Publishing your research paper to a journal is a common goal for many Columbia graduate students. However, we all know that it is not that simple. It usually takes a long time to publish, especially if it is a research paper. To further aggravate the process, time is quite limited when you are in a master’s program and we tend to think that the research we do for class assignments or theses are either excellent enough for publication or good, but not good enough, for publication.

Now think for a moment: is a journal the only legitimate place to show and share your work?

No.

You are an educated, hard-working researcher who knows much more about your field than many others. So, why not share your thoughts and passion to enlighten others by writing an op-ed?

An op-ed is a short write-up that expresses your opinion about a certain issue or topic. It is usually published in newspapers or magazines to raise awareness of timely issues. Two main benefits to writing an op-ed are: (1) you will contribute to your scholarly field by depicting issues and raising awareness; (2) you will have a ready writing sample that will strengthen your CV/resume. When trying to land a job after graduation, having your writing (op-ed, letters to the editor, research articles, etc..) published helps your resume shine and differentiates you from other candidates.

Now that you know the benefits of writing an op-ed, it’s time to get started. The Earth Institute's guide to writing an Op-Ed does an excellent job showing how to write an effective op-ed. Explore Columbia’s involvement in the Op-Ed Project for examples and more information to help write your own. Also, Columbia’s Writing Center is a good place to go if you’d like to talk to a writing expert. Start writing your (first) op-ed today!

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