Students who complete the lower-division writing proficiency should be aware of the rhetorical nature of academic writing: i.e., that the task of academic writing is to clearly and persuasively communicate their ideas. They should also learn that the process of writing includes revision and self-editing. Ultimately, they should aspire to prose that communicates complex and sophisticated ideas through a lively, intelligent, interesting human voice.
A well-written academic essay:
• Shows an awareness of the audience's needs and expectations within the context of a specific assignment and/or discipline.
• Presents a convincing argument that is analytic, interpretive, or explanatory in nature and exhibits independent thought and engagement with the subject matter.
• Articulates a focused thesis.
• Supports the thesis with persuasive evidence.
• Uses logical transitions to guide the reader through the stages of a compelling argument.
• Has an effective introduction and conclusion.
• Contains well-structured paragraphs.
• Uses concrete and precise language.
• Uses an engaging, concise style characterized by strong verbs and active voice.
• Shows the writer's conscious command of the elements of a sentence by avoiding disruptive grammatical errors, such as dangling modifiers, subject/verb disagreement, vague or ambiguous pronoun antecedents, and mistakes in punctuation.
• Synthesizes outside sources, when used, into the larger argument.
• Uses appropriate documentation form.