dcsimg
You are here:

College Writing Tips

You're likely already tired of hearing that college coursework differs from significantly from high school work. You have many fewer hours of class. Professors are much less involved. You are pretty much on your own. All the brochures are right: College is what you make of it.

The disparity between high school and college is experienced directly in your academic papers, as well. College professors expect a very different product from what you're likely used to in secondary school.

Here are 4 tips that should prove helpful in your college papers:

1. Argue, don't summarize. High schools are mainly concerned with turning students into life-long learners, or at least helping students develop good study habits. And that often translates into the completion of homework. In short, high school teachers are thrilled when students read. Accordingly, most high school papers are actually "book reports," summaries of plots and the talking points of others. In college you're expected to step your game up a bit. It's not enough to say that Martin Luther King had a dream. You have to lay out what you think about the dream.

2. Specificity will triumph over generalities. This will take two forms: both in what you're assigned, and in how you should write. First off, your days of getting assigned broad topics like "Write about the American Revolution" are over. Your professors are specialists and will accordingly ask you to write about very specific topics like "How did World War I inform the Dadaist movement between 1914-1917?" Additionally, if you were to receive a very general assignment you should still drill down in your language. Gone should be the days of writings phrases like "In this day and age" and "our society." Professors have very fined-tuned BS radars, and they'll be able to spot that you are talking out of your bum from miles away.

3. Learn how to cite sources. Professors are more savvy than high teachers when it comes to spotting plagiarism. They google sentences; some even have sophisticated software that uses pattern-recognition to pinpoint lifted phrases. The difference between using someone's ideas in a healthy way and "plagiarizing" is a subjective one, so it's best to open up a line of dialogue with your professor on this front so you can be clear about his/her expectations.

4. Strive to be unique. If you are lucky (crazy?) enough to continue as a scholar to the Ph.D. level you'll be judged in large part on your ability to find a unique slice of a given topic that has not been investigated before. For ex, The Inverted Subject and Tri-liminal Space in Borat. And while doctorates aren't for everyone, scholarship is still looking for fresh arguments, even at the undergraduate level. So go ahead and take some risks! Your professors are going to get tired reading the same papers all the time anyway. :)

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

    Programs

    • Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • South University, Online Programs

    As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

    Programs

    • Nurse Educator (PGC)
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
    • More...
    Location:
    Savannah: 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah GA 31406
    South University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • George Mason University

    Located in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering
    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
    • More...

    Location: Online

    George Mason  University Request Info »
  • Ashford University

    Technology changes everything®

    You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

    Programs

    • Associate of Arts - Early Childhood.
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • Liberty University

    100% Online & No Standardized Testing

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd,, Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • University of the Virgin Islands

    HISTORICALLY AMERICAN. UNIQUELY CARIBBEAN. GLOBALLY INTERACTIVE.

     

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Arts - Accounting
    • Bachelor of Science - Electronics Engineering Technology
    • Associate of Science - Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of the Virgin Islands Request Info »
  • Ohio Christian University

    Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

    Programs

    • Associate of Arts in Business - Business Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in Business - Organizational Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Ministry - Practical Theology
    • More...
    Location:
    Circleville: 1476 Lancaster Pike,, Circleville OH 43113
    Ohio Christian University Request Info »
  • Ultimate Medical Academy Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL. We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training. So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.

     

    Gainful employment information can be found at UltimateMedical.edu/gainful-employment and includes information on tuition, loan debt, completion, placement, and occupations.

    Programs

    • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology
    • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
    • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy Online Request Info »
  • Florida Tech

    See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

    Programs

    • Mastering PM Concepts: A PMBOK® Study
    • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration/Management
    • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
    • More...
    Location:
    Melbourne: 150 W University Blvd., Melbourne FL 32901
    Florida Tech Request Info »
  • California University of Pennsylvania

    Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

    Programs

    • Legal Studies - Homeland Security (Master of Science) - Online
    • Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • Dual Concentration: Performance Enhancement, Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • More...
    Location:
    California: 250 University Ave,, California PA 15419
    California University of Pennsylvania Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.

    ×
    We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.