College Writing Guide for First-Year Students

Transitioning from high school to college studies may result in difficult hurdles for different students. Being familiar with the college environment and class routines may take a substantial amount of time. Besides the more prominent vicinity than high school, college writing comprises significant essay writing activities and exercises.

First-year college students can buckle themselves up and prepare in advance for college life by doing substantial research works and engaging in extensive book reading. The efforts will eventually pay off when they begin facing a pool of different writings given to them by their lecturers. Additionally, you should be aware of your performance and know how to calculate you Grade Point Average (GPA). If you don’t know how to go about it, you can use a free online GPA Calculator.

You need not worry if you are not well versed in college writing in your first year of college. The guideline below has come to your rescue. It purposes to outline some fundamental knowledge of college writing, the several types of academic writing, some styles, and formats to consider, alongside the common mistakes to avoid while crafting your college writing. Stay put for insightful information.

Difference between high school and college writing

First-year college students face several challenges when it comes to college writing. Due to the different approaches employed by high school teachers, students may panic when college professors require them to use more complex angles in their writing arguments and structures. The following are how college and high school writing differ.


Depending on your college professor’s instructions, your writing format may vary. Some professors may require you to double-space and type your papers with standard margins. Most of these standard formats have a font size 12, with New Roman or Arial styles.


Your past high school life may involve a five-paragraph format structure, with few points to support your writing argument. It is not the case when you are in college. You need to get out of your comfort zone and explore diverse strategies for your writing.


Most high school research papers involved utilizing online search tools such as Google and Yahoo when gathering information. College research papers are argument-based, where the evidence collected needs to make your points stronger. Students also have to rely on reliable sources such as scholarly articles and professional websites and books.


College writing also involves thesis statements, which need to be specific and opinionated. Unlike high school, they need to bring out the argument laid out and back up with concrete evidence.

The basic structure of how to draft your writing in college

Now that you bear some of the fundamental differences between your high school and college writing let us dive into the basic structure required when crafting your college writing. It is vital to understand your research topic before typing the first word keenly. A solid understanding of the subject results in a well-laid structure of the topic argument, besides a concise analysis of the conclusion.

Choosing the right outline

For most writers, an outline will do good when putting your ideas on paper. Be it a scratch outline or a detailed outline; the guidelines help you draft your primary and secondary points for a smooth flow of ideas. Before deciding which suits you best, you can explore both types with time during your first year in college.

A detailed outline will take more of your time than the scratch one because of the significant cautious efforts required to jot down the main points. It is, however, worthwhile for robust research analysis. A scratch outline has a less complicated structure and emphasis. It may take fewer minutes to craft but may force you to work on the topics’ orderly format.

Introduction part

Most college students agree with the struggle of coming up with a stand-out introduction for their writing. It is also advisable to work on the introduction part once you are done with the other parts of the entire research work. It eases the writing work for several students.

Your introduction should be mind-blowing to help the reader know what is ahead of the research work. You also need to comply with essential keywords that match the central part of the writing’s objectives.

Conclusion part

Being the final part of your writing, most college students find it the most straightforward part. With the recursive actions of analysis, polishing, and proofreading when modeling the research work, it might be easier to outline your final thoughts on the subject matter.

You can restate your thesis statement on this part and finalize it with an exciting view that will leave some significant sparks to your readers.

Types of academic writing

College academic writing involves a pool of diverse types used in different settings. The section provides a detailed overview of the several literary writing types you might come across as a college student.

Research papers

Research papers have varying formats and structures, depending on the assignment instructions. The standard format for most research papers involves a critical research study of the introduction section, a literature review of previously conducted research works, a substantial discussion of the findings besides its conclusion.

The simplest method to outsmart your college classmates in research papers is to pick a research topic from an area of significant interest, identifying relevant sources for your study, and analyzing the findings for your research. Also, remember to give a detailed description of the results concerning the respective research questions.

Academic proposals

Academic proposals are highly applicable when applying for grants. Even though most graduates face this type of academic writing, college students may encounter them when doing their collaborative research projects with other students.

It is essential to follow through with the formatting guidelines provided. Make your introduction clear to explain your plan and meet the project requirements.

Argument papers

The type of writing needs you to support an opinion or subject matter. It involves a thesis statement with a focused declaration. The body part of this type of essay presents a logical argument and evidence to offer excellent support for the claim. When crafting argument papers, it would be best to outlay the central issue and have strong evidence and a conclusion.

Exam essays

Most college professors test their students’ knowledge of concepts in the exam essays. They may include arguments and a persuasion approach. It would help to organize your study notes and participate in discussion forums for a rich understanding of your college concepts.

Tips on how to shine on your college writing

With fewer writing events experienced during high school moments, college writing can be quite overwhelming and terrifying to any novice student present on the college grounds. The unappealing experience should not be the case to any happy joining campus student. The piece highlights and vividly describes some of the best moves a new college student should implement and enjoy the vast writing scope while in college. Writing is structural with solid shreds of evidence that describe, analyze, or entirely support a specific common topic of interest. When adequately structured with exceptional flows and suitable energy mounts, writing can be ultimately exciting and even end up as someone’s hobby or just the new career path.

Here are the tips needed to excel in the multiple forms of college writing:

Figure out and research the relevant content

Selecting and getting your hands ready for the desired topic in question sounds intriguing and motivating enough to any novice writer. A fascinating topic of interest makes it easier for the novice writer to figure out how they aim to share, evaluate, and impact relevant information. Another right side of an exciting topic in question is that it may as well be so fascinating to your reader enough to capture his or her attention.

Structure and organize your writing process

As earlier mentioned college writing is structural and demands good planning for strategic idea presentation and implementation. Good structure and organization of the writing piece ensure adequate flow of the present ideas strategically and comprehensively.

Draft an enticing and strong thesis

A thesis is one sentence generally constructed at the end of the introductory paragraph entailing the main focus and the wide expectations of a particular writing piece. Do inform or possibly convince the reader about the idea in question.

Seek the best contented and relevant writing resources

Writing tools and resources are available to simplify and advance your writing craft to a whole new level. The internet and offline materials are widely known to initiate excellent progress for any novice writer. For instance, the NinjaEssays tool mainly advises wide on essay writing, helps correct words, and identifies any writing mistakes.

Soberly read and proofread your work.

Reading through your written work makes it easier to identify any grammatical errors, checks the logical flow of work, and generally determines your written piece’s status. Normalize, including others, to go through your writing piece and the chance to judge your written article appropriately.

Styles and format to consider in your college writing

College writing has multiple ways to appropriately communicate information to ensure good flow and the right comprehension of the relevant ideas. The different writing forms have a specific structure and other rules that make them valid enough for academic excellence. The section outlines and describes the various styles and formats that any college student will encounter during their incredible college years and the respective efficient ways to implement the relative structures. As a novice college student, be sure to comprehend and take down any significant points. College writing gets easier once you are fully engaged and experienced enough through multiple writing practices.

APA format

Fully referred to as the American Psychological Association, the APA format is one of the common styles implemented amid college learning. In its sixth edition, the APA format is standard in social sciences, including psychology, medicine, and sociology.

MLA format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) format is also another common of writing implemented in colleges. The style is famous in the humanities department, where there are enthusiasts in English and theater learning.

CMS format

CMS format is the Chicago Manual of Style format now present in its sixteenth edition. The CMS format is common to the post-graduate students venturing on the aspects of History, Arts, and Literature.

Common mistakes to avoid in your college writing

Essay writing is common to almost all types of students pursuing their various sorts of careers in college. Mistakes are subtle in any college writing piece before any novice student relevantly masters and comprehend the multiple ways of handling the specific styles of college writing used. The current section highlights and expands on the common mistakes pursued in most college writing pieces and the particular appropriate remedies that any novice writer can implement to improve and get the excellent grades they deserve. The common mistakes involved in writing are as follows:

Poor writing structure

A poorly structured piece makes it challenging for the writer to convey accurate pieces of information strategically and even more challenging for the reader to keep up reading your written document. Organize and prioritize your ideas for good convenience and to wholly pass your desired information happily.


Plagiarism is the rate of originality in your writing piece. As a writer, it is significant to ensure that the ideas displayed are solely yours, created through creativity and good research. Unoriginal work mostly leads to disqualification, low grades, and the thought of your work not getting published.

Low pick of words for the title – narrow topic, broad topic, less interesting topic

A catching title is a sure way to attract and create complete fascination to any potential reader just getting started with your work. Make sure your topic is not too narrow, too broad, or even less impressive in any way.

Grammatical errors and punctuation

Reading work full of grammatical and any punctuation errors can be disturbing and demotivating to any potential reader. You can evade mistakes in your writing piece by utilizing specific tools like Turnitin and Grammarly tools that check both plagiarism and grammatical errors.

Less proofreading

Proofreading your work and getting a companion to go through your work can save you a big deal. With proofreading, you get to analyze whether your position is on point, check on any existing errors, and make any relevant amendments.

Inaccurate citations and references

Citations and references ought to provide accurate and relevant resources supporting your writing piece. Be sure to tag the right references and citations to give enough evidence and maximum support for your scripted work.


College writing to any novice student sounds overwhelming and complicated, an experience that should be replaced with seeking the best tips, perfect resources, good energy, and ultimately getting started. Know what you want to put in writing, and straight-forwardly go for it. Utilize the multiple helpful resources available from the internet, and sort yourself an effective mentor. Remember that we all get to be a beginner in a particular aspect at some point.

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