Essays. Exams. Standardized tests. As a senior in high school, you’re going to be doing a lot of writing. If it feels like a slog now, we have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that writing is going to follow you through the rest of your life—not only in college, but also in most professions, including some unexpected ones, like medicine or engineering! The good news is that you can, with some effort, learn to enjoy writing. Read on to find out about opportunities to hone your writing, so you can condition yourself to make it a painless and even enjoyable part of your routine—and your life.

Why Writing Matters Now

 

College Essays

If you dislike writing papers, you may be dreading your college essays. Fortunately, your essays can—and should—be more creative than the school papers and tests. You can also choose your own topic, so you’ll be able to write about something that’s meaningful to you.

 

Your ability to write and communicate effectively is key here, because you need to present who you are as a person and what interests you in a short essay. For more advice on how to wow colleges with your personal statement, check out essay posts on CollegeVine’s blog.



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AP Exams

With the exception of some math and art courses, such as Calculus and Studio Art, most AP exams have short answer or essay sections. While these sections mainly test your knowledge of the subject matter, graders will also assess the language you use to articulate your response. You can look up individual courses and exams to see how your writing will be graded on the College Board website.

 

If you’re thinking of putting off honing your writing skills until college, think again. At some colleges, doing well on certain AP tests will allow you to fulfill introductory writing course requirements and may even earn you college credit, so it’s worth putting in the effort now.

 

Standardized Tests

Writing sections on the SAT and ACT are optional, but many colleges still require them for admission. Check out our guides to the SAT Essay and ACT Writing sections to learn what these essays entail and view tips on how to earn high scores.

 

High School

“I’ve had to write tons of papers throughout high school,” you may be thinking. “Why is now any different?”

 

As you get older, people expect more from you. That includes your teachers. Now that you’ve completed most of your high school career, your teachers are going to expect your writing to be more sophisticated. They also want to help prepare you for next year, when your professors will expect you to have mastered certain competencies before you even set foot in their classrooms…

 

Why Writing Will Matter Later

 

…which leads us into our next point: In college, you’re going to have to write. A lot. Most majors require extensive writing in the form of term papers, essays, exams, and other projects. Even many technical science and math majors require research papers, lab writeups, and reports.

 

Writing is also integral to many careers, even ones with which you may not associate it. For instance, as a psychologist, you will be writing reports. If you become a publicist, you will write press releases. Almost every job requires competent communications skills, whether they show up in the form of emails, presentations, or something else entirely. So start working on those skills now!

 

Tips for Improving Your Writing and Learning to Love It

 

Of course, you aren’t going to become a master writer overnight. It’s going to take some work. Here are some tips to help get you there:

 

  • Try to write a little bit every day. If you set a timer and tell yourself, “I’m going to write for 30 minutes,” it will be more manageable and become part of your routine.
  • Write in a journal, even if you’re just jotting down random thoughts. That way, writing becomes a confidant and companion.
  • Write about topics that are interesting to you. While you can’t necessarily choose every topic for your essays, especially when you have course requirements and exams, if you write about topics that are meaningful to you, you’re more likely to enjoy the process. Set aside some time to writing about things that matter to you, so writing becomes less of a chore.
  • To complement the above point, start a blog about a topic that interests you, so that you are engaging with the activity. Love to travel? Share your latest adventures with readers. Doing some volunteer work? Write about your experiences tutoring at an after-school center or working with animals at the local shelter.
  • You should write about topics that are important to you in your college essays. When you care about the topic, that passion often shows through, and your audience is more likely to take pleasure in reading it.
  • Ask for feedback. While it’s always hard to hear criticism of your work, you need to know what other people think so you can improve. Make sure you ask for both critiques and compliments; not only will this be better for your self esteem, but you’ll also know what you’re doing right.
  • Read! Whether you read a book a week or skim the news on occasion, everyone reads to some extent. And every great writer started as a reader. We’re not telling you to steal other writers’ ideas, but reading can be a great source of inspiration.
  • For more ideas on improving your writing, check out How to Sharpen Your Writing Skills.

 

If you start working on your writing now, it will become more tolerable later. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even enjoy it.

 

Looking for help with your college applications? Check out our College Application Guidance Program. When you sign up for our program, we carefully pair you with the perfect near-peer admissions specialist based on your current academic and extracurricular profile and the schools in which you’re interested. Your personal specialist will help you with branding, essays, and interviews, and provide you with support and guidance in all other aspects of the application process.

 

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in publishing. She also writes, dreams of owning a dog, and routinely brags about the health of her orchid.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine