A Writers Reference

By Chris Bowman, student, SNY Empire State College

August 17, 2017

Image of the book cover, a Writers ReferenceAt SUNY Empire State College, students fulfill most of their course work in a non-traditional learning environment. While learning online and at a distance offers the benefits of schedule flexibility and convenience, accessing resources that you might find in a traditional college setting might prove challenging.

When you attend orientation at SUNY Empire State College, you will most likely hear the book, A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, mentioned more than once.  You will likely hear faculty emphasize that ESC is a writing intensive college, meaning you’ll be doing a lot of writing.  Some of these writing assignments are the only thing standing between you and prior learning credits, and making the case why your degree plan is the right one for you.  Writing is at the core of the college experience. Whether you’re going back to school or starting college right away, you’ll want to strengthen your skills as a writer and get in the habit of producing college-level papers. 

In its eighth edition, A Writers Reference has been responsible for establishing a consistent academic following among students and teachers for many years. ESC faculty introduce this book to students on the first day of orientation because of its importance in providing an extra layer of resource and support.

Hacker and Sommers packed their book with comprehensive lessons on pretty much all things writing. The lesson on creating an essay outline can be a total game-changer. Learning how to construct a proper outline when starting paper produces the organization skills one needs for writing a comprehensive and cohesive essay. Confidence, too, will begin to grow as the process of developing your outline begins to take shape. A great outline is essentially the framework for your thoughts and clears the way for you to organize your writing in a way that flows efficiently and articulately. Once the outline is mastered, it makes writing the rest of the essay much more enjoyable!

Throughout your journey at ESC you are going to write many essays, research papers, exhibition reviews, project statements and proposals, and there’s a good chance you will construct at least one, prior learning assessment. As a result of the continuous writing process at ESC, your confidence will grow and the fear will subside. In addition, owning a copy of the college approved book, A Writer’s Reference, will ensure that you have plenty of writing support you need, and help you excel and get the most out of ESC’s college writing experience. You will continue to improve and develop effective skills, paper by paper. And eventually, you will no longer fear the writing process like you might have when you first attended orientation.

In addition to A Writer’s Reference, take advantage of the many resources ESC has to offer. There are a variety of learning support services to help you navigate through writing papers, and through your courses in general.  There are college-wide writing workshops, a writing resource center, coaches and tutors, a virtual library and more at your disposal. One great resource that can really help you perfect that ten-page essay is Smarthinking. With Smarthinking you can submit a paper to an online resource center and receive feedback within a day or two.

There many areas to explore when it comes to writing assistance. Prioritizing and organization are sometimes two overlooked skill sets that can make your college writing experience much smoother and more enjoyable. Don’t let all of these writing resources go unchecked. Success is in your hands!

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A Writers Reference, By Chris Bowman, student, SNY Empire State College