How Long Does College Student Need to Write a Term Paper?

How Long Does College Student Need to Write a Term Paper?

Writing has always been one of the hardest parts of any student’s homework. Of course, it should come as no surprise that most students are not so fond of receiving such assignments in their courses. Yet, they are still a big part of our education system. Why do you have to write so many papers in college? You can wonder about it, but it won’t change the fact that you simply do have to write them. 

Hence, since they are not going anywhere anytime soon, it’s best to learn how to write papers well and fast. After all, all students know how to value time as they never have enough of it. So let’s see how long it takes for a college student to write a term paper. This article should cover the basics explaining how long each of the working processes should take you as well as where you can cut some time. Let’s get to it!


First and foremost, it is important to make a plan on how to write an assignment. You need to know when to start to finish on time. However, to do so, you also need to know how much time each step of the process will take you. Here are the stages you will have to complete while working on your assignment: 

  • choosing a topic;
  • researching;
  • drafting;
  • outlining;
  • writing;
  • proofreading;
  • editing;
  • doing a plagiarism check.

Some of these elements will be harder for you to do, while others will come together in no time. When you are busy with your next essay, try to notice what parts take you the longest and which are the hardest for you to do. Dedicate more time to these parts. The key here is to be generous with your time and never purposely deprive yourself of it. 

Overall, the length of your future essay will dictate how much time you need to finish. So, when you wonder, “how long should a research paper be for college?” you really ask yourself how long it will take you to complete it. For example, do you know how long it takes to write 10 pages? If you do, you can apply this knowledge to every assignment you receive. In the future, this information will help you calculate the time for a 3000-word essay or longer.


Research is often the most time-consuming part of writing a term paper. It is also one of the most crucial parts of your work. At this stage, you need to find enough resources to explore the theme of your writing and the topic of your discussion. It’s a very complicated part of your work as well. You have to be a fast reader to go through lots of materials without wasting much time on them. You also have to be familiar with the searches in academic libraries and the general structure of academic sources. It’s fair to say that people with more experience in this area will do better in research than those who open academic libraries for the first time. 


Once you have enough resources, you get to form an idea and the thesis statement. Of course, such a job may also take you a while. However, it is not the most time-consuming part of the essay. The real work starts when you finish off with your drafts and move on to the actual writing of the whole thing. Here, you should consider the required length of your future work. For example, a thesis may require more hours than a regular college essay. 

How Long Is the Average College Paper? 

There are multiple writing assignments in college. All the various types of essays have their own requirements in length. Still, the average college essay will hardly be longer than 2000 words. Of course, this number can still look rather big to young and inexperienced students. However, graduates will be happy to recall when all they had to do was write so few pages. 

How Long Should a Term Paper Be?

Unlike regular essays, this text must be heavier and “meatier.” Of course, it will all depend on the year of your studies, course, and college. Some schools are okay with having 1.500 pages for such assignments when others expect no less than 3000 words. Overall, the length requirements will come with the general instructions. Your professor will never miss out on such an important detail, so you should always follow their will. A work that is much shorter or longer than in the instructions.

The Bottom Line

So, how long does a college student need to write a term paper? As you can see, the answer always depends. It will depend on your skills in research and writing. It will also depend on the theme of your essay and how well you understand it. Overall, students will learn about their own timing when they have enough practice and experience with completing similar tasks.