All papers will be evaluated on both content and formatting.
Papers must be submitted as a Word (.doc or .docx) file and meet the MLA format requirements.
Papers must include:
Identification in the upper left-hand corner of the first page providing the name of the student author, high school name, and essay title (in bold)
Body of approximately 2-3 pages minimum in length including:
an introduction and conclusion, each of which must be at least one-half page
word count of approximately 1100 to 1650 words minimum, excluding bibliography
Bibliography page with at least five sources and in-text citations using the standards set by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
MLA Style Guide: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ , http://www.writinghelp-central.com/mla-format-rules.html
Writing an Outline and a Prospectus for Yourself
Consider the following questions:
What is the topic?
Why is it significant?
What background material is relevant?
What is my thesis or purpose statement?
What organizational plan will best support my purpose?
Writing the Introduction
In the introduction you will need to do the following things:
present relevant background or contextual material
define terms or concepts when necessary
explain the focus of the paper and your specific purpose
reveal your plan of organization
Writing the Body
Use your outline and prospectus as flexible guides
Build your essay around points you want to make (i.e., don’t let your sources organize your paper)
Integrate your sources into your discussion
Summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate published work rather than merely reporting it
Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” from generalization to varying levels of detail back to generalization
Writing the Conclusion
If the argument or point of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
If prior to your conclusion you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to add your points up, to explain their significance.
Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction.
Perhaps suggest what about this topic needs further research.
Revising the Final Draft
Check overall organization: logical flow of introduction, coherence and depth of discussion in body, effectiveness of conclusion.
Paragraph level concerns: topic sentences, sequence of ideas within paragraphs, use of details to support generalizations, summary sentences where necessary, use of transitions within and between paragraphs.
Sentence level concerns: sentence structure, word choices, punctuation, spelling.
Documentation: consistent use of one system, citation of all material not considered common knowledge, appropriate use of endnotes or footnotes, accuracy of list of works cited.
1. Is my thesis statement concise and clear?
2. Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything?
3. Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence?
4. Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing?
5. Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments?
6. Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay?
Re-read your paper for grammatical errors. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability. Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed.
1. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence?
2. Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples?
3. Any run-on or unfinished sentences?
4. Any unnecessary or repetitious words?
5. Varying lengths of sentences?
6. Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next?
7. Any spelling or grammatical errors?
8. Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation?
9. Are all my citations accurate and in correct format?
10. Did I avoid using contractions? Use “cannot” instead of “can’t”, “do not” instead of “don’t”?
11. Did I use third person as much as possible? Avoid using phrases such as “I think”, “I guess”, “I suppose”.