Coming from College

Congratulations on your offer of a place to study at Queen Margaret University.

On this page you will find a number of online recordings which we hope will be useful for you to listen to at your leisure and refer back to when the induction is over. The recording are of various academic skills lectures, student support services presentations and complimentary student led seminars. There is also a suite of podcasts recorded by our fabulous team of student PALS Leaders!

The Formative Essay

Formative Essay

We are basing some of the activities in the Coming from College induction on a “Formative Essay” task.  This means that you are being given a chance to submit a formative essay in advance of starting your Degree studies.

This formative essay is voluntary, but it is designed to give you practice and experience which should help you to do well in your future assignments at the University. The formative essay will give you experience of:

  • working towards a series of academic outcomes
  • dealing with an assignment brief
  • delimiting the scope of a topic
  • planning an essay
  • searching for suitable sources using a wide range of search media
  • writing and submitting a (short) essay.


On submission, your essay will be read by an academic member of staff and you will receive feedback on how to build on your essay writing skills. This is a unique opportunity to try out essay writing at university before the grade counts!

Please read the assignment brief and marking criteria carefully and follow the submission instructions to make sure your essay gets to the right people and can be marked and returned in a timely fashion.

Assignment Brief

Coming from College induction formative essay


To what extent do colleges prepare their students for transition to university? Discuss in regard to academic norms. 

The given essay question is open to interpretation so that it can be answered by students from various divisions. Students should ensure that their essay addresses the question and that the focus of their essay is made clear in the introduction.

The essays will, necessarily, not be anonymously marked as formative feedback will be given.

The following should be adhered to:

  • Word count: 500 – 700 words (reference list is not included in the word count).
  • Presentation:
    • Cover page with name, matriculation number, programme and year of study
    • Arial font, size 11 or Times New Roman font, size 12
    • 5 line spacing. Left-justified
    • No tables, diagrams or appendices
  • Citation and referencing: a minimum of 4 academic sources to be cited. Follow the QMU referencing format (Cite them Right will be used from the new academic year).


Marking Criteria:

The Essay demonstrates effective command of the key features detailed in the following marking criteria:


An INTRODUCTION which provides a ‘map’


A CONCLUSION which seeks to bring the discussion together


The Answer addresses the Question


Effective Paragraphing


Cohesion (between and within paragraphs)


Use of literature (including correct citation thereof, with accurate reference list; citation and reference list must correspond with Harvard norms; only minimal direct quotation is acceptable)


Presentation (appearance, language, tone)




Submission details

Essays should be submitted by Tuesday 14th September 2021 at 4pm. All essays will then be marked and you will be contacted to receive feedback in week beginning 20th September.

If you wish to submit earlier, you can and we will endeavour to provide feedback as soon as possible (even before 20th September).

PALS Leaders will provide you with guidance on how to submit your essay using the HUB.  If you have any difficulty submitting it via the HUB, please send it as a word document in an attachment in an email to

Please make the subject of the email: DE formative essay

Please use the following email template, where necessary removing the example details (given in underlined italics), inserting your own details, and choosing how you would like to receive your feedback:


Please find attached my formative essay which was given as part of the Coming from College induction.

I am studying Film and Media and am in Level 2. My student number is 19009090.

I would like to receive my feedback via email/in person/on MS Teams.

Best regards



Meet the ELS Team

Please click on the link below to find a short video on the vital work that the Effective Learning Service team do and how they can assist you with your learning experience at QMU.

Who are PALS and why you need to know