Why Adult Learners Need to 'Refresh' Their Writing Skills

Just like your clothes, your phone, or your car, eventually you’re going to need to upgrade your writing skills. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, language and technology evolves quickly and you need to adapt. This update is especially important for adult learners, because the more classes you take, the more you’ll be asked to take a fresh approach to your writing.

For example, in your beginning classes, the main writing concern might be voicing your opinion or just getting your ideas on paper (or on the screen with discussion responses). However, in later classes, students are expected to make arguable claims, support these claims with scholarly research, and then cite this research according to American Psychological Association (APA) formatting — all while writing in an academic style and tone.

In addition to using scholarly sources to support their ideas, students will need to distinguish their own ideas from those they share from outside sources. Thus, in order to do well in college, students need to adapt their writing style to fit these growing expectations.

“Writings skills are so important that American industry is getting to the point that they don’t care what you majored in,” according to Paul Hemphill with Planning-for-College.com. “Employers want to know if you can write AND speak in a complete paragraph.”

Hemphill added that students need “practice, practice, practice” and should volunteer for every writing assignment that comes their way in school.

It is imperative that Ashford University students stay on top of their writing skills, because it is the number one way they are being assessed and graded. Therefore, in order to showcase one’s knowledge, development, originality, and critical thought, one must be able to write well.

Here are five ways you can “refresh” your skills at the Ashford Writing Center.

1. The AWC Website

Open and accessible 24/7, the website provides helpful resources to help you become a stronger writer and contribute to your success in college. Take advantage of resources on grammar usage, avoiding plagiarism, APA style, and tips on how to write college papers.

2. Email

Have questions about writing or citing? Need help constructing a thesis? Email your writing-related questions to the Ashford Writing Center consultants at [email protected]

3. Webinars

On the second Tuesday of every month, 6:00 to 7:00 pm PT, the AWC offers writing webinars on writing related topics.

4. Paper Review

Want a tutor to review your paper before you submit it? Have a partial or full draft of any written work reviewed by a Writing Center tutor, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays (for select courses or by instructor referral). The writing consultants will provide suggestions on how to revise and strengthen your writing.

5. Live Chat

For quick questions about writing, a live tutor is available from 9:00 to 10:00 am and from 3:00 to 4:00 pm PT, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Your writing ability is a crucial skill in our increasingly digital work environment. Many jobs require that you communicate through writing: email, memos, reports, case studies, lesson plans, business proposals, etc. Therefore, keeping your writing skills sharp will not only help you in class, but outside of class as well.

Written by Michelle Lekkerkerk, M.A.

Michelle Lekkerkerk is the Lead Technology Writing Consultant at the Ashford Writing Center.

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