Writing assignments are among the most dreaded tasks by college students. They entail hours of research and adherence to stringent writing rules. Most students complain they already have a lot on their hands, and these writing tasks overburden them.
However, the truth is that most students have poor writing skills and don’t want to use this opportunity to improve. Your professor wants you to write college essay papers to boost your communication skills. Without these writing skills, you will have a hard time once in the field.
If you always struggle with essays, research papers, term papers, and other college writing tasks, it is time to do something about it.
This guide highlights a few ideas that can help improve your writing skills in college.
1. Read Widely
Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers in the world. His novels are bestsellers, and as such, his advice on writing should interest anyone struggling with this skill. King says that anyone who doesn’t have time to read has no time and tools required to write well. You have to continue reading widely if you want to sharpen your writing skills.
One advantage of reading extensively is that it opens your mind and lights that spark of creativity you need. If you don’t read, you have no new experiences to tell the reader.
When you read widely, you also learn new styles, vocabulary, and other interesting literary aspects. These are the tools king refers to, and you will use them every other time you wish to write.
Image 1: Stephen King is one of the best-known novelists in the world
You can start with books and publications in your area of specialization, newspaper before venturing into extensive reading. The more you read, the more your mind demands for nourishment. With time, you will find it easier to organize ideas into stories. These skills will also come handy when writing your college essays.
2. Keep Practicing
It might sound cliché, but the practice still makes perfect. If you want to improve your college writing skills, you have to start writing even when your teacher doesn’t require work from you. Practicing helps you improve your grammar, essay structuring skills, vocabulary, and idea organization.
In today’s digital world, you have many platforms where you can sharpen your skills through writing. From your Facebook account, blogs, article directories to your school website, the options are limitless.
As you continue writing, you will notice more ideas flowing to your mind. It is advisable to write down any idea that crosses your mind and build on it later. While not everything you write will get published, this opens your mind and boosts your creativity. It is one of the most effective tricks to improve your writing.
3. Read Writing Guidelines Carefully
Writing tasks are not pleasant for most college students. They take a lot of time, and as such, these students try to rush through them. In the process, they fail to understand the instructions leading to inevitable failure.
If you have a writing task ahead of you, take the time to read through every instruction, and note down the key requirements. Failure to follow guidelines is the greatest blunder you can make when writing a research paper or an exam essay.
For a research paper, your professor will reject the paper. For an exam, there’s no chance to revise your work which will lead to a fail. If you have any doubt about the writing requirements, talk to your teachers, and get a clarification. It is the only way to work through your writing assignments confidently.
4. Write To Communicate
There’s a misconception among college students and new writers that complex vocabulary shows mastery in one’s subject. Reading through many college essays and term papers shows a lot of misplaced words that add no value to the written piece.
If you want to improve your writing skills in college, it is time to return to the basics of writing. The whole idea of writing is to use your creativity to communicate a message.
Whether it is a story, description, argumentative essay, poem, or any other form of writing, there has to be a message in your writing. You can only pass this message across by writing for your audience.
Simplify your language and consider the readers every time you put down a word. Avoid complex words that might turn off the reader and instead write concisely. The idea is to write to communicate, which will captivate the reader through the entire work.
5. Learn How To Cite
College writing is formal and structured. Your professor will give you directions to follow, and these also include citation rules and writing styles. If you want to write like a professional, it is time to learn how to cite properly.
Citing adds authenticity to your work and also gives more credibility to your writing. By citing other sources, it shows you have gone an extra mile to provide valuable information for your reader. Citation is also an academic requirement and helps you avoid plagiarism.
You can improve your college writing greatly by including other people’s ideas. Make sure your citations adhere to the indicated writing style (APA, Chicago, Harvard, or MLA).
College writing is not an easy task, but you don’t have to dread it. You should start reading more extensively, practice your writing, and consider your readers whenever you write. With these tips, you will notice an improvement in your writing.