A term paper cover page conveys the student writer's name, the title of the paper, the date, and usually the instructor to whom the student is submitting the paper. It may also contain other identifying information depending on the requirements of the instructor or the department.
The university department's style manual will dictate to a large degree the content and format of term paper cover pages. Often the style manual will offer an example of a term paper cover page, which should answer the student's questions regarding spacing and margins.
The single most important element of a term paper cover page is the student's name, because without it, the student runs the risk of not receiving any credit for the term paper.
However, the second most important element of term paper cover pages is the title, which may require quite a bit of thought. The student should carefully craft a title to convey the essence of the paper. In academic writing, titles often consist of a noun phrase, a colon, and a clarifying noun phrase. The first noun phrase should identify the subject of the paper, and the second noun phrase should identify what the paper intends to present about the subject. For example, a student who is writing a biography term paper on a literary figure may devise a title such as "Samuel Clemens: Creating the Persona of Mark Twain." The reader of the paper, then, would realize immediately that the paper will discuss Samuel Clemens' decision to write under the pseudonym of Mark Twain, instead of, for example, Twain's love of the Mississippi River or his portrayal of race relations in his major novels. This title format is not necessary, but it often helps the student convey appropriate information about the term paper.
The term paper cover page usually does not count toward the paper's length requirement; if this is the case, the cover page should not have a page number, and the body of the text should begin with page one.