Describe previous writing experiences you had (in or out of school) and reflect on what you learned from that experience (not just skills but also habits and ways of thinking about writing) that...

Describe previous writing experiences you had (in or out of school) and reflect on what you learned from that experience (not just skills but also habits and ways of thinking about writing) that you can draw on when writing at the college level. 

Asked on by qu950827

2 Answers

rmhope's profile pic

rmhope | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

As a college professor, I ask a similar question of my students during their first day of Freshman Composition class. What I want to know is what writing instruction and experience they have had previously, how aware they are of writing as a craft, and whether they can write fluently in response to a straightforward question. Thus, you should structure your response logically, give an introductory statement, provide three key points in response to the question, and tie it up with a concluding remark.

For the body of your response, state your in-school writing experiences. Mention any English classes you took that required writing. Be sure to mention if you took AP or honors classes. Have you done a research paper in MLA style? Did you take a creative writing class? Did you have any classes other than English that required you to write a lot? Perhaps you did a research paper for a history class or a business plan for a business class. Those types of learning experiences would interest your professor as well.

In the next paragraph, discuss your out-of-school writing experiences. If you were involved with the high school yearbook copy staff, wrote for the school newspaper or literary magazine, or did any other extracurricular activity that involved writing, explain what you did and for how long. Explain any writing you have done in your personal life. Do you have a personal blog? Are you involved in online discussion or role-playing forums that require you to write lengthy posts? Do you write letters or lengthy emails to relatives, a sponsored child in a developing country, or friends who have moved away? Do you write poetry or fiction for fun or therapy? Any of these uses of writing will help your professor understand how involved you are with composition in your personal life.

Finally, in the third paragraph, give at least three main lessons you've learned about writing. If you felt proud of your final research paper in your high school English class, explain what you learned to do in that paper and the skills you feel confident about. If you have learned various methods of paragraph structure or development that work for you, explain that approach. If you have learned good spelling, grammar, sentence variation, or any other techniques that improved your writing style, list those as well. 

End your response with a summary sentence that describes your overall relationship with writing and the ways in which you hope to improve. Your professor will certainly be pleased to have this information and will be able to meet your needs better as a result.

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a great question. Drawing on the experience of other people is a good way of making your writing better. As I think about my writing in high school, it is pretty depressing. I was a horrible writer. In retrospect, I had three weaknesses.

First, I did not know how to create a strong thesis statement. A strong thesis is key. Without it, you cannot ever have a successful essay. A thesis is what you are trying to prove. And the stronger your evidence is the stronger your thesis is. You should spend a good amount of time on this before you write to make sure that you have a strong thesis statement.

Second, my reasons (body paragraphs) were not very strong. Most of the time this was so because I did not read texts closely enough. One way to make sure that you do not make this mistake is with the use of quotes. If you can select quotes carefully and explain them, you are well on your way to becoming a good writer. 

Finally, I lacked confidence. I always thought others were better writers. I wish I took more risks. Taking risks when you are young is great. So, be bold in your interpretations and talk to you teachers about this. 

If you learn these three points, you will soar in college. Good writing takes effort, which means lots of rewrites. Start now. 

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