When students first enter college in the US, they’re often puzzled by the differences in expectations between college essay writing and high school essay writing.
Essays that were getting perfect grades in high school are often criticized in college. Don’t panic! Your writing hasn’t changed; college essay writing requirements are simply different than those of high school essay writing. Here’s how to make the grade and improve your college essay writing:
While high school essay writing is focused on illustrating that you’ve understood what you read, usually by rehashing the plot in a “book report” style, college essay writing requires something more: an argument.
Your professors don’t just want to check that you’ve done the required reading, they want to see that you’re able to make a critical judgment of that reading as well. Your argument, or “thesis,” should be clearly stated in the opening paragraph of the essay.
Now that the argument has been stated, college essay writing requires that it be supported throughout the rest of your essay by evidence. Evidence can be taken from the source (a quote from the novel you’re discussing), or credible outside sources such as literary articles and books written on the subject.
Here’s a good study tip: get as many sources as you can find and then use the ones that most accurately fit your argument.
Weaving evidence that supports your initial claim into your essay gives your argument ground to stand on, and that is what earns you the “A” on your paper.
When reading your paper, professors look for answers to questions like “But what about . . . ?” and “Have you considered . . . ?” They want to see that you’ve approached the argument from more than one angle, and that you’re able to admit its limitations.
Without question, college essay writing is more demanding than high school essay writing. Bu just like anything else, it’s a skill that you progressively develop with time and practice as you adjust to college life. So keep at it, and you’ll turn your excellent high school essay writing skills to excellent college essay writing skills in no time!
And remember, you can always use your professor’s office hours to your advantage i.e. going over a past paper where you’re not sure where you went wrong.
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Everyone knows that the worlds of high school and college couldn’t be further apart. But, what parallels can be drawn between the two?
From childhood to adulthood, high school allows you to gain a sense of what it will be like to be an adult.
On the other hand, college allows you to fully take ownership of your time, responsibilities and who you want to become.
As long as you’re able to stay on track of the goal at hand, i.e. getting marvelous grades, keeping a smart schedule and studying like crazy, you’ll be just fine. In college, balance is the key. Work a lot, have a little fun.
If it sounds pretty great, that’s because it absolutely is.
Here are a few comparisons that you’ll experience during your transition into the college lifestyle:
- High School: In high school, you know everyone in your class.
College: In college, you’re lucky to know one person in your class.
High School High school books are provided are little to no cost.
College: College textbooks cost a small fortune.
High School: You have to live with your parents in high school.
College: You get to live with your friends in college.
High School: You wake up early in the morning for class in high school.
College: You wake up for your first class (or whenever you want).
High School: In high school, you were forced to learn all subjects.
College: In college, you get to learn whatever you want to.
High School: In high school, your time and schedule are dictated by others.
College: In college, you take back ownership of time management.
High School: In high school, teachers read from the textbooks they use.
College: In college, professors refer to the textbooks they wrote.
High School: In high school, you studied comfortably at home before a test.
College: In college, the library becomes your home away from home.
High School: In high school, you wrote notes to friends.
College: In college, you take notes for yourself.
High School: In high school, you’re able finish all your homework in one night.
College: In college, that’s a near-to-impossible feat.
High School: In high school, you have a full day of classes.
College: In college, you plan your schedule to your liking.
High School: In high school, you’re stuck with a set social hierarchy.
College: In college, you get to choose who you spend time around.
High School: In high school, assigned reading means a night off from homework.
College: In college, you actually need to do the reading – and it takes all night.
High School: In high school, everyone is required to be there.
College: In college, everyone wants to be there.
High School In high school, you worried about what “looked” cool.
College: In college, you’re too busy to care about what other people think.
High School: In high school, you’re stuck in a social “role” that others cast you in.
College: In college, you can be whoever you want to be.
High School: In high school, you have adults telling you what’s expected of you.
College: In college, it’s just expected.
High School: In high school, teachers gear classes towards average learners.
College: In college, average is the bare (emphasis on bare) minimum.
High School: High school attendance is mandatory.
College: College attendance is (strongly) suggested.
High School: In high school, you had a curfew you had to follow.
College: In college, you use your own judgment for what you have time to do.
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