The goal of the First-Year Writing Requirement is to prepare students for the type of writing most often assigned and valued in University classes.
The First-Year Writing Requirement should be completed in the first year with a minimum grade of C- and must be satisfied before electing a class to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is not equivalent to the FYWR.
Overall learning goals for students are as follows:
- produce complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts;
- read, summarize, analyze, and synthesize complex texts purposefully in order to generate and support writing;
- practice writing in a variety of genres and demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different rhetorical situations;
- develop flexible strategies for organizing, revising, editing, and proofreading writing of varying lengths to improve development of ideas and appropriateness of expression; and
- collaborate with peers and the instructor to define revision strategies for particular pieces of writing, to set goals for improving writing, and to devise effective plans for achieving those goals.
First-Year Writing Requirement courses offered for a particular term can be found by using the advanced search function in the LSA Course Guide and selecting "first-year writing" under the "Other Requirements/Groupings" feature.
Rather than placing students in a specific course, Sweetland invites students to participate in a Directed Self-Placement process (DSP) to select their first writing course in consultation with their advisor. Prior to attending Orientation, students complete an online reading and writing assignment and answer questions about that experience and their previous experiences with writing. When meeting with their advisor during Orientation, students receive a course recommendation based upon their responses to the DSP essay and questions, evaluate themselves as writers, discuss their course recommendation, and choose a writing course that will enable them to become more proficient and confident in University-level academic writing. Students' DSP essays are sent to the instructor of their first writing course as an introduction to their writing and to help instructors work with students to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Students who seek a more individualized and gradual introduction to college writing may choose to take WRITING 100: Transition to College Writing offered by the Sweetland Center for Writing before a First-Year Writing Requirement course. This course provides intensive one-on-one feedback on writing assignments, as well as the creation of an electronic portfolio, which enables students to integrate technology into their learning and reflect upon their development as writers.
International students who speak English as a second language may choose to take ELI 120: Academic Writing for International Undergraduates offered by the English Language Institute before a First-Year Writing Requirement course. This course helps strengthen the writing skills of international undergraduates through critical reading and follow-up writing of text-types such as summary, critique and argument. ELI 120 can be taken at the same time as WRITING 100 or prior to WRITING 100.
Transfer students who have completed writing courses at another college or university may be able to use those courses to satisfy the First-Year Writing Requirement. The list of currently approved and non-approved courses is available at:
This webpage also provides information on what steps to take if the transfer course is not on either list.