Succeeding with popular types of academic writing

So many students write papers for their academic courses, but very few of them ever read other students’ writing. This leads many students to believe that academic writing is not a valid or entertaining form of writing. Many students believe that their academic writing is solely done as another option for a test. In actuality, academic writing can be and should be written so well that it is not only persuasive and informative, but also entertaining, thus fulfilling the three different reasons why people write.

Even though there are just a few different types of academic writing projects that students are assigned, they can still create successful pieces that their instructors will want to read. The commonly assigned pieces are essays, research papers, and term papers. It is too bad that so many students shutdown when an instructor announces a writing assignment because they are one of the only assignments where students can perform creatively and still show what they have learned.

In order to be successful on an academic writing assignment, students need to follow a few rules:

  1. Include the topic somewhere in the piece: This can be done in the title, introduction, or in the position statement. If the topic was given as a question, the question can be included in an answer.
  2. Follow the rules of writing assignment: The type of assignment you are given will have some specific rules. They might be required length, number of sources, or formatting style. In order to earn a good grade, you should show that you can follow directions.
  3. Include your personality: Stick to the topic, but when you can show your style and personality through word choice, sentence structure, and ideas, let your light shine. Instructors enjoy being able to see their students’ personalities in their writing assignments. Without them, the essays seem cold and impersonal.
  4. Document your sources: If you are writing a research paper or term paper, you will need to have a properly documented list of sources. When too many mistakes are made with documenting sources, you run the risk of plagiarizing. No student wants to be accused of stealing other people’s work.
  5. Think twice before paraphrasing: When you paraphrase, you take another writer’s words and revise them to make them yours. Many students are not very good at paraphrasing, so they really end up plagiarizing. It would be better to include a direct quote and document the source than to plagiarize unintentionally.

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