What do teens fear about going to college? Ending up with a weird roommate is high on the
list, as is the fear they won’t be smart
enough, according to education.com.
We moms are afraid that we haven’t
taught our teens all that is required for
success in college, and one subject we
feel troubled about is writing. After all,
almost every college course requires it.
What skills do our teens need to know,
and how can we prepare them for college
1. Follow the Directions
Professors expect students to follow the
assigned directions. For instance, if stu-
dents are asked to defend a view, they
will earn lower grades if they write an ex-
position on the pros and cons of the topic
without choosing a definite side and de-
Following directions also means submitting papers in the format, documentation style (Chicago, MLA, and so on)
and method (print or electronic) the professor requests.
Deadlines, too, can be a shock to some
homeschool teens. How can we help?
Give students clear, specific directions
and deadlines for essays and reports; expect these to be adhered to.
2. Practice Research Skills
Research skills are essential for college
writing. Students who have some ex-
perience finding information in books,
periodicals, professional journals, and
from credible sources online will have a
smoother transition to writing papers in
college. If your teens need help locating
information, ask a friendly librarian for
Teens who already practice the steps to
an effective paper will have an advantage
in writing for college. Those steps in-
clude brainstorming, narrowing down a
topic, researching, taking notes, organiz-
ing those notes, writing the paper, citing
their sources, and editing their work.
Questia has an easy-to-follow, interactive list of the steps to writing a research
paper. Their examples of poor and useful
thesis statements are helpful. Also, you
can find 101 research paper topics for
high school here.
by Sharon Watson
These four skills will calm the fear factor, but
there’s no need to tackle them all at once.