Life beyond the books: writing

aat comment

You don’t have to be at university or college to enjoy the lighter side of student life. In the second of a series of posts throughout September, Louise Bell shows you how to use your writing skills to good effect

The student newspaper is a great British tradition – The Student, Edinburgh University’s official paper, was established in 1887. BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell edited Leeds University’s Leeds Student, as did Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

But even if you’re not planning a career in the media, writing – whether it’s about the latest student issues or your own passions – is a fantastic way to cultivate employer-friendly skills.

Getting your thoughts in order, prioritising important information and telling your audience what they need to know are all useful transferable skills, whether you’re putting together a presentation, compiling a report or just writing an email. And sharing your thoughts with others is a great way to get involved in the community, whether it’s a community of students, music nerds, computer geeks or anything else. And that’s the key, really.

When you’re studying accountancy, the last thing on your mind may be your written skills. But you’d be wrong to think like that. Strong writing skills are just as important and form a big part of the AAT Accounting Qualification, especially at Level 4.

There are loads of practical guides to writing out there for news stories or  the web, but your stories won’t come to life unless you’re passionate about the subject.

If you’re at a college, see if it already has a paper or magazine you can write for (and if it hasn’t, why not set one up?) Otherwise, try approaching publications and websites you like – within reason – if you love music, think local listings magazine rather than the NME, at least to start with.

And there’s also right here on AAT Comment, where we’re always hunting for writers keen to discuss their experiences of being an AAT student. Drop us a line now if you would like to get involved.

Keep it brief – editors are busy people – include a short sample of your writing and try to show that you know something about the publication and its readers. Follow up with a phone call. And remember, newspapers and magazines need photographers and designers as well as writers.

If you’re in Manchester…

News Associates run free sports and general journalism workshops (also available in London)

If you’re in Wales…

Let 247 and Buzz, two great free listings magazines (with online versions, too), inspire you to start writing your own reviews

Wherever you are…

The National Student is a free, independent student paper, covering news, entertainment, sport, travel and technology

This article first appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Accounting Technician, AAT’s membership magazine. Don’t miss Louise’s third post, which goes live on 17 September, which will look at socialising and having time off from the books.

Louise Bell has contributed to Accounting Technician magazine.

Related articles