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What can I expect from my first-year writing course?


You’ll spend time exploring writing processes and strategies for a range of writing experiences. For example, what do you need to know to address a range of audiences successfully? At another level, at what stage in the writing process is it most productive for you to pay attention to editing? How might you generate ideas and analysis for writing? What are some approaches to revision? What can you do when you get stuck? How can you respond to others’ feedback?


You’ll work closely with other students and your instructors. Most of our writing instructors use a variety of instructional strategies, including extensive peer-based work. You’ll likely work in small groups to generate ideas, question and analyze readings, and to share and give feedback on in-progress writing. Most students find it essential to have real readers for their work who can give advice on how to revise their essays. You’ll also meet with your instructor in one-on-one conferences to discuss your work.


You won’t be graded on everything you write. Writers grow from taking risks, and it’s often harder to take risks with a grade at stake. However, instructors work hard to provide substantive feedback on your writing that will help you revise drafts as you work toward a later, more polished product.


You’ll revise, revise, revise. The essence of writing is rewriting. Sometimes you need to write a draft to simply figure out what you really what to say. In revision, you extend, deepen, refocus, and/or clarify your ideas for yourself and your readers. Revision is about “re-seeing” your questions, analysis, descriptions, and approaches. All first-year writing courses are revision-based, and for nearly all classes, your work will result in a final portfolio that demonstrates your growth throughout the semester. Portfolio-based instruction gives you every opportunity to learn from substantial feedback throughout the semester as you revise for a final portfolio; they allow you the freedom to seriously consider the responses that you get. It’s an integral part of a first-year writing class, and experiencing and understanding purposeful revision is an essential part of what you’ll gain in your first-year writing courses.


You’ll do a lot of reading. Reading and writing are inextricably linked, and, in college, many writing situations invite students to grapple with the ideas of others as they work to enter the academic “conversation.” In first-year writing courses, then, you’ll read material –often in academic, research-based genres – that is likely different from what you’ve read before. Careful reading, re-reading, and reading actively are all practiced in first-year writing courses.


English 101, Introduction to College Writing, is the initial first-year writing course for the majority of incoming students in which you will learn the conventions, expectations, and habits of college writing.

English 101P, Introduction to College Writing and Writing Studio, is the initial first-year writing course with an added writing studio that provides additional instruction and writing support.

English 102, Introduction to College Writing and Research, builds from English 101 and includes extensive, sustained research-based writing.

English 101M is designed to give multilingual students additional support as they learn to write in English for academic purposes.