What’s the Difference Between College Writing and High School Writing?

Some students are naturals when it comes to writing, so switching from high school writing to university writing is a natural transition.  Unfortunately, this transition is not easy for everyone and some students find themselves struggling while attending university, even if they didn’t have a problem in high school.  One of the key elements of university writing is learning to write a solid argumentative essay. This should be a set of statements, which clearly offer the following:

The writer should make a claim that the reader finds appealing and can relate to.  This claim (or sometimes referred to as a hook) should be made early on in the paper, usually in the introduction.  It should make the reader want to know more about the subject.  The main argument should be found here. Once the main argument has been revealed, the writer must show evidence of the claim.  The evidence should make the reader want to agree with the main argument.  Objections should also be found within the essay.  The reader cannot be swayed to agree with the view of your essay, if more than one point of view is not established.  It’s okay to ask the reader questions throughout the essay in order to make the reader think and consider. The basic point of a good college essay is to make sure the reader agrees with your point by the time he is finished reading.  For individuals who already share the same view of the essay upon reading it, their feelings should be justified in reading the essay, and for readers who have a difference of opinion, the essay should change their point of view by the end of the essay.

Always close the essay with a strong conclusion, which briefly outlines some of the key elements found throughout the essay, reiterates the main argument and supports the statements made. The main thing to understand about college writing verses high school writing is that the university offers a much bigger campus and holds higher expectations.  In high school writing, having a firm argument is not necessarily required, but in college writing, it is.  High school writing is not necessarily as focused and does not always require the same amount of care and formatting when dealing quotations and references throughout.  In high school, students have the opportunity to work one-on-one or receive additional help in a smaller setting.  A college setting differs because most professors don’t have the time to dedicate to any one student.  Some professors will give a detailed explanation of precisely what they want, whereas others will give a vague description and students will feel like they are struggling.