Pages is a simple, clean, and attractively designed word processor. Though I used the word "simple" to describe Pages, I do not want you to think this app is lacking capability. In fact, this app has enough depth to support advanced word processing tasks, providing you have a Bluetooth keyboard to go along with your iPad (without a Bluetooth keyboard, I think writing papers with the on-screen keyboard might prove frustrating for users).
What seems to be the biggest draw for users to Pages is that you get all of the functionality of a more advanced word processor (unless you are doing particularly advanced tasks like creating annotated bibliographies) with all of the mobility of the iPad.
The video below is a great 5 minute Pages tutorial showing you the layout and how some of the features work.