How to Make a Great Cover Page for an Essay

Written by Brandon L.
February 20, 20249 min read

In academic writing, a cover page for an essay or a college paper is important. Many college students write quality essays and research papers but end up with a terrible cover page without knowing how badly they have made things for themselves. The cover page might seem like an insignificant detail, but it contributes to creating a good first impression. How the reviewer sees your cover page will influence how they review the paper.

This article will dive into what makes a good cover page and how to create them. This guide, prepared by our academic writing specialists, applies if your institution does not prefer a pre-designed cover page.

What is a Cover Page?

A cover page, also called a title page, is the first page of an essay or research paper that outlines key details such as the topic, Author's name, institution, instructor, and date. It represents the authors and gives readers a preview of what is to come. Think of this like the cover page of a book.

A cover page is used in academic papers, publishing, and professional contexts to act as an introduction for the paper or book.

So, how do you write a cover page for a college essay? The title page of a college essay will vary depending on the formatting style used. Here are the different formatting styles you will encounter in school.

What Are the Different Types of Essay Cover Page Format?

Before you sit down to write your cover page, understand that there are various types of cover page formats available, and they include:

  1. APA Style.
  2. MLA Style.
  3. Chicago Style.
  4. Harvard Style.

Each of these will have different requirements for structuring your title page. But please note that the title of the page and the name of the course will remain the same regardless of the formatting style used.   

Formatting an MLA Essay Cover Page

The Modern Language Association (MLA) formatting style is commonly used in the humanities in disciplines such as literary criticism, cultural studies, media studies, art history, philosophy, theater and performing studies, and communication studies, among others.

In essence, MLA does not require a cover page. The essential components of the paper are included on the first page of the paper or essay you are writing. So, unless your institution or instructor requests it, don’t include it when using MLA formatting style. All the essential information is placed on the top-left corner of the first page. This information should be in the following order:

All the components should be aligned with one-inch page margins from the top and left side except for the title page. The title should be centered and in the title case. Use Times New Roman font in size 12 and capitalize the first letter for each word except for prepositions and articles. Place the title of the essay or paper should be 2-3 lines below the date of submission. Don’t italicize or bold the title.

Your title page should be double-spaced as the rest of your paper or essay.

Create a head at the top right corner and include a surname and page number. The cover page will be the first page of your essay, so it should be like this: Jane 1. Follow this example:

Your Name

Instructor's Name

Course Title

Due Date (Day Month Year)


Title of Your Paper

How to Format APA Cover Page

The American Psychological Association (APA) formatting style is mostly used in social sciences. It is a standard academic writing style for most institutions. The Seventh Edition of APA is the current general standard layout for research papers, in-text citations, footnotes, and page references, replacing APA 6.

In APA formatting style, there are two versions: Professional paper and Student paper. As a student, you should only use the student version and leave the other one for professionals. But, if your instructors ask you to use the professional version, then use it.

Professional APA Paper Cover Page

The professional version includes the following:

The title of the paper should be centered and situated three to four lines from the top of the page. Capitalize all the major words of the topic. If there are subtitles, place them on a separate line.

Double-space the cover page of your professional cover page

Beneath the title, place your names and center them just like the title. If there are two authors, use "and" to separate them. If there are three or more authors, separate them with a comma.

Next should be the Author's affiliation. In professional versions, the author affiliates where the research for the paper was conducted. Provide the name of the institution, followed by the department, separated by commas. This information should be below the title on its own line.

If the authors have different affiliations, use superscript numerals after each name to connect the names to their appropriate affiliation(s).

On the bottom half of the page, include the Author's note(s), which is

Centre and bold the words "author note." Then, align the paragraph discussing the content of the Author's note to the left.

The running head of a professional paper should be in capital letters in the page headers of the cover pages and the rest of the pages. The title page should be page one.

Use the image below as a guide when using the professional version of APA format.

Student Version for APA format

The student's cover page includes the following key components:

Student papers don't consist of running heads unless requested by your instructor.

Here is how you should organize your cover page:

How to Format Chicago Cover Page

The Chicago formatting style requires authors to include a title page in their essays and research papers. The title page can be on the first page of the text of your essay or paper. However, most instructors will insist on having the title page on a separate page. If you are not sure which format to follow for your paper, it is best to ask your instructor for clarification.

Even though the Chicago formatting style is not commonly used, like APA and MLA, it is still important to understand how to format a cover page in Chicago format. The following elements must be on a cover page in Chicago style.

Here is how you should organize your cover page in Chicago style:

Place the title approximately three to four lines from the top of the page. It should be centered.

One a new line, center the Author's name.

Below your name on a new line, write the title of your course.

Next, provide the instructor’s name below the title.

Finally, on a new line below the instructor’s name, write the assignment’s due date.

All the above information should be centered on the Chicago style guide.

Headers and Page Numbers

Please note that the title page of an essay or college paper written in Chicago formatting style doesn't include a header or a page number. However, the second page of the paper or essay must have a header with your surname followed by the page number. All subsequent pages should include your surname and consecutive page numbers.

If you need help inserting headers and page numbers, follow the steps below;

Ensure your title page doesn't have a page number; do so by checking the "Different First Page" box. If there is a page number on the cover page, it will disappear.

Once finished, Click on "Close Header and Footer."

Keep the following in mind when writing your cover page in Chicago style:

How to Format a Cover Page in Harvard Style

Most nursing schools in Australia and the United Kingdom require students to use the Harvard formatting style when writing papers.

Harvard's formatting style is extremely specific and organized. The cover page must include the following elements:

Here is how you should organize your cover page in Harvard style.

About halfway down the page, write the title of your essay or paper in capital letters. This should be right justified.

Next, about three lines down, write your name (not in capital letters).

Move four lines down and write the name of your class, and on the next line, write your professor's name.

On the next line, write the state and city.

Finally, write the assignment due date.

Always use the space bar to insert spaces between the different elements.

ASA Style Cover Page Format

The American Sociological Association (ASA) style is commonly used when working on manuscripts that are to be published in the ASA Journal. If you have been asked to use the ASA formatting style in your student paper, here are some details to include:

  1. Title of the Paper:
    • Centered, in Title Case (Capitalize the First Letter of Each Major Word)
  2. Your Name:
    • Below the title, centered
  3. Institutional Affiliation:
    • Below your name, centered
  4. Course Information (if applicable):
    • Below institutional affiliation, centered
  5. Instructor's Name (if applicable):
    • Centered
  6. Date:
    • Centered
    • Format: Month Day, Year (e.g., February 20, 2023)

Tips for Creating an Engaging Cover Page

The following tips will help guide you when writing a cover page for your essay or college paper.

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