In one of my earliest blog posts, Learning to Write Well: Why Bother?, I wrote that you will likely need to be able to write effectively throughout your life, whether that’s for professional or personal reasons. Writing for college classes, however, is a very specific type of writing that requires a specific skill set. A lot of students come into college missing at least some of these skills. In a later post, I will talk about imposter syndrome and why students enter college with varying levels of preparation, but for now, just know that a lot of students enter college these days without the skills they need to write a successful college paper. That’s literally the reason this blog exists.
Not knowing what’s expected of your academic writing in college is not a measure of intelligence; it is a measure of preparedness and understanding.
So let’s get started.
Continue reading How is College Writing Different?
Hand to heart, the honest answer to this question is “as long as it needs to be.”
I know that isn’t the answer that you wanted. But it’s the truth. If you’ve been given a page length or word count, that’s because, in your teacher’s experience, that’s how much space it takes to make a decent response to the writing prompt they’re giving you. It’s never a magic number, let alone a guaranteed grade.
Let’s stop for a minute and talk about what your teacher hears when students ask that perennial question: “how long does it have to be.”
Continue reading How long does my paper have to be?
In this post, we will go through how to dissect a writing prompt in order to figure out exactly what your teacher wants from you. I will also give you some pointers about how papers could be structured in response to different prompts.
Continue reading Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (1/3)
This post builds off of the Before You Begin blog post, which provided you with some ideas of where to find out what your teacher expects of your writing submissions. In this post, we will review how to read an assignment sheet and a grading rubric, using examples from my own teaching.
Continue reading How to read an assignment sheet and rubric
So you have a writing assignment for your class, and you’ve been given the assignment instructions. Is that all the information you need? In this post, we’re going to talk about the different places you can look to figure out what you need to do for the writing assignment.
Continue reading Before You Begin