Finalize that Paper!
By Victoria Cryan
Now that the winter break has really kicked off you are hopefully looking at your past essays and wondering what would make them QUEUC ready. For your convenience, I have compiled a few tips for you as you prepare and edit your essay for the January 5th, 2016 submission deadline.
As you might know at QUEUC we have a 7-8 page requirement for submitting a paper. If you are like me and have an essay that is slightly under the 7-8 page requirement, it may be time to review any notes that you had when drafting your essay. Was there another point you wanted to make but didn’t? Was there another source you could have cited and incorporated into your argument? Did you fully explore all the points of your argument? If you feel like you have nothing to add, take another look at your thesis and imagine counterpoints to it and address them in your paper while disproving them. Remember that a good thesis is arguable and you should be able to come up with a counterargument.
If you are having the opposite problem and need to cut down your essay to meet the 7-8 page requirement, here are a few things to consider: What are the weakest parts of your argument? Are there any times when you repeated yourself or restated your argument/points needlessly? Do you necessarily need the entirety of long quotations (they can take up a lot of white space)? Is there a source or a paragraph you used only to meet the word or the page requirement of the assignment? If you have difficulties cutting it down because you feel as though all of the points are important, consider combining points and removing one or two pieces of evidence for each.
For all essay submissions long, short or within range, you should keep in mind these tips: If you have any notes from your professor from when they marked it, make sure you keep those in consideration and address any weaknesses or suggested improvements. If you don’t you could email them and ask if they could give you any suggestions. You should also ask a peer to review your essay and look for any weaknesses or mistakes; as the writer, you may feel like your points are being properly conveyed, another pair of eyes can catch the things you have missed or failed to properly explain. Although you probably have already checked your paper for any grammar or spelling errors, it doesn’t hurt to read it aloud one or two more times before you submit. Finally, put the paper away for a few days and come back to it. After staring at it for hours you will likely start missing things, coming back to it a few days later will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes.
From all of us at the QUEUC team, we wish you the best of luck with your editing and submissions and a relaxing holiday season. We hope to see you in March 2017.