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Letter To A Student Essay, Research Paper
Dear Incoming Student,
The transition from high school to college is challenging for most students. Classes are
more difficult than high school, life get increasingly complicated, and the future is unclear. A
major aspect of college that is often ignored is good writing skills. With so much riding on our
college sucess, excellent writing skills are a must. Tests play a large role in measuring a students
capabilities, but most college courses rely on essays and papers as well. The first step
of the writing process begins with brainstorming and developing an idea. Even if the topic has
already been determined by the professor, it is still an important step of the process. There are
certain things to consider when formulating an idea. Consider your audience, and the nature of
the assignment. Also, many professors may designate a desired length for the paper. Try to get
the feel of what your teacher is looking for. If the topic has been pre-assigned, then try to find a
unique perspective that interests you. There is nothing worse than writing a paper about a topic
you hate, so I cannot stress enough the importance of discovering a topic that gets you a little bit
excited. It is important to give yourself some time for brainstorming, sometimes it may take
minutes for a great idea to pop out, but sometimes it may take a few days.
Once you have found your fabulous topic, the battle is half over. Now it is time to move
onto the rough draft. Sometimes it is difficult to just begin writing a rough draft, and you may
want to begin with an outline. An outline is an excellent way to organize your thoughts so that
they can flow in a logical order when you begin to write. This step is completely at the writers
discretion, it just depends on the type of thinker that you are. The more concrete sequential
types, like myself, may prefer this method. While, on the other hand, the more abstract random
thinkers may prefer to just sit and start writing. There is no need to be overly concerned with
grammar and punctuation at this point, the purpose of this step is to get your ideas on paper. Just
allow yourself to write stuff that maybe isn t that good, its OK, that is what revision and
proofreading is for. While revising, be sure to
really think about what you are saying. Be specific, use concrete imagery rather than details.
Examples allow the reader to imagine how the world relates to the paper. Whether you are
writing a research paper or personal narrative, be sure to be honest. If you have sources, try not
to manipulate or interpret the evidence to support your main idea. When telling a story, it is
better to be interesting ad honest rather than using exaggerations. Chances are if you have to
exaggerate, the tale may not be worth telling. Once you have drafted an essay that conveys
the information and ideas that you desire, you can move on to the editing phase. This is a step
where you can involve friends, teachers, parents, or whomever. First, read it over yourself a few
times. Skip the punctuation and grammar, and go to the guts of the essay. First of all, do you
have a thesis? Your thesis should be the focus of your essay, the overall controlling idea. It is
not important to have the thesis in your first paragraph, put it where it fits. If it doesn t make
sense to have a thesis sentence then you don t have to have one. If the controlling idea is easy
to understand without one, then maybe it isn t necessary. If it seems to fit best near the end, then
put it there. I cannot stress enough the importance of revisions, do not try to write the perfect
paper. Revising is a time when you should cut and arrange the essay into a logical flow of
thoughts. Sentences should be essential, go for quality not quantity. Choose you words carefully
so that the reader can easily understand the main idea of the essay. Avoid filler words that may
cause distraction. This is often overlooked, because our everyday conversation is filled with
unnecessary words, but your essay will sound far more professional and polished if they are
eliminated. Even if you have revised and are perfectly
pleased with the outcome, it is imperative to have others edit it as well. Others may catch errors
that you may have missed. More importantly, although you may easily understand your main
idea, others may not. Let someone read it, then ask them what they thought was the controlling
idea. Does it match yours? Is it conveyed in a logical flow of ideas? Should you add more
examples? Peer editing can help the writer see their paper from another perspective. Keep an
open mind to others suggestions, not only can they help with grammar, but content as well. The
last piece of editing advice that I have is to read your paper out loud. By doing this you can
easily detect awkward phrasing and overall grammatical errors.
Once you are pleased with the outcome of your essay, go ahead and print out the final
copy. The transition from high school to college writing is a trying one for most students. High
school seems to place a heavy emphasis on grammar and punctuation, when in essence, that is
only a small portion of the writing process. Writing is an excellent way to organize your thoughts
into a clear and logical manner, which is a skill that everyone can use. Good writing skills are
essential not only in college, but can be applied in the workplace and everyday life as well. Best
of luck in all of your writing endeavors!
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