Student Writers Program Editorial Guidelines

Hey there! We’re so glad you’re interested in writing for CollegeXpress.com!

We want this to be your chance to not only get your work posted online but to learn more about the worlds of journalism, writing, and publishing as well.

Here we’ll cover most of what you need to know about writing for us, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to get in touch with your editor.

Who we are
From campus visits and application essays to choosing a major and getting a “real-world” job, a lot happens between high school and the day you get your degree—and CollegeXpress covers it all.

CollegeXpress is designed to guide students and their families through the admission process, the college years, graduate school, and beyond. We offer a College Search tool, Scholarship Search tool, Graduate Program Search tool, approximately 800 unique college lists, and hundreds of articles and blog posts.

The site is the online companion to Catholic Colleges & Universities, Christian Colleges & Universities, Transfer Colleges & Universities, Graduate Colleges & Universities, and International Colleges & Universities magazines. You can learn more about our company, publications, and other services at our corporate website, CarnegieDartlet.com, and you can view our digital magazines here.

Your audience
CollegeXpress readers are, well, you! They are primarily college-bound and enrolled students, typically between the ages of 15–22, who want to know all about finding the right college, paying for it, doing well as a student, enjoying campus life, and getting a great job after graduation.

Your writing
Most articles and blogs are between 500–1,800 words. (But if a topic merits more words, you’re welcome to exceed that limit!)

Any research-based writing must be supported by sources and/or interviews. You must also identify your interviewees and/or link to your sources in your writing. (On very rare occasions, we will allow an anonymous source if they're discussing extraordinarily sensitive material. These pieces will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.) As for what “style” of citation you should use, you can use the method you are most familiar with if you like; if not using an official style, just include essential identifying information. We will edit your work and format citations as necessary in-house (see “The editing process” below).

If you're writing a more personal blog post or opinion piece, you can rely on your own experience. Just remember that there is such a thing as too personal. You want your readers to learn from and relate to your writing.

The tone of your writing should be “informative but conversational,” so not as serious as your typical news site but not as casual as a personal blog either. But we still want your unique voice. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to explore the blogs and articles on CollegeXpress to get to know our style and how you can add to it!

Formatting your articles
We typically follow the following format for articles and blogs:

Remember, you have mere seconds to capture readers’ attention. That’s why it’s important to write about topics your readers care about—the topics you care about—and to write engagingly. That’s also why we’ll be helping you with your assignments. :)

Finally, and most importantly, if you plagiarize or submit anything with misleading or false information, you will be removed from the program.

Videos/vlogging
If you would like to record a video for our YouTube channel in addition to or in lieu of any of your regular blog posts, we’d love to see it. Just let us know ahead of time so we can prepare accordingly and help you plan the video(s). Remember: It’s a lot harder to change a recording than a blog post, so make sure you check in with your editor first!

Basically, everything that applies to writing for CollegeXpress applies to videos/vlogging: topics, tone, audience, research, etc. But instead of writing about your top application essay tips or campus visit advice, you can record it! You may also delve into more “standard” YouTube fare like tours of your dorm or a Q&A. However! Please ensure that you're not recording anyone without their permission and that your video is in keeping with the aforementioned guidelines (again, remember that there is such a thing as too personal).

Most videos should be two to five minutes long. If you feel like the subject deserves more time, let us know and we’ll explore alternatives. You'll need to submit the file as an mp4. We also recommend that you review these helpful recording tips. All accepted vlogs will be posted to CollegeXpress.com and the CollegeXpress YouTube channel.

Beyond that, have fun with it! As long as people can hear you and the background isn’t too distracting, you can record virtually however and wherever you’re most comfortable. You can also wear whatever you like with one exception: no big brand names or logos, whether they're on your clothing or in the background.

Finally, nothing inappropriate, please. We will review your videos before posting, but as a general rule, if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or hear it, it’s probably not a good fit for a CollegeXpress video/vlog.

Submitting your work
You will be sending in your work according to the schedule you select on the student writers’ survey. For example, if you opted to submit one piece per month, you should send in a manuscript every 30 days or so. You can consider that your “deadline,” but you don’t need to stick to a specific day (unless you want to). You can also work with your editor to submit more or less frequently if your schedule changes.

It's your responsibility to send in your work in a timely manner. We will not come looking for it. As for formats, we prefer Word Document attachments or shared Google Docs; if either poses a hardship, please let us know.

Lastly, when you send us your work, please make sure the document name includes your last name and the title: Lastname_NameofBlog.docx. Also, please include your full name and the blog title in the document. (Blog Title by Your Name at the top of the page is perfect!)

The editing process
All articles and blogs appearing on CollegeXpress pass through our editing process, where we check for grammar, consistency, clarity, accuracy, and more.

If your writing requires minimal editing, you probably won’t see it again until it's published. If we have more substantial feedback or questions, we may send the piece back to you for polishing. However, just because we edit your posts doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. We expect our writers to submit their best work. Please edit and fact-check your writing before sending it in.

Also, please note that it takes several weeks to review and process the high volume of content we receive. Articles and blogs are typically posted within six weeks of when they are accepted as final and after they have gone through our in-house editing process. However, that time frame may fluctuate depending on our editorial and scheduling needs.

Pictures
You are welcome to send in pictures to accompany your writing. Keep in mind that you must have permission to use the image first. This usually means pictures you have taken personally, but you can also look at free stock images online (labeled for reuse). Otherwise, we will add stock photography to your work as appropriate.

Also, we would love to have a picture of you (usually a headshot) for your author page, but it’s not required.

Reuse/reprints and permissions
We ask that all submissions be original and exclusive to CollegeXpress. We will not publish pieces that appear elsewhere.

Should you wish to repost a submitted piece to your personal blog, we appreciate notice and request that you include a link to the original post on CollegeXpress.com.

Content accepted for publication on CollegeXpress.com may also appear as a reprint in Carnegie Dartlet’s printed and digital magazines (see list above). Articles will not be used otherwise without your consent.

Social media
We encourage you to share your work on social media—we sure will! If you haven’t given us your social media handle(s) yet and you want to, feel free to send them to your editor. (Our primary social media accounts are Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.)

Again, let your editor know if you have any questions. We hope you have a blast writing your pieces—we definitely have a blast reading them.