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.
It is clear what recruitment committees and college boards are looking for when they read a scholarship essay: they seek students who can express themselves eloquently, effectively, and correctly.
A scholarship essay must impress examiners with its topic choice, eloquence, relevance, correct references, signs of high intelligence, and superb mastery of writing and reasoning skills. Also, examiners are looking for students that are engaged in their community and have intriguing personalities—not just students that do nothing but study.
Steps for Writing a Scholarship Essay
- When the topic or question is decided upon, you must carefully create the main plan. It is key to decide upon the length, number of sources and citations, and the amount of time to be spent on research, drafting, and editing.
- The language to use in the planning stage must be flawless and unequivocal. The terminology and vocabulary must be derived from research—that is, the sources and other material gathered for the essay.
- List a number of points to help you decide which facts to use in support of your argument—which data can be considered relevant and how to analyze it.
- Decide on the citation style. Never deviate or confuse styles.
- Do not forget to write down the goals or aims of the essay. This is a competitive task. You are aiming to write a better essay than anyone else applying to your chosen institution in order to catch the attention of examiners.
- Research the topic you want to present in your essay.
- Write a first draft, second draft, then a final draft.
- Edit your essay at least three times with the help of a tutor or respected colleague.
Key Points to Consider
- When students decide they want to receive a scholarship at a college or university, they have to know that they are entering a competitive field. There are only a few scholarships given out and there are thousands of applicants.
- A solid and relevant topic must be found. It must be a little different from all other topics and must point to a number of easily-accessible references. A scholarship essay without exceptional references that are up-to-date, appropriate, and significant cannot hope to impress a board of selective examiners.
- When a topic is found, materials in the form of books, magazines, journals, and other forms of information, such as audio or video files, must be assembled in an organized and logical fashion. It is much better to have too much material to refer to than too little.
- More than in any other scholarly work, a scholarship essay is an instrument of exposure and demonstration. One must expose one’s knowledge, and demonstrate evidence of covered ground, and material being understood and interpreted correctly.
- A large amount of notes must be taken during the reading process. The notes must be in clear language, must make sense, and must be organized properly.
- All text must be supported by properly formatted citations and referencing, using APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles.
- A proven notetaking system is best, because with it, a student can keep all observations and rationale in sequential order. Strict organization is essential, and time management must be adhered to if the scholarship essay is to be successful.
- The key points of the research based on the topic must be sought, planned, and reported. Each paragraph of the report must deal with one of these points, and elaborate on what can be found in the reference sources.
- Deciding on a writing style is the easiest part: all the writing must be academic in style, and accurate. It is a mistake to use conversational language.
Do and Don’t
An ambitious student who wants to garner a scholarship must be twice as careful as regular students, and work twice as hard. It is useful to put a checklist of this nature in a prominent place to avoid submitting a scholarship essay that will not defeat the competition.
- Make sure your topic is relevant, up-to-date, interesting, and engaging.
- The language needs to match the argumentation style of your selection. Use a philosophical stance for humanities subjects, and an objective observational style for science subjects, for example. Never fall into colloquialisms or slang in an effort to be more persuasive.
- An engaging scholarship essay necessarily appeals to the examiners’ emotions, intellect, and memory. It must also present a new way of reasoning or findings.
- It is a mistake to make points that are mere opinions. All statements must be factual and supported by citations.
- Do not omit direct quotes from relevant texts, as well as suitable paraphrasing. Ensure that all your references are current and suitable for the subject and theme.
- Avoid driving a point home too emphatically. It is enough to support your claims with evidence without repetition, exaggeration, or hyperbole.
- Too many negative sentences can turn a successful essay into a destructive argument. A scholarship essay is constructive: analysis, interpretation, and questioning need not be critical of a person, piece of work, or philosophy.
- Avoid presenting facts and data while also omitting a clear and well-thought out thesis argument. Make a logical outline or plan, and adhere to its principles.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic scholarship essay writing tips and rules, you can check out our scholarship essay samples to link theory with practice.
Sign up and we’ll send you ebook of 1254 samples like this for free!
- 80+ essay types
- 1000+ essay samples
- Pro writing tips