5The Disorganized Student  

The Disorganized Student has an idea…or ideas…but little or no concept of how to put things together. This student needs to review the most basic principles about how to focus an essay by thinking about the purpose for the piece of writing and the audience to whom it will be directed.

Key Idea
It is best to begin with basics:
  • Establish purpose
  • Identify audience

The next step is to think about which rhetorical strategy or essay design best suits the material. The strategies discussed here are the ones students traditionally learn in English composition classes. (In addition to the formats discussed in this module, Module 11: Discipline-Specific Assignments, has more information on various types of writing that are assigned across the curriculum.) 

It is very important to choose a rhetorical strategy/design for each piece of formal academic writing. The most common ones are:


Digging Deeper Assignments

For Further Reading

Bibliographic Sources




The Writing Center: Past and Present The Student/Tutor Relationship The Clueless Student The Unfocused Student The Disorganized Student The Underdeveloped Student The Unrevised Student The Unpolished Student ESL Strategies Research Strategies Discipline-Specific Assignments Documentation Styles Writing Center Ethics Writing Center Publicity

© 1999, 2000, 2002 Virginia Bower (Mars Hill College), Charlene Kiser (Milligan College), Kim McMurtry (Montreat College), Ellen Millsaps (Carson-Newman College), Katherine Vande Brake (King College). All rights reserved. This manual was made possible by a Culpeper grant from the Appalachian College Association; click here for information. If you encounter difficulties with these web pages, please notify kmcmurtry@montreat.edu.