- By Jason Bacot
- Published 02/23/2011
Term papers aren’t assigned as much at the high school level as they used to be. One of the main reasons for this is that teachers are overwhelmed by larger class sizes and by the various metrics and testing requirements they have to fulfill. So if you have a teacher that assigns you a term paper, he or she is actually doing you a favor by requiring you to develop your thinking process and write a cohesive paper rather than simply having you regurgitate factual material. You probably have a dozen things you’d rather do than work on a term paper. Maybe it’s time for softball practice to start, or maybe your character just reached level 80 in World of Warcraft. But if you plan to pursue your education beyond high school, having the term paper in your repertoire will be extremely valuable to you down the line. And believe it or not, you can learn a lot about yourself from the exercise of writing a term paper.
Your role as author of a term paper is to instruct, inform, educate, or persuade. If it’s your first term paper in English class, your job is most likely to examine a particular aspect of a famous author or a famous literary character. And in order to make a worthwhile examination of some aspect of literature, you will not only have to be informed about it, you will also have to form your own opinions about it and back up your conclusions with logic and re
search. The end product will indirectly reflect many things about you: your personal experiences, ethnicity, age, and personal beliefs. Your background affects how you see the world, and how you see the topic of your term paper. Don’t discount your own unique point of view when it comes to drawing conclusions from your term paper research. Any good teacher will encourage students to use their own viewpoint and develop their own conclusions on the subject they are writing about. If there is one key to success when writing a term paper it is this: do not fall behind. For example, your first draft is just that, a first draft. Don’t dawdle on making it “look better” and fall behind on the next step in the process, which is tightening arguments and revising your writing. If you make it a point to keep up with each step of the process as defined by your teacher, you’ve fought half the battle already. Even if your outline isn’t as perfect as you’d like, turn it in on time. You will have the chance to revise it if necessary. By keeping up, you show your teacher that you are really giving it your best shot, and any good teacher will appreciate this.
A term paper may seem like the last thing you need when you have tests in other classes, extracurricular activities, and perhaps other things in your life like a job. But if you plan to continue your education beyond high school, mastering the term paper now will make things far easier as you pursue your higher education.