College is a lot of fun, but it sure isn’t easy. For the first time in your life, it’s all on you. Your professors and your parents won’t make you get up for class or get your papers done on time, and they might not even warn you when you’re in danger of flunking a class or missing a huge assignment. A lot about college’s academic standards can make life hard on regular people!

And one of the worst things about college is the dreaded paper. Essays were bad enough in high school, but the college term paper or thesis is a different animal entirely. Even essays of a more regular sort tend to be longer and more demanding in college than they are elsewhere.

Papers can be the bane of a college student’s existence, but don’t panic just yet — there’s still a lot that you can do to make your papers better and succeed in school. Here are a few methods you might want to try.


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Don’t go it alone

So you’re not great at writing essays — that’s OK! You don’t need to do this all on your own. In fact, you’ll have a hard time getting better at writing and getting the grades that you want if you don’t team up with someone who knows essays a little better than you do.

You could start a study group with your peers — study groups are proven ways to get better in school. Or you could head to the writing center at your school, if your campus has one (it probably does — check your college’s website if you’ve forgotten where to find the writing center).

Or you can turn to the experts who are waiting for you online. You can get your paper edited and improved by an essay service, and you might learn a thing or two by looking at the changes that they make.

Learn your grammar

Yeah, this is annoying, but trust us when we say that grammar is essential. Poor grammar will hurt your grade in a direct way in many cases, but it will also do something more frustrating. It will cause your professor to take your writing less seriously.

Grammar is more important than you might think. It can hurt your reputation with your professors and can even keep you away from your dream job. So take the time to learn grammar online or read a grammar book. Keep a guide by your desk so that you can quickly check mistakes.


Take more time

Essays are more stressful when you rush through them. You should be working hard on your essays, but not all at once. You can do a draft over a couple of nights, then take a break and revisit it with fresh eyes for editing purposes.

All of this is a whole lot easier to do if you start early and give yourself as much time as possible to do your research and writing. You’re not the only college student who procrastinates — an incredible 95 percent of all students do — but overcoming the impulse will help you write better essays.

If you don’t feel that you’ll be able to finish in time, pipe up and ask for an extension (before the essay is due, of course). This will require you to talk to the professor, of course, but that’s something you should be doing anyway — which brings us to our next section.


Talk to the professor

Talking to a professor about your grades is not always a pleasant experience, but it can be crucial to reaching your academic goals. Here’s a tip: Talk to the professor before the essay is due, not after. Your professor might be able to offer you some tips and help you get a better grade next time. You might even get some inside information (professors may look for different things in essays, so it helps to know what your professor’s pet peeves and obsessions are). Plus, it won’t hurt to let the professor know that you’re trying and that you are taking his or her class seriously.

Essays are not necessarily ever going to be fun for you, but you can make them far less miserable by honing your skills a bit. Get the help you need, take your time, and work hard! You’ll be an essay whiz in no time.