In these increasingly competitive days when employers and further academic institutions have their pick of applicants, obtaining the highest mark possible is critical.
If employers have several application forms on their desks, and one has a first class degree whilst the remainder have a 2 (i), it is natural that employers will be attracted to the person with the higher class degree.
You may have taken hours researching and writing the essay but a further 30 minutes spent improving its appearance is time well spent. Yet often students are so relieved to have actually finished the essay that scant attention is given to its layout.
Although there is an old saying of not judging a book by its cover, it is generally accepted that people are influenced by first appearances.
Imagine you are house hunting and the garden of one house is unkempt with junk in the garden whilst another looks like Kew Gardens. Most people would instinctively choose to look at the house with the well kept garden presuming that the outside will mirror the inside. Their presumption may be false but the
important thing is that the decisions is made. The owner of the house with the neglected garden may miss out on a viewing because of the state of the garden when in fact the interior may be in pristine condition.
So what can you do about it? It goes without saying that a spelling and grammar check are important. Always bearing in mind that a spell check will not necessarily indicate if an incorrect word is used.
The essay should begin with a well defined introduction of a few sentences.The structure of the essay should be consistent. If you start by indenting paragraphs, make sure you adhere to this throughout. Similarly maintain the same referencing, so do not mix Harvard and Oxford. Make sure that you have used the referencing style preferred by your college or university. Ensure that footnotes are in the same type face and that the type face used is universally applied depending on whether it is text or footnotes.
Pay attention to the way you cite things in the footnotes so that it is consistent. The same applies to the bibliography. When compiling the bibliography, make sure you insert the edition, year and publisher.
Academic work also looks more appealing if you right justify it. It will look much neater and self contained.
Make sure that if you are referring to the European Convention on Human Rights several times, after the first reference, add (“ECHR”) to avoid lengthy repetition.
If you are writing coursework, make sure that there are clear headings to break the work up into different topics and aspects.
Read the essay one last time and delete any repetition or meaningless words whilst ensuring you adhere to the word limit.