Academic Writing Help for the Students

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is a challenge for many students. This guide will help take the guesswork out of writing for high school and college courses.

Writing for high school and college is much different than writing for pleasure. Academic writing involves a formal tone that many students have never experienced. It requires planning and organizational skills that many students aren’t familiar with. Yet teachers often expect students to come to class understanding how to write in a professional manner.

So what exactly is academic writing and how can a student improve his or her academic writing skills? These tips will help.

Academic Writing is Professional

When you are writing for an academic audience, you are writing as an expert on your topic. This doesn’t mean you have to know all the answers or have a college degree in your subject. You simply need to write with an air of authority.

In academic writing, your audience includes your teacher and other professionals familiar with your topic. Your purpose is generally to inform or to persuade your audience to accept your thesis, which is your argument. As you write, take on the role of a professional in your field of study. You are no longer a student; you have done your research and, you are now qualified to write about your topic in a proficient manner.

Academic Writing is Formal

Avoid becoming “friends” with your audience in academic writing. Writing in a familiar or informal tone will make your writing seem less professional. Never use slang (informal language) or clichés (overused expressions). Avoid the first-person point of view unless your teacher asks for it.

Which is a more effective statement?

1. I think the death penalty is a bad idea.

2. The death penalty should be abolished because it is not an effective form of punishment.

Statement 2 has a formal, professional tone, and it is written in the third person. Therefore, it comes across as a more authoritative statement.

Remember that academic writing is meant to show your knowledge on a topic. The writer (you) should be the invisible force behind the writing. Make your point with an impersonal, objective tone.

Academic Writing is Flawless

Editing is one of the most dreaded tasks in academic writing, but it’s a necessary evil. Mistakes in academic writing will make your work look sloppy and unprofessional. As a result, your audience will question your arguments. Always proofread your work AFTER it is finished and BEFORE you turn it in.

Academic Writing is Planned

Give yourself time to delve into your topic in order to come up with well-developed, in-depth ideas. Think before you write.

Academic Writing is Well-Organized

You wouldn’t make a speech about an important issue without planning what you were going to say. Don’t write on an academic topic without planning your argument ahead of time. Brainstorm your ideas on paper so you have a visual map of your argument. From there you can organize your argument to maximize its impact on the reader.

Academic writing doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. Once you find your academic “voice” your writing will become more formal and professional automatically. Following these simple tips will help improve both your writing and your grades.

This site started as a joint project institution the University of Tromsø in Norway. It is designed especially to meet the needs and requirements of students of English at Tromsø, but involves sections of collaborative spaces for students of the institution to meet.

Dear students,

Your task is not only writing essays but also commenting on your groupmates' essays. Remember to read their essays and comment on them. Marina Popova.

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