ESL Students Grasping The Concept Of College Essays

ESL Students Grasping The Concept Of College Essays
English Composition, an introductory class to college writing that most freshmen must take in order to be better prepared for their college careers, can be a challenge even for native English speakers. For speakers of English as a second language, or ESL students, the course can present many difficulties. Fortunately, if the ESL student is aware of some fundamental features of academic writing in the English language, the class becomes less daunting. If you are struggling in your college composition class, or if you are nervous about taking a college writing class in the future, some guidelines can help you to be better prepared.
By the time most students enter college, the actual forming of sentences and ideas that comprise writing has become second nature. What can be more difficult is organizing those thoughts and sentences into a coherent essay that is strategically designed from start to finish conveying the student's point in a way that is economical, thorough, and also elegant. For this reason, most English Composition classes in college focus on organization.

Similarly, many ESL students who are taking English classes in college will have a grasp of constructing basic grammatically correct sentences. There are also many resources for students to check their grammar or receive additional help in improving their English skills. What ESL students often have the most trouble learning in an English Composition class is organization.

Learning how to organize an essay can be problematic for many ESL students, because organization in writing varies from language to language, culture to culture. For example, in many Asian countries, getting to a point in academic writing is a more circuitous process, reflecting a culture that does not value direct communication. In many Spanish-speaking countries, the writer does not reach his or her point until both sides of the issue are thoroughly explored. You can see how it might be difficult to adapt to another country's style of academic writing, since it reflects the culture of the writer.

As an ESL student, you may want to envision the English language academic essay as a sandwich, in which the writer first states his or her point, goes about proving and expanding upon the point, and then reiterates that point. This method of writing is very direct, and therefore it is not very difficult to get the hang of it if you envision your essay in these terms.

Each paragraph in an English language academic essay is like a miniature essay in itself. The writer generally introduces the paragraph with a topic sentence and offers details that support this topic sentence. When the topic changes, so does the paragraph. All paragraphs work to prove a single thesis, however.

As an ESL student, keep in mind that digressions, overly opinionated or unsubstantiated writing, or statements that use the pronoun "I" in an academic essay are generally frowned upon. Your English Composition instructor will be able to help you adapt to what it expected of your academic writing in that class and in the university at large.

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