How to Write a Strong Essay if English isn’t Your First Language

For international students whose first language isn’t English or other, writing a college essay can be challenging.

But English competence is not everything when it comes down to writing efficiently. Even native English natives may struggle to write without the right approach.

Maurice Boissiere, lecturer and adjunct professor of English writing at The University of Maryland, confirms this opinion.

“I have taught international students with A’s on their essays as also local students who were failing to pass the test,” Boissiere stated. “Really the goal is to pose questions.”

These questions aid in defining the point or focus of the essay, also called prompts.

Format, style and function

What are some questions to ask yourself prior to creating an essay? Boissiere suggested that every student should be aware of the format, style formatting, purpose and format.

The word “style” determines whether an essay is an academic paper, a position statement or opinion piece or a summary essay. Will you be able to convince the reader to agree with you? The presentation of information that is thoroughly researched on a topic? A summary of a particular situation or moment? They all use different methods in the writing style they employ.

Format is the standard way an essay is structured that includes Modern Language Association (MLA); American Psychological Association (APA) style, which is mostly used for scientific papers; and Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS).

A clear purpose, he added, is the key to forming an effective thesis. This means that the author should be aware of what they’re writing about and should not wander around an area of interest aimlessly.Read more At website Articles

Precision, concision, proofreading

When you’ve completed these questions, there are three ways to ensure that your essay will be effectively written.

The first step is to be precise This means that you must be able to express yourself clearly.

“When I encounter words and phrases that are confusing, it is a huge red flag,” Boissiere said. “There is no benefit using words in a refined manner if your readers is unable to comprehend what you’re speaking about.”

Another tip is precision which is the ability to concisely state ideas.

“Writing is really thinking. If you are unable to express precisely what you want to get across, it’s a sign of some confusion or lack of clarity in your thought process,” Boissiere told me.

Finally, make sure somebody –preferably one who is a native speaker will proofread your essay before you print your final version. Make sure you don’t submit an essay that contains punctuation, spelling typographical, or grammatical errors.

And by editing and rewriting parts that seem odd or unnatural to your American classmates, you’re actually learning more on U.S. culture.

“I always try to help students from other countries proofread their essays when they require it. This is a part of my responsibility here,” declared John Pugh, graduate student and teaching assistant at the English Department.

“Cultural differences could be a problem for international students who aren’t familiar with critical thinking. However, writing certainly aids with that,” he added.

Last but not least, Boissiere said, not enough students seek help.

“I have office hours each week to make a point,” Boissiere explained. “But I don’t think there are many students calling in to ask questions.”

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