Being an effective college student requires good writing skills. Being an online student you will likely write many essays that require you to clearly state your ideas, present an argument, support a hypothesis, or persuade an audience of readers.
Not only do good writing skills help in the world of academia but they make you a better employee. In fact, employers cite good writing skills as one of the top characteristics they look for when filling a position. Read on as we discuss 10 tips that will help you write better essays in college.
10. Don’t Procrastinate
You’ve hear this a million times and now you’ve heard it a million and one. Writing a good essay takes thought which requires time. Most students turn in subpar essays because they write them the night before. Once you get the assignment take a look at it and start compiling sources and brainstorming. These two steps alone will get your mind engaged on the assignment and help you turn out a better final product.
9. Understand the Assignment
If you do not understand the assignment clearly be sure to get clarification from your instructor. It’s best to get information from the teacher and not other students. Many a bad essay has been turned in because students did not clearly understand the student’s expectation.
8. Use an Outline
Using an outline may seem like an extra step to some students but it will save you time and make sure your essay flows with no gaps. Essays should consist of an introduction, hypothesis, three to four paragraphs, and a string conclusion. Students who do not use outlines are prone to writing essays that lack structure, tone, and flow.
7. Look at Example Essays
Looking at good examples can be very helpful. You can ask your instructor for sample essays or check out a book at the library. A thorough analysis of a strong essay will reveal how the author introduces the topic, transitions between paragraphs, and concludes the essay.
6. Do not plagiarize
Its okay to use other materials as a source of inspiration but plagiarizing will get you kicked out of school. You want to make sure you cite al sources. Professors can easily run your content through websites that will check for duplicate content.
5. Write a Rough Draft
Writing a rough draft based on your outline will make a better final essay. When writing your rough draft, don’t worry about grammar and diction, but focus on continuity and structure.
4. Write Multiple Drafts
Write at least two drafts. With each draft make sure every sentence supports your thesis, has the proper tone, and utilizes good grammar and sentence structure.
3. Verbiage and Diction
You will want to stay within the word or page count of your essay. It is tempting to use big words and flowery sentences but professors and employers will want you to use one word instead of two.
Remember that your professors read hundreds of essays. Make sure it is formatted correctly with paragraphs averaging 3-5 sentences. Also, use a standard font and size such as Times New Roman or Arial size 12.
1. Get a Second Opinion
It helps to have a second set of eyes read through your essay. Get a person who is a good writer and will give you an honest opinion.