Why It Matters: Writing Essentials for Young College Writers
Writing academic papers in colleges is often tricky for newcomers. Young students are faced with paper, thesis, literature review, lab report, annotated bibliography, and essay writing. Many institutions and publishers offer essential writing guides to make it easier for them to study. These are a set of rules that cover every aspect of college writing, from grammar and punctuation to topic selection and strategy development. Let’s break down what essential writing tips young college writers need.
Academic writing involves presenting information in an objective and unbiased manner. You must support your arguments and claims with evidence, not your own personal beliefs.
For this reason, it is essential to conduct thorough research and use the work of your predecessors to avoid bias. You must be honest and always check your work for plagiarism.
Academic writing should be in a formal style. This ensures an objective evaluation of your work and allows it to be compared to others. You should avoid slang, clichés, abbreviations, and any informal vocabulary that we use every day. For example, it is better to replace the word “things” with “issues” and “many” or “lots” with “numerous”. At the same time, don’t overcomplicate your speech by filling it with high-pitched and complicated turns of phrases and abstruse expressions. Your vocabulary will be enough.
The main purpose of your texts is to be comprehensible to readers. You should formulate your thoughts clearly and concisely and avoid vague formulations and words like “maybe,” “probably,” etc., which can cause doubts about your confidence in your ideas. Always think through the meaning of every word in your text.
Academic texts are not without jargon and terminology. You can use them when you know your target audience for sure and understand that using a narrowly focused vocabulary will make it easier for them to understand. Often, terminology helps to reduce the volume of text and make it more understandable. However, the choice to use terminology or jargon depends solely on the audience. When is it appropriate?
- Your readers are familiar with the term;
- It conveys the meaning more accurately;
- The term is often used in your field.
You should also avoid sentences and paragraphs that are too long. Try to write in such a way that only one idea is presented in one sentence, rather than a collection of all ideas separated by commas. You should also avoid generalizing terms such as “critics,” “scientists,” “people,” etc., in your work. These terms are vague enough to confuse your reader. The information you present should be clear.
In academic writing, you should always prove your arguments with data from reliable sources. You can use the academic findings of other scientists and academics to support your arguments. Often, sources include not only textual works but also video, audio, and photo files. It is important to remember to cite all sources you use in your work. No one wants to be accused of plagiarism.
It is important to know which ones you can trust and which ones you’d better not include in your work under any pretext when using sources. Thus, it is better to avoid references to Wikipedia and any sources from the Internet. You can use special student databases and even search engines (Google Scholar), which immediately give you reliable and trustworthy sources of information that you can definitely refer to in your work.
Every time you cite a source, you must get the citation right. There are several types of citations in academic texts, but the best known include APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard. Incorrectly compiling citations and reference lists can lead to plagiarism problems.
- Accuracy of Writing Style
Needless to mention that your work must conform to the rules of grammar, punctuation, and citation. In addition to this, there are also rules of style that must be consistently followed. So, you must decide how you will write the numbers (Arabic, Roman, in writing) and follow one pattern throughout the work. The same goes for capitalizing terms, headings, and abbreviations. You should also watch out for the correct use of tenses of verbs in different paragraphs and sections. Particular attention should be paid to the differences between British English and U.S. English.
You should always stick to one formatting style and always proofread your work before submitting it. It also concerns the usage of fonts, their size, the overall readability of the text.
Previously, academic texts did not allow for first-person writing. However, it is already becoming more common in many fields. If you have doubts about using the first person, we advise you to consult your instructor.
We have offered you only a small fraction of the rules that are relevant to college writing. As you can see, it is quite different from the texts that many students are used to writing in schools. That is why it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with college writing essentials before the start of the academic year so that you can be prepared for new challenges and cope with them successfully.