Back to school means back to term papers, which means back to your lame professors imposing page count minimums on you. How can you turn that 3-page paper into a 5-pager, or stretch 8 pages into 10, so that you can get away from the computer and back to downing brews? Here are 7 can’t-miss tips for making your essay longer.

1. Conduct extensive research into the topic and then reflect that scholarship in the paper itself.

2. Engage in a close reading of a key portion of text that is critical to your central premise.

3. Consider counterarguments to your main thesis, think through them, and then reaffirm that your own argument is correct, offering a point-by-point rebuttal to the objections of the counterargument.

4. Contemplate and wrestle with historical perspectives. Are they still valid? How has the passage of time affected the legitimacy of those points-of-view?

5. Get in touch with your university’s research librarian, who will be able to pull relevant and fascinating texts that you never knew existed.


7. Interview an expert and then intersperse his or her quotes throughout.

Jason O. Gilbert is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, McSweeney’s, and many other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter here. 

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