It’s nice to meet you! My name is Danielle McIntyre and I’m your newest English Language Peer Supporter. I’m a Master of Marketing (MMKG) student here at the Schulich School of Business. I love to cook, travel, explore and yes – read and write too.
I understand that studying in your second language can be a challenge. Trust me, I’ve been there and am here to help. With practice and dedication you’ll be feeling confident in no time, and who knows – you may even learn to enjoy the challenge!
Communicating clearly is very important. You may have the best idea in the world, but if it isn’t easy to understand, you may not get the grade you deserve. Everyone could use a second pair of eyes, whether English is your first language or not.
My ToolKit: 8 Tips and Tricks for Writing
Writing isn’t something everyone gets excited about. That’s totally okay.
The best thing you can do is to start and immerse yourself in the process. These are the guidelines I follow whenever I’m writing an essay, blog post or presentation. Try them out yourself!
#1. Plan & List
Before you start typing, take a look at your assignment description. I find printing off the outline and rubric really helpful.
Write down everything you need to include in your assignment. You’ll likely need a title page, introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and references. List the points you’d like to talk about for each requirement. At this point, your ideas don’t need to be perfect and they can definitely change. Having a plan, however, will help guide you through the process.
#2. Flesh Out Your Points
Once you have a plan, you can research or collect any information you might need.
Tackle your writing one point at a time. If you’ve followed my advice, you will have listed everything you need to cover. Make your way down the list and be sure to follow this next tip…
#3. Cite As You Write
No one said citations are fun. This is especially true if you’ve finally finished your paper but realise you have 20 references to cite.
Any time you use a quote or mention someone else’s work or ideas, you need to include a citation. Do yourself a favour and cite as you write. Keep a tab bookmarked on your laptop so you can reference the different citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Future you will thank present you for not leaving citations last.
#4. Read Aloud
Everything sounds great in our own heads. But how does your paper or presentation actually sound to readers or listeners?
Whenever I feel stuck on a sentence, I read my writing aloud. Find a quiet space and record yourself if you need to. When you listen to your writing, think about how it sounds. Is your writing wordy? Does it make sense?
From time to time, we all make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a learning experience. Just make sure you catch your mistakes before your professor or teaching assistant does!
At this point, you’re probably feeling better about your writing. This is great, but don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Check-in with the ELPS team to book an appointment or have a friend check out your work. A fresh perspective may be able to point out something you missed or a way to make your writing more concise.
#6. Take Advantage of Free Resources
It’s 2020 – there are so many resources online that can help you improve your writing and presentation skills. All you need to do is look for them – or check out some of my favourites.
#7. Check out The Hemmingway App
This is one of the best tools I’ve come across. It’s completely free and you can access it online or download a desktop version.
All you need to do is copy and paste your writing and let the editor do its magic. This app will colour-code common writing mistakes like run-on sentences and passive voice. It’s very easy to use and will even tell you how hard or easy your writing is to read. This is awesome for people like me who tend to get carried away with adjectives or anyone who isn’t confident in their English.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few YouTube influencers that talk about writing, studying and university life. Subscribing to a few channels won’t even feel school-related.
Study With Jess is a channel dedicated to helping others achieve their academic and career goals. You’ll find videos on work-life balance, essay-writing, and productivity. Plus, who doesn’t love YouTube?
Another great resource is Lucy Bella Earl’s Youtube channel. This British influencers can answer all your technical questions about the English language. She covers grammar, verbs, study tips and even has a video series dedicated to learning English for business. There’s a reason she has nearly 4 million subscribers!
I hope you’ve found some of my tips and tricks helpful! Remember to take advantage of the resources here at Schulich and online.