How to Write An Essay At A College Level

College Essay AdviceOne problem you might face as you make the difficult transition from high school to college is learning what constitutes “college level” work. Most colleges require one or two units of composition, but these classes can be a rough ride if you do not know what to expect. Experts from essay writing service Tutoriage suggest next essential components for college writing.

Use a formal writing style

Writing at the college level requires a formal tone. Unless the assignment instructions specifically allow it, avoid using first and second person. Do not use contractions or slang. Instead, write in the same style you might use for a formal business presentation.

Analyze instead of summarizing

Your high school essay assignments probably focused more on summarizing the plot of a novel or regurgitating facts. At the college level, you need to go further than this. Rather than simply summarizing the plot of “Sister Carrie,” you may need to explain how it foreshadowed increased freedom for women or put the story into its historical context.

The major difference between high school and college-level writing is that college writing requires you to think critically and write with the purpose of making a specific argument rather than merely reciting facts.

Write a compelling thesis statement

The most important part of any analytical essay is the thesis statement. This statement, which usually comes at the end of the introductory paragraph of an essay, informs the reader about what you intend to argue and what evidence you are going to use to prove that argument true. An example thesis statement in an argument about the Middle East might be, “The invasion of Iraq decreased stability in the Middle East and allowed Iran to establish a dominant position in the region.”

Argue with evidence, not opinions

Once you go beyond summarizing a topic and analyzing it, you need to bring in evidence to support that analysis. Merely saying that New York City has a crime problem is not going to persuade anyone that your position is correct. To prove your point, you must gather and present evidence that shows how New York City has a crime problem. This evidence might consist of historical crime statistics, news reports or studies by criminologists.

Use scholarly sources

Many college level writing assignments require the use of scholarly sources. What exactly constitutes a scholarly source is field-dependent, but usually it means sources like scientific journals and monographs. Avoid using sources such as Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers or About.com, as they are considered unreliable. Some sources, such as the mainstream news media, are considered reliable but not scholarly. These sources may or may not be allowed depending on the assignment.

Paraphrase and synthesize

Even if a source is cited, you must incorporate the information from that source into your paper in the correct manner. You must not copy the source verbatim, as this is considered academic dishonesty. If you are simply reporting information, paraphrase that information in your own words. It is better, however, to go beyond paraphrasing and synthesize information from multiple sources into your own novel argument.

Cite your sources

You are not only required to use more reliable sources in college-level writing but also to document your use of those sources. You must cite any information you use in your essays in the proper format. Each discipline has its own citation format. The most common citation formats college students encounter are those promulgated by the Modern Languages Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

The major difference between high school and college-level writing is that college writing requires you to think critically and write with the purpose of making a specific argument rather than merely reciting facts. To do this effectively, you need to make a solid outline, do effective research before you begin writing and, most importantly, relate the evidence that supports your argument in a clear, concise manner.

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