Frequently Asked Questions
- What are first-year writing courses like?
First-year writing sections are small and are normally capped at 24 students. The course is structured around active student engagement: small and large group discussions, peer review workshops, writing activities and other kinds of active learning.
The focus of these courses is on the processes of reading, critical thinking, writing, revising and editing for academic purposes and audiences. Feedback on your writing will be provided by your instructor and the other students in your class. You can expect to conduct library research in order to add your voice to one or more ongoing academic discussions and to learn about university-level writing expectations, strategies and resources.
- Are all sections of first-year writing courses the same?
All sections work toward common course learning outcomes with a similar focus on writing processes, strategies, discussion, research and active learning. However, readings and particular assignments can vary across sections.
- Which first-year writing course should I take?
Check with your advisor and/or refer to the table on the Course Requirement page.
- English is not my first language. What should I do?
Consider enrolling in one of the sections of WRIT 1301 reserved for non-native speakers of English. See our Non-Native Speakers page for more information.
- Is there an exemption exam or ACT/SAT test score that fulfills the requirement?
University students fulfill the requirement by successfully completing either WRIT 1301 or WRIT 1401. Transfer students may receive transfer credit for an approved equivalent course from another institution. Students who have AP/PSEO/CIS credit may be eligible to receive credit for the requirement. Please see the Course Requirement page for more information.
- Are first-year writing courses “Writing Intensive?”
No. Although there is plenty of writing in a first-year writing course, the first-year writing requirement and the Writing Intensive requirement are different University requirements. Further, the content and focus of first-year writing courses is on the actual discipline and act of writing.
First-year writing courses inform students of their own writing process and allow students to improve and strengthen their writing abilities throughout a variety of writing situations. Ideally, students will use the skills they have acquired in first-year writing in their other courses and will be able not only to demonstrate controlled writing skills, but also to further develop and enhance their writing abilities in their Writing Intensive courses.
- Are there additional resources available on campus for writers?
Yes. The Center for Writing's Student Writing Support offers one-to-one consultations for all U of M students. The Smart Learning Commons offers support for library research, technology, and writing. You can get help at any stage of the research process from the Peer Research Consultant at the University Libraries.
- I've completed the first-year writing requirement. Are there other writing courses I could take?
The Department of Writing Studies offers several upper-level writing courses including WRIT 3029W: Business and Professional Writing, WRIT 3101W: Writing Arguments, WRIT 3562W: Technical and Professional Writing, and WRIT 3244 Critical Literacies: How Words Make the World.
- Whom should I contact if I have more questions about first-year writing?
If you have general questions about registering for classes and starting at the University, you should talk to your college advisor. However, if you have questions specific to first-year writing that your college advisor couldn't answer, please contact a first-year writing staff member. For a timely response, we ask that you contact our Program Assistant first.