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Writing supports our ability to explain and clarify our ideas to others and ourselves. Developing good writing skills can help you strengthen and improve your ability to create reasoned discussions and claims. Transitioning from high school to college may be difficult for many students because of the different environment and teaching style. I believe that high school writing classes do not fully prepare students for college as they may lack certain writing skills necessary for college. Students were hardly ever required to criticize an argument, interpret and explain a problem and propose a solution, structure their writing to meet their readers’ needs, or revise based on other’s criticism and comments.
In college, students need to demonstrate their critical thinking skill and be able to adapt and be flexible in order to meet the professors’ writing requirement and demand.
All writing assignments or essays in college are graded based on your critical thinking and analytical abilities. This means that professors expect a much higher level of performance and expectation compare to teachers in high school.
You will have to be persuasive and be able to present your opinion and attitude onto a paper for your readers to read. According to Linda Flower’s book “Writing for an Audience,” she states that the goal of a writer is to find common ground between the reader and writer and to also share and explain your attitude towards certain subjects. Flower describes that the real purpose of writing is to “make connections between historical periods, to discover for yourself the principle behind a laboratory experiment, or to develop and support your own interpretation of a novel (Flower 9).
” This means that writing a good paper requires you to have the ability to interpret, analyze and evaluate ideas and arguments. In a college paper, your paper should not mostly be consisted of you “rehashing the facts (Flower 9).”
In high school, students are quizzed about a novel or book, however, this only shows if they read it or not. This does not develop there analytical skills but only their reading skills. Professors do not want a summary or facts about a topic or problem because that only shows them your comprehension skills. Students should remember that a teacher needs to know that “you are learning the thinking skills his or her course is trying to teach (Flower 9).” A college paper must show that you can be able to think critically and be able to present your perspective and attitude. Students need to be able to change up their writing style in order to meet a professor’s requirements and standards. This means that students need to be adaptable and change their writing habits to write good essays for their future professors. Students have picked up bad writing habits in high school that they now need to unlearn.
For example, students write five paragraph essay which becomes generic and limited while also avoiding first and second person pronouns which creates awkward grammatical sentences. Five paragraphs cannot get you through college because students would need to write different types of papers such as research papers and academic journals. In John Warner’s article, “Kill the 5-Paragraph Essay,” he exposes writing related problems freshmen students face when transitioning to college writing. He states that “if the 5-paragraph essay were good training for writing college-level academic essays, you wouldn’t hear so much carping from college instructors about the quality of writing from their students (Warner 10).” This reveals that the five-paragraph essay should not be used at the college level and it restrains students’ ability to be creative and write good quality papers. Because of their poor skills and development during high school, students lack good writing skills from poor grammar and syntax to unclear organization of ideas to weak reasoning and arguments. I can relate to this because I also have the same problems sometimes in my writing.
From trial and error during my first semester in college, I discovered that professors tend to like or prefer essays that are cohesive and condense because they want students to get straight to the point or idea. Since they have a bunch of essays to read, they do not want a summary or they would be reading hundreds of paper of the exact same thing. They want a good analysis of your topic or prompt and see if you can write an academic paper while expressing your views and opinions. I feel that when writing a five paragraph essay, the writer’s voice is flattened and it almost kind of sounds robotic like a machine wrote the paper. A good and effective writer should be able to use their knowledge to organize and rethink their ideas to meet the demands of a paper or the needs of the reader.
By the time high school seniors graduate, they should be prepared and have the ability to be able to write critical analysis papers and be adaptable to write any type of paper required. Being able to write effectively is crucial because it is an essential skill that people use in their workplace or career in order to clearly communicate with one another. The best advice I can give a high school senior about writing is to not be a robot when you write a paper and to do the very best you can since your paying for college and college is expensive so don’t waste your money.
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