Why College Students Can’t Write Well

Feb 12, 2018 by

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Many educators are concerned about the fact that modern college students have poor writing skills that are critical in today’s information-driven society.

Why Many College Students Can’t Write

In the global workplace, good writing is crucial for professional success in any career. Today, employers want to hire college graduates who can write coherently and many of them ask for writing skills in their job advertisements. But the problem is that many students enter colleges with poor writing skills and graduate without making much improvement.

A lot of today’s students fail to write decently and even have to contact a professional paper writing service for ordering well-written academic papers. College professors complain that students struggle to write even at a basic level and experts in education are worried that even after years of instruction, many students show no significant improvement in complex reasoning, critical thinking, and writing. Students arrive and leave college without skill they will need in the real world.

There are multiple causes of the decline of writing abilities in students. One of them is that colleges admit students who can’t write well because of inadequate writing instruction in their high school courses. Many educators believe that the root of the problem is that many teachers are unconfident writers themselves and lack training in how to teach writing. Many experts also point out that high schools mostly focus on improving skills that are tested in state exams such as reading, science, and math and don’t provide enough writing instructions.

Good writing requires practice but many college students are not asked to write enough in their college courses. Half of the college seniors reported that they had never been asked to write a paper longer than 20 pages. Students who are not required to submit academically challenging papers on a regular basis have little opportunity to master their writing skills and grow as writers. Many college professors do not want to spend time to teaching students basic writing skills because that means they will have less time to focus on the subject of the course. Besides, correcting student papers is time-consuming and requires many hours of time outside of class.

Required writing courses are not actually focused on writing and don’t teach the fundamentals: the rules of good writing, the style, critical thinking, and creativity. Intensive writing courses cover awareness of audience, research, rhetorical strategies but they do not teach students how to write clear sentences.

Grade inflation is a real phenomenon these days and professors who try to help students improve by strict grading and assessment of academic papers are often prevented from doing it because student feedback on faculty ratings can be the key to helping them keep their jobs and because they are concerned of keeping up appearances of a successive college. An absence of constructive criticism and grade inflation have a negative impact on the level of writing because students lack the motivation to work hard and do more than a minimum to get a passing grade.

The decline of reading in today’s world also limits students’ writing skills. Most students admit they don’t read books except those assigned for class and you can become a good writer only if you are exposed to good writing which can be found in works of literature and traditional media that modern students try to avoid. The best way to become a better writer is to read good writing. In this way, students develop an ear for language.

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