How Universities Are Impairing Writing Skills

So, I’m a bit of a cynic – I can admit to my faults (or in some cases I suppose is a plus). However, I am ultimately frustrated with the university methods of teaching students to write. I teach business plan writing course every year and I am constantly having to “un-teach” what these college students have learned.

The main problem is the PAGE MINIMUM associated with assignments. How many of us have completed an essay assignment and sighed in satisfaction at your work? Then you look at the instructions and see there is a 10 page minimum. You refer back to your own work and realize you are only at 8 pages. As a result, YOU WRITE MORE THAN YOU FEEL IS NECESSARY TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS.

Pro tip: If the professor forgot to assign a font simply change the font to ‘Courier New’ (this usually adds at least a page from the traditional ‘Times New Roman’ font. (This perhaps infuriates me the most.)

Otherwise, students end up futzing with margins, font size, and paragraph structure all in an effort to make it seem like they’ve WRITTEN MORE.

How wonderful would it be if our youth were learning how to communicate with LESS? Efficient, effective, and succinct writing skills are seriously lacking in most professionals today.

When I give my assignments, students are often terrified. Why? Because I will often give them a 2-page MAXIMUM. If you can’t tell me what you need to tell me in 2 pages, you don’t know it that well.  Additionally, if you are an entrepreneur and need 20 pages (or even 10) to explain your business, you probably will not attract a potential investor’s interest.

Leave a Reply