Writing An MLA Format College Essay: A Free Tutorial

Students required to write a college essay are likely expected to follow the MLA formatting style. This style includes following a number of steps that help present your content with good structure and organization. Students have a number of options to consider when following this format. Your instructor may offer additional tips and advice on where to find more information.

This formatting style is known as one of the most common used for different types of writing. Yet, if you make a mistake it could hurt credibility of your paper. Fortunately, there are a few things you can remember to reduce this risk. You can find sample papers that follow this formatting style carefully for additional guidance. Here are a few points to help write your college essay using the MLA formatting style.

  • Ensure settings are correct for elements such as page margins, paragraph spacing, header details for author information, details related to your project such as title and professor name, and proper placement of works cited page at the end.
  • Margins for your paper should be set at one inch. You can do this by using page setup within your word processing program.
  • Have line spacing set for your paper double spaced. You can use the format section or tab within your word processing program to help you do this.
  • A header for your page should be set with page numbering automatic. The header will include your name (last name in some cases). Creating a header is done through the view tab or section of your word processing program.
  • Input details that are expected to be read on the first page. You will press enter after each piece of information is entered including your name, professor name, course, and date. This information can be aligned to the center of page and then include your title with proper formatting. Only capitalize words such as nouns or major words. Avoid using fancy fonts, boldface letters or italics.
  • After each paragraph press enter one time. You can press tab when you start a new paragraph. Remove any hyperlinks that show up throughout the text.
  • The works cited page includes following a basic format. Avoid using italics, boldface letters for the title of the page. Use hanging indent to present each citation by title of work, year of publication, author and other required details.