College prep 101: Focus on key writing skills
Strong writing skills will help your student earn higher test scores, write quality college application essays, and become a better communicator. That’s the good news.
But as I wrote recently, there’s bad news too: many college students possess dismal writing skills and are not adequately prepared for rigorous coursework.
I know this is pretty disheartening. It can be easy to give in to gloom and discouragement. Instead, let’s look at positive, practical ways to equip our teens for college-level writing.
Cover the Basics
The requirements are pretty simple, really: focus on basic but key writing skills throughout junior high and high school to adequately prepare your students.
Make sure your teens regularly write quality compositions and papers. Specifically, they should know how to write a:
- Professional email
- Business letter
- Clear, well-organized essay (both persuasive and expository)
- Research paper
Minimally, by the time your teens graduates from high school, they should at least know how to:
- Write clearly
- Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
- Use proper sentence structure
- Proofread and self-edit
- Take notes
- Cite sources
If you teach these foundational writing skills early, you’ll still have time to introduce advanced writing and longer, more specific essays in 11th and 12th grade, including:
- Literary analysis
- Different types of essays (cause/effect, compare/contrast, reflection, argument, definition, etc.)
- Research papers of various lengths
So make a plan. Keep working on your teen’s grammar and writing skills, and give purposeful writing assignments on a regular basis. Otherwise, writing will keep dropping to the bottom of the stack—and your teen will be in for a rude awakening when his college years begin.
Catch the Whole Series
College prep 101: Learn to meet deadlines
College prep 101: Take deadlines seriously
College prep 101: Create a quiet workspace
College prep 101: Limit social network time
College prep 101: Teach responsible study habits
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