One of the hardest parts of writing an essay for me, is coming up with a good title. There was even a point in my college career where I tried to get away without putting a title on any of my essays — (my professors weren’t a fan of this and started leaving me notes about it). So here’s what I’ve discovered so far about successfully titling your essays.
1. Be specific.
You can’t just title an essay about Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde. What are you going to be talking about? His life? His works? The effect of his plays on modern theater? Spell it out. The Effect of The Importance of Being Earnest on Modern Theater. Now that’s a title! Be careful when you are making a longer title though, and make sure that all of the words are absolutely necessary.
2. Look for it in your paper.
This works more for creative pieces of writing, but I often find key words within my paper that work together to make an effective title. Another way is to look at your thesis statement and consider if the main point you are making can be shortened down into a few words. Really, a title should be the ultimate heads up for whoever is going to be reading your paper.
3. Consider your audience.
As you should do with every aspect of your writing, consider who you are writing for. My cousin has a lot of fun working puns into the titles of her essays, and for certain professors that works! Alternately, titles for more scientific essays tend to be longer and far more specific than ones for other courses. But if you can have fun, do it! I’m sure professors need a good smile when they’re reading through piles of our essays.
Every aspect of writing gets easier the more you do it, so the more papers you put effort into titling, the better you’ll get at it. And don’t wait to scribble it down until the last minute before you hand it in — trust me.