Giving Instructional Information

Compare these two sets of instructions intended for students:

Certain financial aid programs have limited funding, so applicants are selected for campus funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Students interested in campus-based financial aid should submit their requested documents in a timely fashion.

Interested in applying for campus-based financial aid? Be sure to turn in your application as soon as possible. Some of our aid programs have limited funding and are awarded to those who apply first.

See the difference? Essentially, we are conveying the same message in both, but the second is more concise, uses a friendlier voice, is inclusive (e.g., “our aid programs”), speaks directly to the audience (the students) rather than about them and uses clearer text by refraining from using idioms (e.g., “first come, first served”).

Introductory Information

Example 1

Compare these two sets of introductions to a student program:

PCC's Study Abroad Program is committed to making international educational programs available to students. We provide unique educational experiences by offering classes in various locations around the world. Students are immersed in a new culture, gaining an insight into that culture that is impossible to obtain in a classroom. International experience and an understanding of other people and cultures are highly valuable qualities in today's diverse environments.

See the world and immerse yourself in a new culture during an educational experience that you will never forget! PCC’s Study Abroad program offers you an exciting international education with the opportunity to take classes at various locations around the world. During this unique experience, you will learn and live differently, gaining a new perspective of other people, cultures and way of life.

Again, both samples give readers the same information. However, the second sample speaks directly to the audience, is friendly and helpful and creates excitement about the program through dynamic and compelling word choice.

Example 2

Compare these two sets of persuasive introductions to a student organization:

In Associated Students, we’re always working around the clock because we believe in all the good stuff: student advocacy, education, community, communication, transparency, accessibility, social justice–the list goes on. As much as we do day in and day out, we could do so much more together. Our Executive Board of 12 people only accomplishes our goals by relying on our committees and subcommittees of dedicated students who share our values, many of which are also there to develop their leadership skills. If you’re someone who believes in the power of students, take a look on how we can work together to strengthen the student voice.

The Associated Students offers many opportunities for you to become more involved at PCC. We believe in student advocacy, education, social justice community, accessibility and communication. We dedicate a lot of time and hard work toward improving our school, our education and our community. But our impact could be even greater with your help. By joining a committee or sub-committee, you will support our 12-person Executive Board, develop your leadership skills and work alongside other motivated students to strengthen the student voice at PCC.

Both samples give students an overview of the organization and reasons as to why they should join. However, the second sample doesn’t use idioms (e.g., “working around the clock,” and “day in and day out”), making it more understandable for our diverse audiences. It leads with the main purpose of the writing (getting students involved), which engages readers immediately.