College Writing Help – 5 Ways to Write Better Essays

The savviest students know that finding the right college writing help will get them the right grades! These five ways to write better essays range from snuggling up to the assignment to editing with different hats on.

Before the tips, a quip:

“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.” ~ Uniek Swain.

Your college professor has probably defined plagiarism and warned you against its perils…and I remind you not to plagiarize another writer’s work. This is a serious academic infraction, and a seriously effective way to enrage other writers (and rightfully so!). Don’t cheat. You can get good grades on your essay assignments even if you’re not a great writer. If you’re new to writing college essays, you might find MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers helpful.

And, here are five ways to write better college essays…

College Writing Help – 5 Ways to Write Better Essays


1. Snuggle up to your essay assignment. What type of essay does your professor want you to write? Do you choose your essay topic, or does the prof? How long is the essay, and is it supposed to be in MLA format? When is it due? The more you know about your essay assignment, the better a writer you’ll be. When I was in college, I highlighted my assignment sheets and read them over and over and over again. I’d compare the assignment sheet to my essay while I researched, wrote, and edited it (I didn’t just read the assignment once or twice!). I earned top grades on my essays because I knew those assignments inside and out, backwards and forwards.

2. Pick an essay topic that matches the assigned length. “I’ve seen many writers drive themselves nuts by trying to write about World War II in 750 words,” writes publication coach Daphne Gray-Grant in 5 Ways to Salvage Writing Disasters. “Guess what? It won’t work! Your subject matter needs to be appropriate to the length you have. Pick “small” ideas for short articles. If your idea is too big (World War II, Shakespeare, the History of Literature), narrow in on one small part of it.” If you don’t know if a topic matches your essay, talk to your professor. That’s what she’s there for – to give you college writing help!

3. Use words and phrases you understand. Take this sentence: “The scansion of your writing reveals that you can learn to write in a manner previously unsurpassed.” Huh? I looked up “scansion” before and after writing this sentence, and I still don’t know what it means. I’m sure I’m not using the word correctly, and I’m equally sure that even readers who know what the word means won’t understand the sentence. One of the keys to better college writing is to leave out words and phrases intended to razzle dazzle your professor. Don’t write to impress. Write to inform, persuade, ignite, or entertain.

4. Take out the trash (metaphorically speaking). Edit every unnecessary syllable from your sentences. College students who write 1,000 word essays may want to stuff in extra words so they finish faster, but what they gain in time they’ll lose in grades! Clear, effective college writing is about using short words like “truthfully” instead of long phrases like “as a matter of fact” (or eliminating unnecessary phrases altogether). Good college writing is hard work, my friends.

5. Put at least two editor’s hats on: content and structure. There’s no such thing as writing a good essay (or anything) in one sitting. Writing better involves editing and revising with different hats on: content (information), and mechanics (sentence flow, literary techniques, grammar, etc). In other words, college writers may want to edit their essay a few times with an eye on their content. Then, they need to edit for mechanics. These are very different aspects of good writing, and few college writers can edit for both at the same time!

To learn more about editing – which is the backbone of good writing – read Tips for Editing and Revising Articles, Essays, and Research Papers.

And, if you have any questions or comments on this college writing help, please comment below…

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3 thoughts on “College Writing Help – 5 Ways to Write Better Essays”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Good point; sometimes college papers do need a phrase or two that spices up the information! I think there’s a difference between writing to impress, versus sprinkling a few interesting phrases here and there.

  2. “…leave out words and phrases intended to razzle dazzle your professor.”
    I must say, sometimes you need a couple of those in your paper to set the tone.