First Year Writing

The Writing Program extends you a warm welcome to your first year of study at Guilford College. As you’ve read in the catalog and on the website, a strong emphasis on writing is central to the challenge and rigor of all Guilford’s academic programs. We maintain this focus because all members of Guilford’s educational community believe that writing plays a crucial role in thinking, learning, and problem-solving situations, both in college and beyond.

This information about first-year writing at Guilford should help you understand and navigate the foundational writing requirements designed to promote success in all major programs. Our purpose here is to inform you about how entering students are placed into ENGL 101, ENGL 102, and Historical Perspectives, and to clarify our expectations about the writing abilities and preparation required to advance through this sequence of courses.

ENGL 102 and Historical Perspectives (HP) are General Education courses required of all Guilford students. ENGL 101 is a four-credit, college-level writing course taken by more than two-thirds of our entering students; it is not officially required for graduation, but it counts as an elective. Students who take ENGL 101 must enroll in ENGL 102 the following semester, and ENGL 102 is a pre-requisite for HP. This sequence of writing courses should be completed within your first three semesters at Guilford.

Students are initially registered for ENGL 101 and have the option of completing a writing placement assessment to be considered for placement into ENGL 102. These essays will be read and evaluated anonymously by members of the Writing Program. If a student’s writing sample demonstrates to two or more readers that the student is ready for the challenges of ENGL 102, the schedule change will be made the week before classes begin. The ENGL 102 section will most likely meet at the same time as the original ENGL 101 section.

Students with appropriate AP or IB-English exam scores—as well as transfer students with ENGL 101 and 102 credits—may place directly into HP. 

If you completed the AP exams in English Language/Comp and/or English Lit/Comp, and received a score of 4 or 5, you do not need to take either English 101 or English 102. You may still elect to take English 102, in which case you need to notify your advisor.

If you completed the IB Higher Level Exams for English, English A1, English A2, English B, or College Reading and Writing, and received a score of 4, 5, 6 or 7, you do not need to take either English 101 or English 102. You may still elect to take English 102, in which case you need to notify your advisor.

If you do not yet know the results of either your AP or IB tests yet, or if you have not had the scores sent to Guilford College, you must register for English 101 and decide if you want to complete the writing placement assignment for consideration in English 102. 

All writing courses at Guilford College adhere to the following course outcomes:

  • Rhetorical Knowledge: students will develop an understanding of the “writing situation” – of the relationships between the occasion, the audience, and the form a written communication should take.
  • Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing: students will use writing as a method of critical thinking; understand intersections between writing, critical thinking, and critical reading; and understand relationships between language, knowledge, and the power to influence audiences.
  • Process: students will write in stages, review work-in-progress in collaborative peer-groups, save editing for the latter stage of the writing process, and apply technologies commonly used to research and communicate in a variety of rhetorical situations.
  • Knowledge of Conventions: students will use the conventions of usage, vocabulary, format, and documentation for various audiences and purposes.

English 101 is the right class for you if you want practice and to gain confidence with writing at the college level. In English 101 you will work on close reading strategies and awareness about how and why authors tailor their writing to a specific form or genre, and to a specific audience. Working with mostly common and popular texts, you will learn to find and analyze authors’ claims and evidence; and you will practice these techniques in your own writing, learning how to write for specific situations and purposes and using your own experiences and observations. You will also develop revision and editing strategies, practice composing unified paragraphs and varied sentence structure and understand the importance of documentation and citation practices.

English 102 could be the right class for you if you want to challenge yourself by reading and analyzing texts from a variety of genres and disciplines and studying the contexts within which public and academic conversations take place. In English 102 you will research multiple claims and points of view and evaluate their effectiveness and significance. And you will make new contributions to these conversations through your own arguments, writing with a variety of approaches to persuade intended audiences. You will work on building your research and documentation skills, and develop nuanced approaches to organization and sentence structure as well as revision and editing strategies.