How to Make a Great PowerPoint Presentation for College

A must-have skill of every student is creating PowerPoint presentations. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, or senior, you’re sure to come across a task that requires you to create a PowerPoint presentation.

Not only does it help you impress at conferences and get clear results on your transcript, but it’s also essential to thriving in the corporate world.

Creating PowerPoint presentations allows you to sharpen your creativity, build public speaking abilities, improve body language and build confidence. These interpersonal qualities are required, not only in the courses but also in the workplace.

The study says that 77% agree that presentation skills are crucial for professional success. It becomes a plus when you join a company. But, developing presentation skills doesn’t happen overnight. The college years are a great time to develop and hone this skill.

For starters, you can practice creating eye-catching and captivating slides for assignments and exams. Below are practical steps to make a good PowerPoint presentation for college students.

1. Identify key points

First of all, a good understanding of the subject you want to deliver is necessary. Understanding your materials helps you be more confident when presenting and delivering better slides.

Those unfamiliar with the topic they are talking about most likely put in a long string of words, leading to wordy slides. However, if you understand the discussion well, you can put short sentences into bullet points.

Choose the points you want to develop in short sentences. If possible, rewrite them in an interesting way to capture the audience. Dots are like cue cards that will help you through the presentation.

2. Choose an interesting model

Never present PowerPoint with simple slides, as this is the first step to a boring performance. Plus, finding PowerPoint templates online is a breeze.

Many online platforms offer free downloadable PowerPoint templates. Some websites to dive into are Slide Carnival, Powerpointify, Slides, and AllPPT. They have different categories, such as education, technology, business, medicine, etc.

For students, choosing a template depends on the subject they are covering and their personal taste. The best and safest way to choose a template is to keep it simple. Aim for a simple model with a good color combination.

Also, pay attention to the background of your slides. You must use the same background for the entire slide. Make sure your background and font color are well contrasted to present clear and readable slides.

3. Write with impact

Now that you’ve decided on the points you want to convey, put them into slides. Spread out your points and use bullet points if possible. You can also mark certain slides to add picturesgraphs or tables later.

There are some rules of thumb that students should be aware of when creating PowerPoint presentations. The general idea is to keep your slides concise. Here are a few points worth noting.

  • Include up to five points with margin error (+/-2) on each slide.
  • If possible, discuss one idea per slide.
  • Include up to 30 words per slide (6-8 lines).
  • Use a simple, clean font, such as Montserrat, Verdana, Calibri, Bentham, and Roboto
  • Keep your font to a minimum size of 18 points.
  • Use active and concise language.
  • A presentation with no more than 15 slides is preferred.

If you’ve broken down your points, continue your work by making your slides more captivating and engaging by adding visual aids.

4. Add visuals

It is essential to have visual aids on your slides to better emphasize points and engage the audience effectively. Use related images, graphs or tables to support your arguments. You can also embed a video if needed.

Create a good balance between visual aids and text on your slide. Generally, a slide with a visual representation carries only one idea written in brief. Consider the points below when incorporating visual aids into your slides:

  • Use photos instead of clipart.
  • Use high quality photos.
  • Avoid using watermarked photos.
  • Don’t clutter the images on a slide.

You can go to Unsplash and Freepik to search for free stock photos. Don’t forget to add a credit to your photos to inform the public.

5. Edit and organize your slides

The next step is to edit your slides and make sure all the elements blend well. Pay attention to your slides, especially those that contain images, charts, or tables.

Check again in case you put too many words on it. Here are some guides on editing and storing your slides:

  • Use a consistent font type, size, and color.
  • Size text and images for remote viewing.
  • Limit the use of colors one to three colors.
  • Make sure the background has good contrast to your font color.

6. Add transitions and do a final check

The last step to complete your PowerPoint is to add transitions such as entry, emphasis, exit, and motion paths. Adding transitions makes your slides more dynamic and helps emphasize points.

Some recommendations include Fade, Push, Cut, Cover, and Uncover. Consider using some type of entry transition to start each slide. Add an emphasis transition to highlight crucial points, images or other elements.

The use of entry transitions and emphasis is sufficient for a good instructional presentation. Don’t overdo it, as too much animation can distract the audience. Finally, do one last check before presenting it.

Final Thoughts

As university students are about to join corporate life, having the skill to create a good PowerPoint presentation becomes vital.

Do rehearsals before presenting your PowerPoint slides to optimize your performance. Take some notes if necessary to help you during zero hours. Finally, practice developing good speaking skills, body language, and eye contact to captivate your audience.