Creating a College Term Paper in MLA Format

At some time, every student will be asked to write a term paper. The paper will usually be requested in the syllabus, but sometimes it is held back and requested by the instructor. Also the instructor may for their own reasons, ask some students to write on a different subject. Whatever the result is, this will be requested, and the student will have to write one. So, how to do this? This article will be on the basics on creating a college term paper, in the MLA format.

  1. Formatting the Paper
  2. Structure
  3. Citations

Formatting the Paper

First, each page will have a margin of one inch all the way around, on 8.5 by 11 inch white paper. It will also be double spaced, and use 12 point font, any can be used, but most instructors prefer Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New. The start of each paragraph will have a half inch indention. There will be no extra spaces following punctuation marks. There should be a half inch header on each page, on the right hand side, is where the page number goes. A title page is only made when specifically requested. Each section of the essay will have a sub header titling the section.


Starting with the header, on the right hand side, should be the last name of the writer, followed one space by the page number. Use only Arabic numerals. On the top of the first page, left hand corner, should be; the student’s name, on the next line, the instructor’s name, next line, the class the essay is for, and last line, the date. Skip two lines, and then center the title of the essay.


Citing is very critical in any essay. Every time you use a reference, it has to be cited, even if it is not a direct quote. Every direct quote has to be placed within quotation marks. After using the reference, quoted or not, it will be cited.

In text for printed document. (Doe, 450)

Books; Doe, John. "Conservatory Years." Life of Franz Danzi. Anytown: That One Publishing, 1998. 450. Print.

Magazine/journal; Doe, Mary, and Janice Doe. "Non Volcanic Vents." Geology Today 25.10 (2014): 45-56. Print.

Newspaper; Willie, Slick. "Con Stock." Anytown Gazette 28 Aug. 2014, 210th ed., Financial sec.: C16. Print.

Website; O'Malley, Dr. Bugsey. "Benefits of the Jerusalem Cricket." Arthropod Researchers. University of Anytown, 4 July 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. .

Always refer to the MLA Handbook for more information.