The social problems of this day are so acute and widespread that the cooperation of all thinking men is necessary to cope with them. No student need defer his participation, in their solution until after graduation, for there is simple opportunity for vital service by undergraduates. Postponement of social service is not only unnecessary but is also likely to be unwholesome, in that it leaves the humanitarian impulses--so essential to human progress--unused during a period which is most favorable to their development. Habits of generosity or of selfishness towards one's fellows are easily formed, but broken with difficulty. In the period after graduation in which the student finds or makes his place in the crowded world of business or industry, ideals of service repressed during student days too easily wear away. But habits of service acquired in the undergraduate period are likely to develop and add quality to all his future relations, at home, at business, or in civic affairs.
Social service is broadening. It offers opportunities to see the causes of social discontent--the inadequacies of many social institutions--the struggles of natures good and bad with conditions of working and of living which are often needlessly cruel and restrictive. It offers opportunities to see varied reactions to our present social organization and the backgrounds from which new social theories are emerging.
Social Service Opportunity to Know Men
Social service offers a chance to know men--men in the making. The boy of the street today is the voter of tomorrow. The city councils and state legislatures of the coming generation are more likely to be recruited from the boy gangs of today than from the colleges. A group of adolescent boys, undirected, may become a social menace--lacking respect for chastity, for property, and for law. That same gang under the guidance of a wholesome personality may be rendered law-abiding and constructive, playing an important role in the service of its street or district.
The knowledge and the idealism which the University imparts to the few should be utilized continuously in the service of all members of that society which makes universities possible. The Social Service Committee of the Phillips Brooks House will make arrangements for such service.
Through clubs and classes for boys or men, through hikes, musicales, athletic societies, or discussion groups, natural friendly association can be substituted for indifference and suspicion. As volunteer worker for a settlement house or community center, the Boy Scouts, the Juvenile Court or other agency, the student, not through patronage but loyal cooperation, can share in the reduction of misunderstanding and the promotion of orderly and genuine democracy.
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Here is a selection of tips on writing better essays from students and academics.
Liz Davies, London Metropolitan University
Be careful in your use of references.
Students should make good use of recommended websites, texts and journal articles. I always look at the references section before reading an essay and the quality of referencing is an excellent indicator of the overall quality of the essay. If a student lists references which are obscure and unknown to the marker, this may demonstrate a creative and interested approach to the subject but it also alerts me to the likelihood of plagiarised work.
A long list of references, without clear relevance as to how the student has made use of the exact source, is another alert to plagiarism and a “cut and paste” approach.
Use non-academic sources too.
Students often state that they should not quote Community Care as a source because they have been told to only make reference to peer-reviewed and academically sound material.
I do not agree with this approach because social work is a fast-developing field and Community Care provides a good pointer to other source material. I expect students to search the Community Care website as a useful source of current material. However, I expect them to use this information to direct themselves to other source material.
Alison Higgs, Open University
Refer to the marking guidelines for your stage of the degree.
Find out what markers are looking for. Remember that tutors want you to do your best – so use their feedback!
Barry Cooper, Open University
Keep to the word count.
There may be penalties if you go more than 10% over the maximum allowed.
QueenB (via CareSpace)
Use your tutors and feedback to improve future essays.
Your tutors have a vested interest (their reputation and their jobs!) in getting you through so most will be willing to assist you in any way they can. If you’re not doing as well as you want to be, or if you fail a piece of work, go and see your personal tutor with samples of your essays and ask for tips about how you can improve.
Spread your work out so you don’t end up with five essays due in the same week.
This might sound simple and obvious but I’ve seen so many people saying something similar to “I’d planned my workload but now the deadline/ exam date has been changed and it means I’ve got two due on the same day/ week”. Plan well in advance – aim to finish the assignment well before the due date so if you get flu/ computer failure/ changed deadline you don’t end up struggling.
Sannah (via CareSpace)
Always make a detailed essay plan.
The essay will just flow if you use a plan. Also try to get a family member to check over it. And you could also ask your tutor to check your plan to make sure you’re on the right track.
Hovis (via CareSpace)
Use journal articles to access the most up-to-date research and information.
There are so many interesting articles out there and including them in your essays can potentially improve the quality of your work and this may boost your mark. It may also improve your practice.
Read your marker’s feedback and take it on board.
In the majority of cases, what they are saying makes sense. The university should have staff to support you with your academic work, especially if there are specific areas you are struggling with (citations, sentence structure, grammar, etc). Use this support and it will be of great benefit to your essay writing and your future practice.
Student (via CareSpace)
Read the question carefully and make sure you understand exactly what is being asked of you.
Each word in an essay question has meaning – make sure you understand what this is for each essay and how this will influence the structure of your answer. Take the title apart word by word and think how each links to the criteria against which you are being assessed.
For more information go the Essay Help section of CareSpace, where you can see many more tips and post your own requests for help.
Do you have questions about writing essays?Get advice from fellow students on CareSpace.
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