First-Year Writing: What Class Do You Need?
In the First-Year Writing Program we have an exciting and rigorous program of writing classes that will introduce students to contemporary social issues through reading and discussion, and which will support students as they begin to develop their abilities to write academically, that is, to write thoughtful, carefully constructed arguments that are supported by evidence and articulated with care, even grace.
Given the challenging academic programs at Montclair State University, students need to take the writing courses that will enable them to best succeed in their academic careers. Final placement will be determined after students have arrived on campus and attended their first few writing classes. To ensure that all students receive the appropriate learning support, across classes and programs, including assistance through the Center for Writing Excellence, our placement process occurs during the first two weeks of the semester, with first-year writing professors using an out-of-class assignment to determine the right course and appropriate learning support for each student.
Even though final placement is not determined until after classes start, students need to know in which course they should enroll for registration purposes. For provisional placement, we are using the SAT Critical Reading and Writing assessments that students took prior to their acceptance at Montclair State. Students with either an SAT Writing score under 410 or a SAT Critical Reading score under 520 are conditionally placed into ENWR100; students with higher scores should enroll in ENWR105. For most students, this conditional placement will become the final placement; for those students who need a different class or additional learning support, we will work carefully to make any change minimally disruptive.
As part of the placement process, students typically will be given a reading and writing assignment before the beginning of the semester. We use this assignment because, quite simply, what we can learn about students’ writing skills from their first assignment is immeasurably greater and more important than what we can learn from students’ performance on standardized tests.
What Do You Do Now?
- For now, register in the class as determined by the SAT assessments, and as explained to you by your advisor. Most of you will stay in these classes throughout the semester.
- Look out for an email that will be sent to you in early January from the First-Year Writing Program. This email will direct you to the essay assignment that you will need to complete for the first day of class (whether it’s ENWR100 or ENWR105). If you are enrolled in ENWR100 or ENWR105 for Spring 2014, as of early January you will be able to access this assignment online here.
- Complete the essay assignment that will be due on the first day of class. Working carefully and thoughtfully on this assignment will be the best way to begin your college career.