The Top 15 Student Writing Flaws That Can Lead to Lower Grades
A review of the top 15 college student writing flaws that can lead to lower grades, along with suggestions on how to fix them and improve your writing.
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., and Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Writing is a major component of academic success. College students, regardless of major, write a lot over the course of their studies. You'll write first-year English papers, lab reports, history papers, term reports, case studies, and more. Writing is a major component of many college classes, and the better you can write, the better your grades.
How can you write better? By reviewing the most common writing mistakes made by college students -- and learning how to avoid them in your writing.
To assist you in avoiding these flaws in your writing, here are the top 15 writing flaws that can lead to lower grades. Take note of these flaws and take the time to fix them on all your written projects that you complete in the future.
- Poor Organization
- Failure to Support Thesis
- Misspellings and Typos
- Inadequate Citation of Your Sources
- Confusing Sentence Structure
- Using Sentence Fragments and Run-On Sentences
- Incorrect Word Usage
- Little Evidence of Research
- Little Evidence of Understanding Topic
- Poor Punctuation
- Poor or Nonexistent Transitions
- Vague Pronoun Reference
- Overuse of Passive Voice
- Weak Vocabulary or Overuse of Jargon/Buzzwords
- Using Patterns of Speech in Writing
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key academic terms by going to our College Success Glossary.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including MyCollegeSuccessStory.com. Dr. Hansen has been empowering people his entire adult life -- to help them achjieve success and lead better their lives. In fact, empowerment is part of his professional philosophy statement. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught business and marketing at the college level for more than 15 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com or reach him by email at CEO(at)empoweringsites.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for EmpoweringSites.com, including MyCollegeSuccessStory.com. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). She curates, crafts, and delivers compelling content online, in print, on stage, and in the classroom. Visit her personal Website KatharineHansenPhD.com or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)astoriedcareer.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.