Essay coaching was a little something I made up when wondering how students can get around not being able to use a copy-editor for university essays (see my other blog post on proofreading of essays and dissertations). I am not sure if anyone has provided it as a service before or whether a similar service has been called the same thing before, but I know that it is a service that many students need, and it does exactly what it says on the tin – I can coach you to write better essays.
So, why would you need essay coaching?
I have proofread many an essay in my time, mostly for non-native speakers, who tend to assume their low grades are due to their English language. Mistakes in written English can and will prevent you from achieving the top grades at university but they won’t take an award-winning essay and turn it into a fail. It is normally not the English language but the essay itself which is not allowing the top grades to be achieved. Likewise, I also see lots of essays from native speakers who write beautiful sentences but who lose meaning by failing to link points or create a clear structure.
Common errors I see in essays are disorganised thoughts randomly scattered across a few pages; wasting words and confusing readers by talking about topics that don’t relate to the title; and being too ambitious with what can be covered in the word count; among others. The one that pains me the most is when students write a beautiful, well-organised and well-researched essay, only to get to the end and write a conclusion that goes nowhere and doesn’t make any point at all. I liken it to reading an entire book before realising the last chapter is missing so you never know the ending.
What can you expect from a session?
An essay coaching session will be tailored exactly to your needs. You can tell me what it is that you need to work on, perhaps on advice of professors; or you can send me a sample of your work to see what I think you need to work on to help you get the grade you deserve. You can have a specific essay or project in mind, or you might want more general advice. Areas that you might want to work on could include:
- How to choose a topic for your essay
- Ensuring that your essay sticks to your title and how to adapt it to your title if necessary
- Improving your introduction and conclusions for maximum impact
- How to conduct academic research and literature reviews
- How to structure your writing around your research to ensure your essay is based on the literature but is also your own style
- How to reference in academic writing
Coaching is especially useful for new undergraduate students who are not used to writing in an academic style, but it can also greatly improve results for A-level students, and university students undertaking dissertations and postgraduate courses. The skills that you take from these sessions can be applied to essay writing and writing in general for the rest of your life. If you would like to book a session, please see my page on essay coaching.