Essay Writing

A college essay goes by many names: paper, research paper, essay, theme. Most of these names refer to a piece of writing in which you offer your own idea about a topic. This concept is really important. The purpose of most college essay writing assignments is not for you to find and directly report the information you find. Instead, it’s to think about the information you find, come up with your own idea or assertion about your topic, and then provide support that shows why you think that way.

Another thing to remember about a college essay is that, in most cases, a writing process is emphasized. Following a thorough writing process, like the one described for you here, in The Writing Process area of the Excelsior OWL, will lead you to a better product. Although you may have some timed writings in college, most of your college essays will involve a writing process. When you use a strong writing process, you’re working to create your very best work!

The video below shows real students from a college writing class talking about writing for college and what they learned from taking a college writing class.

Video Transcript

What is the most important tip you would give students about having a good writing process?

What were some of the key things you learned about writing process from taking a college course?

Meghan, Nursing: I think the most important tip that I have learned this year is that it’s important to be able to have your own voice when you’re writing. And, if you sit down and look at the writing assignment and really become familiar with what the rubric states and understanding what it is you’re trying to tell your audience, then you’re going to come out with a finished product that you’ll be very pleased with.

Matt, Physical Therapy: Some of the key things I learned in terms of good revision are to take advice from others. After I write a paper, I let multiple people read it, so I can get their input on how I can improve it. I don’t always take the advice, but their perspective is pretty helpful.

Cristaliz, Pre-Pharmacy: The important tip would be that revision is very important.

Roshaun, Accounting: The tip that I would give students about having a good writing process is to start as soon as possible, so you have maximum time to revise and edit your work after you have completed it.

Miranda, Accounting: The most important tip I would give to students would be to have a thorough writing process. You want to make a plan or an outline, anything to help you stay on task. And, you don’t want to try to do everything all at once because it will get way too confusing.

Matt, Physical Therapy: The biggest improvement I’ve had since taking a college writing class is my ability to focus on a target audience. That’s going to help me not only in college but after I graduate as well.

Roshaun, Accounting: The key thing I learned about writing process from taking a college writing class is that you have to actually follow the writing process if you want to get a good grade on your writing because it actually helps to follow the structure.

Meghan, Nursing: Some of the key things that I learned about the writing process from my college writing class was the ability to use outside sources and combine them with my own ideas in order to form a nice, complete essay. And, then, also, how to basically elaborate on an idea where you have an initial thought or your thesis statement, and now you can present that and support it with the following paragraphs to get one full, complete essay and thought.

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