At the beginning stages of research or writing, it’s important to critically think about the topic. Pick topics that pique your interest because you’ll be more inclined to write. It’s easy to get bogged down with the task at hand when ‘citation formatting’ and ‘credible sources’ scare us into forgetting the main tasks of an essay. Academic work is designed so something is learned and those new ideas can be communicated through your writing. Keep these resources and tips in mind as you approach your next writing assignment.
Syllabus Schedule: A plan of action. There is a reason why the syllabus is given to you on the first day of class with months of work outlined ahead. That final paper that’s due four months from now is something that needs to be planned four months ahead of time. Give yourself a realistic and appropriate schedule to plan for all the assignments for the class, and as hard as it is - don’t procrastinate!
In Class Notes: Classes are a conversation. While it does not always seem like it, your classes give you many cues into how you should approach your writing style for the class. Knowing your audience is key; your classmates, professor, class & subject ethos need to be set to the right tone in your writing. Pay attention to lecture notes, organize and date notes, and ask for any clarifications.
Annotate Readings: Write in the margins. Make a practice of dissecting readings as you go through them. Underline anything that appeals to you, and write in the margins why it did. When you need to go back in a text, your own notes will help you through.
Search Engines: Google/Wiki it! It’s generally not recommended to use Wiki or other unreliable sources within an academic essay. It is recommended to use to get to know topics and get ideas for your own writing.
School Resources: Get what you pay for. Most colleges provide plenty of resources for student help in academics, and often times, like the DSC Writing Center’s, it’s included with tuition. Use the professional help in any and all ways possible.