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Have you ever gotten halfway through a writing assignment only to realize you have no idea what you’re saying or if you’re even addressing the topic? Yeah, us too. That’s why one of the first assignments you’re likely to get this year is the dreaded paper outline. Today, we’ll talk about why outlines actually do matter—and we’ll review some other ways you can start writing if you find yourself staring at a blank screen.

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With school starting, we thought we’d give you a quick cheat-sheet to help you stay effective in your efforts. We've put together our favorite bite-sized tips to plan and start projects, foster creativity, stay motivated, and follow through.

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Junior year is much like having two monitors on your desk. On one screen, you see your current life: AP classes, debate team, culture club president, captain of the swim team. On the other monitor, sitting just next to present reality, sits future plan: college, and each screen is pulling for your attention.

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Please don’t post pics of your turkey dinner. Don’t Instagram your far-flung family with photos of your goings-on while ignoring...

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Well, How Did I Get Here? | SAT Prep from PrepMatters

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Yay, spring! Hey, juniors! How are you doing? I understand that this question from a college counselor can immediately prompt...

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If you are a junior, this is where it gets real (or, arguably, really tough). APs, SATs, exams. Oh my!...

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Good Writing Is Clear Writing By Marla Cunningham Before joining PrepMatters, I worked in middle schools and high schools for...

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Spring To Do List Ah Spring! No more freezing rain and weather related late starts. You’re finally creeping out from...

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The start of the school year is a roller coaster of emotions. There are new school supplies and old friends, new classes and the same old homework. But for most students there is a moment sometime in the first month of school when they look at a clock to see how much time is left in class... and realize they have 9 more months of this.