A common part to any degree program is writing essays on given topics. These assignments are a good way to demonstrate your understanding of the course’s material. However, you may not feel completely confident in your writing skills when you first begin your college journey. Here are some tips to help refine and improve your writing skills.
Preplanning Before Writing
Often, students will begin writing their first draft before taking the time to plan. Organizing your ideas can help determine the structure of your paper and lead to fewer headaches later. More edits may be needed to flesh out the essay if proper preplanning is not done.
There are many methods to create an outline, including:
- Bullet point ideas: Jot down ideas or topics that could be a part of your work using a bulleted structure
- Draw a bubble map: Brainstorm related ideas and topics using a bubble map
- Make a flow map: Draw a flow map to visually understand what will be in each section
Writing Tools and Resources
There are several ways to format a paper, and it's important to understand the differences between each one. For example, some classes require an APA or MLA style. There are various sites that discuss the different rules for each and give examples for clarification. Templates for various required styles exist on GCU's Student Success Center.
Edit, Edit, Edit
When learning how to write better, the biggest step you may tend to overlook is editing. The best way to improve your writing is to edit your work. For example, simple grammatical errors like using "you're" rather than "your" can be easily overlooked. Therefore, plan time to edit your essay with fresh eyes and make sure everything is grammatically correct.
Plan Your Writing Schedule
One of the most important steps is just letting your work have time to improve. A good idea to follow is to get a daily planner and schedule out the time needed for your assignments. Practice can be valuable in improving any skill and writing is no exception. Take time to go through all the steps discussed so you are not cramming the night before the assignment is due.
Have Others Proofread Your Work
It is always good to get feedback from others and have a new perspective on your paper. If you have classmates, friends or family members who are willing to check your work, ask them for their honest feedback. It is beneficial to get an outside perspective on your writing to learn how you can improve your writing skills.
There are also various writing programs that can help you such as ThinkingStorm. Students at GCU get ten prepaid hours annually to help with tutoring including a submission-based writing support option.1 This option can be beneficial for online students who need to work on other projects or have a day job.
ACE Centers and Learning Lounges
Grand Canyon University has several Academic and Career Excellence (ACE) Centers across its campus. The various locations are open for students in need of tutoring. On-campus students can take advantage of these locations for any subject since each location caters to a different range of subjects.
The GCU Learning Lounge is a great resource for students of K-12 programs in need of tutoring. Learning Lounge provides online and in-person tutoring to improve a student’s skills including reading and writing. Starting earlier on creating well-written papers can give you a head start that could benefit your college experience.
At Grand Canyon University, it’s our mission to deliver great educational programs to nurture students as they become the servant leaders of tomorrow. Our Student Success Center offers a variety of tools and resources to support students along their academic journeys. Begin exploring the possibilities at GCU today by clicking on the button to Request Info at the top of your screen.
1 Retrieved from: ThinkingStorm, ThinkingStorm Online Tutoring in August 2021
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.