Free University Project
College Prep Online - 2003
Updated Mar. 23, 2003
by Jack C. Star
Depending upon your goals, objectives, time available, and sense of adventure, this site will:
[NOTE: Use your browser's BACK key to return to this page.]
- Help you improve your vocabulary;
- Help develop your writing skills through a better understanding of English grammar;
- Help you learn more about writing essays;
- Provide useful experience surfing the Net for college course material;
- Introduce you to the concept of credit by examination (where you received college course credit upon successful completion of a proficiency exam in such subjects as English, History, Humanities, etc.) through guided independent study; and
- Encourage you to take one or more of these exams.
Vocabulary, Grammar and EssaysVocabulary
A powerful vocabulary is a great asset and it is not difficult to obtain. The most common advice suggests:
[NOTE: Marilyn vos Savant (columnist in Parade Magazine) suggests writing the word 12 times.]
- Set aside 5 to 10 minutes at least five days a week to learn new words.
- Make flash cards and carry them around with you. Use dead time to review. (If you've never used flashcards, click here.)
- Try to find some excuse to use the words you are learning.
- Read sites or publications that will enhance your vocabulary to help you understand context.
Start reading challenging material NOW! The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker magazine are both consistently well written and edited. You may find it less expensive to obtain a student subscription than to buy occasional copies. Both publications can often be found in every library. (They are also a joy to read.)
NOTE: The New York Review of Books recently established a free web site which contains excerpts from the current issue and has begun to archive 34 years of articles. This commendable project will be a great help to those seeking to improve their vocabulary; their quality of writing, and their analytical abilities. Bookmark this site New York Review and refer to it often. (Make sure to read their first issue.)Other online publications you should check include:
The Atlantic also has many articles from past issues available online (free). Browse their site.
For a major list of articles and essays on a wide variety of subjects at a collegiate level see Arts & Letters Daily.
The book Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis (Pocket Books, $6.99) is such a classic that the publishers haven't changed a single word on either front or back covers from the 1979 edition that I picked up for 50 cents at a garage sale to the one I just purchased at a book store. (I prefer books of this type to be organized by word groups or topics rather than in alphabetical order.) The book, divided into 46 sessions, can fit nicely into any study plan.
Other online sources of vocabulary drill include:
- Vocabulary Builder from Wooseob Jeong; set up in multiple choice quiz format (thousands of words)
- Kellee Weinhold's Grammar for Journalists; click on Word Choices List and Spelling List and also try the Practice sections.
Poor grammar and clumsy sentence structure can hurt your grades. Review the following:
- Elements of Style, early version by Strunk is still a classic.
- Grammar and Style Notes by Prof. Jack Lynch formerly of the Universty of Pennsylvania, now at Rutgers. An exhaustive list. It's only drawback -- it is formatted in alphabetical order. Worth the effort.
- Purdue Handouts By Topic OWL (online writing center) at Purdue University. Over 120 handouts from their learning center. (Note that their link to Uvic Writer's Guide may be an older URL. This is the current page -- this seems to be a busy site)
There are several other good on-line writing centers in addition to Purdue University's cited above. Take some time to familiarize yourself with each of them. When you find a topic (like misplaced modifier) that causes you trouble, you can see several different examples by reviewing what each has to say.
A short list includes:
- Texas Tech On-Line Writing Center
- Univ. of Victoria Writer's Guide
- LEO (literacy education online) from St. Cloud St. University takes a different approach that you might find interesting.
- Rensselaer Writing Center, a very complehensive set of handouts
- Texas A&M Writing Center
- University of Michigan OWL.
If you need more guidance, a well organized place to start is A Guide to Grammar and Writing by Charles Darling, professor of English/Humanities at Capital Community-Technical College.
Construction of Essays
You will be writing many essays as part of your college routine: essay questions on exams; expanded essays for term papers.
A very good short course on essay writing can be found at Paradigm Online WritingAssistant. One way to approach the topics is to start with Discover..., then Organize..., Revising..., Editing ..., and then go to the type of essays you will be writing.
You can play the role of virtual student in the English 101 course by Marla Dinchak-DeSoto, instructor, Glendale Community College. Go to Assigments (in the right hand column). Each assignment is for a different type of essay. Follow her instructions (except those reserved for her registered students), and write a few practice essays. You can check your work by visiting the Writing Center at the University of Richmond.
Robert Gwynne, University of Knoxville, TN, offers a course on Public Speaking which contains a great deal of information on communication theory, rhetoric, understanding your audience, and a section, Research on How to Research A Speech that contains sections on how to use the library and how to develop a topic. This is a very rich site and worth exploring. Click on Class Stuff to begin.
Online Writing Help
Online Writery University of Missouri, click on Cybertutorial Online Writing Lab Dakota State University.
See CRITICAL READING: A GUIDE by Professor John Lye Brock University
Your questions and comments are always welcome.
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Created: May 19, 1999
Prior Update: Aug. 25, 2002
Last Update: Mat. 23, 2003