Are freshman ready to write at a college level?

By: Christine E. Csaky

Every year Kean University welcomes thousands of new students who are immediately expected to write at the college level. But are they properly prepared?

A recent survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education found that 61% of high school students have never written a paper that was more than five pages. The survey would suggest that students entering college have not had enough writing practice in order to develop the skills that are required by college professors.

However, at Kean the results are mixed.

Kean student, Jessica Townley, who arrived directly from high school, feels that she has always had a knack for writing and felt prepared for Kean writing requirements, but she also said that she has always felt unprepared for citations. Townley was never properly taught citations in high school, so that has been her one difficulty in writing at Kean.

Patrick Foy, who recently transferred from Middlesex County College after earning his Associates Degree, was previously homeschooled. He felt prepared for college level writing requirements because his requirements were two to three essays per week with an emphasis on essay structuring,

On the other hand, Kean senior Arslan Khan felt unprepared in formatting and punctuation techniques upon arriving at Kean as a transfer from Middlesex County College.

“I don’t think my classes at MCC helped me at all,” said Khan.

Kathryn Inskeep, director of the Kean Writing Center, said it is important for students to be aware of the availability of the writing center for assistance.

“We offer a non-judgmental environment where students are free to ask questions and test out ideas with an attentive and supportive listener,” she said.

Some of the writing difficulties that Inskeep sees at the Writing Center are students who are less prepared for the rigors of academic writing, students with second language interference, and writers who have difficulty developing and supporting arguments.

But the writing center is also helpful to those who are already somewhat accomplished writers.

“I see a lot of strong writing that would benefit from further revision,” Inskeep said.

Inskeep’s advice to all students is for them to take ownership of their writing and recognize that an essay is an opportunity to communicate important ideas to an attentive audience.

“Writing is a means of learning and constructing knowledge,” she said.

Whether you have arrived at Kean as a recent high school graduate or a transfer student, you can take advantage of Kean’s Writing Center, located in Room 111E in the Center for Academic Success Building.

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