College writing is a challenging course for many new college students. In my experience teaching college writing, I have found a number of key tips very useful for my students. Although every essay writing situation is different, some general principles apply to most every writing problem. Read on to find out how you can write an essay for any college class to get the ‘A’ you want.
The most important thing to note about college writing is the difference between a high school essay and a college level essay. The differences between these two types of essays can be very difficult to understand at first as most college writing classes do not point out them out and often assume that students are already aware of the expectations in college writing.
The objective of most high school essays (I am generalizing here) is to report information or to demonstrate basic understanding of the course material. You might, for example, write an essay about the life and times of George Washington. You might also write an essay about “A&P” – the well known John Updike short story.
In college, your instructors will ask you to use critical thinking and analysis in your writing and not to simply report on the information or subject assigned. Instead of just writing about Washington’s life, for example, you might analyze the role Washington played in the formation of the United States of America. Instead of writing a simply summary of John Updike’s “A&P” you might analyze the characters, the story’s theme, or its relationship to larger social, political, or even economic issues.
A good college essay should demonstrate creativity in both the essay’s composition and its arguments. Critical thinking takes more work than a basic summary or simple report, but the college experience is supposed to be more challenging than high school.
If you expect to write a good college-level essay, you will need to invest time and effort into the process. Of course, the experiences you had with writing in high school will play a major role in your success (or struggle) in a college writing class. Some of my students come well prepared and have little trouble getting an A on an essay. Other students, unfortunately, are not as prepared and have to work harder to get the grade they want.
Keep these points in mind the next time you get stuck writing your college essay, and you’re bound to have more success!