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7 Ways for Students to Invest in Their Writing Skills Without Spending a Dime


Students who do not have solid writing skills are at a clear disadvantage. They must compete with those who do, and they are judged on their writing skills in virtually every class. There are those essays and papers, and, while it may seem unfair, using proper grammar and composition counts, even in biology class.

If you are challenged in English composition, then you need to set a goal to improve your writing skills and become competitive. After all, your GPA depends on it.

So, just how do you improve your writing? Well, you have a large number of free resources and tools at your disposal. Here are several:

1. Read

Textbooks can be dull and boring, but there is a lot of other reading material out there. What is something that really interests you? And how much time do you spend online? Instead of spending your time on social media, read blog posts about your area of interest. The more you read, the better your writing will become.

2. Grammarly


Here is a great tool that will do many things. For challenged writers, though, it can be a life-saver. Just copy and paste any essay or paper you have written, and you will have a complete grammar check. All of your mistakes will be flagged, along with suggestions for fixing them. This tool does many other things too, like a readability and plagiarism check.

3. Essay Map


If you struggle with organizing and structuring your essays, this is your go-to tool. Begin with a topic and then you will be prompted through the entire process, from thesis statement through conclusion.

4. Hemingway


This is another editing and proofreading tool that focuses on sentence structure and the overuse of modifiers. It will help you produce grammatically correct writing which is also clear. There are free and premium versions, so check them out relative to your individual needs.

5. Grammar Girl


This is a great blog full of tips to make writing easier. A lot of the focus is on grammar rules, but you will get some “quick and dirty” memory tricks to remember them. This blog is owned by Mignon Fogarty who has a great, simple, writing style. The posts are fun reads.

6. Thesis Builder


Every essay or paper must have a thesis statement. These can be tough to write. Thesis Builder is a free tool that will take you through the process of selecting a topic, building a solid thesis statement, and then crafting an outline for you to follow as you write.

7. Teen Ink


This is an online magazine that gives students access to a huge number of great essay examples, in all topic areas. Reviewing these essays will help you understand how a good one is developed. Word of caution: Don’t even think about using one of these – you will get caught.

A Final Word

These tools and resources should provide you with lots of help as you work to improve your own writing. Understand, however, that part of that improvement means you will need to write, write, write. Fortunately, if you are a student, this isn’t a problem. Your assignments will force you to put “pen to paper.”

Understand too that improving your writing skills is a process, and it may take time. If you are in college, there is no doubt a writing lab with personal help, and you should take advantage of this too. These are usually “manned” by excellent writing tutors who can work with you as you write those essays and papers.

Above all, do not get discouraged. Get the help you need to turn in essays and papers that are competitive with your better-writing peers.


  1. Thanks Cindi! In the weeks between when I got this and when I prepared it for publication, I forgot that I wanted to pull that (the original item 4 re: essay writing service reviews). I agree, I don’t want that in here. I have pulled it.

  2. Surely you are not advocating that students BUY their essays? This appears to be a great list except for #4. From an educator’s point of view, even suggesting that it is appropriate to cheat to get a good grade makes me question everything else in your article.


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