How to Become a Better Paper Writer

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It’s common to receive poor grades at college simply because you struggle to write good papers. You may have a good grasp of the material but find it difficult to express yourself in writing. If this is happening to you, here are a few things you can do to improve.

1. Understand the Assignment

Before you start working on your paper, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve. Reread the question a few times, highlighting the key words and jotting down some ideas. Check how long the assignment needs to be, whether you are restricted to using particular sources, and if there are other criteria you need to meet.

2. Introduce and Develop Your Argument

Instead of writing down everything you know about the topic, figure out what argument you want to make. Use the first paragraph to introduce the argument and subsequent paragraphs to expand on each point. Tie everything together in the conclusion — this final paragraph shouldn’t include any new information; it should just summarize what you’ve already covered.

3. Avoid Plagiarism

If you commit plagiarism, you will get caught and the consequences could be severe. Universities have sophisticated plagiarism software that reveal if you’ve copied chunks of text from another student, or even if you’ve just used the occasional sentence you found in another source. Software can also detect if you’ve made minor changes to word order or used synonyms.

Remember that it’s also plagiarism if you copy something but add a reference to the source. You should only include quotes when this is necessary for the assignment. Otherwise, put information into your own words.

4. Be Concise

Cut unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, and other filler words and think about how to make your sentences more concise. This will gain you points for style. If you’re struggling to meet the word count, adding fluff won’t help. It’s likely that you’ve neglected some important points. Go back to the assignment instructions and figure out what you’ve missed.

5. Stick to Simple Language

Your professors are not interested in your expansive vocabulary — they want to see that you understand the material and can express the ideas in your own way. A paper is no place to try out new words you’ve recently learned, unless they relate to the topic. There’s too big a risk that you’ll misuse a term, which will lead to a weaker paper.

6. Proofread Your Paper at a Later Date

Come back to your paper an hour or more after you’ve finished — it’s better still if you wait a full day. This will help you see your writing in a new light, meaning any areas for improvement and typos will be more obvious. Make sure to proofread your paper several times before you decide it’s finished. It can also help if you read it out loud to check the flow.

7. Ask for Support

If you’re still having trouble writing papers, use the academic services at your university. For instance, you may be able to receive writing support or find a tutor who can read your papers and give you tips on how to improve.

Even when you follow all the above tips, you’ll struggle to write great papers if you’re unable to focus at home. Your best course of action is to leave your on-campus housing and search for apartments for rent. North Oshawa has fully-furnished suites, designed with the student lifestyle in mind, at Foundry Simcoe. Apply now while there are still spaces available.

Why All Students Should Have a Study Buddy

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Studying can be a lonely activity, but it doesn’t have to be — all you need is a study buddy. In fact, everyone should have a study buddy for the following benefits.

1. Never Forget an Important Date

Many students find the jump from high school to college particularly challenging because no one is checking up on them. Your professors are less likely to keep reminding you of an upcoming test or project. If you tend to be forgetful, you could miss a due date and end up receiving a failing grade. However, it’s less likely that two of you will forget, especially if you’re preparing for the quiz or assignment together.

2. Quiz Each Other

Flashcards are a great tool for making sure that you’re clear about key facts and concepts, but it’s more engaging when someone else quizzes you. Plus, when you and your study buddy each come up with your own flash cards, you’ll have twice as many questions, which reduces the risk of overlooking something crucial.

3. Proofread Your Papers

Before you hand in a paper, you can ask your study buddy to take a look and give you feedback. This is a great chance to proofread your work and eliminate any typos you hadn’t noticed, but also talk about things like whether your calculations seem correct, whether you’ve fully answered the question, and if your argument flows well.

4. Research Together

You’ll find information for your assignments twice as fast when you work together and share the results of your searches. In addition, you’ll likely use different methods, which will increase the richness of the results.

5. Improve Your Motivation

You’re much less likely to procrastinate studying when you’ve agreed to a session with a partner. Plus, you should find that you look forward to studying more, since it will also be a chance to socialize.

6. Look at Problems in New Ways

It’s common for one person to find a section of the material difficult whereas someone else may understand it immediately. Explaining concepts to each other does more than help the other person: it’s a great way to solidify your own understanding. Alternatively, you may be able to share resources you’ve found that help explain ideas in a new way.

7. Share Notes and Materials

If you need to miss class one day, you can rely on your study buddy to keep you up to speed. In fact, you should consider sharing notes on days when you both attend — just to ensure you picked up on all the key information. Furthermore, if you ever turn up to class only to realize you’ve forgotten a notepad or for your last pen to run out of ink, you’ll have someone who can lend you whatever you need.

You’ll need to have somewhere to study with your partner. Your student apartment is a great option, especially if you have your own room and you live near campus. You’ll have both of these things when you live at Foundry Simcoe. Our Durham College student housing gives you a room in a suite at a student community near campus. Apply now for an immediate move-in or to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

How to Discover Your True Passion in College

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Your true passion is not something you choose — it naturally occurs when you develop strong feelings for an interest after some time of exploring your options. While there are students who start university already knowing where their true passions lie, many are still figuring it out. In fact, college is the perfect time for this because it’s a period of self-discovery. Here’s how to channel your inner passions and discover what motivates you.

1. Explore Your Interests

Although your interests may not develop into your true passion, there’s a good chance they’ll lead you in the right direction. Consider what you like best about your interests and where else you could find these qualities. Search for opportunities in extracurriculars, volunteer work, and electives to see where they take you.

2. Keep Trying

It can take many years to arrive at a true passion — much more than the time you’ll be at college. Enjoy the process: never stop trying new things and learning more about yourself. Even if you end up disliking something, it will teach you an important lesson about what’s right for you. Just make sure you never dismiss something too quickly or for the wrong reasons.

3. Overcome Challenges in the Way

You may have an idea of where your passion lies but feel like there are impossible barriers in your way. Unfortunately, there will always be aspects about your passion that you find difficult. Don’t let these become significant enough to give up — instead, find ways to overcome these challenges.

For instance, if you want to study a major that requires a certain skill you struggle with, ask for extra help. Find a tutor, attend workshops at college, or read books that look at the subject in a new way. All this effort will be worthwhile if it allows you to fully embrace a potential passion.

4. Don’t Let Anyone Stamp on Your Dreams

Reaching the point when you’re able to start coming up with ideas about what you’d like to do after you graduate and possible career options is exciting. However, not everyone may share your enthusiasm. Don’t let these people drag you down — you should never give up on a passion because someone else is envious or because the field is dominated by people who don’t look like you.

Instead, listen to those who have your best interests at heart and who know what they’re talking about, such as your career development advisor. You should find that these people give you support and advice to tackle obstacles rather than telling you to pick another path. You only have one life, and it’s important to spend it doing something you love.

Students often find it easier to allow their interests to develop into passions when they have more freedom, but this can be difficult when you live on campus. It’s much easier when you’re fully independent, which is possible when you’re living in student apartments. Oshawa students can find fully-furnished, modern housing at Foundry Simcoe. Sign a lease now to benefit from our early bird pricing.