What is a college paper heading

A college paper heading is the array of data located in the upper part of your essay. It’s a quintessential part of your document because it formally states information about the author, grade, college, professor, and more.

In short, it’s the date and name you write at the top of a test. Nevertheless, while most high school students are allowed to choose whatever font and style they prefer, college requires a much more strict approach.

Furthermore, in high school, you may have very few research papers to head. Alternatively, most colleges expect you to head every document you put together because they become official proof of your academic progress. For this reason, we are dedicating the following article: heading of college paper.

In this editorial, you’ll find a thorough step-by-step guide to heading college paper. The information will help your academic endeavors even if you get help from a college paper writer or a freelance professional.

Step by step guide to head a college paper

Before picking up a pen, you should know that there is more than one paper style. Having multiple options means that your professor can ask you to use one or another for different essays. Being able to mix it up means that you are capable, attentive, and organized.

The two main college paper header styles are:

  • Modern Language Association, MLA, is the most used citation style, specific to the Humanities.
  • American Psychological Association, APA, is specific to Sciences, Education, and Psychology as the name suggests.

We’ll explain how the heading for college paper works, and we’ll also specify the requirements for each style.

Step 1: Choose the paper style you need

We previously named the two main styles. So, choose the one that seems more appropriate if your teacher hasn’t expressed their preference. MLA is the most used, but if you’re in Sciences, Psychology, or Education, APA might be better.

Next, check to see if your grammar software or writing app has any options regarding styles. A similar option might make it easier for you to follow the criteria. Dedicated writing apps will help you maintain a specific heading type and will automatically correct you.

Step 2: Margins And Page Format

Start by setting the margins and spacing according to the style you choose.


For this college heading format, you’ll need to set your paper to the standard size (8.5 x 11 inches). All page margins should be one inch while the text is double spaced and typed. Moreover, titles are redundant in MLA unless your professor precisely asked for one.

You can use Times New Roman, Modern, or Arial fonts, as they are the most advised, but don’t forget to pick the 12-point font size. If you want to stand out, you can also select a rarely used font as long as it’s easy to read and not in a script-style. Lastly, when typing the four lines of the heading, don’t skip any lines in-between.


The APA style requires a standard paper with double-spaced typed text, just like the MLA style. The four margins can be broader, around a one-and-a-half-inch.

Unlike MLA, The APA college heading format expects a page title, called a “manuscript header.” To compose a manuscript header, you should pick two essential keywords from your paper title that describes your research. Write them in lower-case letters except for the first letter of each word. Then, add the number of the page. These elements should be directed to the right and one inch below the top margin.

Next, add your title below the manuscript header but centered on the page. The preferred fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, and all the non-script ones.

Step 3: Name and surname

You have to specify the author of your research. So, write your first and last name.


When using the MLA style, you’ll need to add your surname and number of the page to every top right corner in a right-justified format with no punctuation. Then, you’ll write your first and last name to the left.


After the title of your research paper, place your name. It should be centered just like the title.

Step 4: College details

After the name and titles, you can add more information about your course, professor, and institution.


Write your professors’ name, code, and the title of the course, as well as the date (day, name of the month capitalized, and year). Your name and these last lines should appear at the top left of your page. In contrast, the surname and number of the page should be the only thing aligned to the right at the very top.


After your name, write the institution’s name and the department you major in, but make sure it’s all centered.

Step 5: First paragraph


This particular college paper heading format presents your work title before the first paragraph, centered with capitalized words. Avoid underlining or quoting your title.

Starting with the first paragraph, try to make your essay easier to read and understand. You can do so by adding subheadings with titles and a one-space line between two paragraphs.

All of your sections should have a five-space indentation at the beginning of the first sentence.

Lastly, remember to set your text to double-spaced.


For APA, here’s where you start your essay. The abstract is followed by:

  • Text, which can be divided into sections with titles for each one.
  • References and appendices.
  • Author notes.
  • Tables and figures.

Once you finished your paper, each section, such as “References,” should have an appropriate title with centered text.

The APA college paper heading format allows you to have subheadings that you can use to section your thesis. Nonetheless, you might want to ask your professor for advice or consult the APA stylebook.

Practical tips every student can use when writing a college paper heading

Writing a college paper header may seem as simple as can be but make no mistake. It can a valuable occasion for you to show that you are a dedicated student who puts effort into their work.

Pay attention to the details mentioned previously. Keep these tips in mind when revising and proofreading the paper.

Tip 1: Be original

Don’t try to make your paper longer by enlarging the font or copy-pasting words at the bottom. If you want academic success, you should only deliver a genuine product of your intellectual skills.

Moreover, keep in mind that your professors are experienced and knowledgeable. You’ll damage your reputation as a student if you try to deceive your teachers. Better to play it safe.

Tip 2: Use standard formatting

Don’t over-decorate your page. Adding a script-style font and too many figures will make your report less comprehensible and formal. Try to use the standard fonts and if you wish to add some extra elements, ask your professor for advice.

Tip 3: Use punctuation correctly

Use quotation marks and italics for quotations and works you’re mentioning in your paper. Leave your title, name, and most elements free of decorative or particular formatting and punctuation.

Tip 4: Use spaces wisely

Use a spaced line inside paragraphs (every two or three sentences) and between them, but don’t overdo it.

Tip 5: Use software to help you

You can use different software that can ease your work with grammar check and syntax.

Plagiarism is also an important aspect of your work. Only deliver 100% original work. Otherwise, you might be severely penalized academically. To prevent accidental plagiarism, check your work through anti-plagiarism apps.


The way you present your college paper says a lot about you. A proper heading can indicate that the author is passionate, determined, and focused on their work. So, when you’re preparing your next essay, try to follow our guide.

Firstly, choose your style and stick to it. MLA and APA styles are most common, but if you wish to use other formatting styles, gather as much information as you can.

Next, write your name, your professor’s and university’s, and place the title according to the requirements. Divide your paragraphs and keep them clear and easy to understand. Furthermore, try to avoid decorative stile and over-the-top punctuation. Keep a formal outlook and simple syntax. Also, check to see if your grammar is spotless and if your work is original.

We also recommend you ask for help.

The first person who should help you is your professor. It’s their job to guide you and offer valuable advice. So, contact them and ask for clarification. You can also kindly ask them to revise your work. Nonetheless, teachers are busy and may not have the time. Consider hiring a professional writer to help you with your schoolwork.

Additionally, you can offer to revise your peer’s works, and they can do the same. Cross-checking can be useful because we often tend to overlook repetitive mistakes. So, having someone else look at your work might point them out. 

Finally, plenty of reliable sites can help you write from scratch, edit, revise, and format your work. You can get professional help from people who went to the same college as you, thus having an ideal approach for your situation. Just make sure that you pick a highly-rated site that offers you 24/7 customer service and employs professionals. Also, look out for plagiarism checks and reviews.