Tutor profile: Matthew K.
I have a paper due and I have no idea where or how to start. Can you help me?
Every paper is different, but generally speaking, I have always found the best way to approach a paper is to create an outline and plan it out. Most papers or essays start with a prompt. That prompt should give you some direction that will allow you to choose a topic or answer a question of some sort. Once you have your overall topic or question you need a thesis - or the guiding point of the paper that you are trying to prove, disprove, or maintain. Your thesis should have subpoints to support it, and each subpoint should have examples. Your introduction of the topic and thesis statement should make up the first part of your paper, your subpoints and examples should make up most of the body of the paper, and it should end with a conclusion that adequately and concisely summarizes your thoughts and ties it back into the overall thesis. The length of each section depends on the overall page requirement of the paper; however, the body part should by and large be the longest portion of your essay. Once you have the various elements of your paper planned out it becomes significantly easier to write because you've created a roadmap for success.
Subject: Study Skills
Academically speaking, what do I do when what worked for me in high school isn't working in college?
If you struggle with this issue, believe me when I say you are not alone. In my 10 year career of working in higher education, this is the number one question I get from college students. The answer to this question is complex; however, to put it simply, you have to understand the new rules to the game. Often HS students think of college as a more complicated version of high school. To use a sports analogy, high school is junior varsity football and college is varsity football - a harder, more involved version of the same game. The truth of the matter, however, is that high school and college are not the same game at all - they are two completely different games with two completely different set of rules. And the reason students find themselves struggling when they transition from high school to college is because they try to play the new game by the old rules. It's like trying to play basketball by the rules of football. If you do that the only thing you'll get is benched, and in academia we call that academic probation. If you want to be successful in college you have to learn the new rules to the new game.
Subject: College Admissions
How do I make my college application stand out amongst thousands of other applicants?
This is a simple question with a very complex answer. In short, it depends on the school you're applying to and what they value. Most schools will look at the following when considering applicants, to varying degrees of value: standardized test scores, GPA, class rank, personal statement, classes taken. Other factors such as involvement, community service, athletics, etc. are considered to a lesser degree, but can still make a difference at some institutions. The key is to find out what the schools you're applying to value and build your application profile from there.
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