11 Quick Tips To Improve Your Essay Writing

11 Quick Tips To Improve Your Essay Writing

Finals season: It's the happiest season of all!

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Finals are coming up: it's that happiest season of all. But really, what do you prefer? Studying for days for a test or spending days writing an essay. Writing an essay can be frustrating because it really seems like if you work hard, you should get the perfect grade. There is minimal room for tricks, but somehow it can feel impossible to get the perfect grade.

As someone who would prefer to write essay and loves to edit my friends', here are a few quick tips to get through your essays this finals season.

1. Know the prompt

This could go without saying, but don't mess this part up. Know exactly what your professor wants before you start anything. It could be your worst mistake to write a whole essay and then find out you misunderstood what the prompt meant.

2. Research until you are sick of it

Read, listen, look at everything you can. The better you know your topic, the better you can speak about it. Don't just google it: look in the library, go to a museum, listen to a podcast. Know your topic like the back of your hand.

3. Don't write until you've researched everything

Wait until you are completely informed. Collect all the data and quotes you will use, and then you can add it all easily. Make sure you keep track of where you got the information.

4. Word vomit your thoughts on the essay

Starting is the hardest part. Personally, I like to word vomit onto a document, so I know all my thoughts on a topic. Then, I reorganize and see how I can actually write this essay. With all of your thoughts organized, you can create a strong outline. Now you have a working essay with claims and evidence.

5. Go to office hours if you can!

I think office hours can be underrated. Remember, this is the professor giving you the grade. If you have any questions, it is always better to ask. Even if you just want to run an idea by someone, it is better to run it by the person who is grading the paper. It also shows the professor your thoughts outside the physical paper, which could help your grade in the long run.

6. Download Grammarly

It's okay to admit it's been a while since your last grammar lesson. Everyone has slip ups! But Grammarlywill catch every small mistake. The free version does your basic grammar, and many schools offer discounts or free premium memberships.

7. Run the essay through Hemingway Editor

Gary Provost

This website has been a lifesaver for me since freshman year of high school. This website goes through your essay and gives you stats on reading time, sentences, paragraphs, and your writing level. It will show you sentences that need to be shortened, lengthened, or rephrased.

8. Change the font and text size

This one sounds crazy but I swear it will work. If you have been looking at the same paragraph for hours, it can be hard to notice a mistake. But a different font and/or text size will force you to change perspective and you'll notice something new.

9. Read it out loud

This will help you notice if a sentence is too hard to read or any small errors. It seems tedious but will always catch something.

10. Make someone else read it

While it is tempting to have someone informed on the topic read the essay, it is actually better to have an uninformed reader. Give the essay to someone who knows minimal information, because they look at it with new eyes. Your essay should include everything—from the background information to the complex claims. Someone new to the topic should read this and have new information, not confusion.

11. Write confidently!

With all of these tips, you will know your information like the back of your hand, have strong claims, and catch any small mistakes. Know that you can get an A and get it!

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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A Reminder That Your Best Is Always Enough

Don't let the stress of the season wear you down; just keep doing your best!

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Life gets overwhelming. For me personally, adjusting to college has been a whirlwind of finding new classes and studying habits, meeting new people and balancing school with a social life, and applying for jobs, scholarships, and now, apartments. This whole "adulting" thing is hard. It's not easy to find time to do everything you have on the agenda, on top of keeping yourself healthy mentally and physically. This pressure has been getting to me lately; I have so much to do before the end of the quarter and my stress levels are rising continuously. Of course, I'm excited about spring, the end of the year, and the excitement that next year will bring. But in the meantime, we all have a lot on our plates.

Personally, I've really enjoyed this first year of college so far, but I have felt the stress and pressure of it all, especially through this past winter quarter. I've been studying French for years now. This has been my first year of taking university-level French classes, and I've really been enjoying them. At the same time, though, it's been a lot of work to push myself to the standards of my professor and feel like I'm actually reaching fluency. As I'm sure many language learners can relate, I've reached a certain point in my studies that I feel I've reached fluency in comprehension, but I still hesitate in speaking the language and I get nervous about making mistakes orally.

I know that the solution to this roadblock is practice. I listen to French songs, watch movies and videos in French, and read French news articles and Tweets. Still, I don't feel like I have the time that I need to commit to becoming fluent. In addition, this year introduced me to the zero-waste routine. Although it's been an incredibly rewarding effort, it takes a lot of time, money, and dedication. Living in a dorm with a very small kitchen has made it difficult to truly practice the zero-waste lifestyle I hope for. Although I've reduced my waste immensely in shopping practices, there are still many ways that I could cut back on waste if my budget or living space allowed for it.

I do my best to practice what I preach, but sometimes I find myself taking the more convenient, wasteful route. My campus offers lots of ways to recycle and compost, but still, I can never escape the non-recyclable plastics that I have to throw away.

In reflecting on these thoughts the past few weeks, I have realized that all I can do in facing these hardships is my best. I'm reminding myself that I am not alone in my stress and personal dilemmas. Springtime tends to be insanely busy for me. As the school year wraps up there's a lot to do. I know that these next few months will fly by, so my goal is to stay productive and busy to keep myself happy and as stress-free as possible!

So, here's to each of us trying our best. Remember that pushing through struggles often results in a stronger, more confident version of ourselves. Keep up the good work; enjoy the spring weather and let it inspire you to stay on top of what needs to be done. Take care of you, and remind yourself that your best is always good enough!

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