If you are a high school senior deciding which college to attend or an adult considering returning to school, take some helpful advice from a college teacher and learn how to write effectively before the semester begins.
Poor grammar and writing skills are the most frequentlty cited complaints that area business and industry leaders make about college graduates. In response to this criticism, most area colleges and universities require students who are deficient in their writing skills to take and pass a remedial English course before beginning core academics.
The message is clear: learn how to express your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively on paper before entering college or spend many frustrating hours learning how to write after you are enrolled.
Whether you are beginning your college career or returning to it after a long absence, you can become a more effective writer by following some simple suggestions:
- Take a summer course in English grammar and composition. The community college districts throughout Houston offer continuing education classes in grammar and writing that are staffed by excellent English instructors. The fees for these classes are usually quite nominal but the insights and practice you gain from them will be astronomical when the semester begins.
- Read a good book on writing that offers sound advice on the use of words such as William Zinsser’s classic best-seller, “On Writing Well”. This is a practical yet entertaining book on the writing craft.
- Purchase a reference guide that offers good, practical advice on grammar and composition and carry it with you always. The book carried by many journalists is “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White.
- Always use a high-quality dictionary such as “Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary” and supplement it with a thesaurus. These are excellent tools you will use throughout your life.
- If you use a word processor, use the grammar and spellcheck functions to check your work before printing or submitting it.
All of the books just mentioned can be read at a public library, purchased at bookstores selling new or used books or downloaded to your computer, tablet or smartphone where they will be available whenever you need them.
The small amount of time, effort and investment you make to become an effective writer will pay off in huge dividends once classes begin. So go ahead, take a class, buy a dictionary, read a good book and write your way to success in college.