Writing Essays at College: Why It’s Important
This essay is a winner of JetWriters Essay Writing Contest 2015
Author: Luiza Costa Ribeiro
Many students may bemoan the fact that college education is largely made up of writing. Writing is challenging and learning to write well is even more so. Some may wonder if all this writing is actually bringing them any benefit? How will students use these skills in the future?
In truth, possessing good writing skills brings enormous benefits. You don’t have to go into one of the “writerly” professions (novelist, journalist, academic) in order to reap the benefits of this skill. Studies of corporations show that 80% of employees earning a salaried wage list writing as part of their job responsibility (California Writing Project, University of California).
Here are some of the reasons why writing essays in college is important:
Getting more out of your college education
Learning to write well in college will not only help prepare you for the future, but will help you get more out of your college courses.
Writing requires that you learn how to do research. Learning how to locate and decipher sources that are credible and relevant is an important skill that will serve students throughout all of the academic courses.
Writing essays requires you to be a more attentive reader. As you read, you look for clues to themes that support your argument and ideas. New ideas may emerge that you hadn’t thought of. Your thoughts begin to shape opinions and align evidence to support them.
Academic writing trains you to be analytical. You will be taking the thoughts and ideas of others and putting together an argument based on that research. By doing this, you’re forming a new argument and joining the dialogue on the subject. The better you get at this, the higher you’ll climb in esteem and the more your words will have value to others.
Part of your job in academic writing is to take complex ideas, break them down, explain and simplify them. Learning to go from the complex to the simple is an incredibly useful skill that you’ll be able to apply in all of your coursework, even if it’s hard sciences or mathematics. Questions like “What is the most common denominator?”, “Why is this issue important?”, “Who/what will be affected by this issue?” will allow you to get more out of your classes. Finding the meaning and importance of something is a great starting point for in-depth analysis and learning.
As you learn to seriously apply these skills to your coursework, you’ll get more out of your classes. Though it may not seem like it at the time, academic life, for most, is finite. The more you can get out of your limited time where you have the luxury to explore thoughts and ideas in an academic environment, the longer the information and skills you’ve learned will stay with you after you graduate.
Enhancement of future employment opportunities
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Writing isn’t just for college papers. Our world is all about writing. Tweeting, posting, messaging, emailing, and other forms of communication involve some form of writing. The better you get at it, the better you’ll be able to represent yourself on social media as a professional person whose words are worth reading.
As you search for your niche in the professional world, you’ll be required to communicate about yourself in written form. Resumes, cover letters and email pitches are all written. If you’ve honed the skills to write in a way that’s dynamic, compelling and coherent, you’re a few steps ahead of the rest of the crowd. A well-written resume, even if the applicant’s experience is limited, has the ability to convey their intelligence and potential to employers.
Your analytical skills will serve you well when writing business proposals, and your training to provide facts and evidence to back up your claims will make you a natural at writing them. Business proposals, written communication to superiors, colleagues and other members of your network are all a chance to come out as a thought leader, a professional and an expert in your field.
Besides that, you’ll likely have learned to hone your revision and editing skills during your academic career. Sending out resumes, cover letters or emails that are not only well-expressed but demonstrate a mastery of grammar and are typo-free can make a big impression.
The California Writing Project whose aim is to illustrate the importance of learning to write well, cites several examples of how writing can serve you in the workplace:
“According to most corporate leaders, employees who are skilled in writing are the most likely to be promoted and the least likely to be outsourced or eliminated.” and “More than 90 percent of mid-career professionals recently cited the ‘need to write effectively’ as a skill of ‘great importance’ in their day-to-day work.”
Improvement of analytical skills and self-expression
Author E.M. Forster once said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Indeed, writing has the ability to reveal your inner thoughts and opinions in ways that may surprise even you. The better you get at writing analytically, the easier it is for you to apply those skills to other aspects of your life. People who write in journals often find it a useful form of exploring self-awareness. By writing down your thoughts and opinions, even on non-academic subjects, you are honing your ability to express yourself, to identify patterns, observe events and consider possible solutions.
Learning to write well is a great investment, not only in your college career, but in your future career path. The writing skills you develop today will continue reaping rewards for decades to come. Don’t dismiss your academic writing assignments as a medieval form of scholarly torture. They will bring you the researching, analytical and self-expression skills that you’ll use in various ways throughout your life.
1. Renee O’Farrell, The Importance of Good Writing Skills in the Workplace
2. Bill Stifler, Learning to Write Well, 1998
3. California University, Calofornia Writing Projest, Why Writing Matters
4. Marquette Unibversity, What Makes Writing So Important?
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