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Not every student is, or wants to be a great writer. Unfortunately, writing is one of the skills you are going to have to master in order to be successful in your chosen field of study.

While this doesn't mean that you are going to have to earn yourself a place on the latest bestseller list, it does mean that you must learn how to write effectively.

Writing An Academic Essay For College: Tips For Rookies

One of the papers you will be responsible for completing at various times throughout your years in college is going to be the academic essay. Here are some tips and guidelines that rookies can follow to make it through:

Style of writing

When a student is composing an academic essay, a formal style of wording should always be used. A simple example would be if you opened your paper up with , "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen", as opposed starting off with, "Hey! How are you?" Here are several other things that you will wish to avoid at all costs:

  • Phrases and sentences that sound like speech ("boy, this part is very interesting")
  • Contractions ("they're", "isn't", "can't")
  • Subjective descriptions ("that stunning painting")
  • Clich├ęs ("the acorn does not fall far from the tree")
  • Use the third person whenever it is possible
  • Use language that is plain and simple, not full of jargon and confusingly long words

Integrate your own ideas with the evidence

The argument that you are presenting is the answer to the question posed in the introduction of your essay, which is in turn backed by evidence. This evidence is all obtained from the research material, journal articles, and books that you have read relating to your topic. Markers look for students who are able to demonstrate their own thinking, and this is shown by how a student interprets the evidence they have chosen to use, and how clearly and concisely they have explained to the reader how this evidence provides an answer to your question.

Each point you discuss during the paper needs to have its own supporting evidence. The type of evidence that you choose to use is completely up to you, and could include real-life examples, a certain theory, or facts and statistics. Remember to avoid using descriptions that are unnecessary. Leave them out unless they add value to your argument. Below is a common paragraph model to be used for the entire body portion of your paper:

  • Use your own words to introduce the point
  • Add in the supporting evidence
  • Explain how the evidence answers the questions because of the way you interpret it

Editing and proofreading

One quick read-through is never enough when it comes to editing and proofreading -- never. The editing process checks to ensure that all of your points are relevant to the question and presented in the correct order. As you go through your work, be ruthless with the delete key. Cut out any information that is not directly needed to answer the question or that detracts from the focus you want to drive your readers toward. Edit from the point of view of the reader -- are there any gaps in the reasoning you have used? Is it possible to follow all of your points logically and clearly?

A critical part of academic writing is being able to identify and correct your own mistakes. Nothing makes a great paper look worse than when it is filled with errors in punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Keep editing and proofreading until you feel there is nothing else of value that you are able to add. Then do it one last time. You can always get a friend or classmate to read your final draft as well to see if anything pops out at them.