Happy New Year and welcome to a brand new edition of QUEUC! This is your friendly neighbourhood Vetting Quarterback, Sarah, and your less friendly but still tolerable Communications Quarterback, Ellen, with a very excited reminder that our January 15 submission deadline is fast approaching!
Remember the end of last semester when your paper-writing looked a bit like this?
Well, don’t let all that hard work you (and Lisa Simpson) did just sit around collecting dust. Pull out those superb papers, give them a polish, and send them in! We here at QUEUC love nothing more than being inspired by the brilliant ideas of our peers.
"But, what are you really looking for in a paper?"
In addition to understanding the basic expectations for papers (7-8 pages, research based, pertaining to literary or critical theory, ready to be converted into a 15 minute presentation), you may be wondering what else we look for. Your possible QUEUC paper is something you agonized over for MONTHS (or a week, if we are being honest), and you want to give it its best shot in ‘the real world.’
Here are some things to consider:
1) Did the paper receive a high mark in the course?
Grades aren't everything, but if your prof liked it, chances are, we will too. A high mark is usually considered to be anything over 85% (but this can depend on your prof – 80% can be a strict 85%). Worth noting: we will not ask for or consider the paper's grade in our evaluation.
2) Have an original thesis.
Does your argument stand out from the competition, or has it already been made 100 times? We like papers that deal with nontraditional topics and/or approaches, especially if you're working with well-established texts or theories. We sincerely invite you to blow our minds.
3) Clean up that grammar and syntax!
Nobody’s perfect, but don't make a point of proving that to us. Our evaluators are English students who find their sense of self-worth in knowing the proper use of whom and affect. We take comma splices very seriously. Use your best academic voice and show the vetting team that you have competent grammar and syntax skills. These details go a long way to show them that you know what you are talking about.
4) Ensure your paper can survive outside of the course.
We haven’t taken the course you wrote the paper for, and may not be familiar with the subject or theory. Make sure your paper speaks for itself! You chose amazing quotes, but why? Your quotes and citations should be fully explained and analysed, your key terms, defined, and your conclusions, relevant to a broad audience.
*Note: a good source (as you know) is recent and peer reviewed!
5) Does the structure flow well?
Don't make us guess your argument. Make it easy for us to engage with your paper, by signposting your thesis in the introduction, and throughout the paper. Open each paragraph with a topic sentence and conclude with a transition sentence to the next paragraph. A well-articulated argument makes your paper clearer and stronger against counterarguments.
If you submit a paper that matches these criteria, you may avoid your vetter feeling like this:
... and instead leave them feeling like this:
Now that you have determined your essay (or essays – you can submit up to 2) is fit for submission, remember to remove any personal identification marks (your name, your institution’s name, the course title, etc.). It's time to head over to queuc.com/submit!
Now it’s out of your hands, and into ours!
Best of luck!