I recently received a 7-paragraph list of answers to questions that had been posted for a writing assignment. While the answers were rather nice, they did not follow the assignment’s instructions. Instead of writing a 17-page paper like one of the other classmates, this individual wrote a total of 2 pages. [Note: The other papers in the class were a minimum of 8 pages, with most of them 10-12 pages, so the other students clearly understood what they were to do.] Instead of having a full page of references, this person had no references at all. Instead of having an APA-formatted, well-written essay on the topic at hand, this person wrote an un-formatted, hastily-written discussion board posting.
When you have an assignment to do, do not wait until the last minute to throw something together. You will not do your best writing in this situation and you will not have time to email the professor (and get an answer back) if you do not understand the assignment. In this particular case, the student assumed that 7 paragraphs with no references would be sufficient to earn a good grade on an assignment that was worth 15% of the final grade. That was a poor assumption.
What kind of stories do you have about assignments that either you or someone you know did not follow? What words of advice would you give in this situation?