70+ Hard Words to Spell for College Students: Challenge Accepted

Irrespective of the course you study in school, you must spell words. From common English words to jargon and terminologies, spelling is a lifelong skill you would need in college.

While diction will test your command of spoken English, vocabulary will test your spelling skills when you are writing. The best you can do is sharpen your spelling skills; this list of hard words for college students is a great place to start.

Although there are 26 letters in the English Alphabet, these letters produce 44 sounds. This makes the rule of spelling as you pronounce ineffective for most words.

Sounds and not letters spell most English words. So, to get it right, always consider how a word is pronounced while spelling.

Unfortunately, there are no certainties in spelling English words. If you follow that rule, you will surely spell “choir, chore” incorrectly. Hence, it is essential to master the spelling rules, the origin of a given word, and its pronunciation.

Interestingly, this article explains these facts. Do read to the end to learn how to spell new words.

What are The Spelling Rules in English?

A lot of resources on spelling rules abound on the internet. However, you will get caught in the middle if you miss the introductory sound class at elementary and high school.

However, there is no better time to learn than now. Imagine sending a mail to your professor, and it is filled with misspelled words. The embarrassment!! I am sure you don’t want to experience that.

Perhaps there are many apps and sites online to help me spell right. While you are right, have you ever considered if it was impromptu and must be handwritten? Eish! I can imagine the outburst of sweat glands, cold feet, and stammering that follows at that point.

Here are basic spelling rules to help you. It is important to note that there are exceptions to every rule.

  • U Always Follows Q: In words like this, we do not consider the letter U a vowel but a double consonant “kw.” E.g., Queen, equity, quake, etc.
  •  S never follows X: Although we pronounce some words as ‘XS,’ it is not applicable in spelling. e.g., excellent, example.
  •  Every syllable Includes a Vowel: To make a syllable, there must be a vowel. Try saying the word out loud to break down the syllables. This ensures you are not missing any letters.
  •   I Before E Except After C: For most words that include an ‘i’ and ‘e,’ remember that I come first. e.g., cashier, niece. Exceptions include: receive, receipt, height, etc.

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70+ Hard Words to Spell for College Students: Challenge Accepted

As stated earlier, there is no one rule to fix all spelling words in English. Hence, there are so many misspelled words among college students.

Among college students, these are some hard college words to spell:

#1. Acceptable

Spellers often omit one of the C’s. Pay attention to the last syllable. Although sometimes pronounced -ible, always remember it is an ‘a’.

#2. Accomplish

Try not to omit a ‘c’ while spelling this word.

#3. Accountable

Spellers often omit one ‘c’ while spelling. Try to remember there are two.

#4. Accommodate

This word is often misspelled as ‘accommodate.’ Always remember it has a double ‘c’ and ‘m’.

#5. Accidentally

Don’t omit double consonants ‘c’ and ‘l’ while spelling.

#6. Amateur

Pronounced a·muh·chr’, spellers forget there is a ‘tour,’ not a ‘chr.’

#7. Believe

The confusion comes from the ‘i’ and ‘e’ placement. Always remember it’s an, ‘i.e.,’ not an ‘ei.’

#8. Bellwether

It’s a double ‘l.’ Avoid spelling ‘bellwether.’

#9. Calendar

College students often misspell the last syllable because it is pronounced ‘ka·luhn·dr.’ Always remember it is an ‘ar,’ not an ‘er.’

#10. Category

If you pronounce ‘category,’ you will surely misspell it. It is pronounced [KAT] + [UH] + [GUH] + [RY].

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#11. Changeable

Although it’s pronounced ‘chayn·juh·bl,’ the last syllable has an ‘a.

#12. Collectible 

It is kuh·lek·tuh·bl not kuh·lek·ta·bl. Once you mispronounce it, you are likely to misspell it.

#13. Conscience 

#14. Conscious

The /ch/ sound is spelled as “sc,” which is unusual.

#15. Conscientious

Conscientious has the /ch/ sound spelled two different ways: “sc” and ‘ti.

#16. Discipline

 Always remember discipline has there syllables while spelling – dis-ci-pline. Try not to leave out an s or a c.

#17. Embarrass

This has a double consonant ‘s.’ Remember this while spelling.

#18. Evaluative

This challenging word for university students to spell has spellers omitting the letter ‘a.

#19. Exaggerate

This is one of the hard words to spell for college students. Always remember it’s a double consonant ‘g.’

#20. Extraneous

This is a hard word for college students as they always spell ‘or’ instead of ‘eo.’

#21. Exhilarate 

The ‘h’ in this word is often committed by some college students.

#23. Foreign

The problem always starts with remembering if it is an ‘ie’ or an ‘ei.’ You must remember it is always an ‘e’ before and ‘i’ in the word foreign.

#24. Guarantee

College spellers often omit an ‘e’ at the end of the word. The double ‘ee’ gives the /i:/.

#25. Hierarchy

The last syllable of this word sounds /kee/. Refrain from getting confused as it is spelled ‘chy.’

#26. Humorous

You must remember it is an ‘ou’ not and ‘uo’ while spelling this hard word for college students.

#27. Handkerchief

Although pronounced hang·kr·chuhf, do not replace the letter ‘d’ with ‘g’ or omit the letter ‘e’ in the second syllable while spelling.

#28. Indispensable

The problem with most people who misspell this word is in the last syllable. Remember, it is a ‘sa’ not and ‘si.’

#29. Ingenious

If you ever need clarification about whether it is an ‘io’ or ‘uo’ while spelling this word, choose the former -‘io.’

#30. Irresistible

The ‘s’ in the third syllable sounds /z/. However, it must always be spelled ‘s.’

#31. Intelligence

The letter ‘g’ in the last syllable sounds /dg/. Also, remember it’s a double letter ‘l.’

#32. Immediately

College students who misspell this word omit one letter ‘m’ or ‘i’ in the third syllable.

#33. Jewelry

You would mostly find the misspelled word of this as ‘jewelry.’ However, you must remember there is no third letter ‘e.’

#34. Library

This is one of the most misspelled words you will find among college students. The misspelled form is often ‘library.’

#35. Twelfth

The misspelled version of this word oftentimes is ‘twelfth.’ Yea, this misconception stems from the spelling of ‘twelve.’

#36. License

There are two /s/ sounds in this word. One is spelled the letter ‘c’ while the other is spelled ‘s.’

#37. Minuscule

When spellers try to spell as it sounds –mi·nuh·skyool, they often add a ‘k,’ which is wrong.

#38. Mischievous

It is an, ‘i.e.,’ not and is in this word.

#39. Misspell

It is hilarious that this word is misspelled word by college students. Misspellers often omit an ‘s’ or an ‘l’.

#40. Mortgage

The letter ‘t’ may be silent in pronunciation. However, you must remember to add it while spelling the word.

#41. Maintenance

The problem misspellers always have with this word is in the last syllable. Always remember there is another ‘n.’

#42. Maneuver

Don’t confuse whether it is an ‘EU’ or ‘use.’

#43. Miniature

The last syllable, ‘ture,’ sounds /chr/. However, you must remember that sound spells /t/.

#44. Millennium

Avoid committing double consonants ‘l’ and ‘n’ when spelling.

#45. Medieval

I hope you remember the ‘ie’ rule.? That is the right way to spell this hard word for college students.

#46. Neighbor 

Misspellers often omit the letter i’ in the first syllable. Always remember the word is spelled ‘ei,’ not, ‘i.e.’

#47. Occurrence

This word has a double ‘c’ and ‘r’.

#48. Occasionally

Try not to omit a ‘c’ or an ‘l.’

#49. Pronunciation

The misspelling of this is often ‘pronunciation,’ which arises from wrong pronunciation.

#50. Psychology

College students coming across this word for the first often omit the letter ‘p’ while spelling.

#51. Professor

This word has a double consonant ‘s.’

#52. Permissible

This word has a double consonant ‘s.’

#53. Picnicking

The letter ‘c’ sounds /k/ in this word. So, remember to add the letter c whenever you come across the sound/.

#54. Perseverance 

Considering the number of e’s in this word, it is easy to subconsciously add a fifth e where there should be an ‘a’.

#55. Particularly

Try not to spell the sound /k/ as the letter ‘k.’ It is spelled ‘c’ as seen above.

#56. Parallel

Try not to omit an ‘l’ when spelling this word.

#57. Privileged

#58. Playwright

It is easy to omit the letter ‘w’ when spelling this word if you already know how to spell ‘right.

#59. Quizzes

You must remember there is a double consonant, ‘z.’

#60. Questionnaire

Make sure to include the letter ‘n’ while spelling this word. Also, remember there is a letter e at the end, although it is silent in pronunciation.

#61. Referred

Misspellers often omit one letter ‘r.’ Do have it in mind that there are two letters r’s in this word.

#62. Reference

If you try spelling it as it sounds ‘reh·fr·uhns,’ you will misspell it.

#63. Ridiculous

The misspelling often happens at the last syllable. Try not to spell ‘uo’ instead of ‘ou.’

#64. Rhythm

Pronounced /ri·thm/, you must remember it is a ‘rhy’ that gives that sound.

#65. Soliloquy

The syllable ‘quy’ sounds / kwee/. Remember this while spelling is a word.

#66. Silhouette

This is one of the hard word words for university students to spell. The misspelling starts with trying to spell as it sounds /si·luh·wet/.

#67. Transferred

There is a double consonant ‘r’ in this word.

#68. Tranquility

The most misspelled version of this word is tranquillity. It is important to note that there is no double consonant ‘l’ in this word, tranquility.

#69. Whether

Whether it is often misspelled ‘wether.’ Remember there is a letter ‘h’ after ‘letter ‘w’ while spelling this word.

#70. Wednesday

Remember that if you’re returning to your college dorm on Wednesday, it is spelled differently than pronounced. There is a silent letter ‘d’ in this word.

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10 ways to Improve Your Spelling Skills

If you are going to college soon, you must understand you will be doing a lot of spelling. It is okay to struggle with spelling some words, especially if English is not your first language. However, you can improve your spelling skills through these five simple ways.

  • Research the origin of words
  •  Look for patterns
  •  Read widely
  •  Recognize prefixes and suffixes
  •  Use mnemonics
  •  Spell out loud
  •  Study Dolch Words
  •  Try multi-sensory approach
  •  Make a list of your commonly misspelled words
  •  Write write write

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 10 hardest words?

The ten hardest words to spell are 

What is the 7th longest word?

The 7th longest word is Honorificabilitudinitatibus

What are the 5 longest words in the dictionary?

The five longest words are 
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (45 letters) …
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (36 letters) .
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters) …
Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters) …
Floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters)

What is the world’s hardest word?

For most people, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the hardest word.


As a college student, you would always have to spell. It is okay if you find it challenging to spell some words, especially if the English language is not your first language.

However, begin now to sharpen your spelling skills. Start with this list of hard college words to spell



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