After spending four years in high school English classes I had the fear of college writing pounded into my head. I hope this tip can relieve some of your pent up anxiety about writing in a college setting.

I will admit I bought into all the hype during high school. I believed that college professors were up tight and not concurred about individual students. However I found this is not the case at Longwood. With Longwood’s relatively small class sizes I can honestly say most of my professors know me by my first name and will answer any questions I ask them through email or in-person so consider yourself lucky.

After buying into the fear like most freshmen, I stumbled at first, trying to make up for lost ground I decided to go to my professors’ during office hours. Although this might be something that you feel timid about, I would strongly recommend it. You are an adult now so do not be afraid of your professors they will treat you like a professional. They are not petty about helping you out that is what they have office hours for. In fact I have had several professors thank me for coming to their office hours because students hardily do.

When you set up the conference with your professor come prepared with some questions like:

  1. What style are you expecting this class to write in? (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
  2. What are your expectations for my writing?
  3. What are some things you never like to see in writing?
  4. What is writing like in my major?(This is a major specific question only to ask professor from your major of study)
  5. Will everything expected in the essay be found in the rubric?

These questions lay the ground work for your college writing and show the professor you want your writing to stand out and appeal to their taste. Remember the easier it is for them to read the easier it is to grade.

I felt like interviewing my professors was like winning a prize knowing everything they want and expect in my writing. After a ten to twenty minute conference with my professors my work dramatically improved and my papers grades began to increase. Also an added bonus after meeting with your professors is that they will be able to put a face to the name making you more than just a body in their class.

This helps with whichever major you choose, because you will more than likely have the same professor more then once and you can reuse the knowledge you gained from your freshman interview to help you write in their class for the rest of your college career.

This tip can follow you all the way through college, do not just limit this to your freshman writing. With every new semester schedule take time to talk to professors during their office hours and get to know the expectations of your classes. This will make you stand out in the crowd of other students hungry for success. Professors are not scary do not be fearful of them, they are people too.