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Undergraduate vs. Graduate Level Writing

Writing Tips

Remember that writing is a process. It won't be perfect on the first draft, or even the second. It will take time, patience, and dedication. To help you with the process here are a few tips.

  • Follow the Writing Process (Prewriting, Outlining, Drafting, Revising and Editing). It’s one of the most useful tools in a writer’s repertoire. By brainstorming ideas, developing a good thesis statement, and outlining your ideas into a logical format, you will have saved yourself time in the revising and editing stage.
  • Don’t skip the Revising and Editing stage! Revise for the big ideas first. Check that your organization makes sense. Does all of your evidence support your thesis statement? Have you included enough evidence? Once you have enough content, then edit your paper for grammar and mechanics. Otherwise, you’ll have to edit twice, or more.
  • Use Grammarly. Period. But also remember that Grammarly is a machine. It will only do what programmers have told it to do. Just as any writing advice you get, take the advice into serious consideration and then decide if you’ll change it or not in your own writing.
  • Think about syntax (the organization of words to create well-structured understandable sentences). Remember it's more than just the idea in your head. It is being able to communicate that idea in an organized way that the reader can understand and respond to.
  • Just write. If you struggle to get your ideas onto paper, give yourself permission to write junk. Just start writing one word at a time. Turn those words into sentences. You can always revise it later, and it’s far easier to revise something that already exists than trying to do it in your head while you’re writing the first draft.
  • Get physical. Most people compose on computers. But consider going “old-school” by handwriting with a pen and paper. The physical act of writing forces your brain to slow down and can result in better composed sentences. Additionally, once you get your writing typed into the computer, consider printing it and revising with a pen. Or cutting up the paper with scissors and physically trying out a new organization. If you are a kinesthetic learner, there are options for you besides sitting in front of a keyboard.
  • Back up what you write. If you are making a claim be sure to offer evidence. Always ask yourself what makes the claim valid. If the answer is "because I say so," then you don't have a claim. Evidence is required. Go find the facts to support it even when you have the personal experience to back up the claim. (Need help with sources? Contact the Pfeiffer Library at