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The writing center at your own university may hold lots of great information and people to help you understand what to do in each situation you face.
The reality is, depending on your discipline, there may be only one type of style that you need to use, ever.
However, this is not saying the rules for how to properly cite resources and references is not going to continue to change and evolve over time. As a student or in post-college academic writing, you want your work to shine and to always show your best efforts.
Even if you hate the class, there’s probably at least one topic that you’re curious about.
Maybe you want to write about “mental health in high schools” for your paper in your education class.
APA and MLA are the most common styles to use, but CMS is not unheard of - just not as common for undergrads.
CMS is commonly used in traditional book publishing and academic publishing situations, so if you are doing post-graduate writing, it is good to know.
In academic writing, how you present your information (technically) is often seen as important as the ideas you are putting forth.
Proper citing, quoting and referencing of source material allows you to convey your breadth of research in a language commonly shared by others in your discipline.
For a quick reference, you can also use the handy visual aids created by Capital Community College on MLA and APA styled papers: ( or look at the MLA vs.
APA comparison chart created by the University Writing Center at Appalachian State University.