7 Pieces Of Advice For Transitioning Essay Writing To Third Level

There are definitely differences between how you’re going to have to write in university and how you did in secondary school. For most students, coming from writing English essays in the Leaving Cert. doesn’t leave us fully equipped to deal with third level essay-writing. This is true for students of all courses and faculties. While learning-off and spewing information onto a page often sufficed for history, geography, etc. essays before now, you’re expected to show different skills and information in university. Here are my seven tips to help transition from writing for secondary school to university level:

1. Don’t Be Daunted By Word Counts

You’re probably not used to writing 1,500 to 2,000 words for an essay, but, as with the style of writing, it becomes more natural to write that much with time. Waffling off-topic will bring your overall grade down, but if you’re short on the word count, you can often find more relevant sources to reference, or add depth and detail to your introduction and conclusion.



2. You Won’t Be Able To Write An Essay In Just One Sitting

You will have to revise and re-write parts of the essay. It’s still very helpful to have a broken down plan of your essay before you start writing, or even just simply ideas, thoughts, or any references you already have together on a document.



3. More Formal Tone

The tone of your writing is more formal than how you may have written before, but still has to be easy for any reader to understand. Just ask yourself if you could have read and understood the essay and argument before you started in university.



4. It’s Gotta Flow!

Your essay needs a logical flow from start to finish. You can still include an introduction, main body and conclusion, following the simple point, quote and explain format. Just make sure to introduce your main argument in the beginning and mention it throughout your essay so that it doesn’t get lost.



5. Your Essay Isn’t Just Your Opinion … 

It is your own argument, based on what others have said on the topic. You bring in what others have said on the topic to your essay by quoting and referencing/citing them correctly. You can’t just repeat what’s been said previously, but can give your own thoughts based on what’s already been researched and written.



6. Visit The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre is a fantastic resource for all UL students and staff to avail of to aid their writing. It’s open to all levels of writers. You can book a one-to-one peer tutoring session with an experienced writer to talk about either a specific essay/report, or the style of writing and general tips. The centre is located in the Main Building, just down the corridor from Red Raisins Café in room C1-065. You can book on their website ul.ie/rwc , or simply drop an email to writingcentre@ul.ie .


7. It Does Get Easier

Don’t get disheartened by how academic writing can feel like a different language in the beginning, it does get easier. With each essay and assignment your write, the style of writing becomes more natural and eventually will become normal to you. Essays and assignments may take longer to write in the beginning, but usually they’re expected to be shorter and are more manageable in the first semester, or so.



Remember that if you’re struggling with your writing you’re definitely not the only one. A1’s in the English Leaving Cert don’t necessarily equate to perfect essays and reports in university. Writing is a core part of almost every course in UL and so it’s important to take it seriously, but don’t stress out too much about it. There are supports and resources to help you along the way. University is a different learning environment and the transition process can take time, so be patient with yourself.


Week 5 – Learner Support Centres

As with every week, the HUB is open 08:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday to answer any questions you might have. You can get us online too, but the theme of this week is “Learner Support Centres” and for this week only we are holding workshops and a massive competition.


FREE Workshops … With Freebies

Academic Writing Worshop, Graduate Attributes Hub

Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Writing at university can be very different to the type of writing you did at school or in the workplace, this workshop has a massive amount of advice to offer new first year students.

Here is how to get to the workshop starting at our old friend Brown Thomas.

And because we are sound, everyone that attends the workshop will get a gorgeous First Seven Weeks pocket calculator/sticky note wallet.



Succeeding in Science and Mathematics, Science Learning Centre (BO-021a)

Wednesday 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

It’s a big step from science and maths at school to science and maths in University. Often you end up meeting aspects of these subjects in first year that are totally new to you. Even if you have already studied maths and the sciences at Leaving Cert, you might find the experience of learning them through lectures, labs and tutorials very different to how you are used to being taught in secondary school.
This workshop will look at:
 Learning from lectures
 Getting prepared for lab work and tutorials
 Working in groups
 Making the most of all the learner supports
 Most importantly: maintaining a love of science and mathematics!

And because we are sound everyone that attends the workshop gets a free First Seven Weeks pocket calculator with sticky notes.



Selfie Competition to be in with a chance of winning an iPad, one of two RWC hoodies, and a pocket calculator/sticky note for all participants!

Yes, be in with a chance of winning a delicious iPad and to be in with a shot of winning one of 2 RWC hoodies, and guaranteed a pocket calculator/sticky note wallet, all you have to do is call to the 5 Learning Centres over this week. Just pop in, take a selfie & send them to us on Facebook Messenger.

So, here is what you need to know:


What Learner Centres Are There? Where Are They? And What Are Their Opening Times?

Regional Writing Centre

Location: C1-065 (Main Building, Block C, Level 1)

Opening times: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday


Science Learning Centre

Location: BO-021a (Main Building, Block B, Level O)

Opening times: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday


Mathematics Learning Centre

Location: A2-018a (Main Building, Block A, Level 2)

Opening times: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday


ICT Learner Centre

Location: CS1-046 (Computer Science Building, Floor 1)

Opening times: This one is a bit complicated http://ictlc.ul.ie/index.php/timetable


Peer-Supported Learning Centre

Location: C2-061 (Main building, Block C, Level 2)

Opening times: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday