LET’S FACE IT – the better your essay writing skills, the better your grades and the higher your Grade Point Average. Your professors will always judge you on the quality of your essays. This is all they’ve got. They don’t always get a fair impression of all their students simply because not everyone participates in class. And even when you do participate, you don’t always shine – come on, let’s admit it – I’ve been there myself.
So, if you need a quick boost to your grade as well as to your professor’s opinion of your intellectual abilities, here are the
ESSAYS WRITING TIPS FOR A HIGHER GPA:
Essay Writing Tip #1. Get to the Point as early as possible.
If you have a thesis ready, present it in your very first sentence. Don’t go on forever about how interesting what you have to say is. Don’t tell a story that has little to do with your main point. Instead, just get to the point. Right away. Just say it. It will be all right. I promise.
Essay Writing Tip #2. Limit Your Use of The Phrases There Is and There Are
If you learn to write expository essays without using these phrases, your sentences will automatically become more elegant. Consider the difference:
- “There are many people who want to lose some weight.”
- “Many people want to lose some weight.”
The first one is longer; the second one – shorter and more elegant. Using these phrases presents another problem, but I’ll devote a whole article to this topic in the nearest future.
Essay Writing Tip #3. Avoid Fancy Words
Use only the words you know. Whenever you write a word whose meaning is not perfectly clear to you, you risk coming across as a total newbie in writing. When a fancy word you just used doesn’t quite work in a particular sentence, your professor will catch it. Furthermore, he will suspect the same thing every time he encounters another fancy word in your essay. He will become suspicious of your vocabulary, and your grade will suffer (together with your GPA).
Essay Writing Tip #4. Write Longer Sentences Only If You Know Exactly What You’re Doing
This is a quick one. Just remember that the longer your sentence grows, the higher the chances that a mistake will crawl in. As a rule of thumb, when it seems like your sentence is getting a bit out of control, just split it in two. Write two short ones instead – it’s better to be plain but clear than complex and fuzzy. 🙂
Essay Writing Tip #5. Use the Active Voice – Avoid the Passive Voice
Here’s the passive voice:
- A hamburger was eaten by a man.
Here’s the active voice:
- A man ate a hamburger.
Use the second one.
Essay Writing Tip #6. Avoid the Repetition of The Same Words As Much As You Can
In the previous point, instead of saying:
- “Use Active Voice – Avoid Passive Voice.”
I wanted to say:
- “Use Active Voice – Don’t Use Passive Voice.”
Why did I choose the first version? Because it precludes the repetition of the word “use.” Catch these little repetitions and try to replace them with a synonym, or just rephrase the sentence to make it diverse. This shows that the writer has a sense of style and class. Try it and watch your grade go up.
Essay Writing Tip #7. Use Vivid, Colorful Examples
Do you want your writing to stand out above the rest? Begin using some examples in your writing. So few students do it – it’s amazing. College essays tend to be very general. The most specific evidence usually used is some statistics.
Instead of (or in addition to) describing the behavior of thousands or millions of people, take an example of just one person and write it out. Use some colors; make it vivid; describe the sounds and smells. Trust me, if you do just that and don’t follow the rest of the advice I give here, your writing will go a long way, and, again, so will your GPA.
Essay Writing Tip #8. Don’t Use Quotes Excessively
I don’t know if you’ll be surprised or not, but sometimes as much as 70% of a given paper consists of quotations. Come on, your professor is not stupid. He can see right through such attempts to disguise the lack of things to say behind other people’s thoughts. You are smart and talented. You have your own things to say. So, say them – in your own language. Sometimes I like to avoid quotes altogether – I don’t always need them. This also means that I don’t have to look for them on the Internet, which takes time.
Essay Writing Tip #9. Be Sincere Whenever You Can
If you care at all about the subject you’re writing about (which isn’t always the case), just be sincere. Don’t be afraid to be judged on the political or social statement that you’re making. You probably don’t want to offend anyone, let me make that clear. But don’t be concerned that your professor will lower your grade just because your opinion differs from his.
First of all, you probably don’t even know what your professor really thinks about a certain subject. Second, most likely, he doesn’t care about your political or other views. He should and most likely will judge your essay solely on its academic merit. And most importantly, if you write what you really feel, you will have more fun writing the essay, and it will be of better quality, for sure.
Essay Writing Tip #10. Talk To Your Professor
Before even writing your first essay assignment, approach your professor at the end of class and ask him about his expectations from the students’ essays. Some of the questions to ask are:
- What are two or three most important things in an essay, in your opinion?
- Do you require that I write an introduction and a conclusion?
- What is the biggest no-no that could drive my grade down a lot?
And then just listen and follow the recommendations to the best of your ability. Also, asking your professor this kind of questions shows him that you care. You can’t lose.
Questions? Comments? Post ‘em here.