Get Citation Without Getting a Headache

Do you find the prospect of college writing intimidating? You aren't alone. Most students aren't sure what to expect.

It's okay. Believe me, you can do this.

College Writing is Different

In college, you will be faced with many new concepts, such as writing rubrics which can act as your personal cheat sheets if you know how to use them.

College writing is also more formal than you may have been required to be up to this point. Don't let that scare you. It simply means to avoid using things like first person ("I") or contractions ("don't"). 

Formal writing is not a place to show off big words. It is all about clarity and professionalism.

Citations and Manuscripts

One of the most important things you'll learn is citation styles and manuscript formats.

Citations are how you show where you found your information, including key research and quotes that you use in your papers.

Manuscript formats deal with how the words look on the page. Are they double spaced? Is the font the right one and the correct size? Did you set your margins at one inch? Those are a few of the elements of formatting.

Different schools demand different ones- APA format and MLA writing format are the two most common.

With time, you will become familiar with APA citation for print sources and for online sources.

Beyond citation, you'll need to master the standard APA paper format or MLA citation styles and formats.

And did I mention the citation exceptions and special circumstances?

Take Your Time

You may not know these things now, but you will. Don't let it overwhelm you.

Take baby steps. Learn what you need as you go. Don't try to get it all at once. Your teachers should spell out their expectations in their syllabus. If not, or if you are not clear on what the teacher wants, ask. These things are worth getting right.

Believe it or not, the skills you learn in college writing will pay big dividends in your future career even if you do not write for a living. Because, as that may be, odds are you will still do far more writing in your career than you think.

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