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Is your child writing-ready for college?

Writing at the college level is different from high school writing. 

Papers are longer and more frequent. Lingering issues with organization, mechanics, and poor editing skills can make it harder to get all the work done. Not every student arrives prepared, so colleges often "place" freshmen in English courses based on their standardized test scores, or on the school’s own diagnostic exam. 


At Writing-Ready, my passion is making sure students have the writing tools they need to succeed in college and beyond. 

For over a decade, I've taught college writing to young people in a wide range of courses, from the most advanced to remedial. Many of my remedial students are surprised at their placement. "But I took honors English!" they tell me. "How could I possibly not be ready for college writing?" 

Even some advanced students have not fully mastered the mechanics of effective writing. Sometimes their teachers didn't know the rules themselves or didn't have time to review them in a high school class with 25 or 30 students.  

The top writing issues that trip up incoming freshmen:

  • Not understanding the basics of sentence structure, leading to run-on sentences, fragments, and incorrect use of semi-colons and other punctuation.  
  • Trying too hard to use "ten-dollar words" (often incorrectly) and convoluted phrasing they feel will make them sound “smarter.”
  • Dislodging bad habits  learned through texting and social media and developing ones appropriate for the college classroom. 
  • Stretching—using a lot of words to say very little, usually to meet a length requirement.
  • Not knowing how to properly paraphrase from outside texts; not knowing how to use and style direct quotes.  
  • Breaking out of the boredom of the five-paragraph essay. 
  • Underestimating the power of simplicity, clarity, and authenticity in writing.