College Students in Need of Writing Help

by • October 18, 2012

At the beginning of every school year, a chorus of instructors bemoans the new batch of students who seem less prepared for their classes than last year. We could perhaps chalk up this cynicism to the abrupt end of a pleasant summer—if it weren’t for the annual studies that support this anecdotal evidence.

For example, U.S. News & World Report, in a recent study examining SAT results, reported that “The writing portion of the exam seemed to give students the most trouble, as 55% did not meet the benchmark in this section.”

Despite this evidence, high school students usually overestimate their college-readiness, particularly in terms of writing, mistakenly believing that it will only matter in the required freshman composition courses and that writing doesn’t apply to their chosen major.

An advisory committee of the National Writing Project, through lengthy debate and study, identified some basic truths about writing in college, which include:

  • Almost all grades in college are based on a student’s writing, both papers and exams.
  • College students are likely to write in all subject areas.
  • Students are expected to plan, revise, and carefully proofread their work.

(See: Mary Ann Smith, “Are you Ready for College Writing?”)

This is surprising to many people—to the unprepared students most of all.

Aren’t there more efficient assignments? Do we really need to write in the iPad age? Yes, there has been pressure to use more New Media in order to better engage students who have become dependent on various technologies; however, dissatisfaction with the results has led to push-back from instructors who realize that nothing can replace student writing for accurately measuring student comprehension and critical thinking. (For more information, see Dan Berrett’s recent discussion of the topic.)

Professors across the curriculum increasingly find that they need to do more of the heavy-lifting in writing instruction to get students caught up to their standards. Blame for this is often placed on multimedia exposure, shortcomings of previous teachers, and misdirected curriculum standards. Regardless of the source of the problem, current students are faced with the difficulty of how to improve their writing now.

Grammarly is an inexpensive method to see immediate writing improvement in higher education—be it for essays, theses, reports, dissertations, or other writing assignments—and it has proven results!

In a survey of over 800 students who used Grammarly, nearly all reported an overall positive impact on their writing grades, and the vast majority (84%) saw their course grades improve by at least a half-grade, often more than that.

Despite changes in technology, writing is still vital to university education and all fields of study. When it comes to helping students with their writing, it’s important to have various tools available. By effectively guiding students step-by-step through the editing process and helping them to learn from their mistakes, Grammarly builds writer skill and confidence, while complementing broader writing education efforts.

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Keep in mind that Grammarly improves more than just academic writing. As part of the #WhatIWrite Tweet-up, Grammarly is sponsoring a contest this Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20, Grammarly. Tweet your best sentence in the general, business, academic, technical, creative, or casual writing category, and you could win a year’s subscription to Grammarly! For more information, check out our contest details.

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