Before you write your first college essay, you will learn a lot of rules and acceptable practices that will stick with you throughout your academic experience. Some of these do’s and don’ts vary from one institution to the other, but most are universal.
The reality is that some of these ideas and practices are myths. Seven of the most popular college writing myths are debunked below.
The Five-Paragraph Essay Format Is a Perfect Template for All Essays
The five-paragraph essay format is emphasized in every AP English class. The introduction, body paragraph and conclusion is said to be the best template for all academic writing.
The truth is, the function should always dictate form when it comes to college writing. The number of paragraphs, length of your essay, and placement of your thesis should be determined by what you want the paper to accomplish.
Therefore, you will not always adhere to the standard, five-paragraph essay format while writing essays in college.
You Must Have an Airtight Thesis Before You Begin Writing
Coming up with a solid, one-sentence thesis before you begin writing is easy. However, research can get in the way of this perfectly crafted initial thesis. After collecting all the material for your essay, you might find that your thesis needs to change.
Sticking to the initial thesis statement defeats the purpose of academic research. Waiting to have a perfect thesis before you begin writing will waste your time. It is advisable to craft a final thesis only after you have completed your research.
Your Opinion Does Not Matter
Using the first-person pronoun, “I” is discouraged in college writing. Your content should have an academic tone, be factual, and impersonal. While these requirements hold for academic content, they do not rubbish your personal opinion on the topic.
Do not shy away from using your personal opinion to add clarity to your argument in defense of your thesis. Without using the first person, you can cleverly use your experiences to build a solid case that will appeal to your reader.
Good Writing Is Only About Grammar, Vocabulary, and Formatting
Good grammar, vocabulary, and formatting are a must to keep your reader engaged. However, these aspects come second to the paper’s intent and delivery. Without understanding the story you want to tell, you will not meet the reader’s expectations.
First, you must understand the purpose of your writing and how to meet it. Only after this can you focus on the aesthetics (grammar, vocabulary, and formatting) that improve the reading experience.
Good Writers Write Quickly and Effortlessly
Ideally, the practice should make perfect. Many students assume that writing many essays will make them proficient enough to complete all essays in a matter of hours. However, this assumption is quite far from the truth.
Good essay writers take their time to ensure that their writing meets the reader’s expectations. They prewrite, draft, revise, and edit their work several times. The truth is that college writing takes a lot of effort, no matter how much practice you put in.
Your Reader Wants a Black and White Explanation
There is something to be said about simplicity in writing. Clear, simple language improves the reading experience. Short sentences that deliver a direct message are also desirable.
However, academic writing calls for a different approach. Readers trust a writer who delves into the complexity of an issue. Do not hold back from scratching the surface of any topic at hand; your ability to dissect and simplify your thesis will be appreciated.
You Only Need Feedback If Your Essay Has Faults
Good writers need feedback too. They acknowledge that writing is a continuous process that accommodates external opinion. Their perspective is constantly changed by research and feedback from experts.
No matter how good a writer you think you are, you should always anticipate others’ opinions on your work. You should be open to new ideas, embrace criticism, and let your work become a reflection of the lessons you learn.
Although the fundamentals of writing remain the same, your skill as a writer must change when you get to college. From incorporating your opinion to exploring new essay structures, delving into complex issues to simplifying your communication, there is plenty to be done differently when it comes to college writing. The most important thing to have in mind is that no writer is perfect; there is always room for change as you learn from peers and professionals.