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, a Writing Seminar, is a composition course designed to give you practice with writing at the college level. Students will write frequently and for a variety of purposes to help build comfort and confidence, and they will learn how to make arguments using personal experience and observations as evidence. They will also practice close reading in order to recognize key ideas and the structure of arguments. The assigned readings will include a variety of styles, genres and disciplinary contexts to prepare students for further work in other college classes.

English 102, “Many Voices: College Reading and Writing,” is a composition course designed to build on the skills learned in high school and English 101. Students will read diverse and challenging texts in a variety of styles, genres and disciplinary contexts and learn how to analyze and contextualize them. Students will compose essays and/or other forms of writing using multiple texts as evidence and they will research and evaluate appropriate sources to make sustained and sophisticated arguments for a variety of audiences.