MLA Format in Detail
This page contains general guidelines on how to properly format the headings on a paper using MLA format.
Without a Cover Page:
This is the most common way to begin an MLA essay because MLA does not require a cover page. Some instructors, however, may require one (see instructions and example below).
1. The Opening Page:
On the opening page or the first page, a comprehensive identification (sometimes referred to as the main heading) and essay title should appear. The identification includes the following information:
- Student/Author Name
- Instructor’s Name
- Class Name/Information
- Your Paper’s Due Date
- Font: choose an easy to read font such as Times New Roman
- Font Size: set the font size to be 12 throughout the paper, including the paper’s title. Never set the font size larger than 12.
- Margins: 1-inch for top/bottom/right/left throughout the paper
- Double-space: double-space throughout he paper. Don’t add extra spaces (besides the already used double-spacing) between headings, title and/ paragraphs. Important Note: In the newest Microsoft Word settings, adding extra spaces between paragraphs is a default setting and must be disabled by the writer; otherwise, extra spaces will be automatically created.
Sample of the opening page:
With a Cover Page:
The Modern Language Association (MLA) does not require a cover page, but some instructors may require it. In certain situations or assignments, a paper with a cover page can look more professional.
Instructors who require the paper to have a cover page usually provide specific instructions on what should be included. Here is the general MLA Format cover page. This page should include your school or university’s name (i.e. Aims Community College), a paper title, author name, class name, professor name and paper due date.
Here is how to format an MLA cover page:
- This page is double-spaced and the letters are centered.
- Type the name of your university or college.
- Skip to about one-third of the page and type the research paper title, including subtitle if there is one.
- Skip several lines and type student/author name, course name and number, instructor name and paper due date.
Sample MLA Format Cover Page:
Sample MLA Format Cover Page
Alternate First Page:
If an instructor requires a cover page, the identification heading on the first page should be omitted. Below is an example of the first page if a cover page is used. Last name and page number should appear on all pages, and the title should appear at the top of the first page only.
Sample MLA Format First Page with Cover Page
2. The Inner Pages:
For the pages that follow the first page, set the heading like this: instead of the whole heading, use the header feature in the word-processing program to include author last name and page number.
Inner Page Example:
Example of the heading for inner pages.
3. The Works Cited Page:
Every research paper must include a works cited page(s).
- The works cited list is placed at the end of the paper, beginning on a new page.
- The header for the works cited page(s) should be similar to the header for the inner pages, which includes author name and the page number at the top.
- Enter the title as “Works Cited” and place this title 1-inch from the top of the page, see more details in the example illustration below.
Example of the works cited page:
Example of the works cited page.
For moreiInformation on MLA works cited pages, including in-depth instructions for citing various sources, view MLA Works Cited Page.
A cover page is usually not required for all personal essays, but academic essays usually need a cover page. Though APA and MLA format cover pages differ significantly, a typical essay cover page will contain author’s name, as well as due date of the essay. A topic of the essay is a must as well as the name of the course it is submitted to. Some essay cover pages also includes the name of professor (or of any other person/group of persons), educational establishment etc.
There are usually requirements as to the font and spaces in the cover page of an essay, so study them carefully before submitting either final electronic or printed version of your essay.
Thus, in order to write a perfect essay and meet the requirements as to format and content, it is necessary to make preparations and study the requirements carefully. Sure, it takes some time, but you will be rewarded for your attention and scrupulousness. The information below will certainly help aspiring essay writers, as well as senior students, who already have experience in essay writing.
Quick Navigation through the Essay Cover Page:
MLA Essay cover page example (Cick the Image to Enlarge)
In writing a cover page, you always need to follow the specifications set by your professor. He or she may require you to use shaded paper or insert a graphic or even write a quotation on the essay cover page. But the main variations in style and format will depend on whether you are writing in MLA or APA research paper format.
The essentials of MLA essay cover page are the following:
1. This page is double spaced and the letters are centered horizontally.
2. The name of the university or college is placed just below the top margin.
3. The essay title should be placed one-third of the page down from the top and written in a different font size. It may be followed by a subtitle
4. The word “by” may be placed under the title. Usually this word is 2 double spaces from the rest. Note, if you do the cover page in MLA format “by” is not required.
5. Then goes the name of the author, which is usually placed several lines upper from the bottom of the page.
6. It is followed by the name of the course or course number.
7. The name of professor.
8. Finally comes the date of submission.
The positioning listed above is for MLA which is the prevalent style used for humanities and social sciences .
APA Cover page (Cick the Image to Enlarge)
In APA format you will need to place a short version of the title near the upper right corner of the cover page followed by the page number (1 of course). This is called a “running header”.
As well as in MLA format the essay title should be placed one-third of the page down from the top. You should write your short title first, put a colon and provide you full title underneath.
The name of the author is usually several lines down the title.
And at the bottom of the APA cover page comes the the name of the course or course number, the name of professor, and the date of submission.
If you need to make a cover page, you must be certain to apply your aesthetic taste for choosing the font and font size and distribution of elements. This first page should be formal, pleasing and appropriate to the tone and topic of your essay. Yes, fonts, word placement and spacing can create moods too. Remember, the cover page, if present, will precede the opening paragraph of your thesis. In this way it will take over some of the impact from your opening paragraph, so be sure to make it impressive.
As it was already mentioned, you will probably have to make several samplings with placement, positioning and font before you get your final version. Tinted paper, frames and other light embellishments used mutedly and with taste will enhance the effect of the page and very possibly your grade. A skillfully done cover page is not just physical protection of the paper, but a reminder of your affords to people handling your article.
Very often, when buying a book we first have a closer look at a cover page. Is it intriguing? Is it interesting and colorful? Sometimes it happens that the cover page of the book is more interesting than the book itself. The same concerns essay writing. A cover page of an essay is the “face” of its author. Although the cover page format does not leave much space for creative approach, you still can be creative when deciding on the title of your paper or in writing a cover letter for your text. A cover page should usually have such standard elements as author’s name, essay topic, professor’s name, number or the name of the course. Many students (even good ones) pay little or no attention to cover page format. As a result they have their grades lowered just because of inconsistency with the cover page requirements. It is very sad to fail getting “A” grade just for using the wrong font or failure to write course number. Never underestimate the importance of all essay requirements, including requirements to cover page! Your excellent grade may fly away if there are mistakes in the essay cover page.
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Essay Title Page
Essay title page refers to cover page. In fact, the term cover page originates from the times when essays were submitted in a written form, and there had to be a page that covered the other pages. Essay title page is often considered author’s face (literally, of course). Any mistakes in essay title page may change attitude of your professor to the essay you have written (even in case you did a great job).
Essay Cover Page Format
Student who do not pay due attention to essay cover page format usually get discouraged when receiving grades for their essays. Indeed, it is very discouraging not to get the highest grade just for using the wrong font or spacing in your essay cover page. Many students consider cover page to be just a formality, while there are professors who are very strict about these things. So, in order to avoid problems, study requirements as to the style (APA, MLA, etc) and your essay cover page format.
The format of your thesis cover page for Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD thesis also has some special requirements. First, there should be stated that it is submitted “in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree”. Second, there should be stated the year of submission instead of the due date at the bottom of the page.
College Essay Cover Page
Unlike high school essays, college essay cover page has to meet requirements set by admission committee, professors or lecturers. Requirements for college essay cover page differ from college to college, and they also depend on what reference style is used in essay. So, once again check requirements and norms in order to write a perfect essay. This especially concerns college students who pursue serious career goals.
Essay Cover Page Template
In the age of the Internet and information it is really easy to find any information related to essay writing. If you have any doubts as to your essay cover page, just spend some time on-line and get yourself essay cover page template which you can use in your essay. Using such a template you will only have to enter your name, essay topic, name of your professor, course number and other relevant information.
Essay Cover Letter
Essay cover letter is often mixed up with essay cover page. A cover letter contains summarized information on essay topic and studied problems. If you need to write a cover letter for your paper, resist the temptation to copy-paste text from conclusion or any abstracts of your essay to your cover letter. Use different wording, as in fact you should make the cover letter the most interesting part of your essay. Create some intrigue, so that readers would be eager to read on. Get your professor or admission committee interested in what you have written. Interest to your essay means interest to your personality. Nicely written essay cover letter with draw interest to your text, which will contribute to your positive image as a student/applicant. This will be half of your success.
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