Difference between High School and College Essays

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Students face many difficulties when they transition from high school to college. According to Stanford University’s college success blog, college professors often worry about freshmen’s lack of college preparation, particularly when it comes to writing essays. Teachers provide detailed instructions and standards to assist students when writing a high school essay. However, when it comes to college writing, professors rarely provide a clear structure for students to follow when researching and writing their essays.

The high school essay is different from the college essay in some respect, and understanding those differences is essential to writing properly in college. This enables students to build strong persuasive writing skills as well as a more sophisticated writing style.

Differences in Structure

Tutorials on how to write high school essays typically include adjusting the topic to a basic essay structure: an introduction that states the thesis, the main body (two to three paragraphs that each provide an example that supports the thesis), and a conclusion that summarizes the body and restates the thesis.

The goal of college essays is to design structure around the issue rather than adjusting the topic to an essay style. Unlike high school essays, college essays focus on the content, and the structure should be adjusted to the topic.

Presenting an Argument

Professors will expect you to make an argument in college essays because they focus on studying and interpreting the problem. This writing style is drastically different from that of high school. High school essays normally involve a single perspective on a topic, with examples provided to support the chosen viewpoint, and the conclusion is similar to the introduction, with the thesis reaffirmed.

College essays are more conversational in nature. You can focus on comparing both strengths and weaknesses of two arguments on a topic. Students should devote a significant amount of time studying facts and researching sources that support or oppose their views. Therefore, argumentative essays should be backed up by clear evidence from academic sources.

Addressing the Reader

Most high school essays are prepared with a broad readership in mind. These papers are typically written so that almost everyone can read and understand them. On the contrary, college essays are prepared for a particular audience, usually the professor. Instead of explaining all concepts to a public reader, the student can make basic assumptions about the information that the essay’s reader already has. However, this is not always the case, and the simplest approach to figuring out whom you should write for in college is just to ask your professor.

Word Limit

The length of a high school essay versus a college essay is one of the most significant differences. The average length of a high school essay is about 500 to 1,000 words or two to five pages. In college, you will probably have to write essays that are longer than ten pages. It may be a real challenge at first, but college essays allow for the use of several sources, and the arguments presented in college essays often go into much greater depth, leading to more writing.

A New Standard of Rewriting

Writing, according to many academics, is rewriting. Rewriting a high school essay is usually done to fix grammar and syntax mistakes, but rewriting a college essay is a little more complicated. Students should look for simple mistakes and methods to clean up the structure if it is confusing when editing a high school essay.

Students should focus on keeping the flow of their college essays as balanced as possible, look for gaps in their arguments, check their writing style, and make the essay easy to read. Rewriting a college essay takes more than simply a grammar check; it also involves rewriting the essay to ensure that the writing is of the highest quality.