What I wish students would understand about writing for a college class

As I’m grading papers this week–nearly a knee-deep stack of papers, no less–I am realizing some basic things I wish students knew about writing for college. With this in mind, I’m going to have a couple of blog posts for you about what I want, expect, and challenge my students to do.

College writing is not like writing in high school, first and foremost. That may seem obvious to some, but when you’ve been taught one way to do things and your college instructor wants something different, it’s a challenge to completely shift gears.


I’ve been in your shoes. My instructors in high school always commented that my work was excellent, that I had a “way with words,” and that I would be successful as a college writer. To some degree, they were accurate. However, I also struggled in some of my writing classes because my instructors wanted something different than I had done previously.

First, your instructor is here to help you. My office hours are used for a lot of different purposes: grading, editing tests, committee work, student organization sponsorship, etc. That said, my primary purpose of office hours is to work with students enrolled in my classes. Please come see me and talk with me about assignments, confusions, or other challenges you’re facing.


2 thoughts on “What I wish students would understand about writing for a college class

  1. Thanks! Students sometimes confuse high standards and expectations with a lack of concern or care, but that’s not the case. I HOPE students will improve. I also recognize that not every student is going to make an A in the class, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t do good work.


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