College essay formatting guide

Formatting a rough essay draft is the most crucial part of preparing that work. This is so because it's the format that a reader will see at first glance. Formatting an essay defines it, distinguishing it from other types of writing: an essay from a research paper for instance. A well-formatted essay has a uniformity that makes it look neat and organized.

We definitely want to make it eye-catching to anybody who knows how an essay look like while still leaving it relevant to anyone interested in learning more about essays. There is no comprehensive way of formatting an essay, and different instructors may tell you to format their work differently, which is fine. However, there is a recommended method of formatting an essay whenever special instructions are not given. This method is precisely what we are going to look at just to ensure that anytime you are required to write any essay, you do it the right way.

Basics of essay formatting

To begin with, anyone reading your essay should be able to see the black writing on a white background. It's also important to note that, the writings are on one side of the paper, just do not go writing on the back side of the paper, it should be blank. When you begin to format your essay, ensure that you have a margin of approximately one and a half inches on the top of your paper and the same margin on the left side of your paper. The bottom and the right sides should have a margin of approximately one inch each (1.5 inches on the top and left sides, 1 inch on the bottom and right sides). Well, I can guess that is not too difficult to do.

Headers & Footers

The next thing we want to think of is numbering. Your essay pages must be numbered. On any ordinary paper, the page number can either be centered, placed on the left-hand side or even on the right-hand side of either the footer or the header. However, on an essay, page numbering is done on the right-hand side corner of the header on each page on the essay. Perhaps someone needs to be reminded what a header and a footer are. These are the sections on the top or bottom margins of every page in a document respectively. Any text on those margins is also referred to as header if on the top, and footer if on the bottom. For instance, copyright is an example of a footer while a page number can either be a footer or a header depending on whether you place it at the bottom of your page or the page top.

Text Structure

Every essay should have a title, and it should be above the first line of your introductory paragraph. This title should be centered (should be in the middle of the page). Your choices to formatting an essay title are limited too so do not even think of decorating it in any way: DO NOT! Write it in italics, write it in bold, underline it or even add quotation marks to it. When you have done that, skip three lines to begin the text. The text that follows immediately below the title is the introductory paragraph of your essay. Our next thing is paragraphing. Do not begin paragraphs on the margin; they should be indented. The easiest way to indent a paragraph is by pressing [tab] once. However, if you cannot do that or you want to use a different method, then using the spacebar, move five spaces and begin your first sentence on the sixth space before you begin any paragraph. Remember your lines are double-spaced.

Text Parameters

There is a number of recommended fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Verdana and Tahoma. However, always use Times New Roman or Arial unless your instructor says otherwise. If not specified too, the standard font size is 12 for the entire text. Once you have done all that what is remaining is a thorough revision of your essay. Ensure that the spellings are correct and the grammar is good. Crossing out letters is not allowed, to edit, erase and then type the correct letter(s). Before printing your essay, ensure your printer has enough ink so that you don't mess up with your papers. Also be sure to use quality papers and not just the standard ones. Arrange your pages orderly and hold them with a paper clip and you are ready to submit your work! Remember: an extra copy of the essay is good, you will never know what could happen to your one copy!  

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