By Katie Llewellyn
What do the following things have in common? A thorough contract, inspiring poetry, witty social media posts, groundbreaking research studies, and a love letter.
If you guessed “writing,” then you get a gold star!
Writing is the foundation of most of our communication, both in school and otherwise, and is used to provide information, inspire others, entertain, pose questions, or offer opinions.
Most students have a pretty clear understanding of the subjects they are most proficient in by the time they reach college. But, over the course of their education some may have determined that writing is not their strength. While you certainly have your strong – and not-so-strong – suits, writing is arguably one of the most important skills you can continue developing — for college and beyond.
why is writing important for students?
The value of good writing skills for academics, daily life and the workforce should not be underestimated. Consider this:
- Written communication is often the first impression you will make on a potential employer.
- A well-written cover letter can be the deciding factor in whether you are considered for graduate programs.
- Your ability to formulate your thoughts when texting or emailing friends and loved ones will be important in ensuring you are understood clearly in everyday life.
When it comes to your education and your career, being the smartest person in the room (or on the web) doesn’t matter much if you can’t share your ideas and opinions effectively.
Poor grammar, spelling, and sentence structure may cause people to doubt your credibility, and will certainly cause confusion for readers.
Take the following example:
A scientist has discovered a cure for a terrible illness and now has to explain to the general public his or her findings. The work is brilliant and has the potential to save lives.
But when the scientist writes up the research and details the data collected, it is riddled with grammatical errors and misspellings, and the complexities of the findings are not articulated clearly. Instead of showcasing the results of the study, doubt is cast as to the reliability of the work. Will the scientific community, or even the general public, trust this person’s research?
Don’t let poor writing skills undermine your knowledge.
The good news?
Even if you feel like your writing is not where you would like it to be, you can absolutely improve. Just like any skill, practice and effort will help hone your prose.
How to improve your writing skills
Most colleges offer writing centers to improve your skills and possibly even your grades! For example, Regent University’s Writing Lab is a free resource offered to help students edit their papers and school work and learn to improve and build upon their writing skills in a way that will help propel them into their future.
Typical workshops topics include: Writing Clearly, Overcoming the Most Common Errors in Grammar and Punctuation, and Writing High-Quality Research Papers.
The end goal for most writing tutors is to help you become your own editor. Instead of simply reading over your papers for you, effective tutors read through papers with you, thus helping you to spot your own errors and style inconsistencies. This philosophy of teaching creates stronger, more flexible writers than simply providing editorial or proofreading services.
How do you know you have the right tutor? You should see a boost in your confidence, your ability to think critically about your project, and your skill level in both writing style and technique.
If you’re already a college student, be intentional about using the writing resources at your fingertips: Schedule an appointment with a tutor (in-person, over the phone, or online), or register to attend a writing workshop.
If you’re not a college student yet, and the thought of writing papers and posts is holding you back, it’s time to turn the page to achieve your goals. Other hesitant writers have gone before you and thrived in earning their degree. How? They learned the value of scheduling appointments early and often to take the most ground and become a better writer. You can too.