Getting to Grips with University Life and Culture
Getting used to living independently, the number of activities, clubs and groups on offer and managing the study and reading loads takes some time and perhaps the most challenging aspect is the difference between the teaching style and the work that is set when compared with school.
Generally a student at university is expected to organise and manage their workload along with the rest of life to make sure they do the reading and get the essays and term papers in on time.
It is important to understand the difference between essays and term papers and there are a number of online services where it is possible to get samples of free term papers and free essays written by experienced academics or writers that will help with this.
A careful study of examples of each will help the student to understand the difference, the quality of detail and what is likely to be expected. Although there are term papers available on just about every subject under the sun the student should not be tempted to copy great chunks into their own work – this is called plagiarising and it is completely unethical to pass off someone else’s work as the writer’s own.
An experienced lecturer will spot this easily as the student’s writing style and that of the professional is likely to be clearly different.
The difference between an essay and a term paper is partly about the length of each and the work involved and partly about their different purposes.
Essays are generally shorter in length and normally address a specific subject or topic while a term paper will require more reading around the subject, more note taking and thinking in order to set out a case, citing sources and examples both for and against, to answer a question.
Each is a form of analysis, of course, and both are set as a means for lecturers to assess how well the student has grasped their subject, their powers of critical thinking and analysis and their ability to set out information logically and clearly.
Using model papers is a good way of understanding the basics of each and is a good starting point for the student to plan their own work.
Initially for either essays or term papers information needs to be gathered and notes taken of relevant points, quotes, the source and page, all of which will make it easier to organise the information and provide the bibliography that has to accompany a written paper.
The next step is to think out the sequence of the argument to be made and to then make a plan – brief notes of content for the opening, for the main text and the conclusion.
Most important of all is to then stick to the plan when writing and try not to wander off the point.
Finally editing and checking for consistent layout of headings and sub headings, spelling and grammar will give the work a final polish and demonstrate care and attention to detail.
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