High School

Formatting Papers

Interestingly enough, many students in high school forget from time to time how to format the first page of their papers. So many times, I hear, “Julie, what am I supposed to do for the heading?” I like to refer to Owl Purdue for step-by-step instructions.

For the first page of any paper, the student should start with the heading in the upper left-hand corner. The order should be:

1) name
2) teacher’s name
3) title of course
4) the date you are writing the paper (with the number first, then the month, and then the year)

This heading should be double-spaced. The heading is NOT placed in the header. The header should be used in the following way:

your last name (NO COMMA), space, and the page number (DO NOT WRITE THE WORD PAGE; JUST PUT THE ACTUAL NUMERAL).

For instance, I would write Kamins 1 at the top right in the header. Each page of your paper should have your last name, space, and then the correct number of the page. For example, page two should read Kamins 2. The standard format for the header is to be ½ inch from the top of the page and aligned with the right margin.

Next, double space and place a well-crafted title at the center of the page. The title does not need to be bold, underlined, italicized, quoted, etc. It should not be in bigger font. The exception to this rule is if the name of a book, play, poem, etc. is part of the title. If that is the case, then you must italicize the book title or put the poem in quotes.

Next, double space between the title and the first line of your paper. Remember to indent the first line.

Here is a sample from Owl Purdue of the first page of a paper in MLA style: Notice that Caitlin is the last name of the student.