essay cover page
  • Published Date: January 13, 2019


Every essay deserves a perfect cover page. It is the first thing the reader sees and when done correctly it shows that you’re a writer who knows what he’s doing. To write the perfect cover page for your essay, all you have to do is follow you a few simple steps. This article will teach you what those steps are for three different types of essay format. Let’s get started!

What is an Essay Cover Page?

The cover page is also known as the title page. It is the first page of a formal essay and conveys information regarding the identity of the author, the title of the work, the institution with which the author is affiliated (i.e., the name of the school in most cases), typically a date of publication (year), and depending on the format sometimes a running head.

The purpose of a cover is simply to give your essay a formal look with relevant information attached to document to give the reader a quick understanding of who wrote the paper, when, where, and what it is for.

The cover page is not a mandatory part of every paper. It is most often included in APA style papers—but even when a student is required to write in APA the cover page is not always obligatory. Typically, a professor will include in the instructions for an assignment whether or not a cover page is required. It is often the case that even in APA formatted essays, no cover page will be necessary. However, sometimes professors want students to turn in essays that are complete and by the books—in which case, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of how to construct a cover page.

Tip: Don’t ever feel foolish about including a cover page if you are unsure of whether or not it is required. No teacher will ever dock a student points just for including a cover page. However, a student may be docked if a cover page was required and none was given. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry—so go ahead and include that cover page if you uncertain as to whether or not it is needed!

The exact details of the cover page will be determined by the formatting style used in the essay. An MLA formatted paper will have a cover page that looks slightly different from an APA formatted essay’s cover page. Likewise, a Chicago-style paper will have a different style cover page as well.

However, though the differences do exist, they are mainly slight. In general, all cover pages should be simple and clear in their design.

Different Types of Cover Pages

The different types of cover pages are determined by the format used for the paper. APA formatted papers will have their own style title page, while MLA and Chicago will have theirs. The type of cover page you produce will depend on the way your essay is formatted. Don’t mix and match. Stay true to one form to ensure your paper is solid!

In other words, if your essay is formatted according to the MLA style, don’t supply it with an APA style cover page. Likewise, if you’re using the Chicago format, don’t mix it up with MLA or APA. One style should be used all the way through—from the cover page to the references page. (And for more tips on how to do a references page in MLA or APA, click on the links [link to relevant pages]).

The basic properties of the cover page are the title, the author’s name, the course for which the paper is written, and the date (usually).

The purpose of the cover page is to provide a cover for the essay proper. Some teachers will remove the cover page before grading the essay so as to remove any bias from their grading. As the necessary information (whose paper it is) is written on the cover, they can set that aside while reading the paper, which can help them to eliminate any tendency to grade based on perceptions of the student from class. So using a cover page is actually a good thing to do. Even if your teacher does not require one, you should get in the habit of creating them.

Not only do cover pages enhance your overall paper by giving it a more formal appearance, they can also help you to get in the habit of following the formatting rules appropriate to the style of writing you are using.

Tip: Cover pages are not likely to be necessary for shorter papers—i.e., papers of 2-3 pages. However, if you are writing a long paper—such as a mid-term paper or a final report, you’ll definitely want to include a title page!

Essay Cover Page Design

The cover page design is meant to be simple and straight-forward. For that reason it is not recommended that you use different colors, shadings or border effects to make the cover flashy or more attractive. Formatted papers are very specific about how the cover page should look. It should not contain any colors, pictures, or other images. The cover page design should be simple and consist only of text. This is the case regardless of whether the paper is written in APA, MLA or Chicago style.

Tip: Always consult the most recent manual of the style you are using for updates. Whether APA, MLA or Chicago (Turabian), every format routinely is updated giving students new guidelines for how to format—so before you begin your essay make sure to check on the latest updates by consulting the manual directly!

Now let’s look at the cover page of an APA formatted essay.

APA Style

APA Cover Page Format 

The cover page of an APA formatted paper should give the title of the paper, the name of the author of the paper, and the name of the institution with which the writer is affiliated.

A running header should also appear at the top of the page. The words “running head” are actually used on the first page before the title is written in ALL CAPS, though this is the only time the words “running head” will appear.

APA essays should be type-written on standard white 8.5 x 11 paper. The cover page should be the first page of the standard APA essay.

Margins should be 1” on all sides of the cover page (left, right, top and bottom).

Text should be double-spaced and the font typically recommended for use is Times New Roman, 12 pt. size—though Arial is also allowed.

The entire cover page should be double-spaced. No lines should be single spaced anywhere on the cover page. This is the rule for the entire APA formatted paper. Likewise, no additional spaces should be placed anywhere in the paper—and that includes the cover page.

APA Cover Page Example

One can see in the example that the title is centered in the top half of the paper rather than in the center of the page. The title includes two parts—the words before the colon and the words after.

In the running head at the top of the page, only the words in the first half of the title are included.

The words of the title only have the first letters capitalized in the title section of the page. Prepositions are not capitalized.

Notice also that the author does not include any titles such as Dr. or Mr. Only the author’s first name, middle initial (if desired), and last name should be printed on the cover page.

Finally, the institution where the paper was written should be stated. This is usually the name of the university where the student is going to school. However, if the student or academic is doing research for a particular school, then that is the name that should be printed on the cover page.

APA Cover Page Template

Here is a template that can be downloaded. Use this template to fill out your own cover page for APA formatted papers.

Running head: TITLE 1

Title of Your Paper

Your Name

Your School’s Name

MLA Style

MLA Cover Page Format 

MLA actually does not require one to use a cover page. Usually, the relevant information (name of author, professor’s name, course title, and date of authorship) are included right above the paper in the upper left hand corner over the title of the paper. See “How to Write a Paper in MLA Format” [link to article]. However, sometimes a professor may require a student to include a cover page for an MLA formatted paper. In these cases, it is good practice to know how to design that cover page.

When used, MLA formatted cover pages are a little different from APA formatted cover pages. MLA cover pages place the university name at the top of the page, centered. In the middle of the page goes the essay title with a subtitle underneath (if applicable). The writer’s name, course name and number, professor’s name and the date the paper is due all go at the bottom of the page.

As usual, the same rules for formatting occur in terms of margins, text, and spacing. Margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Text should be Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. And all spacing should be double.

MLA Cover Page Example

Note: there is no running head used in the MLA cover page as there is in the APA cover page. Additionally, the relevant information is broken up and placed in different sections of the page.

MLA Cover Page Template

The template for an MLA cover page is here:

Name of University

Title of Paper


Author’s Name

Course Name and Number

Professor’s Name

Due Date

Note: As MLA does not require a cover page, it should be pointed out that the relevant information appearing at the bottom of the cover page example above will go on the first page of the essay when no cover page is used.

So, for example, the first page of the essay would look like this (note that the relevant information is left justified at the top of the page while the title comes below and is centered and not bolded):

Foxtrot 1

Daniel Foxtrot

Psychology 101

Professor Barry Glass

June 1, 2018

Anatomy of Complex Attitudes:

An Experiment in Deconstructing Belief Systems

Belief systems are part of the everyday life of individuals. They provide opportunities for people to act, to think and behave in normalized ways. Without them, people would not know what to do or where to go. Beliefs are like support beams: they provide structure. But what happens when they are pulled away? What happens to the individual when belief systems are not available? How does a person get through his day or his week or his life? This paper is an exploration of these questions. It focuses on a psychological experiment involving 12 participants interviewed for this study….

Again, this is what the first page of the MLA formatted essay should look like—only when no cover page is used. Note that in the upper right hand margin goes the author’s last name and the page number.

Chicago Style

Chicago Style Cover Page Format

Chicago style is similar to MLA in that a cover page is not strictly required. So all relevant information can either come on a cover page or on the first page of the essay proper same as MLA. However, there are some subtle differences.

In Chicago style, the cover page consists of the title in the top half of the paper and the author’s name, course and date in the bottom half of the paper. There is no mention of the university to which the author is affiliated on the Chicago style cover page.

Chicago Style Cover Page Example

For example, the cover page would look like this:

Note: There is no running head applied in the Chicago formatted cover page. Additionally, the author does not need to list the name of the university on the cover page. Of all the styles, Chicago is the briefest.

Chicago Style Cover Page Template

The template for the Chicago style cover page is here:


Author’s Name

Course Name and Number



A cover page for essay is an important part of your paper. It may seem superfluous, but if your teacher is serious you’ll want to do it right so as to get good marks. Don’t neglect your cover page! And don’t make the mistake of thinking it can appear any which way you like. If you are writing in APA, MLA or Chicago format, you will be expected to produce a cover page that is appropriate for those styles of writing. For more instructions on how to format an essay in MLA, see here [link to how to write essay in MLA format]. For how to cite sources in APA, see here [link to how to cite sources in APA]. And as always, if you’d like help writing your essay, order a customized model essay from our team of writers today. They’ll provide you with the exact sort of paper you need.

Let’s go over the useful tips to keep in mind when finishing your essay and getting ready to hand it in.

  1. The cover page is the final touch on your essay. It is like the cover of a book. We know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover—however, when we see a cover that is very appealing we’re more inclined to pick up the book and view it favorably. The same goes with an essay that you turn in. If the cover page is not written according to form, the teacher is likely to be displeased. So be sure to know the correct format for the style of writing you are doing. If you are using APA, then make sure your cover page is written in APA format. If you are using MLA, make sure your cover page (if needed) is in MLA style. Same goes with Chicago (Turabian). Know the styles and forms and apply them correctly! You can’t go wrong!
  2. If you don’t know whether or not a cover page is required, don’t be afraid to ask. But don’t be afraid to include one just in case either. No teacher is going to reprimand you for asking a question and neither is a teacher going to reprimand you for going the extra mile and including a cover page even if it is not needed. Sometimes the best way to make the grade is to do that little extra step. And, seriously, adding a cover page is not that hard! Just follow the formats supplied above and you’ll be aces!
  3. Don’t try to spruce up your cover page more than is required! The cover page is there simply to relay relevant information. It is not there to make your paper look pretty or to make your essay jump off the shelf at the teacher. Don’t use specially colored paper or text, and don’t add pictures or borders to the page. Simply follow the rubrics. Give your name, title, date (if appropriate for the style), professor’s name and university (again, if appropriate).
  4. Don’t forget the basics: Font matters and so do margins! Font used on your cover page should be the same as that used in your essay. If you are using Times New Roman 12 point font in your paper, your cover page should bear text in that same font. And believe us you cannot go wrong with Times New Roman 12 point font. It is the universally accepted font. However, if you’re partial to Arial, this is an accepted font in APA formatted essays as well. So if your essay is written in Arial, then make sure your cover page is also in Arial font. Don’t try to make your font bigger, just because you are giving the title or your name. Don’t think you have to use single spacing either. Your essay should be double-spaced and so too should all relevant information on your cover page. Stick to the same rules—1 inch margins, black text, double space, 12 point font, etc.—and your cover page will be good to go. When it comes to cover pages, less is more!
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Cite This Resource:

Latest APA Format (6th edition)

Copy Reference
How to Write the Perfect Essay Cover Page (2020 Edition). (2019, January 13). Retrieved from

Latest MLA Format (8th edition)

Copy Reference
"How to Write the Perfect Essay Cover Page (2020 Edition)." Student Network Resources Inc, 13 January. 2019. Web. 15 June 2024.

Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)

Copy Reference
Student Network Resources Inc. "How to Write the Perfect Essay Cover Page (2020 Edition)." (accessed June 15, 2024).


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