Learning to Write, College Style

The jump from high school to college is more than a jump, it’s a gigantic leap. From run-ins with roommates, navigating campuses, to finding your niche, adjusting to the demands of college life can be a real challenge.

Of course, this challenge extends to the classroom. Entering freshmen often struggle with new academic demands and increased expectations. For many, writing papers or essays in college can even cause extreme anxiety. Given that written assignments frequently make up a large percentage of a course’s final grade, it is important to do well!

Though the writing requirements of college essays may be different than those faced in high school, they can be conquered. For a quick guide on college writing, check out these simple tips.


Give Yourself Time

The adage is true: Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither are the best college papers.

While it may sound simple, college papers almost always require a process of brainstorming, drafting, editing, and revision. These steps take time, not to mention the time needed to digest the assignment and conduct any necessary research.

By avoiding the last-minute paper scramble (an approach that may have worked in high school), you can help ensure your papers are carefully composed.


Read, Read, and Read

Another basic tip: understand what you’re writing about!

College professors have an eagle eye for unpreparedness. If you haven’t read the class material or corresponding research for your paper, it will be painfully obvious in your writing.

As this freshman writing guide from Hamilton College suggests, “the more knowledgeable and comfortable you are with a topic, the easier it will be to write about it.” The only way to reach this comfort level? Force yourself to prepare.


Have A Purpose

One of the best things about college vs. high school? For the most part, you design your own curriculum.

When it comes to paper or essay writing, it can be helpful to use the “pick a topic” format of many college assignments to your advantage. Write about something you care about!

As seen in this college writing run-down from Harvard, students who write essays or research papers about topics they are at least somewhat interested in report an altogether more pleasant experience. A paper you enjoy writing will undoubtedly lead to a better paper.


Review Your Work

After you think you’ve crafted the world’s most perfect essay, you might wonder – now what?

To the surprise of many first-time college essay writers, one of the most critical parts of the writing process comes at the end : the review and edit stage.

One of the bonuses of granting yourself ample time to finish a writing project is spare time before a due date to read over your work. Consider having a trusted friend or classmate review your paper. Read your paper aloud to catch any lurking sentence flow problems. The key here is to give your writing as many “second-glances” as possible.


Prepare With An Expert

Whether you are setting off for college in months or are preparing for a solid high-school career, the testing, speaking, and presenting workshops offered by Presenting Perfection are the perfect foundation for success.

With considerable experience in all things education and communication, Presenting Perfection instructor Kathryn Lancioni is ready to help you meet your goals. Contact Presenting Perfection today!