Going off to college is an exciting time, and the new opportunities and experiences which college provides are second to none. While students can expect to enjoy all of the fun activities that come with a college education, many find that the step up from high school education is a big one. Writing in particular can be one area where a student finds they are working to a higher standard. As the ability to communicate well is a very important skill, the expected level of students’ writing in college is markedly higher than the level in high school.
Many students worry about the quality of their writing assignments, which can cause them to edit and re-edit their work over and over again. This will waste a lot of time, which could be spent on research or other areas of their learning and does not always improve the final product. Writing is a skill that takes careful practice and dedication, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
To help all the college students who are looking to take their assignments to the next levels, here are some simple tips for improving your college-level writing.
1. Play Word Games
To improve your writing, you must first build a college-level vocabulary. One really fun and effective way to do this is by playing different word games. There are many online tools where you unscramble letters to make different words. This will help you in games such as Scrabble and Words with Friends. This will certainly enable you to learn new words to use in your writing. It will also improve your ability to recall less commonly used words already in your vocabulary. Using more sophisticated vocabulary in your written assignments can immediately elevate them to another level and significantly improve your grades.
2. Stream of Conscious Write Your First Drafts
Any top-level editor or proofreader will tell you that it is a lot quicker and easier to improve on something that is already written than it is to write something from brilliant scratch. A big mistake that many people make is getting stuck trying to write a perfect first draft. It is far better to just sit down and write your first drafts as they come into your head. Do so knowing it will require substantial reworking. That is fine and normal. This quick draft will give you the bare bones of your assignment, which you will then be able to look back at to improve your writing and add words as necessary.
3. Plan Your Writing Around Your Quotations
Many college assignments require you to use quotations in your writing to demonstrate the points which you are trying to make. One way to plan your writing is to order the quotations first so that you can make a map of how you will move from one point to the next. This method is excellent for literature essays where you have to analyze themes and ideas from a book using quotations to back up your thoughts. It is often useful to print the quotations out and rearrange the order before typing them up and filling your analysis in around them.
4. Plan Your Writing Schedule in Advance
One of the simplest ways to improve your writing and, as a result, your final grade, is to make sure that you give yourself enough time to do your best work. Do not leave your writing assignments until the last minute. While pre-planning is excellent advice for life, its particularly important here as it will usually take several iterations until you are happy with your work. Make a plan around your schedule so that you have time to do multiple drafts and iron out all of the mistakes in your writing.
5. Have Someone Else Proofread Your Work
Writers know that it is a common problem that you fall in love with what you have written and so are unable to look at it objectively. Sometimes your mind will gloss over very obvious mistakes in your own writing you would immediately notice in others. It can be very beneficial to have someone who is not attached to your writing take a look at it and identify potential areas of improvement to help take your assignments to the next level. Partner up with a friend and proofread each other’s work at each stage of the drafting process.
6. Read a Lot
Reading and writing go hand in hand, and just one of the many reasons to read frequently is to improve your writing. As well as reading experts on the subject you are studying, branch out, and read lots of different types of literature. This can really help take your writing to another level and is also a fantastic way to spend your free time.
Improving your writing skills is very important for college students as it can have a major effect on their grades. Many students spend hours and days redrafting their work without making any major improvements to their essays because they don’t have a well thought out strategy. Making noticeable improvements in your writing doesn’t have to be taxing if you address each issue systematically. Follow this easy guide, and you will see a marked jump in the quality all of your written assignments.