Everyone talks about how hard it is to write once you are in College. The first paper you are assigned can feel daunting with the array of different advice from different sources you will receive. How can you know whose advice to trust? Is it much more difficult to write an essay? The reality is no it’s not. Below are the eight biggest myths about college essay writing and why the truth is better than you think.
- Your essay writing needs to be done alone.
While it is true that you need to write your own essay, to say that writing is done completely 100% alone is not true. Getting input from your classmates and utilizing the writing centers on campus is a part of college essay writing. Most professors will set aside office hours for you to discuss your essay ideas. You would be foolish to miss those opportunities.
- The word count doesn’t matter.
‘Professors don’t lie about word limits in papers’ says Freda Johnson, an educator at 1 Day 2 write and Write my X. Part of learning to be a great writer is learning to write to the exact word count. It vastly improves your critical thinking about if you can make your point in a more succinct manner. This is a necessary skill that needs to be developed. Not only that, but it’s also quite common to lose marks if you go over the word count significantly. It’s important to stick to the word limit as much as possible.
- You should be the only one to edit your paper.
If there is one myth that needs to be buried, it is this one. The more eyes on your essay that you can get, before you hand it in, the better. Not just any eyes though, people who you can trust, who know the topic well and have a decent grasp of grammar. It will do you no good to give your essay on Roman emperors to your friend who is studying Mathematics and hates writing. Also, most universities have a writing center, that offers free editing services. Make use of it.
- Citation format is not necessary.
‘If you fail to cite your references, you are plagiarizing, and there are serious consequences for this at the university level’ says Frances Moser, a writer at several websites including Brit Student. Usually, the department you are majoring in chooses to use a specific style, such as MLA or APA for every class within the department. There are numerous websites and books dedicated to citation and bibliography style. Formatting your citations properly makes it easier for the person grading your essay to check your work properly and gives you higher marks overall.
- Complex diction and syntax are necessary parts of your essay.
Sometimes, simpler is better. You don’t always need to pick the fancy words and most complex sentence structure to get your point across. If you can say it in a more succinct manner, it’s probably wise to do so.
- Good writers were born that way.
Good writers are not born really, they are made. Writing is a skill that is perfected by learning how to do it better. It takes practice and learning from the writing mistakes you make. Your university’s writing center can help you learn better ways of writing as well.
- Don’t bother with a first draft.
The final essay you turn in is not going to be the first essay you wrote. It should have undergone many changes throughout the writing process. Trying to wait until you know what you are exactly going to say is foolish.
- Don’t vary your writing style.
This goes back to knowing your audience. While it’s important to have your own voice come through in your papers, it’s ok to vary writing style based on who will be reading your paper. Knowing when to use a slightly different style is part of writing well.
These eight myths are some of the biggest and easiest to debunk when it comes to writing college essays. Writing an essay in College isn’t scary if you use your head and all of the resources available.