well and use your limited time wisely, you will be able to deliver the paper on time.
  • Do not copy information directly from the Internet without citing them.

Writing assignments is a tedious and time-consuming process. It requires a lot of research and hard work to produce a quality paper. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty understanding the concept, you may want to consider getting accounting homework help online . Professional experts can assist you in understanding how to complete your assignment effectively. offers expert help from highly qualified and experienced writers who can provide you with the homework help you need.

Will I succeed with my assignments?

Anyone can learn how to be good at writing: follow simple rules of creating the structure and be creative where it is appropriate. At one moment, you will need some additional study tools, study support, or solid study tips. And you can easily get help in writing assignments or any other work. This is especially useful since the strategy of learning how to write an assignment can take more time than a student has.

Therefore all students are happy that there is an option to  order your paper at a professional service to pass all the courses perfectly and sleep still at night. You can also find the sample of the assignment there to check if you are on the same page and if not — focus on your papers more diligently.

So, in the times of studies online, the desire and skill to research and write may be lost. Planning your assignment carefully and presenting arguments step-by-step is necessary to succeed with your homework. When going through your references, note the questions that appear and answer them, building your text. Create a cover page, proofread the whole text, and take care of formatting. Feel free to use these rules for passing your next assignments.

When it comes to writing an assignment, it can be overwhelming and stressful, but Papersowl is here to make it easier for you. With a range of helpful resources available, Papersowl can assist you in creating high-quality written work, regardless of whether you’re starting from scratch or refining an existing draft. From conducting research to creating an outline, and from proofreading to formatting, the team at Papersowl has the expertise to guide you through the entire writing process and ensure that your assignment meets all the necessary requirements.

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How to Start an Assignment

Last Updated: January 29, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 109,389 times.

Getting started on an assignment or homework can often times be the hardest step. Putting off the assignment can make the problem worse, reducing the time you have to complete the task and increasing stress. By learning how to get started and overcome the urge to procrastinate, you can get your assignments done on schedule and with less stress, opening up more free time.

Restructuring Your Assignment

Man with headphones on working on his assignment.

  • For example, you might research areas of a report that you find most interesting before moving on to other areas.
  • If your math assignment has different types of questions, try doing those that you enjoy the most before moving on to the others.
  • You might also try tackling smaller or easier tasks first so you can cross a few items off your list. Seeing that you've already made progress may help you feel motivated to continue.

Step 2 Start working for five minutes.

  • Promise yourself that you will meet your goal of working for five minutes on the assignment.
  • Once you get started, you may find that you don't want to stop working. Otherwise, you can take a break and come back to the assignment, knowing you're at least five minutes closer to finishing than you were before.

Step 3 Break up your time.

  • Try to set reasonable periods of time that you know you can meet. For example, you might set aside two hours on a Friday to dedicate to your assignment. If you don't have that much time all at once, try to carve out a few 20- or 30-minute blocks.
  • You may or may not wish to continue working after your time limit has gone by.
  • Have a realistic understanding of how fast you can write and plan your schedule accordingly.

Step 4 Get started.

  • It can help to read the assignment as soon as you get it and then ask any questions you might have.
  • If you're not sure if you understand the assignment, try rewriting it in your own words or explaining it to someone else. If you find you can't or have a lot of questions, you may need more information.
  • You should have an overview of the assignment, understand the main task, and understand the technical and stylistic requirements.
  • Look for important words in the instructions to understand the assignment. These words might include define, explain, compare, relate, or prove.
  • Keep your audience in mind and write a paper that would best deliver information to them.

Step 6 Make sure your goals are manageable.

  • Goals that are too big or not well defined can be difficult to start working towards.
  • Smaller and well defined goals can seem easier to achieve than larger ones.
  • For example, you could break a research paper down into several smaller tasks: 1) do preliminary research, 2) write an outline, 3) draft an introduction, 4) draft body paragraphs, 5) write conclusion, 6) revise. Each of these is much more do-able on its own.

Changing Your Focus

Step 1 Change your mood.

  • You might want to go for a quick walk after working for a set amount of time.
  • Try reading a website or book that you enjoy for a few minutes after working.
  • Alternatively, try a quick burst of exercise before setting to work. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins and can also help boost your memory. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Stay positive.

  • Instead of dreading your work, focus on how good it will feel to make progress. You won't have it hanging over your head. You can actually enjoy the weekend instead of feeling guilty.
  • Keeping your eye on long-term rewards can help you stay motivated to finish your assignment.

Step 3 Avoid procrastination while working.

  • Avoid moving your workspace constantly.
  • Don't get lost on tangential research.
  • Don't take constant breaks to get a snack.

Step 4 Create some consequences for procrastination.

  • For every hour you waste procrastinating, you can limit how much television you watch that night.
  • If you waste too much time procrastinating, you might deny yourself a favorite snack later on.

Step 5 Don't worry about perfection.

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About This Article

Michelle Golden, PhD

To start an assignment, try working on the most enjoyable or easiest parts of the assignment first to get the ball rolling. Even if no part of the assignment seems enjoyable or easy, set a timer and try to make yourself work for at least 5 minutes, which is usually enough time to build momentum and overcome procrastination. You can also try breaking your assignment up into smaller, more manageable tasks and scheduling yourself regular breaks so it doesn't seem as overwhelming. To learn how to stay positive and avoid procrastination while working on your homework, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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5 tips on writing better university assignments

how to prepare college assignment

Lecturer in Student Learning and Communication Development, University of Sydney

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Alexandra Garcia does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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University life comes with its share of challenges. One of these is writing longer assignments that require higher information, communication and critical thinking skills than what you might have been used to in high school. Here are five tips to help you get ahead.

1. Use all available sources of information

Beyond instructions and deadlines, lecturers make available an increasing number of resources. But students often overlook these.

For example, to understand how your assignment will be graded, you can examine the rubric . This is a chart indicating what you need to do to obtain a high distinction, a credit or a pass, as well as the course objectives – also known as “learning outcomes”.

Other resources include lecture recordings, reading lists, sample assignments and discussion boards. All this information is usually put together in an online platform called a learning management system (LMS). Examples include Blackboard , Moodle , Canvas and iLearn . Research shows students who use their LMS more frequently tend to obtain higher final grades.

If after scrolling through your LMS you still have questions about your assignment, you can check your lecturer’s consultation hours.

2. Take referencing seriously

Plagiarism – using somebody else’s words or ideas without attribution – is a serious offence at university. It is a form of cheating.

Hands on a keyboard using the Ctrl C copy function

In many cases, though, students are unaware they have cheated. They are simply not familiar with referencing styles – such as APA , Harvard , Vancouver , Chicago , etc – or lack the skills to put the information from their sources into their own words.

To avoid making this mistake, you may approach your university’s library, which is likely to offer face-to-face workshops or online resources on referencing. Academic support units may also help with paraphrasing.

You can also use referencing management software, such as EndNote or Mendeley . You can then store your sources, retrieve citations and create reference lists with only a few clicks. For undergraduate students, Zotero has been recommended as it seems to be more user-friendly.

Using this kind of software will certainly save you time searching for and formatting references. However, you still need to become familiar with the citation style in your discipline and revise the formatting accordingly.

3. Plan before you write

If you were to build a house, you wouldn’t start by laying bricks at random. You’d start with a blueprint. Likewise, writing an academic paper requires careful planning: you need to decide the number of sections, their organisation, and the information and sources you will include in each.

Research shows students who prepare detailed outlines produce higher-quality texts. Planning will not only help you get better grades, but will also reduce the time you spend staring blankly at the screen thinking about what to write next.

Young woman sitting at desk with laptop and checking notes for assignment

During the planning stage, using programs like OneNote from Microsoft Office or Outline for Mac can make the task easier as they allow you to organise information in tabs. These bits of information can be easily rearranged for later drafting. Navigating through the tabs is also easier than scrolling through a long Word file.

4. Choose the right words

Which of these sentences is more appropriate for an assignment?

a. “This paper talks about why the planet is getting hotter”, or b. “This paper examines the causes of climate change”.

The written language used at university is more formal and technical than the language you normally use in social media or while chatting with your friends. Academic words tend to be longer and their meaning is also more precise. “Climate change” implies more than just the planet “getting hotter”.

To find the right words, you can use SkELL , which shows you the words that appear more frequently, with your search entry categorised grammatically. For example, if you enter “paper”, it will tell you it is often the subject of verbs such as “present”, “describe”, “examine” and “discuss”.

Another option is the Writefull app, which does a similar job without having to use an online browser.

5. Edit and proofread

If you’re typing the last paragraph of the assignment ten minutes before the deadline, you will be missing a very important step in the writing process: editing and proofreading your text. A 2018 study found a group of university students did significantly better in a test after incorporating the process of planning, drafting and editing in their writing.

Hand holding red pen to edit paper.

You probably already know to check the spelling of a word if it appears underlined in red. You may even use a grammar checker such as Grammarly . However, no software to date can detect every error and it is not uncommon to be given inaccurate suggestions.

So, in addition to your choice of proofreader, you need to improve and expand your grammar knowledge. Check with the academic support services at your university if they offer any relevant courses.

Written communication is a skill that requires effort and dedication. That’s why universities are investing in support services – face-to-face workshops, individual consultations, and online courses – to help students in this process. You can also take advantage of a wide range of web-based resources such as spell checkers, vocabulary tools and referencing software – many of them free.

Improving your written communication will help you succeed at university and beyond.

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10 Tips for Writing Assignments

Writing assignments are a cornerstone of your academic journey, and honing your assignment writing skills is paramount for your success. Whether you're embarking on your first year or a seasoned academic, the art of effective assignment writing can wield significant influence over your grades and overall educational voyage. In this comprehensive guide, we'll offer you ten invaluable tips to elevate your assignment writing prowess. These strategies, along with expert guidance from our specialized assignment help website , will empower you to enhance your writing skills and chart a course towards academic triumph.

Tip 1: Start Early

The first rule of successful assignment writing is to start early. Procrastination is the enemy of quality work. By initiating your assignments as soon as you receive them, you'll have ample time for essential steps such as research, planning, drafting, and revisions. Starting early allows you to manage your time effectively and produce well-crafted assignments.

Tip 2: Understand the Assignment

Before you begin writing, it's essential to thoroughly understand the assignment instructions. Take the time to read and analyze what is expected of you. If any aspects are unclear, don't hesitate to seek clarification from your instructor. Understanding the assignment's requirements is fundamental to meeting them successfully.

Tip 3: Plan Your Work

Effective planning is a cornerstone of assignment writing. Develop a structured plan that includes creating a timeline for your assignment. Break down the work into smaller tasks, allocate sufficient time for research, outlining, drafting, and proofreading. A well-organized plan will keep you on track and reduce stress.

Tip 4: Utilize Campus Resources

Your university offers a wealth of resources to support your writing endeavors. Take advantage of writing centers, libraries, and academic advisors who can provide guidance and feedback on your assignments. These resources are valuable assets that can significantly improve the quality of your work.

Tip 5: Research Thoroughly

High-quality assignments require thorough research. Dive deeply into your chosen topic, utilizing a variety of credible sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Ensure that you cite your sources correctly to provide evidence for your arguments and maintain academic integrity.

Tip 6: Maintain a Good Writing Style

Developing and maintaining a clear and concise writing style is essential for effective communication in your assignments. Avoid overly complex language and prioritize clarity. Ensure that your assignments have a logical structure with a clear flow of ideas. Your goal is to make your writing accessible and easy for your reader to understand.

Tip 7: Seek Writing Assistance

If you ever find yourself struggling with assignment writing, don't hesitate to seek writing assistance. Many universities offer writing assistance programs staffed by experienced tutors who can provide guidance and feedback on your work. These services are designed to help you refine your writing skills and produce higher-quality assignments.

Tip 8: Proofread and Edit

The importance of proofreading and editing cannot be overstated. After completing your initial draft, take the time to review and edit your work. Check for grammar and punctuation errors, ensure proper formatting, and verify that your assignment aligns with the assignment guidelines. Effective editing will polish your work and enhance its overall quality.

Tip 9: Stay Safe Online

When conducting online research for your assignments, it's essential to prioritize online safety. Use reliable sources and be cautious of plagiarism. Properly cite all your references to maintain academic integrity and avoid unintentional academic misconduct.

Tip 10: Celebrate Your Achievements

Lastly, don't forget to celebrate your achievements in assignment writing. Completing assignments is a significant accomplishment on your academic journey. Reward yourself for your hard work and dedication, and acknowledge your successes. Recognizing your achievements can motivate you to excel in future assignments.

Dos and Don'ts

To summarize, here are some dos and don'ts for successful assignment writing:

  • Start early and plan your work effectively.
  • Thoroughly understand the assignment instructions.
  • Utilize available campus resources for support and guidance.
  • Conduct in-depth research using credible sources.
  • Maintain a clear and concise writing style for accessibility.
  • Seek writing assistance when facing challenges.
  • Commit to thorough proofreading and editing.
  • Stay safe and ethical when conducting online research.
  • Celebrate your achievements and milestones.
  • Procrastinate on your assignments; start early instead.
  • Overlook or misinterpret assignment instructions.
  • Miss out on utilizing valuable campus resources.
  • Skimp on research quality or rely on unreliable sources.
  • Engage in overly complex writing that hinders clarity.
  • Hesitate to seek assistance when facing challenges.
  • Neglect the critical steps of proofreading and editing.
  • Plagiarize or compromise on academic integrity.
  • Forget to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to assignment writing:

1. How can I improve my writing style?

Improving your writing style is a gradual process. Consider taking writing courses, seeking feedback from professors or writing tutors, and practicing regularly to refine your skills.

2. Is it okay to use online sources for research?

Yes, it's acceptable to use online sources for research, but ensure that they are reliable and properly cited in your assignments to maintain academic credibility.

Final Thoughts

Writing assignments may seem challenging at times, but with the right approach and these ten tips, you can excel in your academic journey. Remember that assignment writing is a skill that improves with practice and dedication. By following these guidelines and continuously honing your writing skills, you'll be well-equipped to tackle assignments successfully and achieve academic excellence. Go to website

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How to Write an Effective Assignment

At their base, all assignment prompts function a bit like a magnifying glass—they allow a student to isolate, focus on, inspect, and interact with some portion of your course material through a fixed lens of your choosing.

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The Key Components of an Effective Assignment Prompt

All assignments, from ungraded formative response papers all the way up to a capstone assignment, should include the following components to ensure that students and teachers understand not only the learning objective of the assignment, but also the discrete steps which they will need to follow in order to complete it successfully:

  • Preamble.  This situates the assignment within the context of the course, reminding students of what they have been working on in anticipation of the assignment and how that work has prepared them to succeed at it. 
  • Justification and Purpose.  This explains why the particular type or genre of assignment you’ve chosen (e.g., lab report, policy memo, problem set, or personal reflection) is the best way for you and your students to measure how well they’ve met the learning objectives associated with this segment of the course.
  • Mission.  This explains the assignment in broad brush strokes, giving students a general sense of the project you are setting before them. It often gives students guidance on the evidence or data they should be working with, as well as helping them imagine the audience their work should be aimed at.  
  • Tasks.  This outlines what students are supposed to do at a more granular level: for example, how to start, where to look, how to ask for help, etc. If written well, this part of the assignment prompt ought to function as a kind of "process" rubric for students, helping them to decide for themselves whether they are completing the assignment successfully.
  • Submission format.  This tells students, in appropriate detail, which stylistic conventions they should observe and how to submit their work. For example, should the assignment be a five-page paper written in APA format and saved as a .docx file? Should it be uploaded to the course website? Is it due by Tuesday at 5:00pm?

For illustrations of these five components in action, visit our gallery of annotated assignment prompts .

For advice about creative assignments (e.g. podcasts, film projects, visual and performing art projects, etc.), visit our  Guidance on Non-Traditional Forms of Assessment .

For specific advice on different genres of assignment, click below:

Response Papers

Problem sets, source analyses, final exams, concept maps, research papers, oral presentations, poster presentations.

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

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Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

1. Preparation 2. Writing 3. Revision
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

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Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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How to Ace Your College Assignments

College can be tough. You’re juggling classes, homework, a social life, and maybe a job on the side. It’s no wonder that sometimes your college assignments don’t get the attention they deserve. But did you know that there are tricks to acing your college assignments? Here are some tips and strategies that will help you get better grades in school!

For many students, college is a big learning curve. It’s a time in your life that involves a lot of change and getting used to many new things. When it comes to college assignments, many students find that things work differently from when they were in high school. The format and types of assessments are different, the criteria for passing can feel unfamiliar, and of course, the level of learning is a step up from high school too.

But getting good grades has a direct impact on your success at college, so it’s important to do as well as you can. So what can you do to get to grips with college assignments so you ace them? Here are some tips.

Read The Instructions

Start by reading the assignment instructions carefully. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you understand what the task is and what your lecturer or professor is looking for. If you’re unsure about anything, ask for clarification from your instructor. They are there to help you, so you should never feel unsure about going to ask for clarification, or for a little extra direction. You could even ask them what they’re looking for in order to give good grades. For example, is it more about research, or a good writing style? Any tips you can glean from the people marking your assignments will help.

Use Past Papers And Study Materials

When you have a better understanding of what’s required, it can be helpful to use past papers and college study materials to give yourself an idea of the sort of thing that might be expected. Study materials can also give you an idea of the level of detail required and the standard expected by your college. If you’re not sure where to find these things, ask your instructor or librarian for help. Getting hold of some of these past materials will help to give you a framework for your learning, understand the types of assignments your college sets, and what success looks like to them.

Create A Plan And Work Schedule

Once you have a good understanding of the task at hand and what’s expected of you, it’s time to create a plan. This should be a detailed document that outlines everything you need to do in order to complete the assignment to a high standard. Your plan should include a timeline and deadlines for each task, as well as what resources you’ll need and any other information that will help you to complete the assignment.

Work In Short Bursts

One of the best pieces of advice for college students is to work in short bursts . This means setting a timer for a certain amount of time and working on the task at hand for that amount of time, before taking a break. This method is often recommended for students because it’s a more effective way of working than trying to power through for hours on end. It’s also a lot easier to stay focused when you’re working in short bursts. When you take a break, make sure you get up and move around, have a snack, or do something to take your mind off of your work so you can come back refreshed and ready to focus again.

Take Regular Breaks

It’s important to take regular breaks when you’re working on an assignment. This will help to keep you from getting too bogged down in the task and will allow you to come back to it with fresh eyes. When you’re taking a break, make sure you get up and move around, have a snack, or do something to take your mind off of your work so you can come back refreshed and ready to focus again.

Set A Deadline For Yourself

As well as any deadlines set by your instructor, it can be helpful to set a deadline for yourself. This should be a date or time by which you will have completed the assignment. Having a personal deadline will help to keep you on track and motivated to get the work done.

Don’t Leave It To The Last Minute

One of the worst things you can do is leave your college assignment to the last minute. This will only lead to stress and will likely result in a rushed and poorly done piece of work. If you start the assignment early, you’ll have more time to do it properly and you’ll be less likely to make mistakes. It will also give you time to deal with any unexpected circumstances, such as some additional research you decide you need to do, or dealing with a cold that leaves you feeling under the weather for a few days.

Start With The Easy Stuff

When you’re starting an assignment, it can be helpful to start with the easy stuff. This will help to get you into the flow of working on the task and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve completed the easy stuff, you can move on to the more challenging tasks. This will help you to stay focused and motivated, and will make the whole process less daunting.

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Communication Across the Disciplines

10 tips for writing assignments.

  • Clarify the task. Don't let questions about the task encourage procrastination.
  • Do the research early. Collecting and absorbing the material will help you meditate on what you will write, even if you don't get to work on the writing immediately.
  • Leave a strong paper trail. Frequently, the lack of good note taking doesn't register until you are in the throes of the final preparation of your project, when deadlines loom, and materials are difficult to recover. This is because one often reads and discards materials as not being relevant during the research process, only to discover later, during the writing process, that they are.
  • Brainstorm, make notes, jot down ideas as they occur, and begin by writing the stuff you do know. Most writing will be complex and you can't do all of the stages--brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, proofreading--in one fell swoop. Breaking the process into smaller steps makes it more manageable, and lets you make progress even when you don't have large chunks of time to devote to writing.
  • Get feedback. It's difficult to anticipate the gaps, confusion, and potential misinterpretations that complex writing can generate. You need to have at least one outside reader to help you.
  • Allow time for revising and editing. Once the ideas are drafted, you'll usually find that you need to go back and re-read, re-search, re-organize, and re-think what you have said.
  • Make the organization apparent. Use paragraphs, subheadings, and spatial divisions (layout) to indicate clearly changes in subject matter, focus, and depth. Sometimes this is a good time to prepare an outline, to make sure that your organization makes sense.
  • Write the introduction last. A good introduction must point forward to what the writing contains. It is a promise to the reader, and should be accurate. The best introductions will be prepared after you know what you will say and how you will say it.
  • Check for accuracy. Research-based writing is often complex and it is easy to overlook a mistake made while drafting. Check your sources, read carefully through your quotations, citations, and documentation.
  • Proofread carefully. This is often a step left out in the crunch to finish by a deadline, and yet, it is often little mistakes (typos, errors of punctuation and grammar) which communicate to your reader a sense of carelessness or inability to write.
  • Forgive yourself for what is not perfect. We never stop learning how to write. No draft is ever perfect, but the deadline requires that you do your best and then send it out into the world of the reader.

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Ultimate Guide to Writing Your College Essay

Tips for writing an effective college essay.

College admissions essays are an important part of your college application and gives you the chance to show colleges and universities your character and experiences. This guide will give you tips to write an effective college essay.

Want free help with your college essay?

UPchieve connects you with knowledgeable and friendly college advisors—online, 24/7, and completely free. Get 1:1 help brainstorming topics, outlining your essay, revising a draft, or editing grammar.


Writing a strong college admissions essay

Learn about the elements of a solid admissions essay.

Avoiding common admissions essay mistakes

Learn some of the most common mistakes made on college essays

Brainstorming tips for your college essay

Stuck on what to write your college essay about? Here are some exercises to help you get started.

How formal should the tone of your college essay be?

Learn how formal your college essay should be and get tips on how to bring out your natural voice.

Taking your college essay to the next level

Hear an admissions expert discuss the appropriate level of depth necessary in your college essay.

Student Stories


Student Story: Admissions essay about a formative experience

Get the perspective of a current college student on how he approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about personal identity

Get the perspective of a current college student on how she approached the admissions essay.

Student Story: Admissions essay about community impact

Student story: admissions essay about a past mistake, how to write a college application essay, tips for writing an effective application essay, sample college essay 1 with feedback, sample college essay 2 with feedback.

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5 ways to organize your college assignments.


Weekly assignments, midterms, final papers… all piling up each day, making every year of your college life seem more difficult than the previous one. But it doesn’t have to be this hard.

There are several different ways to help you sort out your assignments and actually get started with completing them. Whether you prefer putting all your notes and ideas on paper or would rather reduce your carbon footprint and go all in for tech, here are 5 ways to organize your student assignments:

  • Assignment binders and planners

Perhaps the most accessible method for organizing your student assignments is creating a binder to hold all your papers, reminders, and auxiliary materials. You can either create one for each class or a separate binder for your assignments only. Alternatively, you can put together an up-to-date semester agenda with assignments and their due dates so you can check it out each week to see what’s next for you to prepare and if you’re on track with college work.

These two options are strong organization tools you can reach out to at any time. Try color-coding or sorting them in a specific order of your choice to find the files you need more easily. For instance, you can divide your assignments binder into 3 parts: a red folder for assignments you have to complete, a yellow one for the ones you’re working on, and a green folder for any papers you’ve already delivered. Be careful here not to put an assignment you’re done with into the green folder until you’ve delivered it to your teacher.

  • Digital Kanban boards

If you’d rather have a tool remind you when your assignments are due, try digital Kanban boards. A Kanban visual board is a practical method that lets you track all assignments and college work through 3 simple stages: To Do, In Progress, and Finished/Delivered.

You’ll receive email notifications or alerts whenever an assignment’s deadline is approaching. The best part is that these tools can also be used together with your classmates in case you’ve got group projects to work on.

Free project management software options like Paymo often offer a Kanban feature in addition to simple to-do lists that will also allow you to keep track of any other duties you have be they personal or college related.

  • Consider a cloud-based file storage solution

If you’re always on the run going from one class to another, you probably won’t want to keep all your files, binders, and notes with you. Online file storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive help you store all of these in a single place.

This way, you’ll be able to access your assignments and class notes from anywhere whether you’re on your laptop, smartphone, or classroom computer. You can also become a power user of these digital solutions by learning how to organize your files into folders so you’ve got every structured according to your year of study, semester, and class.

  • The classical desktop folders

For those of you who like taking their laptop to class and writing down all notes digitally, you might want to stick to organizing all files in your computer. This is an accessible and free method that will also allow you to get started with an assignment without having to download any external files.

An example for this filing system could be: Assignments -> Molecular Foundations -> Midterm Assignments -> To Do -> DNA recombination paper (file).

To make sure you don’t miss a deadline, just pair this method with a project management tool or your calendar app to send you regular reminders in time.

  • The Big6 Organizer 

Now that you’ve got your files sorted, you need a strategy to get started with working on your assignments. The Big6 method is a 6-step process that helps you conduct your research through a series of clear stages. This way you’ll never be stuck again wondering what you’re supposed to do next.

The 6 stages are:

  • Task definition – Define your information-related problem and find the facts and figures you need. 2. Information seeking strategies – Identify all potential information sources and establish the best ones. 3. Location and access – Locate these sources and find the info you need within them. 4. Use of information – Engage with the information you found by reading any written content, watching a video, or experimenting and extract only the information that is relevant to your research. 5. Synthesis – Organize the info you found in your multiple sources and present it in a structured manner. 6. Evaluation – Judge the effectiveness of your results and analyze if the research process was efficient and you’ve covered all of the assignment’s aspects.

Test a few of these methods for organizing your student assignments before you decide to rigorously follow one. Pay particular attention to how stress-free you feel when using one or another of these techniques. For example, if you’re feeling anxious at all times thinking you’ll forget to hand in an assignment, then perhaps it’s better for you to go for one of the digital methods that will notify you whenever a due date is approaching.

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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how to prepare college assignment

College Assignments 101- Get More Done, In Less Time

College Assignments 101- Get More Done, In Less Time

Excelling in Your First-Year College Assignments: Strategies for Success

The first year of college is an exciting time filled with new experiences and opportunities. However, it also brings academic challenges, with a significant focus on assignments, papers, and projects. Successfully completing first-year college assignments requires more than just academic knowledge; it demands effective organizational skills, productivity tools, and time management techniques. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various strategies to help you excel in your first-year college assignments.

first year college assignments

1: Staying Organized with MyStudyLife’s College Schedule Maker

One of the most crucial aspects of thriving in college is staying organized. With numerous courses, assignments, and deadlines to juggle, a study app like MyStudyLife can be your best friend.

MyStudyLife is a versatile app designed to help students manage their academic schedules and assignments effectively. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  • Input Your Class Schedule: Start by entering your class schedule into the app. This forms the foundation of your academic organization.
  • Set Assignment Reminders: Use MyStudyLife to set reminders for assignment due dates. Customize these reminders to align with your study habits and priorities. Rely on these homework and school reminders to take the pressure off you a bit so you can focus on your workload rather than focusing on remembering what you need to do.
  • Track Progress: MyStudyLife’s homework planner enables you to mark assignments as completed, providing a sense of accomplishment and helping you identify areas where you may be falling behind.
  • Sync Across Devices: The app is available on various platforms and can be synchronized across devices, ensuring you have access to your schedule and assignments wherever you go.

Section 2: Leveraging AI Tools for School

Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized various aspects of our lives, including education. Harnessing AI tools can significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of your assignments. Though ChatGPT for school is a good option, there are other AI tools for students that you may find helpful.

  • Grammarly: Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that can help you improve the quality of your assignments. It checks for grammar and spelling errors, suggests vocabulary enhancements, and provides real-time feedback as you write. By using Grammarly, you can ensure that your assignments are well-written and error-free.
  • Citation Generators: Accurate citation is paramount in college assignments. AI-based citation generators like Zotero and EndNote can help you create precise citations and bibliographies in various styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), saving you time and ensuring compliance with academic standards.
  • Plagiarism Checkers: Plagiarism is a serious offense in academia. AI-driven plagiarism checkers like Turnitin and Copyscape can help you ensure the originality of your work by detecting unintentional plagiarism. Run your assignments through these tools before submission to avoid any issues.
  • Study Recommender Systems: Some AI-driven platforms, such as Coursera and edX, offer personalized course recommendations based on your academic interests and career goals. Utilizing these platforms can expand your knowledge and provide additional resources for your assignments.

Section 3: Staying Focused with the Pomodoro Technique

Maintaining focus during study sessions is crucial for completing assignments efficiently. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that can help you stay on track and prevent burnout.

To follow the Pomodoro technique to be more productive with your college assignments:

  • Set a Timer: Choose a task you want to work on and set a timer for 25 minutes (one Pomodoro session).
  • Work Intensely: During the 25-minute session, focus exclusively on your assignment. Avoid distractions such as social media, texts, or unrelated websites. Some students find it helpful to set specific music for studying during the focused times.
  • Take a Short Break: When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break to stretch, relax, or grab a snack.
  • Repeat: After the short break, start another Pomodoro session. Repeat this cycle, and after completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

The Pomodoro Technique helps you break down your assignments into manageable chunks, making them less overwhelming and more achievable. It also trains your brain to concentrate for short bursts, ultimately increasing your overall productivity.

college homework and assignments

Section 4: Additional Techniques for Assignment Success

While MyStudyLife, AI tools, and the Pomodoro Technique are valuable assets in your academic toolkit, several other techniques can further aid in completing first-year college assignments successfully:

  • Prioritize Tasks: Not all assignments are equal in importance. Prioritize them based on deadlines and their weight in your course. Tackle high-priority tasks or time-consuming tasks like college essays first to ensure you meet essential deadlines.
  • Create a To-Do List: Creating a to-do list is a powerful technique to combat procrastination and ensure productive assignment completion. Rather than succumbing to the temptation of easier tasks, prioritize your list by starting with the most challenging assignment. By addressing the toughest task first, you’ll build momentum, increase your confidence, and significantly reduce the risk of procrastinating on important assignments.
  • Seek Help When Needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out to professors, tutors, or classmates for clarification or assistance with challenging assignments. Collaboration and seeking help are essential skills in academia.
  • Time Management: Develop strong time management skills by setting realistic goals, allocating time for leisure activities, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Effective time management is key to academic success, so be sure to integrate the use of a daily school planner to track your schedule.
  • Review and Revise: Always allocate time for reviewing and revising your assignments. This ensures your work is polished and free of errors, contributing to better grades and academic growth.

Succeeding in your first-year college assignments is not only about mastering academic content but also about developing strong organizational skills, utilizing productivity tools , and managing your time effectively. As you progress through your college journey, you’ll discover that assignments become more manageable as with time, you’ll naturally develop improved productivity and focus. Prioritization, seeking assistance when necessary, effective time management, taking care of your overall well-being, and consistently reviewing your work all contribute to this growth. Embrace these strategies, and you’ll find yourself excelling in your first-year college assignments and beyond as you continue to refine your skills.

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How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?

Prepared by allison boye, ph.d. teaching, learning, and professional development center.

Assessment is a necessary part of the teaching and learning process, helping us measure whether our students have really learned what we want them to learn. While exams and quizzes are certainly favorite and useful methods of assessment, out of class assignments (written or otherwise) can offer similar insights into our students' learning.  And just as creating a reliable test takes thoughtfulness and skill, so does creating meaningful and effective assignments. Undoubtedly, many instructors have been on the receiving end of disappointing student work, left wondering what went wrong… and often, those problems can be remedied in the future by some simple fine-tuning of the original assignment.  This paper will take a look at some important elements to consider when developing assignments, and offer some easy approaches to creating a valuable assessment experience for all involved.

First Things First…

Before assigning any major tasks to students, it is imperative that you first define a few things for yourself as the instructor:

  • Your goals for the assignment . Why are you assigning this project, and what do you hope your students will gain from completing it? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you aim to measure with this assignment?  Creating assignments is a major part of overall course design, and every project you assign should clearly align with your goals for the course in general.  For instance, if you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking, perhaps asking them to simply summarize an article is not the best match for that goal; a more appropriate option might be to ask for an analysis of a controversial issue in the discipline. Ultimately, the connection between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like “busy work.” For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons.
  • Have they experienced “socialization” in the culture of your discipline (Flaxman, 2005)? Are they familiar with any conventions you might want them to know? In other words, do they know the “language” of your discipline, generally accepted style guidelines, or research protocols?
  • Do they know how to conduct research?  Do they know the proper style format, documentation style, acceptable resources, etc.? Do they know how to use the library (Fitzpatrick, 1989) or evaluate resources?
  • What kinds of writing or work have they previously engaged in?  For instance, have they completed long, formal writing assignments or research projects before? Have they ever engaged in analysis, reflection, or argumentation? Have they completed group assignments before?  Do they know how to write a literature review or scientific report?

In his book Engaging Ideas (1996), John Bean provides a great list of questions to help instructors focus on their main teaching goals when creating an assignment (p.78):

1. What are the main units/modules in my course?

2. What are my main learning objectives for each module and for the course?

3. What thinking skills am I trying to develop within each unit and throughout the course?

4. What are the most difficult aspects of my course for students?

5. If I could change my students' study habits, what would I most like to change?

6. What difference do I want my course to make in my students' lives?

What your students need to know

Once you have determined your own goals for the assignment and the levels of your students, you can begin creating your assignment.  However, when introducing your assignment to your students, there are several things you will need to clearly outline for them in order to ensure the most successful assignments possible.

  • First, you will need to articulate the purpose of the assignment . Even though you know why the assignment is important and what it is meant to accomplish, you cannot assume that your students will intuit that purpose. Your students will appreciate an understanding of how the assignment fits into the larger goals of the course and what they will learn from the process (Hass & Osborn, 2007). Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully.
  • If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the “rhetorical or cognitive mode/s” you want them to employ in their writing (Flaxman, 2005). In other words, use precise verbs that communicate whether you are asking them to analyze, argue, describe, inform, etc.  (Verbs like “explore” or “comment on” can be too vague and cause confusion.) Provide them with a specific task to complete, such as a problem to solve, a question to answer, or an argument to support.  For those who want assignments to lead to top-down, thesis-driven writing, John Bean (1996) suggests presenting a proposition that students must defend or refute, or a problem that demands a thesis answer.
  • It is also a good idea to define the audience you want your students to address with their assignment, if possible – especially with writing assignments.  Otherwise, students will address only the instructor, often assuming little requires explanation or development (Hedengren, 2004; MIT, 1999). Further, asking students to address the instructor, who typically knows more about the topic than the student, places the student in an unnatural rhetorical position.  Instead, you might consider asking your students to prepare their assignments for alternative audiences such as other students who missed last week's classes, a group that opposes their position, or people reading a popular magazine or newspaper.  In fact, a study by Bean (1996) indicated the students often appreciate and enjoy assignments that vary elements such as audience or rhetorical context, so don't be afraid to get creative!
  • Obviously, you will also need to articulate clearly the logistics or “business aspects” of the assignment . In other words, be explicit with your students about required elements such as the format, length, documentation style, writing style (formal or informal?), and deadlines.  One caveat, however: do not allow the logistics of the paper take precedence over the content in your assignment description; if you spend all of your time describing these things, students might suspect that is all you care about in their execution of the assignment.
  • Finally, you should clarify your evaluation criteria for the assignment. What elements of content are most important? Will you grade holistically or weight features separately? How much weight will be given to individual elements, etc?  Another precaution to take when defining requirements for your students is to take care that your instructions and rubric also do not overshadow the content; prescribing too rigidly each element of an assignment can limit students' freedom to explore and discover. According to Beth Finch Hedengren, “A good assignment provides the purpose and guidelines… without dictating exactly what to say” (2004, p. 27).  If you decide to utilize a grading rubric, be sure to provide that to the students along with the assignment description, prior to their completion of the assignment.

A great way to get students engaged with an assignment and build buy-in is to encourage their collaboration on its design and/or on the grading criteria (Hudd, 2003). In his article “Conducting Writing Assignments,” Richard Leahy (2002) offers a few ideas for building in said collaboration:

• Ask the students to develop the grading scale themselves from scratch, starting with choosing the categories.

• Set the grading categories yourself, but ask the students to help write the descriptions.

• Draft the complete grading scale yourself, then give it to your students for review and suggestions.

A Few Do's and Don'ts…

Determining your goals for the assignment and its essential logistics is a good start to creating an effective assignment. However, there are a few more simple factors to consider in your final design. First, here are a few things you should do :

  • Do provide detail in your assignment description . Research has shown that students frequently prefer some guiding constraints when completing assignments (Bean, 1996), and that more detail (within reason) can lead to more successful student responses.  One idea is to provide students with physical assignment handouts , in addition to or instead of a simple description in a syllabus.  This can meet the needs of concrete learners and give them something tangible to refer to.  Likewise, it is often beneficial to make explicit for students the process or steps necessary to complete an assignment, given that students – especially younger ones – might need guidance in planning and time management (MIT, 1999).
  • Do use open-ended questions.  The most effective and challenging assignments focus on questions that lead students to thinking and explaining, rather than simple yes or no answers, whether explicitly part of the assignment description or in the  brainstorming heuristics (Gardner, 2005).
  • Do direct students to appropriate available resources . Giving students pointers about other venues for assistance can help them get started on the right track independently. These kinds of suggestions might include information about campus resources such as the University Writing Center or discipline-specific librarians, suggesting specific journals or books, or even sections of their textbook, or providing them with lists of research ideas or links to acceptable websites.
  • Do consider providing models – both successful and unsuccessful models (Miller, 2007). These models could be provided by past students, or models you have created yourself.  You could even ask students to evaluate the models themselves using the determined evaluation criteria, helping them to visualize the final product, think critically about how to complete the assignment, and ideally, recognize success in their own work.
  • Do consider including a way for students to make the assignment their own. In their study, Hass and Osborn (2007) confirmed the importance of personal engagement for students when completing an assignment.  Indeed, students will be more engaged in an assignment if it is personally meaningful, practical, or purposeful beyond the classroom.  You might think of ways to encourage students to tap into their own experiences or curiosities, to solve or explore a real problem, or connect to the larger community.  Offering variety in assignment selection can also help students feel more individualized, creative, and in control.
  • If your assignment is substantial or long, do consider sequencing it. Far too often, assignments are given as one-shot final products that receive grades at the end of the semester, eternally abandoned by the student.  By sequencing a large assignment, or essentially breaking it down into a systematic approach consisting of interconnected smaller elements (such as a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, or a rough draft, or a series of mini-assignments related to the longer assignment), you can encourage thoughtfulness, complexity, and thoroughness in your students, as well as emphasize process over final product.

Next are a few elements to avoid in your assignments:

  • Do not ask too many questions in your assignment.  In an effort to challenge students, instructors often err in the other direction, asking more questions than students can reasonably address in a single assignment without losing focus. Offering an overly specific “checklist” prompt often leads to externally organized papers, in which inexperienced students “slavishly follow the checklist instead of integrating their ideas into more organically-discovered structure” (Flaxman, 2005).
  • Do not expect or suggest that there is an “ideal” response to the assignment. A common error for instructors is to dictate content of an assignment too rigidly, or to imply that there is a single correct response or a specific conclusion to reach, either explicitly or implicitly (Flaxman, 2005). Undoubtedly, students do not appreciate feeling as if they must read an instructor's mind to complete an assignment successfully, or that their own ideas have nowhere to go, and can lose motivation as a result. Similarly, avoid assignments that simply ask for regurgitation (Miller, 2007). Again, the best assignments invite students to engage in critical thinking, not just reproduce lectures or readings.
  • Do not provide vague or confusing commands . Do students know what you mean when they are asked to “examine” or “discuss” a topic? Return to what you determined about your students' experiences and levels to help you decide what directions will make the most sense to them and what will require more explanation or guidance, and avoid verbiage that might confound them.
  • Do not impose impossible time restraints or require the use of insufficient resources for completion of the assignment.  For instance, if you are asking all of your students to use the same resource, ensure that there are enough copies available for all students to access – or at least put one copy on reserve in the library. Likewise, make sure that you are providing your students with ample time to locate resources and effectively complete the assignment (Fitzpatrick, 1989).

The assignments we give to students don't simply have to be research papers or reports. There are many options for effective yet creative ways to assess your students' learning! Here are just a few:

Journals, Posters, Portfolios, Letters, Brochures, Management plans, Editorials, Instruction Manuals, Imitations of a text, Case studies, Debates, News release, Dialogues, Videos, Collages, Plays, Power Point presentations

Ultimately, the success of student responses to an assignment often rests on the instructor's deliberate design of the assignment. By being purposeful and thoughtful from the beginning, you can ensure that your assignments will not only serve as effective assessment methods, but also engage and delight your students. If you would like further help in constructing or revising an assignment, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is glad to offer individual consultations. In addition, look into some of the resources provided below.

Online Resources

“Creating Effective Assignments” This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning,  provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations.

Gardner, T.  (2005, June 12). Ten Tips for Designing Writing Assignments. Traci's Lists of Ten. This is a brief yet useful list of tips for assignment design, prepared by a writing teacher and curriculum developer for the National Council of Teachers of English .  The website will also link you to several other lists of “ten tips” related to literacy pedagogy.

“How to Create Effective Assignments for College Students.”  http://     This PDF is a simplified bulleted list, prepared by Dr. Toni Zimmerman from Colorado State University, offering some helpful ideas for coming up with creative assignments.

“Learner-Centered Assessment” From the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, this is a short list of suggestions for the process of designing an assessment with your students' interests in mind. “Matching Learning Goals to Assignment Types.” This is a great page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons, providing a chart that helps instructors match assignments with learning goals.

Additional References Bean, J.C. (1996). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fitzpatrick, R. (1989). Research and writing assignments that reduce fear lead to better papers and more confident students. Writing Across the Curriculum , 3.2, pp. 15 – 24.

Flaxman, R. (2005). Creating meaningful writing assignments. The Teaching Exchange .  Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008 from

Hass, M. & Osborn, J. (2007, August 13). An emic view of student writing and the writing process. Across the Disciplines, 4. 

Hedengren, B.F. (2004). A TA's guide to teaching writing in all disciplines . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Hudd, S. S. (2003, April). Syllabus under construction: Involving students in the creation of class assignments.  Teaching Sociology , 31, pp. 195 – 202.

Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching , 50.2, pp. 50 – 54.

Miller, H. (2007). Designing effective writing assignments.  Teaching with writing .  University of Minnesota Center for Writing. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008, from

MIT Online Writing and Communication Center (1999). Creating Writing Assignments. Retrieved January 9, 2008 from .

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Most Effective Tips for Writing an Impressive Assignment

how to prepare college assignment

When in college, you have to accomplish all of your assignments as part of your education. One of the most common assignments is written essays that will contribute to your grade at the end of your course. 

But you might feel apprehensive when you receive such an assignment, especially if it's your first time. You might not feel like you have the necessary skills to write a good essay. But there are certain tips you can use to write a good assignment and lay your apprehensions to rest.

Research and plan

When you take on a course, you will receive a reading list. Familiarize yourself with it right away because your professors will choose texts from this list that will specifically help you with your tasks and assignments. Reading what's on your list will provide you with valuable insight into the topics you have to write about. It will make life easier for you when you need to write an assignment.

After researching, you should make a schedule for writing your assignments. Stick to your schedule. Also, double-check your deadline so you won't have to feel overwhelmed when you realize that your deadline is right around the corner. Break down your time and tasks into  more manageable chunks  so that you will always be on top of your work. Make a schedule that consists of mini-deadlines. Knowing that you have completed a task will keep you motivated.

Understand your assignment and take notes

Before starting your assignment, make sure that you understand it because writing an essay that contains irrelevant information or isn't coherent will prove disastrous. You should always know what you're doing and what you need to convey. If needed, rereading the instructions will help you understand what's expected of you. Moreover, you also need to determine how long the essay should be and how you will proceed with it.

Note-taking is another important aspect of writing. Before you start, you must collect various materials and resources relevant to your topic. You should also create an outline that will guide you. Go through various research materials, then take down notes on the most crucial information that you can include in your work. The writing process will become more manageable when you have all of the information you need.

Assignment writing by professionals

As a student in college, you have the option to ask for help when you need to complete an assignment and you have no time to do it. Since written tasks are an unavoidable aspect of college education, the best thing you can do is to seek assistance when you need it. The writers at AssignmentBro  helped with my assignment writing  in college. Thanks to their professional writers, I still had plenty of time to study and tackle my other responsibilities.

Use various resources

Aside from the deadlines and instructions that your professor will provide, they might also recommend some resources to you. Sadly, this is something that many students tend to overlook. For instance, for you to understand how your professor will grade your assignment, you will need to examine their rubric. This is a chart that provides information on what you must do. You will also learn about the objectives of the assignments or the learning outcomes.

Other resources you might receive include reading lists, lecture recordings, discussion boards, and sample assignments. Usually, you will find all of these resources in an online platform known as a Learning Management System (LMS). Research has shown that students who use LMS tend to get higher grades. If you still have any questions, you can ask your professor either online or offline.

Determine the objective and structure of your assignment

The next thing you need to do is to define the objectives of your written work and its structure. This is where you will determine the pattern of a well-written assignment. You want to make your work look impressive in the eyes of your reader. One way to accomplish this is to include more theoretical content and details in your essay. 

Make sure all of your paragraphs flow smoothly

It's not enough for the essay writing project assigned to you to provide enough information. It's also important to remain coherent. You must link each paragraph to each other. 

This will keep your reader  connected with the content . To achieve this, you need to go back to your plan for your assignment, then search for significant concepts that will help you connect the paragraphs smoothly. Here's an easy tip to do this - include phrases or words that will attract the eyes of your readers while supporting the context of your written assignment.

University life is full of challenges. One of which is the writing of assignments that will require higher communication, critical thinking, and information gathering skills that you may have practiced in high school. Instead of feeling daunted because of your assignments, use the tips you learned to make things easier for you.

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How to write a perfect assignment

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Whether you are already familiar with writing an assignment or not, looking through these tips will help you remember and learn new ways to continuously produce those perfect assignments. So check out these tips to writing the perfect assignment:

Prepare and Plan

You should try to read the question a number of times and rewrite it into your own words to make sure you know what is asked of you. Check and study the assessment criteria to understand how you can achieve those higher grades and draft out a plan so you know you have addressed everything that is needed. With your course materials and other resources gather together information that you can use in your assignment – just remember this must be relevant to the assignment.

Producing the perfect structure is vital in an assignment. You should follow this structure:

  • Introduction: Begin you assignment with a clear introduction outlining what the assignment will discuss, the aim and purpose and a brief background about what it will be based on.
  • Body: You should always include an argument about the assignment topic in the body of your paragraph. To do this each paragraph should contain a new point stating either an advantage or disadvantage. The information in each paragraph should be linked.
  • Conclusion: End your assignment with a conclusion which informs the reader the most important points made or main linkage of ideas. You should refrain from including any new information and instead give a comment, resolution or suggestion about the assignment question.

Never use ‘I’ and ‘you’ in your assignment, as academic writing is impersonal. Build on arguments, by using opinions and evidence from a variety of sources. Try to provide different perspectives so you can present a clear, unbiased assignment. If you need to add your overall opinion in your conclusion you should do so indirectly. For example use ‘in my opinion’ and avoid using ‘I think’.


All assignments submitted to Open Study College should be referenced in the Harvard format. When you have included quotes and information from other sources you should make sure these are referenced correctly. At the end of your assignment you need to provide a reference list which includes all the sources you have used. These need to be structured in an alphabetical order of the authors’ surname (A-Z). If the author is unknown you should still include the source alphabetically. For example: ‘BBC News’ would be listed under B. Take a look at how you can reference your work appropriately .

Don’t forget if you need any help with your assignments please get in touch with your tutor and they’ll be happy to help! Good luck with writing your perfect assignment!

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How to Prepare for College: 31 Tips to Get Ready

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While you might think college preparation only happens during the summer before college, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, you can start preparing for college as early as 9th grade! But what exactly does the process of college preparation entail?

Here, we explain how to prepare for college at every grade level in high school . Specifically, we take a look at what you can do on the academic, financial, and extracurricular fronts, providing you with advice and tips, as well as a helpful preparing-for-college checklist.

How to Prepare for College: Overview

In this guide, we go over how to get ready for college in every grade, from 9th through 12th and even the summer before college. We give you detailed steps to take in areas such as academics, extracurricular activities, financial aid, standardized tests, and college applications.

If you’d like to jump ahead to a specific grade level, feel free to use this table of contents:

How to Prepare for College in 9th Grade

How to get ready for college in 10th grade, things to do before college in 11th grade, getting ready for college in 12th grade, 5 things to do the summer before college.

We also offer a printable preparing-for-college checklist , which you can download by clicking the PDF thumbnail below:


Here’s a checklist of the major steps you should take in 9th grade in order to start getting prepared for college early.

#1: Do Well in Core Courses

Aside from your state’s high school graduation requirements, you’ll need to pay attention to the class requirements of most US colleges and universities .

In general, you’ll have to take at least the following in high school to be able to attend college:

  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of math
  • 3 years of science
  • 3 years of social studies/history
  • 2 years of a foreign language

If you’re already thinking of eventually applying to Ivy League institutions or similarly competitive schools , then make sure to take the following in high school:

  • 4 years of math
  • 3-4 years of science
  • 3-4 years of a foreign language

Naturally, you also want to ensure you’re doing well in your core classes, so keep up your grades as best as you can — 9th grade is when your grades really start to count in terms of what colleges will see, so don't goof off!

Do your homework, take notes, study for all your tests, and actively participate in class to the best of your ability. These actions will set you up with good habits in your later high school years. Remember that your 9th grade GPA will influence your final GPA and class rank when you apply to colleges.

#2: Look Into Taking Honors and AP Courses

At this time, you should also start to look into what honors and/or AP classes you might be eligible to take as a 9th grader (or 10th grader, if you’re looking to the future). Meet with your counselor and discuss whether there are any upper-level classes or more challenging versions of the core courses above that you can sign up for.

Your counselor should also  map out possible class plans for each year you're in high school so that you’ll be on track to complete all the courses you need for college. Having a four-year plan can really help you visualize the different steps you'll need to take every year.

#3: Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities That Interest You

Your first year of high school is the perfect time to start exploring the different kinds of academic and non-academic interests you have through clubs, volunteering, and other groups. You can ask other students, your teachers, or your counselor what kinds of clubs, societies, and sports teams your school offers.

If there’s an informational club fair at the start of the school year, this would be an excellent time to learn more about what kinds of groups your school has (and doesn’t have).

Remember, too, that you don’t necessarily need to do activities through your school ; it's fine to look for volunteer organizations and other groups you could join outside school.

Another alternative is to carve out more time for a particular hobby you have , such as writing short stories or coming up with ideas for inventions. The point here is to start figuring out what your biggest interests and passions are, and how these could translate into possible academic or professional paths.

#4: Take the PSAT 8/9 (Optional)

If one of your goals is to qualify for National Merit on the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior, then it’ll help you greatly to start preparing early through the PSAT 8/9 , a version of the PSAT that's geared specifically toward 8th and 9th graders .

This test doesn’t count for anything and is really only helpful if you want to get as much PSAT and SAT practice as possible. If you'd like to take it, ask your guidance counselor how to register for it. The PSAT 8/9 is normally administered in October .

Note that if you plan to take the ACT instead of the SAT, there’s not much point in taking the PSAT 8/9 (except for the fact that it will help prepare you for standardized college admissions tests as a whole).


Although sophomores still have a few years before college begins, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to help you prepare for college.

#1: Keep Up Your Grades and a Rigorous Course Load

By 10th grade, if you haven’t already, you should really start to think about taking some AP and honors classes (if offered at your school), especially if you plan to apply to the most competitive colleges .

Meet with your counselor to determine which upper-level classes you are eligible for and most likely to do well in based on your individual interests and skills.

When it comes to your electives, try to take classes in topics that not only appeal to you but also challenge you (and are ideally at least somewhat related to your passion or future major).

As you should do every year in high school, continue to work hard to keep up your grades. If you’re struggling at all with a certain class, talk to your teacher and parents about possibly seeking extra help, such as a tutor .

#2: Stay Invested in Your Extracurriculars

By this point, you should have at least one or two extracurriculars you regularly do and that you’re committed to . These could be school clubs you’re part of, a part-time job or internship, a volunteer position you hold, a hobby or talent you’re pursuing, etc.

While it’s perfectly fine if you have more than two extracurriculars, just know that what ultimately matters is quality, not quantity. The activities you do should reflect what you’re truly interested in, academically, professionally, and personally.

If you plan to apply to very competitive colleges, you should focus on developing a spike , which is essentially finding your niche or what makes you stand out . You can do this by engaging in activities, events, competitions, etc. that speak specifically to your interest, whether that's German or computer science.

#3: Start Thinking About Possible Majors and Colleges

Yes, it’s still early when it comes to college, but your sophomore year is a great time to start playing around with ideas of what you might want to study in college — and possibly do as a career.

Some teenagers know right away what kind of career they want to have, while others (likely most!) have some interests here and there but don’t know what they want to do with these in college and as an adult.

You can get started by thinking about your biggest passions in life and what you generally enjoy doing, both in and outside of school. For example, maybe you’re passionate about music and have always envisioned yourself playing the violin in an orchestra. In this case, a music major at a more artistically inclined school could be an amazing fit for you.

It might also help to look at our comprehensive list of college majors , just to give you some ideas as to what majors are out there.

In terms of colleges, you don’t need to have a final list or anything yet — simply ge t a feel for what kinds of colleges are out there , including what’s available in and around your area (or in the area you’d like to live and go to school). You can use college search websites and reputable ranking lists to see what certain schools are famous for.


#4: Learn How to Pay for College

As a 10th grader, you probably don’t know much about paying for college or even what the FAFSA is . So take this time to start familiarizing yourself with key financial terms and what paying for college actually entails in terms of tuition, housing, meal plans, etc.

We recommend checking out our helpful guides on the different types of financial aid and how to save money for college . If your parents are worried about upcoming college expenses, read these articles with them and explain to them how you plan to apply for college scholarships and do well in school to increase your chances of securing a merit scholarship .

If you’ll be paying for college entirely on your own, get started early by reading our guide .

#5: Take the PSAT, PSAT 10, or PreACT (Optional)

If you want to get a head start on your SAT/ACT preparation, then taking either the PSAT, PSAT 10, or PreACT in 10th grade will be a wise choice.

Here are the differences between these three tests:

  • PSAT : The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is an official practice test for the SAT with a slightly easier content focus and a shorter overall time frame. Sophomores who take the exam are ineligible for National Merit scholarships (only 11th graders are eligible for these).
  • PSAT 10 : A version of the PSAT geared specifically toward 10th graders. This test is identical to the PSAT —the only difference is that it's offered in the spring instead of the fall.
  • PreACT : An official practice test for the ACT administered specifically to 10th graders. There's no scholarship competition as sociated with the PreACT. Schools choose when to administer the PreACT during the school year.

You are not required to take any of these tests in 10th grade —they're simply available to you should you want more practice for the SAT or ACT.

If you’re interested in taking the PSAT, PSAT 10, or PreACT, talk with your counselor to check when and how to sign up for your desired test.

#6: Use Your Summer After 10th Grade Wisely

The summer between your sophomore and junior year is an ideal time to start exploring in more depth your biggest interests and to start thinking about what kind of career/major you want. You could also work a part-time job to begin saving money for college.

Here are some examples of things you could do at this time:

  • Take a school trip to a foreign country (I myself went to Japan as part of a class trip)
  • Get an internship or part-time job
  • Volunteer somewhere — e.g., you could teach a class at a local Boys & Girls Club
  • Participate in a summer program or camp
  • Enroll in a class at a local community college


Your junior year of high school is where college preparation really starts to get serious. Here’s an overview of what to do during this critical year.

#1: Continue Taking Challenging Courses and Getting Good Grades

As always, keep up your GPA and do your best in all your classes, particularly in your core classes (English, math, science, and social studies) and any honors or AP classes you’re taking.

#2: Keep Up Your Extracurriculars

Continue to work on developing and adding to your spike (i.e., your passion) by doing activities you love and that are related to your academic and professional interests.

#3: Befriend Teachers You Plan to Ask for Letters of Recommendation

This is the time to start really getting to know your high school teachers better, especially those who teach core classes you consistently do well in , since they'll likely be the ones you want to get letters of recommendation from for your college applications.

Develop a strong rapport with your teachers so they respect you and know you well, beyond just the grades you get on homework assignments and tests.

It’s a smart idea to ask your teachers sometime in the spring if they’d be willing to write you a letter of recommendation for your college applications that fall. This way, you won’t be stressing out at the beginning of your senior year about whom to ask or how much time to give them to write your letter.

#4: Start to Research Colleges You’re Interested In

Junior year is an ideal time to start researching some of the colleges you’re interested in attending or that have grabbed your attention.

There are many ways you can get to know more about specific colleges:

  • Read the official college website to see things such as what majors it offers, where it’s located, how many students it has, etc.
  • Go to college fairs
  • Visit college campuses directly to get a feel for the campus, students, and overall atmosphere
  • Talk with former or current students about their experiences there

In addition, take care to openly communicate with your parents (or whoever is helping you pay for college) at this time. These are the people paying for your education, so it’s important that you involve them at least somewhat in the decision-making process so that they have an idea of which schools you’re considering and what kind of aid they typically offer.

Also, remember to look for safety schools .

#5: Learn More About Financial Aid

At this point, you should have a pretty basic understanding of how financial aid for college works. Now, it’s time to dig a little deeper and make sure you know the ins and outs of things such as subsidized loans vs unsubsidized loans and how much your parents (or you) can actually afford to spend on your college education. Consider, too, how much money you’ll need for application fees.

As you begin making a tentative college list, look up tuition costs and financial aid info for each school . You can do this research by going to the school’s official website, using the College Board’s BigFuture database , or using the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool .

It might help to make a chart showing all the schools you’re considering applying to, their net costs, and whether they offer any scholarships or other aid based on merit and/or need.

Finally, keep educating yourself on how you can save up money for college .


#6: Begin Searching for Scholarships

While it might seem early to apply for college scholarships, it’s actually not, as many have deadlines between your junior and senior years. The US Department of Education offers a scholarship search tool you can use for free to get started on looking up potential scholarships.

We also maintain a comprehensive list of scholarships you can apply for as a junior . Some of these might require more documents and effort from you than others, such as transcripts and letters, so give yourself plenty of time to research and apply for them .

#7: Take the PSAT

Most 11th graders take the PSAT to help prepare them for the SAT, but you can also take it to try to win a National Merit Scholarship (remember that 10th graders aren’t eligible for these scholarships if they take the PSAT).

The PSAT is typically administered in October , so plan to prep for it (only if you're hoping to nab a super-high score) in the few months before.

#8: Take the SAT/ACT (Preferably Twice)

As a junior, you should take the SAT/ACT once, preferably twice , to prepare for your college applications in your senior year. At PrepScholar, we recommend taking your first SAT / ACT in the fall of your junior year and then again in the spring.

Taking the test more than once can significantly raise your chances of getting a higher score. For tips on how to prepare, check out our ultimate SAT guide and expert ACT guide .

#9: Use the Summer to Finalize Your List of Colleges

By this time, you should have taken the SAT/ACT at least once and come up with a rough idea of the colleges you’re most interested in. Now, you can crack down and start putting together your finalized list of schools .

Consider important factors such as the following:

  • Majors/courses offered
  • Student life/social scene
  • Acceptance rate (i.e., how competitive the school is)

Most students apply to six to eight colleges (this includes two to three safeties, two to three target schools , and two to three reach schools ). It’s OK (and even encouraged) to talk to your parents during this time about what schools you want to apply to and their costs. That said, remind them that you are applying for scholarships as well and will hopefully win one!


At last — you’re a senior! But don’t get too comfortable yet — there’s a lot to do in order to get ready for college, especially in the fall. Here are the most important steps you’ll need to take.

#1: Get Your College Applications Ready to Send Off

Your senior fall will be extremely busy since this is when many college application deadlines are, including most early action and early decision deadlines . So you’ll need to start putting together your applications by writing your essays and gathering all necessary materials, such as your high school transcripts and recommendation letters.

Here’s a brief checklist of what to do for your college applications at this time:

  • Write your college essays : You’ll likely have to write more than one, so get a head start on these. Give yourself at least a month or two to write, edit, and proofread before you submit.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation from teachers : If you didn’t already do so your junior year, ask your teachers for rec letters ASAP. Try to get letters from teachers who teach core classes and/or classes in a field you want to major in.
  • Take the SAT/ACT one last time, if needed: By this point, you should’ve taken the SAT/ACT twice. If you still want to take it one last time to try to raise your score, though, now’s the time to do it. Don't forget to check your colleges' websites to see what the last possible SAT/ACT test dates they’ll accept scores from are.
  • Visit campuses if possible: Actually seeing college campuses in person should help you get a better sense for the overall atmospheres of the schools you’re applying to, and might even give you ideas for what you can write about in your college essay(s).

#2: Complete and Submit Your FAFSA

The FAFSA is released on October 1 every year, so try to complete and submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after this date as well as any other financial aid applications your schools might require. Most colleges will require you to turn in your FAFSA by February, so getting started on this sooner rather than later should help make the application process go a lot more smoothly.

Make sure to have your parents with you when you fill out your FAFSA as you’ll have to report your parents’ federal income tax returns and other essential information.

#3: Stay Focused in School

Even though there’s a ton to do your senior year, it’s still important that you work hard to maintain your grades and do well in challenging (AP) courses during both semesters (even in the spring!). As a result, don't stop studying hard for midterms, finals, and AP tests.

Remember that colleges will want to see your mid-year report , which shows your most recent senior-year grades, so definitely avoid falling victim to senioritis!


#4: Stick With Your Extracurriculars

You’ll be extremely busy your senior year, yes, but you should still try your best to keep up your extracurricular activities and hobbies —at the very least, the ones that you are most invested in and that pertain to your major or professional endeavors.

It’s OK if you have to drop some activities or don’t do them as often during the fall; just make sure to keep them up in the spring when you’re free from the demands of college application season!

#5: Keep Applying for Scholarships

Yes, it’s a pain, but don’t stop applying for scholarships now! Many scholarship applications are due during or even right after your senior year , so don’t overlook these opportunities.

Check out this list of the best scholarships for high school seniors to help with your search.

#6: Compare Financial Aid Offers From Colleges You’ve Been Admitted To

By around March and April, you should start receiving admissions decisions from the colleges you applied to. As you get these letters, begin to compare the financial aid offers from the ones you’ve been accepted to.

With your parents, estimate overall cost s and how much money you’ll likely need for living expenses and food  (if you’re not commuting to college).

Take your time here — financial aid can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s definitely worth it to be sure you understand how much college costs and what you will actually pay in order to attend. It might also help to create a spreadsheet listing the total costs and aid offers you've gotten .

#7: Make Your College Decision

Once you’ve had time to go through your college acceptance letters (and emotionally process any rejections you might have gotten ), it’s time to make your final decision and pick the college you will attend that fall.

You’ll have to submit your decision, along with a nonrefundable deposit, to your school of choice by May 1.

You should also get working on officially declining any offers from schools you have decided not to attend; usually you’ll have to do this through an online portal. If you’ve been waitlisted at your first-choice school, read our guide to figure out what to do in this situation .


Here are some final steps to take the summer before college, when you've finally got a little bit of breathing room.

#1: Continue Applying for Scholarships

The summer before college often goes unutilized in terms of scholarship searches, so don't be one of those people — make the most of your time by applying for even more college scholarships .

Even if these scholarships won’t apply to your first year of college, it’s never too early to get started on finding potential funding sources for your sophomore year!

#2: Save Money by Getting a Part-Time Job (Optional)

While you might be tempted to take this summer to completely relax (and you certainly  do deserve a little rest!), consider using this time to save money for college by getting a part-time job .

It doesn’t have to be anything special or relevant to your interests — just something that allows you to grow your savings and prepare yourself for other expenses you might have your freshman year, such as going to concerts, eating out with your roommate, etc.

#3: Reach Out to Your Roommate

Once your college gives you your roommate info, it’s a great idea to reach out to them through social media and introduce yourself . You’re going to be living with this person the entire year, so it’s best to get started on a positive note and as early as you can in order to reduce any nerves that you (or your roommate!) might have on move-in day.

Doing all this should help to ease the transition from living at home with your parents to living with somebody else your age.

You can (and should) also talk to your roommate about what furniture and appliances you plan to bring so you can figure out who’s bringing what and what you’ll be sharing and not sharing.

#4: Go to Orientation

Your school’s orientation will take place at some point during the summer, so plan to meet other incoming students and get to know the campus and school as a whole better . You might also have the opportunity to meet professors in your major.

Make the most of your orientation: ask questions about living there and paying for school, get to know other students in your major, and start to memorize where things are on campus.

#5: Get Started on Your College Packing List

  • Furniture and appliances
  • Bedding, sheets, and pillows
  • Clothes hangers
  • Laundry basket
  • Storage containers
  • Kitchen essentials (e.g., silverware, cups, plates, microwave, etc.) 
  • School supplies
  • Electronics (e.g., laptop, cables, headphones, power strips, etc.)

As mentioned, it’s a good idea to consult your roommate about who will be bringing what.

Recap: How to Prepare for College in High School

As you can see, there are many steps you can (and should) take, even in 9th grade, to get started on preparing for college. Read through this list whenever you want to confirm you’re on track.

We also strongly advise printing out our preparing-for-college checklist , which you can tape to the wall in your bedroom and use as a reminder for what you'll need to get done in high school in order to give yourself your best shot at succeeding in college.

What’s Next?

Need some more help preparing your college applications? Then check out our guides on how to apply to college and how to build the most versatile college application possible .

A big part of getting into college is earning a high SAT/ACT score. Get expert tips in our guides on how to get a perfect 1600 on the SAT and a perfect 36 on the ACT , both written by a full scorer.

What looks really impressive on a college application? We list the seven most important things you should have on your college apps here .

Want to build the best possible college application?   We can help.   PrepScholar Admissions combines world-class admissions counselors with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies. We've guided thousands of students to get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. We know what kinds of students colleges want to admit and are driven to get you admitted to your dream schools. Learn more about PrepScholar Admissions to maximize your chance of getting in:

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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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A definitive plan for your college admissions process.

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CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 08: A view of the campus of Harvard University on July 08, 2020 in ... [+] Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the Trump administration for its decision to strip international college students of their visas if all of their courses are held online. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Navigating the college admissions process can be a daunting journey for students and parents alike. However, with a comprehensive plan and strategic approach , this journey can be transformed into a manageable and rewarding experience. Here’s a definitive plan for navigating the college application process.

Laying The Foundation

The first step in the college application process is to organize and plan meticulously. Begin by finalizing your college list , which will be the roadmap for your applications. This involves researching colleges, understanding their requirements, and aligning them with your career goals and interests. Your high school’s internal tools, such as Naviance and SCOIR, are fantastic resources to help you dive deeply into your options. Speaking with college-based contacts , such as alumni of your high school, and taking virtual tours can provide insight into the experiences at specific college campuses.

Familiarize yourself with application platforms like Common App and Coalition App. These platforms will be your gateway to submitting your applications, so understanding how to navigate them efficiently is key. Maintain a checklist to ensure all components of your application are completed and submitted on time. Remember, the Common App opens on August 1, and it’s essential to check for any changes to prompts and requirements.

Recently, some universities have adjusted their requirements for standardized testing, including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT, and CalTech. It’s important to stay updated on each college’s requirements, as policies may vary. Staying informed and prepared will help you navigate these changes smoothly.

Gather letters of recommendation, transcripts, and other supporting documents to ensure a complete application package. Tools like application platforms and checklists will be invaluable in keeping you organized and on track.

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Once you have your list, creating a comprehensive master calendar is essential. Tools like Google Calendar or Notion can help you map out all your deadlines, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. This master calendar will be your guide as you navigate through the myriad of tasks ahead.

Crafting Your Personal Narrative

Your personal statement is a critical component of your application, offering a glimpse into who you are beyond grades and test scores. Begin brainstorming topics that reflect your unique experiences and passions. Reflect deeply on significant life events, challenges, and achievements that have shaped you. Seek inspiration from past successful essays to provide you with examples of compelling narratives that resonate with admissions officers.

As you draft your personal statement, remember that revision is key. Seek feedback from trusted advisors and mentors to refine your essay. Tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway App can assist in ensuring your writing is clear, concise, and impactful. Having the essay reviewed by a trusted team of reviewers with experience in admissions can support you in ensuring your narrative will resonate with the audience of college admissions officers .

Tackling Supplemental Essays

Supplemental essays provide an opportunity to demonstrate your fit for specific colleges. Taking virtual and in-person tours can provide you with personalized data that allow you to show how your story fits your targeted colleges. Start by drafting essays for early application schools. These essays should highlight specific examples why you are a good match. Show your enthusiasm for the school and your intended major, and use specific examples to illustrate your points.

Finalizing Early Applications

As early application deadlines approach, it’s crucial to finalize all materials. This includes completing final revisions on essays and preparing additional documents like resumes and activity lists. Attention to detail can make the difference between a good application and a great one. Make sure every component is perfect before submission.

Don't forget to check in with your teachers regarding your deadlines that they can align the timing of their letters of recommendation with your college submissions.

Remember to check in with your school counselor and teachers regarding your deadlines and fill out any of their required forms so that they can recommend you and align their letters of recommendation with your college goals.

Early Application Submissions And Refinements

With your early applications ready, submit them and continue refining essays for regular decision schools. Stay organized and ensure all deadlines are met. Conduct thorough final reviews of your early applications and begin preparing regular decision essays. This phase is about ensuring everything is polished and ready for submission.

Perform final proofreads of your early application essays and start drafting and refining essays for remaining colleges. Remember, meticulous preparation and thoughtful reflection are essential to achieving your academic dreams.

Finalizing Regular Decision Applications

As you move closer to the end of the process, focus on finalizing all regular decision application essays and materials. Gather letters of recommendation, transcripts, and other supporting documents to ensure a complete application package. Tools like application platforms and checklists will be invaluable in keeping you organized and on track.

Submit all remaining applications and confirm receipt to ensure everything has been successfully submitted. This final step ensures that all your hard work culminates in successful submissions.

Await Additional Requirements

Colleges may invite you to interview or to submit additional information after your initial required submission. Stay on top of notifications to your application portals and proactively check inside of your portal to ensure you haven’t missed any additional requests. For example, last cycle, some colleges such as Brown and Chicago gave the option of a video introduction inside their portals after submission.

If your family is applying for financial aid, be sure to check for any deadlines related to FAFSA, CSS profile, and individual scholarship essays.

The college admissions process is a marathon, not a sprint. By following a structured plan and utilizing available resources, you can navigate this journey with confidence and poise. Remember, the key to success lies in detailed preparation, thoughtful reflection, and continuous improvement. With a clear plan and the right support, you can transform the college application process from a daunting task into a rewarding journey.

Dr. Aviva Legatt

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Husson University Online

How to Choose the Right College Major

Published on: June 4, 2024

Animated image of a person trying to decide which college major they should pursue.

Selecting the right college major can be one of the most significant decisions you'll make in your academic journey. It's a choice that shapes your future career and personal growth, reflecting your interests and strengths. While this decision might feel overwhelming, understanding your passions, researching potential career paths and considering the long-term impact of your choice are crucial steps in easing your mind and making an informed decision.     

Below, we explore practical tips to help you navigate the process and find a major that aligns with your goals. By examining factors such as job market trends, educational opportunities and personal fulfillment, you'll be better equipped to choose a path that not only leads to professional success but also enriches your college experience and personal development. Now, let’s delve into how to choose a college major.  

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The Importance of Choosing the Right Major    

Choosing the right major is crucial because it directly influences your future career opportunities and trajectory. A major aligned with your career interests can open doors to specific industries, provide specialized knowledge and equip you with skills valued by employers. In addition, your major will shape much of your academic life—including the courses you take and the projects you work on—impacting how deeply you engage with your studies. Socially, your choice of major can also affect your college experience by determining the communities and networks you join, from study groups to professional organizations, all of which can enrich your college experience and provide lasting connections.    

What to Consider Before Choosing a Major  

When it comes to how to choose a college major, reflect on your personal interests, strengths and career goals. Consider how different majors align with your passions and the job market as well as the academic and extracurricular opportunities they offer.   

The Benefits of Pursuing a Certificate   

In addition to traditional degree programs, pursuing a certificate can be a valuable option for students looking to expand their knowledge in specific areas of study. While certificate programs differ from degree programs, they still offer opportunities for professional and personal growth. Certificates often focus on specialized skills and can be completed in a shorter time frame, making them a flexible and practical choice for many students. This additional qualification can enhance your resume, provide a competitive edge in the job market, and allow you to explore new fields without the long-term commitment of a degree program.    

How to Know What Major Is Right for You  

Choosing the right major is a personal journey that involves introspection and exploration. Understanding your interests and strengths is key, but equally important is gathering information and experiencing different fields. The following actionable steps can help guide you through key factors to evaluate, helping lead you to a major that supports both your academic success and future aspirations.   

Explore Potential Fields of Interest    

Start by identifying areas that captivate your curiosity and reflect your passions. Make a list of subjects or activities that you enjoy and explore related fields. You can read articles, watch videos and talk to (and even job-shadow) professionals in those industries to get a sense of what different fields entail and what career opportunities they offer. University websites and career counseling centers can also provide valuable insights into various disciplines.  

Research and Narrow Down Your Options  

Once you have a list of potential majors, research each one to understand its academic requirements, potential career paths and the skills you'll develop. Look into the job market for each field to see which areas are in demand and offer good career prospects. Resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics , professional associations and academic journals can provide comprehensive information on job outlooks and industry trends. Narrow down your options by comparing how each major aligns with your personal and professional goals.  

Attend Introductory Courses or Workshops    

To get a feel for different subjects, consider enrolling in introductory courses or attending workshops related to the majors you're interested in. Many colleges offer seminars, guest lectures or short courses that allow you to sample different disciplines without a long-term commitment. Engaging in these activities can give you a better understanding of what studying that major would be like and help you gauge your interest and aptitude for the subject.  

Evaluate and Finalize Your Decision    

After exploring and researching, evaluate your options by considering both your personal preferences and practical factors like job prospects and academic workload. Reflect on how each major aligns with your long-term goals and lifestyle. It may also be helpful to seek advice from an academic advisor, mentors or professionals in your field of interest. Once you have weighed all the factors, you may make a more confident and informed decision about which major will best support your aspirations and provide a fulfilling academic experience.  

How Internships Can Help You Choose a Major    

Internships offer a hands-on way to explore potential career paths and gain practical experience in various fields. By participating in internships, you can apply academic concepts in real-world settings, understand industry expectations and assess your interest in specific careers. Additionally, many universities encourage students to have engaged with an internship or two by graduation, as it stands out on future job resumes .  

What Is a Double Major?    

As it comes down to choosing a major, you may consider a double major, which involves pursuing two different majors and distinct fields of study simultaneously and, ultimately, the completion of two sets of academic requirements. This allows students to gain comprehensive knowledge and skills in more than one area of interest. Opting for a double major can broaden your career prospects, enhance your expertise and provide a multidisciplinary perspective on your education.   

Changing Majors: It's OK to Change Your Mind    

Changing your major is a common and acceptable part of the college experience, and some students even change their major well into their college career . With this in mind, it doesn’t matter if you’re changing your major in your sophomore year or beyond. As you gain new insights and experiences, your interests and career goals may evolve, leading you to reconsider your initial choice. This flexibility allows you to realign your academic path with your true passions and strengths.   

Excel In Your Education at Husson University    

Hopefully, you have a better sense of how to know what major is right for you—even if you haven’t decided quite yet. When you’re ready to take the next step toward a fulfilling and versatile education, Husson University offers a range of degree programs online that are designed to fit your unique interests and career goals, plus the flexibility to learn at your own pace. Whether you're considering a single major, double major or even exploring new fields, Husson's online programs can help you achieve your academic aspirations.  

Apply today and start building a brighter future with Husson University!   

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Adjunct Faculty/Overload Academic Year 2024-2025, Daniels College of Business

Apply now Job no: 497455 Work type: Adjunct Faculty Location: Denver, CO Categories: Faculty Division: Daniels College Of Business

This is a general posting that will serve to create a pool of applicants for adjunct faculty openings throughout the 2024-2025 academic year. Should we have an opening and be interested in pursuing your application, we will contact you with specific information.

Position Summary

The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver is looking to hire adjunct instructors for the 2024-2025 academic year to teach a variety of courses. This posting will be utilized to seek applicants for both teaching and non-teaching functions for adjunct and faculty overload.

*This posting will serve for multiple openings

Essential Functions

Teaching adjunct faculty are required to teach as determined by the course schedule, hold office hours, assign papers and exams as appropriate and be available to assist students with assignments.  The University operates on a quarter system.

Details of all teaching and non-teaching responsibilities will be provided by the department at the time of hire agreement.  The hire agreement may include the requirement to be able to teach in a hyflex environment.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree, J.D., or 10+ years of executive experience, depending on department requirements
  • Previous teaching experience
  • Ability to teach at the university level

Work Schedule

While the University's administrative offices are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, faculty schedules vary from term to term and are based on courses taught, service commitments, and research agendas. The University's academic calendars are posted on the  registrar's website  (the law school is on a semester system and has a different  academic calendar ).

Application Deadline

Applications for this position will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the 2024-2025 academic year.

Special Instructions

Candidates must apply online through  to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Course Rate

Teaching adjunct faculty are compensated at a rate of $1,125.00 - $1,642.00 per credit hour or 10 points.  The specific rate paid is dependent on program, course, credit hour and/or teaching responsibility.  Non-teaching adjunct faculty are compensated at a rate of $500 - $10,500 based on assignment.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting.  The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range.  The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications o the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers some benefits for non-benefited employees.  The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference.  Learn more about the University of Denver .

Please include the following documents with your application:

  • Cover Letter

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, creed, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, military enlistment, or veteran status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the University's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Americans with Disabilities Act; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Equal Pay Act; Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act; the Colorado Protecting Opportunities and Workers' Rights ("POWR") Act; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For more information, please see the University of Denver's  Non‑Discrimination‑Statement .

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

Advertised: July 19, 2024 Applications close:

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497455 Denver, CO
The Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver is looking to hire adjunct instructors for the 2024-2025 academic year to teach a variety of courses.  This posting will be utilized to seek applicants for both teaching and non-teaching functions for adjunct and faculty overload.

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How West Virginia Can Make the College Football Playoff

Schuyler callihan | 16 hours ago.

how to prepare college assignment

  • West Virginia Mountaineers

Making it to the College Football Playoff in year's past was an almost impossible feat for a program like West Virginia. Only four teams punched a ticket and you had to win the Big 12 with one loss or an unblemished record to even have a chance. Posting that type of record is a tough thing to do even when you schedule favorably. It's even more of a challenge when you play five Power Five (now Power Four) opponents every year like the Mountaineers have.

The non-conference schedule remains challenging with a season-opener against soon-to-be top-10 Penn State, a good FCS Albany team, and Pitt in the Backyard Brawl on the road. The Big 12 also didn't do the Mountaineers any favors as they'll face five of the teams picked to finish in the top six in thier first five league games.

It won't come easy, but WVU can find a way to reach the CFP. Here's how.

Finish Top 50 in total defense

You would think there would be some sort of pattern with teams playing high level defense to earn a spot in the CFP. That hasn't always been the case. Oklahoma (105th in 2018), TCU (93rd in 2022) and Washington (92nd in 2023) are the perfect examples of that. However, those teams had elite offenses to compensate for it. West Virginia's offense is good, but are they elite? I don't know that I'd go that far. Last season, the Mountaineers finished 71st in total defense allowing 393.2 yards per game. With the pieces they've added and more experience in the linebacking unit, it's not unreasonable to think they can jump up 20+ spots in 2024. Doing so will take some of the load off the offense and give them more of an opportunity to win games when the offense has an off day.

Enhanced passing game

Garrett Greene had a rock solid first year as the full-time starting quarterback, but it was far from perfect. Some of that could be attributed to the ankle injury he suffered early in the year, but a lot of it was mechanical. His footwork and drops were inconsistent which led to some of his errant passes in the short and intermediate passing game. He has to get that completion percentage up to around 60% or better. If he can, the sky is the limit for this offense.

Protect Mountaineer Field

As daunting as the schedule may appear, the good news is most of West Virginia's toughest games are in Morgantown. The'll have to face Oklahoma State and Arizona on the road, but if they're able to grab at least one win there, it should put them in a good spot...assuming they take care of business at home. Since the start of the 2020 season, Neal Brown has a record of 17-6 (.739).

Main objective: Get to Big 12 title game

Don't be surprised to see a three-loss team in the playoff. In the previous format, there wasn't even a two-loss team selected throughout its lifespan. Heck, if you're in the SEC, you could probably find a way to get in with as many as four losses, depending on who you are. Because of the overall depth of the Big 12, it should be a league that is well-respected throughout the season. I wouldn't bet on the Mountaineers to win the Big 12 regular season title because others in the conference have a much easier road. However, all they have to do is finish in the top two for a spot in Dallas. An appearance in the Big 12 title game will go a long way in strengthening the resume. What you do there is as equally important.


ESPN's Greg McElroy Believes WVU is a Preseason Top 25 Team

Overall Team Ratings for Every Big 12 School on CFB 25

Marcus Simms Gets Another Shot in the NFL

Schuyler Callihan


Publisher of Mountaineers Now on FanNation/Sports Illustrated. Lead recruiting expert and co-host of Between the Eers, Walk Thru GameDay Show, Mountaineers Now Postgame Show, and In the Gun Podcast.

Follow Callihan_


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