Writing Tips for the Typical College Student
Katie Anderson, Peer Tutor
Have you ever sat in front of the computer wondering how to begin a writing assignment? It’s due in a week and you’ve chosen the topic, but you have absolutely no clue where to start. Well, you’ll be glad to know you are not the only one who suffers from writer’s block. Sometimes, it is especially difficult for first-semester freshmen to overcome this difficulty. Here are some tips for the typical college student attempting to write a college-level paper.
- Start at least a week before the paper is due. It’s best to leave several days available to write your paper. Spend an hour or two each night organizing and writing the paper. This will allow you plenty of time to complete the assignment.
- Make an outline. This will assist you in organizing your thoughts and deciding where to place certain ideas within the paper.
- When writing the paper, reread it several times. Read it aloud. Make sure you have answered the question posed. Have someone else read it. Also, research suggests that if you read your paper backwards you may notice more mistakes. We apparently read what we think is written. Reading backwards helps us notice things that we may have missed.
- When you are finished writing, walk away from it for 24 hours. Come back to it the next day and re-read it. You may have more ideas to add or notice things that you were unaware of before.
- Ask your professor if s/he will look it over before it is due. Some professors will read over a rough draft to make sure the student is on the right track. This is very beneficial for the novice writer. It is not only another audience and reader, but it may also provide feedback from the professor you will be handing it to when it is due.
Remember to have fun with your papers. If you are allowed to choose a topic, pick something that is of interest to you. You will find that when you find the topic intriguing, you are more apt to spend more time writing the paper and put more effort into it. Have fun and good luck!