Academic Writing Basics: The Average Length Of A College Term Paper
Writing an academic term paper for your college classes is a standard assignment given nearly every semester. Students often struggle with the length of the paper, especially when they are working on their first one. Once students learn how long the paper needs to be and what needs to be included in those pages, they have an easier time accomplishing the task. In most cases, this college writing project is simply a long version of the essay that students wrote in high school.
Length and What to Include
The average college term paper should be between five and seven pages. Those pages usually include at least two paragraphs per page. The paragraphs should be written in the typical essay style with topic sentences, supporting details, examples, and transitions. The sections in the project should include an introduction, background information, thesis supporting section, opposing arguments, and conclusion. These paragraphs have specific functions and lengths, too.
Breaking Down the Intro and Conclusion
The introduction and conclusion only need to be a paragraph each. They should be mirrors of each other in structure, but not in words. The beginning of the introduction should include a hook, followed by a bridge to the thesis, then the thesis. The conclusion should restate the thesis, then include some review from the paper. The end should reconnect back to the hook.
Opposing Arguments and Background Information
If your instructor requires that you include background information and/or opposing arguments, those sections only need to be a paragraph or two each. The background information should provide enough information to give the reader what he or she needs to fully understand your argument. The opposing argument section needs to include why your argument is right and how that argument is not valid. You should not insult the opposing argument, but treat it respectfully. It should look like you have researched and fully understand the opposing argument.
Body Paragraphs and Length
The section that supports your thesis should be the remainder of your term paper. Depending on the other sections you need to include, the body of your paper should be about three or four pages (or even more). The paragraphs need to have topic sentences that subtly refer back to the main argument you proposed in the introduction. The supporting details and examples need include references to quality research to show strong support for your argument. The paragraphs should each be highly focused.