Not all students who attend college are recent high school graduates. Some students have not been to college in a while and are enrolling to better themselves or change their career. However, most do not know that writing on the college level is different to how you wrote in high school or even in your daily life.

So, what is “college level writing”? According to Peterson (2010), the steps to college level writing are:

  1. Think critically. How deep are you analyzing your topic? How do you incorporate the ideas from others and build on them?
  2. Use proper language and speak in a way that people can understand.
  3. Figure out what you still want to know about a particular subject, learn how to discuss what you already know and then what you want to know by responding to the reading (engage with the reading).

Writing in general does not come easy to everyone. It takes time and practice. However, “practice makes perfect.” The more you do it the easier it will come. So it is better that with each paper, with each post if your class is online and does a Discussion Board, that you always try to write as if you are a college level writer.

So to help with your writing take notes on what you are reading. I would highlight key items in my textbook and even articles. If you have to research outside of your textbook, make sure to beware of sources such as Wikipedia. You want to use sources that are peer-reviewed. Use sites such as college level sources (college library) and professional journals or sites. Sites that have .gov, .org, or .edu are excellent sites.

Writing on the college level also prepares you for working in your future profession. It helps to make you a better professional and shows others that you are educated and take pride in what you do. Writing in college is a challenge but taking the time to read your books, research a topic if you are still unsure about the topic, check your grammar, formatting, spelling, and letting others proof what you write can help you become a better writer and a better student.


Peterson, T. (2010). The Kaplan guide to successful writing. New York, New York: Kaplan Publishing.