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Tips for Mastering Academic Writing

BY: KARA HAWKING

Academic writing is one of the most difficult skills for graduate students to master. Combining hours of research, condensing your learning  onto a few pages and ensuring it reads effortlessly – versus a string of citations and paraphrases strung together – is not an intuitive skill. It is a learned ability.

But believe it or not, almost every student struggles with the writing process at some point in their academic career. Even the best writers are not immune to receiving feedback.

Current NCU student and Senior Marketing Manager, Alexis Castorina, has learned the value of applying instructor feedback. “Since receiving [constructive] feedback, I’ve been more actively reading economic news and finding ways to apply what’s going on in the world as supporting information in my papers,” Castorina explains.

For advice on how to become a more effective academic writer, Higher Degrees reached out to Susan Krause (M.Ed.), NCU’s Writing Center Coordinator. Krause’s daily interactions with students seeking advice from the Writing Center has given her an inside track to the most common mistakes graduate students make in their writing.

Over time, Krause has developed the following list of helpful academic writing tips and resources:

  1. Good academic writing starts with critical reading. Learn to think critically by questioning everything you read and you will become a better writer.
  2. Understand what plagiarism is by reviewing the NCU Academic Integrity section in the NCU Writing Center.
  3. Read and apply the feedback received from your instructor. There will be room for improvement on every assignment.
  4. Bookmark Chapter 3 in the APA Manual (6th ed.). It contains valuable information on clear and concise writing that all students can benefit from.
  5. Keep a copy of The Academic Writer’s Handbook (3rd ed.) by Leonard J.Rosen by your laptop.

*Originally published in Higher Degrees Fall 2013.

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