College Writing: WHY???
College writing. The most commonly complained-about task required for success in the college curriculum. At this point, horror stories are common knowledge- the endless essays, sleepless nights, the 12-page papers. The hours upon hours upon hours of rewriting. To college students, it’s just tedious busywork; an assignment crafted by professors to make homework as miserable as possible. But unfortunately, what these students fail to realize is that these seemingly endless and irrelevant writing assignments are only beneficial (to those who take them seriously, anyway). According to “Components in a Comprehensive Definition of College Readiness”, author D.T. Conley insists that writing is a form of practice. What students practice is the use of key tools that will not only keep him or her well written in their college courses, but will also sharpen communication skills within their future career.
Writing serves as one of the easiest ways for college professors to assess the varying intelligence levels of their students. Depending on the way students speak, form, and communicate ideas through writing, the teacher can evaluate the student’s understanding (or lack thereof). The writing skills of a student are directly relevant to their communication skills. According to Gene Buding, author of “Writing: Necessary Tool”, many college professors agree that a fair amount of students come into secondary education with a drastic need for improvement in their writing skills (Budig 663). So, the important thing to remember about the use and practice of these skills is that when a student learns a new way in which to write, they in turn learn a new way to think. Thinking effectively leads to successful communication, which is important in school, at work, and in life.
There are three main writing techniques that are not practiced or developed in high school, but that are fundamental to successful writing skills. The first underdeveloped technique is the use of expository writing. Expository writing is used for explaining, describing, or giving information about a particular subject. This writing style becomes particularly useful not only in English class, but also during any public speaking class or presentation. The student takes in the information, and because of recent practice in expository writing, explaining something out loud becomes much easier. It’s the same mental process, just a different outcome based on the situation. In addition, this ability to explain and describe could be helpful to any sort of future teacher or instructor. Explaining a lesson to a class becomes much simpler when your brain is already trained to communicate information in a way that is easily understood.
The second technique that high school teachers don’t cultivate in their students is the ability to write descriptively. Descriptive writing requires the student to write in such an expressive way that it forms a picture in the mind of the reader. This is particularly helpful when working on group project. Having a great idea but being unable to communicate with your classmates doesn’t help anybody. With the ability to effectively describe what you’re thinking, you can easily get the whole group on the same page and bring an amazing idea to life. And this skill doesn’t stop being helpful after college; artists, interior designers, and directors all need these communication skills to be successful within their field. If they can’t tell their employees what needs to be done, the piece, room, or play will go up in flames.
The third and final underdeveloped technique is persuasive writing. Persuasive writing is when the student writes to argue a point and convince the reader. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t need to win an argument every now and again? Being mentally able to intake material and process it into something that goes with your argument is useful in everyday life. And, going even further, those who are especially
skilled in this can go into law or politics. Having a lawyer who is skilled enough at communicating his or her thought process to turn the jury in your favor with every allegation is definitely somebody you would want to have on your team.
The benefits to these new ways of writing, thinking and communicating do not stop here. According to a poll taken by the College Board’s National Commission on Writing, “People who cannot write and communicate clearly are less likely to be hired than people who have these skills, and, if hired, they are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion.” (Budig 663) Companies want to hire graduates who are smart, articulate, and know how to communicate effectively with clients. So, for students who insist that writing essays and papers are completely unnecessary, think again. Perhaps it’s not the subject of discussion, but rather, the practice of thought that will bring the student to acquire and use successful skills in their future.
Budig, Gene. “Writing: Necessary Tool” Phi Delta Kappan 1 May 2006: 226. PDF.
Conley, D. T. “Components in a Comprehensive Definition of College
Readiness.” Redefining College Readiness. Vol. 3. Eugene: Educational Policy
Improvement Center, 2007. 12-17. Print.