How Your College Essay Differs From One You Used To Write In School


There are three primary ways your college essay will be different from those you wrote in school:

  • Content
  • Language level
  • Length
  • Content
  • The content of school essays rarely prepares you for content in college papers. College essays can be written for every genre, even some Math classes require essays to be written. You will find yourself having to write comparison papers, research papers and the ever-dreaded thesis paper. Your topic and content must be higher than your school papers since the classes are more demanding and advanced. The content of your thesis paper, the most important paper you will ever write, will have to be not only interesting but well researched and executed into an understandable essay.

  • Language level
  • Whilst making the transition from high school essay to college paper the level of your language changes. Before you were a teenager writing an essay for school, but now you are a young adult needing to convince the world of your intellect and maturity. Slang and derogatory remarks will not be appreciated; if you disagree with something there are stronger ways to build your argument without being cynical. That is not to say that you cannot be passionate about your essay topic but you should temper your enthusiasm with intelligence rather than simply saying something along the lines of ‘this is right and this is wrong so just accept it’. Understand your language and know how to use a dictionary, this will help you greatly in writing a college essay worthy of notice.

  • Length
  • The length of your college essay will definitely be longer than anything you have written in high school. College essays can differ in length, depending on the class and professor. Some professors prefer to tell you how many words instead of how many pages. Do not stop writing your essay simply because you have reached the minimum required length, not only will it be obvious to your professor but it well may be that you are not ready to conclude at that stage yet. Writing a fifteen-page essay could even be considered the norm for some classes, or three four to five page papers on a weekly basis. Then there is the length of your thesis, which could well be over twenty-five pages or even thirty, depending on what department your major is in.

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