Top 5 Prep Tips for College Level Writing

Top 5 Prep Tips for College Level Writing

Feb 20

College brings about lots of changes and adjustments. You have to get used to living with new people, navigating an unfamiliar city or campus, and much more. One huge adjustment in the classroom environment will be adjusting to college level writing after high school. Often the expectations are much higher, and so you will need to rise to the occasion! Here are the top 5 prep tips for college level writing.

  1. Always draft before you start writing and start early! In high school you may have been able to get away with writing an essay the night before it was do. This won’t fly in college! For college papers, it is essential that you begin planning your essay the day you are given the assignment. Ideally, you should draft out your paper before you dive in. Using outlines will help you to determine your thesis as well as supporting points and evidence such as quotes or references that you will incorporate into your paper. Outlining first will make the actual process much easier and more organized so that you can effectively articulate your ideas and answer the prompt correctly and insightfully.
  2. Utilize writing centers at your school. Most schools offer great writing lab services to all students. Take advantage of these resources and be sure to bring your paper in for a tutor or professor to look over. You can either bring the essay assignment in before you start if you need guidance about how to get going. In addition you may also bring in a first draft to be edited and revised.
  3. Ask your professor if he or she will take 1st draft submissions early. Some teachers will accept a first draft. This is a great resources since they can suggest where you may need more information and they will make sure you properly and correctly understood the assignment or prompt. Do not expect for your professor to correct grammar, however. Usually they will just focus on the content and expect you to edit grammar or spelling issues before submitting the final draft!
  4. Brush up on your grammar and spelling skills. Professors will often expect that you know basic grammar and spelling–always use spell check too! Some professors will even penalize your grade significantly if they notice too many sloppy errors or grammatical problems within your paper. Be sure to cite your references, quote appropriately and use acceptable fonts.
  5. Finally, be sure to review proper formatting. Depending on the subject or the class, you may be required to use APA, MLA or another format for all paper and writing submissions. These formats will dictate your margins, line spacing, headers, footers, font type and size, reference pages, cover pages, page numbers and much more. If you need help, ask the writing lab or look up this information online with a site such as OWL Purdue’s grammar page.

While writing at a college level is more challenging than writing in high school, with some planning, research, and guidance you will be able to successfully write for all of your undergraduate courses. Be sure to plan ahead and outline your essay early on, utilize the writing lab, ask your professor for suggestions early on, check up on grammar and spelling, and use appropriate formatting in order to produce high quality writing in college. To learn more about specific course requirements, visit sites like http://www.onlinemba.neu.edu for more information.