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Basic Writing Tips

Make it genuine and relatable.

Copy should not sound slick or like marketing-speak. Read it aloud: Is the phrasing something you’d actually say to someone else, or does it sound stilted or artificial? Avoid clichés, jargon, business-speak, and long-winded explanations. Be clear and direct. 

Make it specific and succinct.

Avoid generalized statements that could apply to any college or university. Steer clear of wordy flourishes and filler copy. Back up statements with proof points. Include details that reinforce Northeastern’s core messages and underscore how we’re different.

Any university could say this:

Northeastern University educates students for a lifetime of success.


Only Northeastern can say this:

Northeastern’s renowned experiential approach to learning propels our graduates far ahead of those from traditional univerisities.

Make it motivational.

Use active verbs to convey confidence and energy. Avoid the passive voice. Inspire the audience to keep reading or take action.

Make it personal and real.

Incorporate authentic details to convey passion for our mission. Use first-person plural and second-person pronouns (“we”/“us” and “you”) whenever possible, as well as contractions such as “you’re” or “we’re.”

A sentence like this:

Students attending Northeastern get to do up to three six-month co-ops during their time as undergraduates.


Feels more accessible when recast as second person:

Emphasize the true cognitive power of experience—learning to solve problems in multiple contexts, the ability to act nimbly, work with teams, and gain resilience.

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