6 Unconventional Writing Tips for College Essays

Josh Knotts, Vice President, Joyce University
Apr 27, 2022

I dreaded essays in college. Not that I’m a control freak, but being told to write a specific length on a specific subject always put me in a sour mood. The truth is, essays do more than force you to research, learn, and retain important information.

Essays also help you sharpen your skills as a writer – which will unquestionably help you in your career. Here are 6 unconventional writing tips for writing college essays.

1. Write every single day.

Just like all things in life, practice makes perfect. Take a few minutes out of your day to write complete sentences (not tweets, snaps, etc.). Write down your thoughts. Send an email to a friend. Send an email to an enemy. The more you write, the better you’ll become.

2. Skip sections.

This may or may not work for you, but I swear by it. If you spend too much time on a single subject, you tend to gloss over the details. Try skipping to new sections. This’ll shock your system and keep you engaged. Just remember to revisit and complete the sections you skipped.

3. Never write “in my opinion.”

You’re writing it. Therefore, the reader knows it’s your opinion. Don’t waste valuable words on reminding them of that fact.

5. Read before you write.

I find I’m most productive as a writer immediately after reading other peoples’ work. This is not to be confused with plagiarism. That’s stealing (check the student catalog). I use it simply as a means for priming my creative engine and setting the tone for what I’m about to write. Try reading a few of your favorite blogs, authors, or publications prior to taking on a writing assignment.

6. Think about context.

The Joyce blog is mostly casual (business casual, at best). As such, our tone matches the subject matter. Keep the context of the assignment in mind when setting the tone for your essay. For instance, if you’re writing an essay on treating critical care patients, you should probably leave the slang at the door. If content is king, context is queen!

7. Get creative.

Writing requires the use of creativity. Exercise your creative muscles by drawing, painting, making hand puppets (don’t ask), or anything you enjoy doing that requires creativity.

I hope this helps you nail your next college essay. Happy writing!


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