College essay writing is a tradition that goes farther back than final exams and frat parties. Professors assign essays to their students in much the same way as their own professors have assigned them in their own college days.
So many things about education, work, and culture in general have changed so dramatically over the years that some question whether writing college essays is a relevant skill. Sometimes it seems as though teachers and professors assign and grade them with little thought. Certainly, students do not always take essay writing seriously, as plagiarism in different forms is increasingly commonplace.
And let’s admit, what field of work is actually going to require you to organize and craft an essay about the theme of “The Sun Also Rises” or the causes of the Civil War?
Well, as it turns out, there are some very good reasons that professors assign college essays and some critical real-life skills that you can learn in the process.
Here are 4 essential life skills that you can gain from giving your next college essay your best effort.
Strong Communication Skills
In your career and relationships, effective communication is the key to success. College essay writing gives you the opportunity to exercise your capacity for self-expression and enriches your vocabulary. Whether you are crafting a cover letter or trying to explain why you’re angry about something, the ability to express yourself with ease is essential.
The Power of Persuasion
We all have moments when we need to make a strong argument in favor of our POV. Maybe we want our associates to support a particular cause or political candidate. Perhaps we want to persuade someone to hire us or give us a raise. When it comes to high-stakes persuasion, it’s common to argue a point ineffectively based purely on opinion or emotion. Traditionally, college essay assignments involve finding evidence to support a particular argument. This is a great practice for constructing fact-based, rational arguments that are much more persuasive than irrational.
Demonstration of Learning
It is the job of an instructor to assess whether or not you have mastered the learning objective for his/her class. Of course, there are other ways to demonstrate learning besides writing an essay. A speech or a visual presentation (such as an infographic or a slideshow) are alternatives for showing mastery of a subject. But often an essay is the best way for you to show that you thoroughly understand the topics covered in class and that you are able to express that understanding.
Deepening of Knowledge
Do you remember those teachers in high school who asked you to write an “exit ticket” before leaving class? They did this for the same reason that you might write a to-do list of tasks for the day: because writing something down helps you remember it. Writing about a topic in-depth for an essay helps you understand its subtleties in a way that you couldn’t just by reading a book or listening to a lecture. You will also gain ownership and long-term recognition of that topic by writing about it.
Clear Writing Leads to Clear Thinking
When you have to re-phrase something you’ve read or learned in your own words, you are more likely to absorb and retain it. The writing process trains you in the habit of drawing conclusions based on a clear analysis. This skill will be an asset in any field of work that you pursue.
So the next time your instructor asks you to write a 5-10 page paper on the causes of the French Revolution, take it as an opportunity to gain some skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life.