Letter To A Student

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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 th

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