Structural Elements and Expectations for About Campus Manuscripts

Writing Style and Approach

Unlike most academic journal articles—which follow a standard structure of Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, Limitations, and Future Directions—About Campus articles use more literary-like structures and organization techniques to guide readers from start to finish. You can find the sample feature and articles at

Appropriate Use of Language

  • Use first person, singular and plural (e.g., I and we) where appropriate.
  • Do NOT use he/she or s/he and avoid he or she, which is awkward. Instead, use the plural as much as possible (Example: students … they rather than the student … he or she …).
  • Use a person’s full name the first time she or he is mentioned.
  • When using proper names, whether of individuals or institutions, please double-check them for accuracy.
  • Use jargon-free and inclusive language (i.e., an article does not contain phrases such as holistic learning or metacognition that only a select group of the educational community will understand).
  • Avoid sexist language such as spokesmen, chairmen, and man in the generic sense. Substitute spokesperson, chair, individuals or people, and so on.
  • Use the active voice as much as possible and avoid passive constructions. Give credit where credit is due; let those doing the actions DO the actions. See the difference below.

o Active: For a long time, educators have accepted that ….

o Passive: For a long time, it has been accepted that…


  • Appropriately Integrated References in the Text (NOT APA Format): It is important that you pay special attention to our in-text reference style because it is different than APA style.

Like other magazines that publish serious nonfiction for a general audience, we ask authors to be selective in their use of references and to identify fully all references within the text of the article. Using an academic reference style can interfere with authors’ success in reaching out to a broad audience. It can encourage attention to details that may not be important to people outside of the authors’ particular field.

Also, because an academic reference style does not require authors to offer a context for a reference, it puts at a disadvantage those readers who are unfamiliar with particular sources or who may not have the time or interest to seek out the listed sources to understand how they fit into a certain argument. Please integrate reference information for specific facts and sources of direct quotes into the text, as shown in the examples below.

Consider these examples of how to integrate references into the text of an article:

As Ernest Boyer explains in Campus Life, “American higher education is, by almost any measure, a remarkable success. In recent decades, new campuses have been built, enrollments have exploded, and today, many of our research centers are ranked world class. Still, with all of our achievements, there are tensions just below the surface and nowhere are the strains of change more apparent than in campus life” (p. 1).

In a recent article of the Journal of College Student Development, Patricia King and I describe how this integrated perspective can be applied to Learning.

As Jean Henscheid states on her web site, “Half of all students are above average.” [Note: If a web-based document does not have page numbers, simply include the author’s name and the title of the site in the sentence.]


  • A Reference List: Even though About Campus is not an academic journal and we do not take a scholarly approach to references in the text, we do want to make certain that readers can locate those sources that authors identify. For this reason, we provide reference lists at the end of articles and we ask authors to be thorough and provide all the essential details outlined below. Please use APA style for the reference list.