Where to Go for Help with a College Paper

A Little Assistance Now Can Prove Extremely Valuable Later

Knowing how to write a college paper isn't something you just figure out one day; it takes time and practice. Even if you were one of the top writers at your high school, the standards are different in college.

Unfortunately, because the stakes for each assignment are so high (i.e., a significant percentage of your grade) in college classes, you don't necessarily have the luxury of doing poorly - even once. Students need help writing a paper and getting good grades. Ideally, you'll begin writing a college paper well in advance of the night before it's due. But if that's your goal, where exactly can you go for help?

Your Professor

Sure, your professor is the one who will let you know what grade you earned with your paper. But that doesn't mean he or she can't help you along the way. If you're unsure about the assignment, want feedback about your thesis or topic idea, or want to brainstorm about the paper, your professor is perhaps your best resource. Make an appointment and have a few ideas in advance so that you'll know what to talk about during your meeting.

Your Teaching Assistant (TA)

At some schools or in some classes, your TA (instead of your professor) will be grading your paper. Fortunately, TAs are there to be an additional resource during the course. Don't be afraid to approach your TA the same way you would your professor: make an appointment and ask for feedback about what you're planning for your paper.

Conversely, if you're confused or just stuck on the assignment, don't be afraid to talk about that as well.

A Peer Writing Adviser

Some campuses offer peer writing advisers to help other students with their assignments. They can be a great resource because they're skilled writers themselves, they've been through training about how to help others with their writing, and they often know the skinny about certain professors or classes. (For example, they might know that your professor loves -- or hates -- when students use a lot of quotations from the text.) Whether you make an appointment or just drop in, seeing a peer writing adviser can be a smart choice.

A Tutor

Your college or university might have tutors available for free or you might want to explore hiring someone to help you. (And it's worth asking yourself: Is it cheaper for me to hire a tutor for a few hours a month or pay to retake this class if I fail?) You can find an essay writing service reddit or other social media that provides trustworthy reviews. You're in college to learn, after all, so there's no shame in making that happen. Tutors do what they do because they are particularly skilled in a subject or field. Utilize what they have to offer so that you can improve, too.

A Friend

Sometimes, if you're stuck on a paper, you just need a new set of eyes to look things over. An intelligent and honest friend can read (or even talk) through what you have so far and give some constructive criticism. Remember: "It looks great!" isn't helpful feedback. Pick someone who can break down your ideas and let you know what's working -- and what's not.


Never underestimate that brain of yours! If you need or want help with a paper, it's worth remembering that you can be a good source of information, too. Look back through your notes. Look over your reading. Take a break for a few days from your assignment. Then read what you have and be honest with yourself about what you think your paper's strengths and weaknesses are. If you still find you need help from an outside source, you'll at least have some understanding about where you're struggling and how someone else can best assist you.

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