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Welcome Students!

The First-Year Writing curriculum is designed to guide you through the process of becoming successful college writers. Over the course of your college career, most of the classes you take will require you to provide some form of analytical writing about various topics related to the curriculum. You will be asked to research issues affecting the world around you and articulate possible solutions to those problems; you will be asked to draw compelling connections between assigned texts; you will be required to write academic research reports; you may be assigned lab reports or project proposals. Regardless of your major, you will need good writing skills to effectively communicate your understanding of the subjects you are studying.  

In order to effectively articulate the intellectual reasoning expected of university students, you will need to be familiar with the conventions of composition that are characteristic of intellectual writing. First-Year Writing will introduce you to the writing strategies that are the core of successful academic writing:  

  •  Developing a clear, central thesis statement 
  •  Developing critical thinking and reading skills 
  •  Understanding the importance of audience awareness 
  •  Organizing and presenting a clear argument 
  •  Peer editing and revision 
  •  Evaluating and integrating research  
  •  Using MLA formatting for documentation 

What to expect in FYW

If you make the most of your FYW experience, the skills you develop will be of value to you throughout your college career. The texts and assignments vary depending on the instructor, but you should generally expect to encounter the following: 

Class Discussions and Small-Group Work

FYW is a seminar, which means that you will be asked to participate in class discussions and work in small groups. It is important that you make an effort to contribute your ideas and respect the ideas of others. 

Guided Writing Assignments

As a writing-intensive course, FYW requires you to complete a considerable amount of writing. Your instructor will guide you through the stages of the writing process, from organizing your ideas and developing a thesis statement to documenting your sources and creating a works cited page. Over the course of the semester, you will compose summaries, literary analysis, bibliographies and a variety of other documents assigned by your instructor. 


Most of the writing you do in college will be informed by the work of others. You will be introduced to the research resources available to you on campus and learn how to choose appropriate scholarly sources. Your instructor will also familiarize you with techniques for conducting field research and interviews. 

Critical Reading

You will discuss critical reading strategies and apply them to assigned texts. Your instructor may conduct plot quizzes to ensure that students are keeping up with the readings. 


The way to become proficient readers and writers is to spend time reading and writing. Therefore, you should expect to be given independent reading and writing assignments to be completed as homework before each class. 

Peer-editing Workshops

Careful revision and editing are critical to the writing process. Your instructor will show you how to improve the mechanics and structure of your writing during peer-editing workshops. Furthermore, sharing your work with your peers and discussing your ideas will help to expand your thoughts and strengthen your arguments.

Writing Resources

Writing tutors are available to meet one-on-one with students who need additional help strengthening their writing skills. You may make an appointment with a tutor at the Learning Center, or work with one of the writing tutors in the English Department Computer Lab, DHC 002. 

Visit the Lehman Library Help Yourself Writing Resources site to find helpful information about the writing process. 

Avoiding Plagiarism

Students are expected to submit their own, original writing. Using the words or ideas of another without properly crediting the source is considered plagiarism and will result in failure of the course. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, please ask your professor or review the Student Handbook.  

Contact the Director of First-Year Writing Dr. Nicole Santalucia Dauphin Humanities Center 128 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257