How To Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing skills are to a college student what tires are to a car: the better condition they’re in, the more smooth your ride is going to be.

College students need to know how to write. It’s one of those truths of college you might try to ignore, but comes back full force when your professor says those dreaded words:

“Let’s discuss the topic for your next paper.”

Now, don’t pull your hair out just yet. There are ways to improve your writing that don’t require expensive tutoring software.

Read, read, read. Want to write well? Read more, and not just for school. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or a magazine about your favorite sport.

The fact of the matter is that readers are better writers. There’s a strong relationship between the two skills, which means that if you improve one, you’ll be helping the other, too.

Head to the tutor. Most schools offer some form of a tutoring program. Use it! After you’ve written the first draft of your paper, bring it and your assignment sheet in to the tutor and get their input on it. They’ll be able to help you with anything from searching for grammatical errors to fine-tuning your thesis statement.

Ask you professor if they’ll look at your paper before the due date. He or she may not be able to give your paper the amount of attention a writing tutor would, but you’ll be able to find out if you’re on the right track. Warning: Make sure you ask your professor for help on this at least a week before your paper is due.

Pay attention to the help you receive. If the writing tutor tells you to keep an eye on your punctuation and citations, keep an eye on them! If your professor says you need to work on developing your introductions, work on it!

They’re telling you these things for a reason, so don’t let their advice go in one ear and out the other. Fixing your mistakes and learning from them now will help you recognize them in the future.

Writing is just like anything else: it takes practice to get better at it. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t become the next Hemmingway overnight. Pick yourself up, open up that document, and keep trying!

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Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris is a senior at Benedictine University in Illinois pursuing a degree in writing and publishing. When she is not at work in the Office of Admissions or on the university's newspaper, she can be found writing short stories, reading anything and everything, and spending time with family and friends.