How Should I Format My University Essay?
Students are often unsure of exactly how they should format their essays, assignments and reports for university if they haven’t been given specific or precise guidelines by their lecturers or tutors.
Luckily, there is a standard way to format essays for university that is generally accepted across Australian and New Zealand universities. This article will explain what you need to do to follow those most commonly accepted guidelines.
Your font should be Times New Roman or Arial. Don’t use anything fancy, and avoid Calibri and Cambria. Even though Word has set these as the default fonts, they are generally not the preferred font to use at university.
Your essay should be at least 1.5 line spaced, and often double spacing is preferred. This is to give your grader enough room to make corrections or write comments for you in the spaces in between, if they are grading on hard copy. If they are grading electronically, that spacing just makes the document easier to read on screen.
For an essay or assignment, in which you might only have one to three levels of headings, you might follow these guidelines:
Heading 1 (Centred, bold, size 14)
Heading 2 (left aligned, bold, size 12)
Heading 3 (left aligned, bold and italics, size 12)
You can either use a first-line indent of 1.27 cm at the start of each paragraph or you can use a line space between each paragraph, but don’t use both.
Keep your margins set as the default used by Word, or at a minimum 2.54 cm all around. If your tutor or lecturer is grading on paper, they might appreciate a 4 cm left-hand margin so they have more room to write comments for you in the margins.