Going through college is obviously much more than just grades, but your assignments should be considered to be very important. On the one hand, they will guarantee you that you actually graduate from college. On the other hand though, they will teach you important things both about the subjects you are studying and about yourself: time management, what you like and what you don’t like, what your limits are and how to push them, and so on.
Essays will most likely be a part of your college education, whether you like it or not. Most of the classes out there will require you to write an essay of some sort and although for some of the people out there essay writing comes natural, for others it can be quite difficult. If you are among those in the latter group, you should not worry because academic writing in general is something that can be taught and learned and it is more like a skill than like a talent. Following some basic ground rules will help you and so will practicing your essay writing skills as much as possible. In the end, you may even like doing this.
Many of the students out there do not fully understand what formatting has to do with the contents of their papers and essays. Of course, at least from one point of view they may be right. In the end, academic research is not about the way things look, but about proving your point and about discovering new things.
Even more than that, academic writing is a dialogue between you and other people who wrote and will write on the same topic as you. This means that you will need some sort of common grounds on which you can bear this discussion. Consequently, this is precisely why academic writing follows strict rules of formatting and referencing: so that everybody reading the papers understand the common language, regardless of their nationality or residence.
What you first and foremost have to understand is the fact that there are multiple types of academic writing styles out there. MLA and APA are just two of them, but the truth is that there is a very wide diversity. Even more, every academic writings style has its own rules and its own requirements when it comes to formatting. MLA, for example, will require you to write in Times New Roman, size 12 fonts and double spacing. At the same time, APA will require you to have a headline containing the short form of your paper’s title on every page.