Going back to school means more time spent writing essays. Although writing essays can be daunting, it’s important to understand that with more writing comes improved communication skills. Being able to write clear, concise and effective content can be tough. Here are 5 tips for writing better essays this semester.
Read more often
Reading more often is an easy way to improve your essay writing skills. Reading doesn’t have to only relate to novels or long books. It can also be things like reading a newspaper or blogs about topics that interest you. By reading work by other writers, you’ll start to notice your vocabulary expanding and gain knowledge on new topics or issues. Reading more will also help you identify different writing styles that can ultimately contribute to honing your own writing skills.
Write (or blog) beyond academic requirements
Throughout your college years you’ll be required to produce a number of essays for various classes on various topics. Chances are, many of the essays you write will be on topics that aren’t always the most interesting. It’s important to expand your horizons and write more often outside of the academic space.
Writing better essays can be compared to things like learning to ride a bike or play an instrument. You’re not very good the first time you try it but with practice, your understanding of the hobby or topic grows and your skills improve over time. By writing (or blogging) about topics of interest, you’ll expand your vocabulary, credibility and improve your writing overall from grammar to content structure.
Keep your messages short and tweet
A great way to practice writing better essays is by using the apps you already use. Think about the way you use social media and the content you share across social media channels. Your messages are short and concise with limited space for text. The best social media trends usually capture your attention in 140 characters or less.
When writing essays, try putting things like key points and a thesis statement into a tweet. If the majority of your key point or thesis doesn’t fit in 140 characters or less, consider reworking these statements.
Submit your work for review, even if it’s not worth a grade
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re writing better essays is by taking advantage of free resources on campus. Take advantage of the great writers already on your campus by visiting the writing center where you can have your work edited. You’ll receive one-on-one help with your work and can even submit material for review that isn’t for a specific class.
If you don’t have time to stop in to the writing center, chances are someone within your network would be more than happy to review your work. In the worst case scenario, there are many online resources you can use to review your work. These resources will help you improve things like sentence structure, word usage and grammar. Maintaining an open feedback channel will help you improve your writing instead of making the same mistakes over and over.
Don’t be afraid to break the traditional approach
In school you’re taught how to write an essay from introduction to conclusion. This process is etched into your brain and serves as a step-by-step guide for how to write a great essay. However, the older you get the more you start to realize not everyone learns the same way. That step-by-step guide that was etched into your brain in elementary school, doesn’t have to be the way you write essays now.
Personally, I often struggle with the introduction when writing anything from an essay to a blog. Which is why I have developed a different way for getting things done. Instead of wasting time stressing out over a solid introduction, I tend to focus on the key points of my work and develop the body of the essay or blog I’m writing first. Doing so allows me to restructure the heart of my essay before developing an introduction that flows. By working out the body paragraphs first, the introduction becomes easier once I have a foundation to work with.
Don’t be afraid to break the traditional approach to writing essays. Instead, shift your focus to whatever parts of the essay writing process come naturally. Work on the easier parts first and the more challenging parts will develop as other as other parts of the essay do.
Good grammar and appropriate content aren’t only important factors when writing essays, they’re also important when it comes to social media. Your writing (or typing) can be the different between landing the job or not. Make sure you’re making the best impression both in class and out of class.