First Year Writing Program FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions from students about First-year Writing courses.
Should I take WRTG 120?
WRTG 120 is a credit-bearing elective course in EMU’s First Year Writing Program. We recommend WRTG 120 for all students who feel underprepared for college-level writing or who have had little to no introduction to rhetorical concepts and sustained practice in composing and revising multi-week writing projects using academic genre conventions.
If you are entering EMU as a first-time college student, WRTG 120 is required if you have a high school GPA below 3.0 and an ACT English score below 20 or an SAT Reading and Writing score below 490.
You may also opt in to taking WRTG 120 if you take this Guided Self-Placement during FastTrack registration and select 3 or more answers from the left column, indicating you might prefer the additional peer and instructor support and writing development time that you can receive in WRTG 120.Before registering for WRTG 120, you should meet with an EMU academic advisor. You can make an appointment online, or visit the University Advising Career Development Center (UACDC) in 200 McKenny Hall on campus.
Should I take WRTG 121?
If you received a four or higher on the AP English Language and Composition exam, you may receive credit for WRTG 120 and WRTG 121. (If you received a three on the AP English Language exam, you may receive elective credit for WRTG 120.)
EMU’s First Year Writing Program does not recommend a waiver/credit for WRTG 121 based on International Baccalaureate scores.
If you have taken a research-based writing course at another college or university, you may receive or request that course to transfer to EMU for credit for WRTG 121.
Before registering for WRTG 121, you should meet with an EMU academic advisor. You can make an appointment online, or visit the University Advising Career Development Center (UACDC) in 200 McKenny Hall on campus.
What textbooks are required for WRTG 120 and WRTG 121?
In EMU’s First Year Writing Program, we use two custom textbooks across all sections of both WRTG 120 and WRTG 121: Understanding Rhetoric and EasyWriter. Both textbooks contain custom information specific to EMU’s First Year Writing courses. They are available as a packaged bundle only at the EMU Student Center bookstore. Visit our textbooks page for more information.
Can I get an override into a WRTG 120 or WRTG 121 course that's already full?
EMU’s First Year Writing Program does not approve of overrides into sections of WRTG 120 or WRTG 121 that are already full. Our courses are studio-based, writing-intensive classes of no more than 25 students, in line with recommended best practices from the National Council of Teachers of English. Our courses are capped at 25 in order to support your academic performance, engagement with peers and instructors, and long-term academic success.
If you are not yet enrolled in a section of WRTG 120 or WRTG 121 and would like to be, we suggest that you monitor the enrollment system to watch for a seat opening up before the end of the add/drop period. Or, you may enroll in WRTG 120 or WRTG 121 as soon as your registration opens for the next semester.
How much writing can I expect to do in WRTG 120 or WRTG 121?
While there is no pre-determined standard for how much you will write in a First Year Writing course, both WRTG 120 and WRTG 121 have at least three major projects for the term, typically four projects, including a final portfolio and reflection.
Each project typically includes:
- Informal writing: you will write frequently, often daily, in class and/or for homework
- Formal writing: you will write a minimum of at least one draft and a substantive revision
- Feedback: you will give feedback on peers’ writing and receive feedback from both peers and your instructor
- Participation: you will be expected to attend class every day and participate in daily activities and discussions to improve your writing through interactions with other writers
Projects in WRTG 120 have final revisions that range from four to eight pages (not including other informal writing and previous drafts), and projects in WRTG 121 have final revisions that range from two to 20 pages (not including other informal writing and previous drafts).
Why is the Celebration of Student Writing required for WRTG 121?
The Celebration of Student Writing is required for all students in nearly all sections of WRTG 121 because it fulfills one of our general education-approved course outcomes for that course: “Reflective Interaction: You will have shared your work with your instructor, peers, and/or the university community and accounted for the impact of such interaction on composition.”
Attendance and participation is required so that all students present their research to an audience of campus community members and reflect on the process of Researching the Public Experience (which is the course’s title) and presenting that research to a public audience.
What if I cannot attend the Celebration of Student Writing due to a scheduling conflict?
Attendance and participation at the Celebration of Student Writing is required for students in participating sections of WRTG 121. If you cannot attend due to an unchangeable scheduling conflict, you must notify your instructor at least three weeks before the event to make alternative arrangements. Scheduling conflicts must be documented and are typically few: an athletic event, a work shift or another class. Alternative arrangements may include an additional in-class presentation or an additional project equivalent to the time and purpose of presenting during the Celebration.
What should I do if I am having problems with my writing projects, class or instructor?
If you have questions or concerns about your progress in a WRTG 120 or WRTG 121 course, your first step is to meet individually with your instructor during their regularly scheduled office hours or during another time that you set up by appointment with them. You should be prepared to ask questions of your instructor and should review your course syllabus to remind yourself of any relevant policies that your instructor has created for your writing class.
If you are not satisfied with your individual conversation with your instructor, you may schedule a meeting with the director or associate director of the First Year Writing Program. To do so, you should email either the director or associate director with the following information: what class you are enrolled in, your instructor’s name, your current question or concern and your availability to meet on campus during the week.
You may also request a meeting with the chair of the English Language & Literature Department. To do so, you should call 734.483.9744 or visit the department office in 612 Pray-Harrold, and be ready with the same information: what class you are enrolled in, your instructor’s name, your current question or concern and your availability to meet on campus during the week.