Ace College Writing

The how-to guide to write a great "summative reflection," and more importantly, how to explore the success (or failure) of your writing, while avoiding the sketchy guy at the library who compulsively picks up his coffee, puts it down, and walks in circles mumbling like a crazy person. This step-by-step guide is an incredible insight into precisely how to both ace the final paper in College Writing 112/113, as well as a great guide to ignoring crazy people in the workplace.


  1. Make an outline. This will make your first real draft incredibly more organized and fluid, with more structure and body than a simple freely written first draft may be. An outline in some cases is even considered a first draft, so that is an added bonus. One should look at what kind of direction they want for their paper, considering every detail for the final product. What is the theme of their paper? What is the main idea? What parts do you want to get across most? Does some of your topic connect with modern issues? Can you speculate with any certainty about the future of your material? And of course: Who is your audience?
  2. Tape your outline to the side of your monitor and start writing furiously, glancing at it when in need of guidance. Also keep track of where that skeevy guy is when you glance up, you never know when the circles he's walking in may come within feet of you.
  3. Remember that through your outline you should be able to get some fantastic transitions, where the last sentence in one paragraph is completely congruous with the first sentence of the next paragraph, like this one: “The advent of technology played a huge part in this and helped fuel the growth in political satire. [IP] Radio was the first passive medium to really reach out to people.‿(“Satire in the News‿, by Jack Schultz) It does a great job because the last sentence of the first paragraph refers to the dawn of electronics and the technological revolution, and the first one in the second paragraph refers to the radio, one of the first widely available communicative electronic mediums.
  4. Keep in mind that another great thing about creating an outline is that in your first run through of thinking about all that you want to talk about and setting it in an outline format, you can jot down lines and phrases that you want to include in your final paper, with such golden phrases as "lackluster ivories" (I'll Never Touch Those Ivories Again, by Jack Schultz) or "balding grumpy old semi-naturalist" (The Vast Cross-Generational Barrier: An Old Man's 'Final Frontier', by Jack Schultz). One doesn't even need to find the perfect wording the first time around, but referencing the image will help keep your writing from being too journalistic.
  5. Note: Finally, an outline will help your conclusion, which is often the hardest part of a paper. It is a place for you to look at all your research and make whatever inferences you feel are relevant, where your voice will shine most. The conclusion often makes or breaks a paper. One can speculate on the future of the subject at hand, or some possibilities for resolution, or even giving an emotional reaction. Providing some emotional or passionate perspective often makes it more interesting and gives some personality to what might be an otherwise unemotional piece of writing. "To hell with the cracks in the sidewalk. The Colbert Report is on." (The Vast Cross-Generational Barrier: An Old Man's 'Final Frontier', by Jack Schultz).
  6. Have a very strong thesis. The thesis is what will receive the heaviest consideration from your teacher, and can mean the difference between a passing paper, and a great paper.


  • One of the things that the outline will not provide much help with is the accuracy of proper citation format. One should consult an online guide or a writing book to learn how to properly and accurately cite one's sources. This will mainly help with research papers, but citations are a necessary in all kinds of writing, and can break up your rhythm, particularly in very monotonous writing.

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