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Writing Resources: Academic Writing

A downloadable spreadsheet comparing various components of both APA and MLA style.

Overview of Academic Writing

Whether you are a graduate student or a first-year, the academic writing you will produce is different from other writing you do and much different from the way you speak in your everyday life. For one thing, academic writing follows a standardized format, and you should become familiar with APA or MLA styles, as your professors or disciplines require. Becoming an effective student writer depends upon on how well and how often you read, particularly texts produced in your field, but while established scholars can give you an idea of how writing in a given field looks and sounds, it is up to you to develop your own voice and to use the ideas or words of others with integrity, responsibly avoiding plagiarism. Make sure you understand what your professors are asking for in a given assignment and what his or her expectations for your writing are. If this is unclear, make sure to speak to your professors, asking questions about an assignment or just running ideas by them to see what they think. Always read the comments and feedback provided by professors and use these as a way of continuing your conversation with them about how to become a stronger writer. Strengthening your skills as a writer helps you also to become a more clear and critical thinker and a better communicator overall, and so your academic writing is a very worthy place to invest your energy and time as a student at Bay Path.

Using Evidence and Avoiding Plagiarism