Throughout your college career, you will be assigned with many college essays. Some college essays will require you to write in a specific format. One format that requires specific attention to detail is APA format. APA (American Psychological Association) papers are notable in behavioral sciences, education, and social sciences.
The first step in researching for your college essay is to research information in the library. Look up subjects that relate to your topic, such as articles and books. Whenever you are undergoing your research for your college essay, a good idea is to write information down on note cards. Quotations, sentences,and paragraphs can be noted on the note cards. If you are copying information, be sure to paraphrase the information in your own words, so that you won’t be accused of plagiarism.
When you are finished reading and investigating material for your research paper, start writing your rough draft. You should use 8.5” by 11” paper with 1” margins on all sides. Double space the paper. The fonts you should use are 12-point Times New Roman or Courier (serif typeface). Figure labels need to use 12-point Arial, Helvetica, or any sans serif typeface.
Number each page, starting with the title page. Figures and artwork are not numbered. Put your page numbers in the upper right corner of your college essay. The title’s first words should be in the right corner of every page. Next, the running head is the shortened title which should be at the top of every page. The running head should be 50 characters and in all capital characters. The running header should be located on the upper left corner of the title page. Order your paper in this fashion: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Essay, and References.
The title of your college essay should be at most ten to twelve words and centered on top of the page. The title should be in sentence case. For the next line, put your first name, middle initial, and last name. If you have a suffix in your last name (like Jr. or III), put a space in between the last name and the suffix. Next on a new line, your college or university should be listed underneath your name. If you did not conduct research at a college or university, list the city and state. If your location is outside the United States, list the city, state or province, and the country.
Beginning at page two, the abstract is a concise summary of your college essay. The paragraph should be 120 words maximum. The most important details of your paper should be highlighted. List abbreviations and special terms (except units of measurement). Previous research on your topic needs to be mentioned in this section.
Next, is the introduction. Background information, purpose of your college essay, problem presented, explanation of why the problem is important, and identification of works which are applicable to the paper are included here. Your hypothesis and variables are located in this section, too.
After the introduction, you type your college essay. Make a theory in the beginning paragraph. In the subsequent paragraphs include evidence which support your theory. Use quotations, statements, and other examples to incorporate into your paper. Be sure to use inline citations such as (Author, page number) to cite your sources.
Lastly, your reference page is the list of sources for your college essay. Go to the Purdue OWL Writing Lab to properly cite your sources (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/).
Essays can be difficult to write in college. With this guide on the APA format, you can go step by step in formatting your college essay.