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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I’m a liberal arts graduate…

I did my undergraduate degree at Bond University, a rather prestigious university on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. Despite the inviting prestige of the number one law school in Australia and instead of doing a 7 year medical degree in 4, I made the same decision as the majority of prospective Bond students – I enrolled in a bachelor of arts. The degree that is more commonly referred to as a bachelor of bull-shhhh(insert profanity here).

When you do an arts degree, as I’m sure most people are aware, you can choose to major in a wide variety of subjects. The list of majors is literally as long as Hagrid’s beard;  you could choose psychology, language, education, journalism, fine art, communications, or criminology, among many more things. Regardless of what major or combination of majors you choose, I declare that the bachelor of arts will teach all and any students trapped in its powerful glow three important life skills. The three secrets of an arts graduate are as follows:

1. The cunning skill of ‘stretching the truth’

The first thing a liberal arts degree will teach you is how to ‘stretch the truth’, also known as the ability to bull$%*t. You no longer have to feel uncomfortable when you are unprepared in a meeting because your liberal arts degree will teach you how to fake confidence. You no longer have to worry or feel anxious in social interactions because your liberal arts degree will teach you how to how to stretch the truth. You no longer have to worry about competing with other students for jobs because your liberal arts degree will teach you how to convert your mediocre looking resume into a high class, respectable, professional transcript. Your liberal arts degree will teach you the power to bulls$&*t through life, and this is an important skill to have.

2. The ability to ‘wing it’

Upon graduating from your liberal arts degree, you will never have to sit down and spend three hours researching that 30 minute presentation. Forget about preparing yourself for that one o’clock meeting, you now have the power to ‘wing it’ thanks to your liberal arts degree training. Turn up five minutes before your presentation with nothing planned, employ a little of those skills we talked about in point 1 and you will have your boss impressed and clapping in no time.

3. Time management

Time management was probably the most valuable lesson I learnt in my undergraduate arts degree and this skill has proved to be extremely valuable in life. What do I mean by time management? When you’re attending a class, if the topic of that particular lecture/seminar/tutorial has nothing to do with your assessment pieces, there are no participation marks, it’s not going to help you with your final exam or essays, and there is nothing remotely appealing or interesting about the topic then you don’t go. It’s as simple as that,   y o u     d o     n o t      g o, and that’s the number one secret of a liberal arts student.

 

That, my friends and colleagues, is the three secrets of the college arts graduate and not at all the reason why I am sitting at my computer writing this instead of working at my fancy graduate job earning big dollars………