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How to Make a Cover Page for a College Paper


Title page formatting is probably the last thing on your mind as that big term paper deadline draws closer, but a professional cover page can go a long way in impressing your evaluator. The most common styles for college term papers are the Modern Language Association, Chicago Manual of Style and American Psychological Association formats, more commonly known simply as MLA, CMS and APA. As with most things in college, your instructor has the final word. If your instructor has no preference, consider any one of these styles or even downloading a template from Microsoft Office.

APA Style

Start an APA title page by inserting a header in Microsoft Word. Flush to the left, type in the phrase "Running head:", followed by a shortened version of your title in all caps. If, for example, your title is "Henry Ford and the Making of the Modern Workplace," your abbreviated title could be "MODERN WORKPLACE." Flush to the right in the header, include a page number. Your title page is page 1. Centered in the middle of the page, include the full title in standard title case (upper and lowercase letters), followed by your name and the university's name. Each item should be centered from left to right, on its own line and double-spaced. Double-space between lines of your title if it takes up more than one line.

CMS Style

CMS style starts with your title in all caps, centered and positioned one third of the way down the page. In Word, you can use the Vertical Alignment box under the Page Layout tab to position text in a fixed vertical location. If your paper has a subtitle, place a colon after the title and the subtitle on the line below the main title. One third of the way up from the bottom of the page, include your name, the name of the course and the due date for the paper. Type in each item on its own line and single-space between items.

MLA Style

MLA style, frequently used in the liberal arts and humanities, doesn't require a title page at all. Instead, the first page of the paper includes some special formatting followed by the text. In the upper right, create a header with your last name followed by a space and the page number. In the upper left of the first page type in your full name, your professor's name, the course name and the date. Write each item on its own line and double-space between items. After the date, double-space and then write in the title of your paper. The title should be in title case and centered without any italics, bold or underlining. Then double-space and start with the text of your paper, using double spacing throughout.

Word Templates

If you're not much for page layout tools and formatting options, Microsoft offers Word users a number of free templates for term paper title pages (see Resources). You can download these templates by clicking on the "File" tab and selecting "New." Browse through the templates on the opening window or search for a specific style in the search box. When you find one you like, click on the template to see a preview and then click on the "Create" button to load the template in Word. In addition to templates with academic formatting already in place, Word also has templates with more eye-catching, illustrated designs. Make sure you check with your professor before using any of these, as academic paper formats are usually far more stark and straightforward. Whichever you choose to use, templates already include a format skeleton; all you have to do is enter your text over the placeholders on the page.

About the Author

Edward Mercer began writing professionally in 2009, contributing to several online publications on topics including travel, technology, finance and food. He received his Bachelor of Arts in literature from Yale University in 2006.

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