Professor Rogue’s Words of Wisdom on Citations for College Essays

11017610_439207669561918_657049086_nIf you don’t know this already, trust me – citations for your college essays are one of the most important elements of writing top-notch papers that will get you an A grade. Indeed, many professors, especially in English and the Humanities are incredibly nitpicky about citations for college essays, and will even dock large numbers of points for even the most minor errors in citation systems. If you’re worried about, or struggling with the implementation of a given citation style, you might just want to buy a custom essay, and leave that work to a professional. That said, however, and without writing an actual guide to writing citations for college essays, I’m going to provide you with a few tricks that might make your life, as it pertains to citations, much easier. I’m going to discuss MLA, Chicago, and APA citations, and I’m going to tell you why APA citations are the best when you’re writing a college essay.

Let’s get started with MLA citations – they are the bane of many undergraduates’ existence. Most commonly used in English literature classes as well in Humanities disciplines like History; MLA citations are based on what’s called a parenthetical system. That means that, after you list information which you found in a text, you should write something that looks a little bit like what will go right before this sentence’s period (Rogue, 1). In this case, let’s pretend that Rogue is my last name, and that 1 is the page number that this sentence is written on. What you’re basically doing, in making this type of citation, is saying that you got the information in the sentence or group of sentences preceding it on page 1 of an author with the surname Rogue. That’s pretty simple. The only problem with this system, and which drives me up a wall, is the need for page numbers. With MLA citations, you have to always note the page which you got your information from. That can be a real pain after you’ve read through a book, and forgot to flag the page which you got the information off of. But, if you’re forced to use MLA style for your college essay citations, you’re shit out of luck.

Moving forward to the Chicago style, it’s pretty similar to MLA, but actually has two variants. The first of these is called the footnote variant, and means that, instead of using a set of parentheses when citing your information, you use a footnote, and then place the bibliographic entry for the book or article you’re citing in the footnote. Like with MLA, you then add the page number to the end of the citation in the footnote. On the other hand, another variant of Chicago style is the author-date system. In this variant, you’re going to do something very similar to MLA by creating a set of parentheses like the one I showed you above for MLA (Rogue, 2015, 2). Evidently, Rogue is once again the surname of the author, the 2 is a reference to the page you found the information on, and 2015 refers to the year in which the work you’re citing was published. So, basically, it’s like MLA style with the added pain-in-the-ass of having to also find the year in which the work you’re citing was published. But, given that a lot of professors are assholes when it comes to college essay citations, make sure to check with your professor, if it’s not specified, as to whether they’re looking for the footnote or author-date variant.

Finally, the power and the glory of the APA system come out! I love APA parenthetical citations. Look at the end of this sentence (Rogue, 2015). That’s it – the author’s surname and the year in which the work was published. As you might be able to tell, APA is my favorite style for college essay citations. It’s simple, straightforward, and doesn’t require you to go back and find the damn page number that you’re referencing unless you’re making use of a direct quote, “in which case, your citation will look like the one which comes at the end of this sentence (Rogue, 2015: 3). APA is awesome. If you haven’t had time to read a book for your class, but you have access to a summary of it, use APA. Since you won’t need to use page numbers, you can get away with a skim of the book as you won’t have to actually know in which parts of the book the author says which things. While this might be dangerous in an upper-level class, where you might actually have to talk to your professor about your paper, it’s an easy-breezy way to make your life simpler in a large and low-level class.

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