There is a long and on-going debate if idioms are acceptable in essays and term papers. The arguments are usually based on rules in English Writing and the need for self expression in writing these papers. While arguments are continuously progressing, here are some views for you to take a look.
Essays and term papers as self expression
Essays and term paper writing is a form of self expression. You can use the help of paraphrasing online. It is best written in your own personal style. However, the rule to self-expression must involve the readers. Ideas should be precise and unambiguous. While most of the readers understand some of these idioms, there are idioms however common in your local dialect, still are uncommon to other parts of the world or for those whom English is a second language.
Essays and term papers as permanent public record
Essays and term papers should be clear to as many as possible as this can become a permanent public record of your ideas. Do not view essays and term papers as mere college paper. Remember, the internet starts to become the whole source of information including the ones you will write. The legacy of the essays and term papers stored online lies in its capacity to reach out even to the non-English speaking countries. Words can be familiar, common, easy and clear to you, but it does not follow that all readers can take it as how you write it. Therefore, using idioms is not a good way to convey your ideas.
How to use idioms in essays and term papers if necessary
There are times when essays and term paper writing becomes more effective if it sounds casual and natural. However, casual and natural does not mean informal and formal does not mean stiff.
You may research for idioms that are understood by the general public, if you feel it is necessary. If you personally think it can not be avoided, then think about it carefully. Do you think it is wise to have these idioms to make essays and term papers effective? Or it will only limit your academic and professional success.