Advice from Professors and StudentsWriter's Web
(printable version here)

Professors' Advice

Dr. Peter Kaufman

  • Excellent grammar
  • Syntax
  • Shrewd word choice
  • Organization is the foundation of a student's writing: "If leaders lose their audience in the coils of a poorly organized presentation, they've squandered valuable capital."
  • Feels that outside sources are relatively unimportant to a student's written work, more emphasis on original ideas

Dr. Joanne Ciulla

  • Keep sentences and language simple
  • Form a logical argument
  • Goal should be to write clear and concise prose
  • Make sure to have a firm grasp on the meaning of the words that you are using within your writing: beware of sloppily using a thesaurus

Dr. Don Forsyth

  • Students opinions are of interest, but prefer that students integrate their opinions with course material (readings) and outside sources as needed
  • Accuracy
  • Quality of ideas
  • Clarity of expression

Jepson Students' Advice

Ben Sommerfeld, '11

  • More focused on connecting different writers and applying concepts to real life
  • Emphasizes coherency and clear understanding of content rather than mindless dumping of information
  • Often makes theoretical concepts apply to real life situations

Reilly Moore, '11

  • Concise concise concise. Jepson professors expect you to get all the information across as clearly as possible without wasting words.
  • Independent thoughts. You can't just regurgitate in Jepson, you have to think for yourself. You can have research and support for your opinions, but they should be unique and thorough.
  • Lots of writing. Jepson is a pretty writing-intensive program and the papers reflect that.

Brielle Hunt, '11

  • Always always always use evidence from the readings to support your original ideas.
  • Some of the topics are somewhat abstract, so if you are struggling, be sure to meet with your professor. They will help you find a starting point or help clarify your ideas.
  • A lot of the material that you will learn about in Jepson is controversial and students often have differing opinions. If an assignment specifically asks for your own opinion, try to frame it in the most appropriate manner possible and stick to analytical writing.

Kelly Padden, '11

  • The leadership style of writing falls somewhere between the type of writing you would be expected to write for a literary class and a business class. In literary classes, the style is much more descriptive compared to business courses where the style is very factual and to the point. In leadership courses you must be descriptive but also get your point across in an efficient way.
  • Also, since leadership professors have all different backgrounds, they each have different preferences and writing styles. Be sure to visit them to learn their style.
  • Take notes in your readings so you can refer back to them when you write the paper. Leadership courses are very reading-intensive, and if you take notes in the margins you will have a much easier time writing the paper. If you think you can get away without reading the assignments, you will be crying once it comes time to write the paper! Do the readings and take notes in the margins.
  • Do use current events; Don't make things up.
  • Be careful not to be too "theatrical." (Avoid "fluffy" writing)
  • Do quote your professor; don't quote them incorrectly!
  • Don't worry if you get a bad grade on your first paper...or second...or tenth.... Just be sure continually ask how to improve and push yourself to do better!

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