Why college essay heading matters
Someone may get surprised, but coming up with an effective college essay heading is sometimes the most difficult part of working on the paper itself. It plays a great role because the title makes your essay stand out and gives the reader a good reason to read it, while also giving a brief sense of the overall content. Since heading consists of only several words, it may be hard to reach this effect, as explaining something usually requires more text. However, making a strong title foresees that you concentrate on three essential elements of an average title: the trick, the key words and the source. Typically this structure is especially needed for scientific research papers, but it's useful anyway in any kind of writing, even narrative or persuasive essays. Keep reading to learn about the college essay heading more.
Understanding the structure of the title
As a rule, the structure is common for all kinds of college papers. Below, we provided a list of the basic elements and later we will discuss in more detail each of them.
- The hook. Even though this is kind of a creative elements, it is also used in academic writing. This is exactly what makes a paper title catchy and draws attention to the work.
- The key terms. Throughout your paper you use different kinds of scientific or other terms. Choose the most important and make them a part of your title. They will give your reader a sense of the content.
- The source. Citing the source is important to introduce the place to which the content of your paper is related. It can be the name of a country or a person, or even the name of a book or a painting, etc.
Learning to use the keywords and images
While this may seem easy at first sight, to use a certain key word in the right context, with the right additional words and make them illuminate your idea from the right point of view, is quite a challenging task. Here, you need to consider the type of your work, is it a creative narrative writing, academic paper or a dissertation. In order to make your college essay heading stand out, you need to use terms that would draw reader's attention to it.
At the same time, your key words are not necessarily scientific terms. For example, if you are writing a critical paper about a piece of literature, you can freely use words that can give a glimpse about your main judgement. However, make sure you don't unfold all your ideas in only few words. There still has to be an intrigue to hook the reader's attention. Sum up all your text and try to say what it's about in three words. What would introduce it, while keeping a little secret behind? These two or three words are exactly what you need.
Another way to find out proper key words is to reread your introduction or the summary. In most of cases, they hold a briefly explained idea of the paper in a very clear and specific manner. You can steal your key words from there and put them into your college essay heading.
Having said that, there is also one more trick to make your title hilarious. It's about using a weird or very original image, something that nobody would expect. This kind of trick is often used in creative writing and also in the names of the movies. For example a unique image can be used like this: “The day the planet stopped: the new beginning of life”.
How to play words or use a quote in a title
First thing you should consider is whether your paper holds any quotes. If it does, you need to choose the one that sounds best or your favorite quote. If there isn't any quote in your paper, you can look for it in other sources, if appropriate. Make sure the chosen quote sums up your paper and enlightens the main theme.
As for playing words, you can use some sort of a cliché and restate it. Cliche is something that knows almost everyone, so if you put it into the title in a new original way, people may find it familiar, but they will also want to know the hidden intention behind it. More than that, a good word play can give a great advantage. This is how your professor will know that you have a creative approach to managing things.
Other ways to create a nice heading
If you are not really into all of the previous methods, there also others, which you may find easier or more appropriate. Take a look at the following:
- Drawing some inspiration from the content of your essay. Obviously your title needs to fit in the content, so you may just think of your personal impression, emotions you feel about the discussed problem and describe them in the heading.
- Name your heading after a person in the story or a particular event. If there is a person or a situation that plays the most significant role in your college paper, you can use it as a title.
- Pick up a heading inspired by the culmination in the content of your paper. If there is any particular event that is in the middle of all discussion, you may use it as a heading.
- If you're writing a critical analysis on a piece of literature or a movie, you may pick up your favorite character and name your title after him or her. Also, consider using the name of the piece of writing or the movie itself as a part of your title.
- Is there any specific line in the story that you're writing about? You can draw inspiration from this line and write a couple of words in the title giving a sense of that particular line.
What if you still don't have any title
That's not such a big deal, you can go other way. For example, go online and do some research on papers related to the topic that you covered in yours. There must be many people who used to explore the same issue, so by reading their works and looking at their titles you can find something really useful. Also, you can check out your personal library. Look at the books on your shelves. What titles do they have? What kinds of titles make you want to read that or another book? All these factors play significant role. You can use books that are in absolutely no way related to your topic, but think how the author managed to create such a title that motivates you to take that book and read it right away.
And finally, consider using an allusion. For example, you can get inspired by such source as simply a song playing on a radio, a slogan that is used by a fashion brand or even your favorite joke. Creative people say that inspiration is everywhere, you just have to open your eyes and see it.
Common mistakes to keep away from
- Create a title that fits the genre. It is important that it sounds like it belongs to your work: the same mood, the same style and format etc.
- Keep it short. Some students fail only because their title is too long. Besides, most of successful and impactful titles are brief, while long headings are hard to even remember.
- Make sure it is interesting. There is nothing so harmful for the effectiveness of your paper as a boring title. We suggest using imagery and creative language.
- Be careful when using alliteration. Don't overuse words with the same letters and make sure your title is easy to pronounce.
Make your work properly organized
Despite the fact that title is the first thing your reader will see, it doesn't mean that you need to begin directly with title. On the contrary, you have to write your paper first, reread it and make sure it covered all of the questions, and only then you can proceed to creating the heading. The thing is, before you know what is written in your paper, how can you give it a name? You need to know the content perfectly, as well as your main idea and the purpose. Taking into consideration what we said earlier, the content of your paper itself is a good source of inspiration to create a title.
As a matter of fact, most of the papers should be written from the middle of it, which is the body part. When it's ready, the introduction or the thesis statement, as well as the title can be created. Keep in mind that the idea what title to use can come to your mind in the process of writing.
How successful writers create their headings
Every writer who succeeded in writing various kinds of papers sooner or later realizes that there is a specific list of functions that titles usually have. If your title completes all these functions, you can be sure that you did it the best way possible. Take a look at what functions your headline has to fulfill:
- Getting attention. Primarily, a catchy title must get the audience's attention.
- Selecting proper audience. It means that your title will define what kind of people will read the paper. Deep title for people who love to dive deep into serious issues, funny titles for those who are looking for reading a piece that would entertain them.
- Delivering particular message. No matter how small your title is, it has to deliver some message to the audience. More that that, it has to be a complete message, not just a mysterious statement.
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