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Monday, 05 December 2016 20:18

TOEFL writing: big university vs. small college?

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Many students find writing the hardest language skill to master, and since writing is a major part of the TOEFL, many students look for extra help with it. One Chinese high school student of mine recently wrote on the topic of college choice, by size of student population. Below is her first draft, which she wrote in 30 minutes, and the second draft with my edits and comments (in italics).

 

Toefl Writing Practice

Topic: Do you prefer a small college or a big university?

 

First Draft

As a senior in high school, I was thinking about this question recently. In my opinion, I world rather to go to a big university instead of a small college.
I get two reasons for my opinion.
To start with the most basic reason, the size of the universities is bigger than colleges. Bigger size of school can mean there is more people can more opportunities. My first reason of my opinion is the benefit can made from more people surround you in the coming four years in you university. Acamica can be the important part in student's university life, but that is not the only thing students need to consider. The activities they will attend and the friends they will make in the university years are the treasure which can not have outside the university. A big size university gathers all kinds of people from all over the world. The students are so different and same. They get chance to explore a new world with other people who hold a totally different vision of world. Students can affect others by show their special ability and to find the same person who has a same interest in certain things. Clubs and activities and programs hold by students can make a freshman in university find the real interest easily and get know friends in different areas quickly. That is the best part of a big university.
Secondly, big university offers more changllede to students on the strengths of self-controlling ability. Self-controlling ability is an important thing a grown-up adult should have. In a big university, the class size will always bigger than a small college. Sometimes there can be 200 people in a big classroom and have class at the same time. The professor may not know your name after a whole school year. Students may not get help from the professor after class. Studying in a situation like that request students to have a strong self-controlling ability. They need to make sure that they take the most important notes and catch the professor's knowledge imeditly. Considering what to focus on and not left behind is not a easy thing. However, once a student can get good grade for the big class by himself/herself,he/she will be good to get in society and take their job even it needs students deal with 500 things at the same time.
In conclusion, I prefer to go to a big university in the future.

 

 

Revised Draft, with my comments

As a senior in high school, I have been thinking about this question recently. In my opinion, I world rather go to a big university than to (Use "than" to show contrast) a small college. (Use a continuous past tense verb, to show you have been thinking about this for a long time and still do.)

(Add a line between each paragraph, to set off each idea more clearly.)

There are two reasons for my opinion. ("I get" is too informal. "There are" sounds more professional. This is a clear transition--nice job--it makes it easy for the reader to follow.)
To start with the most basic reason, universities are bigger than colleges. And, a larger school can mean there are more people to meet and more opportunities to pursue.(To make your ideas clearer, add "people to meet" and "opportunities to pursue.") In other words, you can benefit from more people surround you in the coming four years you are in university. Academics is an (In my opinion, "can be" is weak--academics should be important in college) important part of a student's university life, but that is not the only aspect ("thing" is a weak word--avoid it) students need to consider when choosing a school to attend. The activities they will participate in and the friends they will make in the university years are the treasures which you can not have outside the university. A large ("large" is a more formal word than "big") university gathers all kinds of people from all over the world. The students are so (different and same?) You will get a chance to explore a new world with other people who hold a totally different vision of the world. Students can affect others by showing their special abilities and by finding (be parallel: "by showing...by finding) other people who have the same interests in certain areas. Participating in student clubs, activities and programs can help a freshman on campus (avoid saying "in university" too much) find new interests easily and get to know friends in different areas quickly. That is the best part of a big university.

Secondly, large universities offers more challenges to students in regards to self-control. The ability to control oneself is an important trait an adult (Note: "grown-up" means "adult") should have. In a major university, the class size will usually be (generally avoid words "always" and never") bigger than in a small college. Sometimes there can be 200 people in a classroom at the same time. The professor may not know your name after a whole school year. Students may not get help from the professor after class. Studying in a situation like that requires students to have strong self-control. They need to make sure that they take the most important notes and catch the professor's knowledge immediately. Considering what to focus on and not get left behind is not easy. However, once a student can get good grades in a large class by himself or herself, I believe he or she will be successful in society and on the job, even it someday requires the student to deal with 500 things at the same time.
In conclusion, I prefer to go to a university in the future.

 

Source of fine TOEFL writing topics: http://www.toeflresources.com/index.php?id=sample-toefl-essays

 
Read 1043 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 August 2017 21:26
Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer

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