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Essay writing: it really does have a purpose!

Essay writing remains to be one of the hardest and complicated tasks that the marvel of modern technology has yet to make easier for man. One of our academics looks at the reasons why Universities still set essay writing assignments for students, and why they are so important.

Everything nowadays is simply keystrokes away, but the process of assembling thoughts into an engaging written piece still proceeds at an old fashioned pace.

Since the days of paper and pencil, essay writing has never really changed a lot. It still entails tons of hard work, in-depth research, logical organisation of thoughts, and sophisticated style of writing.

As a lot of students continue to hate this writing activity thinking it’s just a time-consuming worthless activity, there are four good reasons why writing essays is to be considered as more beneficial than burdensome.

Here are some important purposes of essay writing:

  • knowledge internalisation
  • intellectual development
  • feedback generation
  • good practice

Barely listening to a lecture or simply reading is not an assurance of knowledge internalisation. Knowledge has been really internalized if it has been taken by someone as their own. Knowledge possession is best achieved through writing. Essay writing is a good way to internalise the facts that has been heard or read. Eventually, writing activity stimulates the intellect and leads to intellectual development.

“An essay displays your knowledge within a subject area and are often used to assess your progress and provide a grade. An essay will not only display your subject knowledge and writing skills, but will also demonstrate your critical thinking, research and reading skills, all of which add to your employability.”

University of Derby

Aside from that, writing essays is a healthy way to improve general writing skills. It is a good practice for future written exams.

“In a recent survey, academic staff at the University identified the interrelated skills of writing and reasoning as the two most important skills for success in higher education; when asked which skills students most often lacked, writing was again at the top of their list.”

~ University of York

Essays are essential for development and evaluation of students’ skills – writing and reading skills, analytical and critical thinking skills, research skills, and the ability to write under time pressure. All these skills are assessed in the entire essay writing process. Therefore, essays are tools to gauge students’ level of knowledge and skills that greatly affect their grades and academic performance.

Why write essays

Source: Journal of Geography in Higher Education – study guide

A skill for life

Essay writing remains to be a big challenge to students and even to the most consummate writers. However, essays affect too many things in a student’s academic life: grades, reputation, admissions, and abilities. The skills they teach also go beyond education. They allow you to practise and develop transferable skills that are valuable to you not only while you’re a student but also when you graduate and have to write in a professional role.

These transferable skills include

  • reading and note-making,
  • critical thinking and analysis,
  • organising ideas,
  • arguing a case,
  • and communicating effectively with a reader.

Source: Curtin University

There is a great need to let students understand the importance and benefits that the writing essay brings – that it is intrinsically valuable to their academic growth. As many students think that the essay writing experience is just a waste of time and simply another great means to add burdens in their academic life, appreciating the skills and knowledge it offers breaks this futile delusion.

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