How to Excel at Writing in College

How to Excel at Writing in College

Once you’re a college student, you have to get used to a great number of writing assignments. Whatever you are majoring in, the chances are high that you’ll have to regularly write papers on given topics. To succeed in any kind of college writing, follow these tips.

Use Standard English and Be Formal

All college assignments aim to check your intelligence, and your writing is a direct reflection of it. Make sure that your essays follow English grammar rules and don’t create an impression that they were initially posted in a chat room. With that being said, you should also avoid colloquial language (slang, jargon), different extra symbols, or unnecessary italics. Stick to the formal style of writing, which will ensure that you’re seen as a professional.

Remember about Punctuation

For the generation that communicates via instant messages, punctuation is often a challenge. There are two main mistakes students make – they either don’t use commas at all or put them everywhere. In reality, English punctuation rules are a lot easier than in some other languages, and you can refresh them quickly even online.

Stay Clear and Pithy

Sometimes the words you have in your head have a completely different effect when put on paper. That’s why you should always check your writing for ambiguous sentences that can be misinterpreted. Avoid using words that might be unfamiliar to the reader, too long sentences, and wordiness. Remember that the number of words is less important than the context.

Plan Your Work

The chronic illness that many students suffer from is procrastination. It’s easier said than done, but try to avoid it and stick to a schedule. Divide the assignment into logical steps and set the deadlines when each step is to be ready. Your teacher can do this for you, if necessary. In case you have the final deadline only, do your best to avoid writing your work on the last day.

Understand the Task

You might have a perfect piece of writing but still fail the course if you don’t meet the set requirements. Before starting the work, check whether the assignment is clear and you know what to write about. Just winging it won’t work in this case because your paper might follow a direction opposite from the expected one. While writing, also occasionally have a look at the instructions so that you don’t accidentally miss anything.

Don’t Plagiarize

The worst academic crime is in poaching someone else’s work. You obviously can (and should) use different sources, but make sure you always give references. When including quotes, cite the author so that you don’t get into a huge trouble because you have stolen someone’s achievements.

You should take into account that only practice can contribute to making your writing ideal. Not everyone is born to be an amazing writer because writing is a skill and like any other skill it can be developed.

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