5 Differences Between Writing High School vs. University Level Papers

Example of student essay

Making a smooth transition from high school into university can be frustrating. You’re putting in the same amount of effort and work but you’re not getting the marks you’re used to getting? Although the standard of writing is obviously higher, there are certain elements of writing which differ and could be the difference between an A or B. Well… Search no further! I’ve compiled by favorite and most efficient ways of making the switch a little easier.

  1. No more hamburger approach. Although it does help to keep organized, in university there are unlimited paragraphs and points you can or need to make (Of course keeping within the professors assigned page limit). It is not as cookie cutter so now you should be focusing on the quality rather than quantity of point you’re trying to make.
  2. Paragraphs do not need to start with an introduction that relates back to the thesis but rather a summary of what the reader will expect to see.
  3. Your conclusion should not just summarize the paper. In fact, it should give more depth into the topic, leaving the reader with something to question about the broader scope of your assignment. That’s not to say you should an important fact until the end, but instead compel the reader to want to learn more than what you have just written about.
  4. Less rules more critical thinking! Repeating what you have read about or learned is not the point of university level papers. Instead your analysis and the conclusions you draw should be the focus (once again… quality instead of quantity!).
  5. Pretty title pages or binders don’t count. Believe me, these will not get you marks unless it states so in your rubric. Professors do not care whether it is sparking with diamonds, they want to see substance behind the cover (Plain formatting is often easier and faster anyways)!

I’m sure there are many questions which you would like to ask about techniques which I didn’t cover here but no worries! Ryerson offers tons of workshops on how to make your work more compelling, different ways to write a great thesis, MLA or APA formatting and citation, and even how to structure a paper perfectly. Although the transition into becoming a university student in a big city can be stressful, Ryerson has all the tools you need to become successful… But it’s up to you to use them!

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