College is a time to try new things, and one critical thing you should try this year is actually taking the time to write a rough draft. Even if you do not have time to write a rough draft, you should always look over an essay before you turn it in. Here is a short checklist of bad habits to look for as you proofread your paper!
1) Get someone else to read your essay.
You have been through your essay and it probably makes sense to you. It is more important, however, that your essay makes sense to someone else. Make sure your paper is organized and that it flows. If a friend, or your roommate, can read your essay and understand that’s amazing. If your school has a writing place that will help you out, even better.
2) To Be or Not To Be
Go through your paper and highlight, circle, etc. any “to be” words. This includes: is, are, am, was, were, be, being, been. Simply changing these words will make your essay much stronger.
3) Look for repetitive and unnecessary words.
I know you want to meet the word – or page – requirement, but you need to have a quality essay first. Phrases like “the time I spent” are repetitive as “time” and “spent” are stating practically the same thing. Try to get rid of these issues in order to make your essay more effective and concise.
4) Finally, make sure you cite your sources properly.
Check the Purdue Owl website for grammar and citations. Microsoft word also has a citation tool, but online citation tools tend to create incorrect citations. This is also important as you want to avoid plagiarism at all costs.