Which Writing Course is Right for You?

STEP 1: Understand Grand Valley’s Foundational Writing Requirements

When you graduate from Grand Valley, you will be a fluent, confident, and versatile writer. No matter what major you choose, you will write, both formally and informally, in the majority of your classes to prepare you for the writing you will do in your career.

A General Education Foundation
You must complete the general education (GE) Foundations — Writing requirement to develop the core skills necessary to be a successful writer. You may fulfill this course requirement in one of four ways:
» WRT 150
» WRT 120 and WRT 130 (Stretch)
» Credit for WRT 150 via the AP English test, CLEP, or transfer credit; more information on these can be found under "alternate paths" below
» Participating in the Frederik Meijer Honors College (the Honors curriculum fulfills all general education requirements)

Writing Goals
After completing your GE writing requirement, you will be able to:

→ Read and discuss challenging material
→ Summarize and analyze what you’ve read
→ Cite and integrate ideas and information from academically credible sources
→ Conduct library research
→ Establish and maintain a single focus or thesis
→ Develop ideas with details and examples

→ Participate in writing workshops and instructor conferences
→ Use transitions and other devices to guide readers
→ Use style, tone, and sentence structure for strategic effect
→ Revise early drafts to improve focus, purpose, structure, and style
→ Format and edit your writing

It’s Your Choice

Some students are prepared to meet these goals in a single semester, while others prefer two semesters of practice and instruction. At Grand Valley, you get to decide which course or courses will best help you develop your skills based on your personal goals, needs, and experiences as a writer.

STEP 2: Explore Your Options


Path One is WRT 150, which focuses on academic writing, with a special emphasis on research-based writing. Instructors assume that you can summarize and analyze a variety of published materials and you have experience incorporating research into your writing. Half of all class meetings take place in computer labs, so you should have a basic familiarity with computers.

What to Expect
You will write three or four assignments that are between four to eight pages in length. You will spend a considerable amount of time revising and improving
these assignments before they are graded.

Writing Portfolio
The majority of your final grade will be based on a portfolio of three finished pieces of writing that you believe represents your capabilities as a writer. Each portfolio is read and evaluated by your professor and at least one other first-year writing instructor. As faculty members, they represent the academic audience you will write for throughout your time as a student.

WRT 150

→ 1 Semester

→ 4 Credits total

→ Grade of C or better fulfills GE requirement

→ Assumes prior academic writing experience

→ Requires basic familiarity with computers


Path Two is WRT 120 and WRT 130 (Stretch). You’ll take these two classes and write to develop comfort and confidence as a writer. This path is designed for students who would like more time and support from instructors to be able to demonstrate the skills required.

What to Expect
You will read essays written by professionals and students to become familiar with college-level genres and audience expectations. You will work on mastering the conventions of standard written English, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation,
and usage. You will complete assignments similar to those in WRT 150. By the end of WRT 130, you will complete a polished portfolio of three essays just like students in WRT 150.

What’s Different About Stretch
You will develop the same writing skills as students who take WRT 150, but you will have two semesters instead of one to do so. By working with the same instructor all year, you’ll receive more support toward reaching your specific writing goals.


→ 2 Semesters

→ 6 Credits total

→ Grade of C or better in WRT 130 fulfills GE requirement

→ More time to develop your writing skills

→ Additional support from instructors


Consult with the GVSU registrar to determine if you will receive GE writing credit from one of these alternative paths:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
    Completing an AP English language or AP English literature course and scoring 3 or better on the AP examination may be eligible for credit.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    Credit may be earned through the CLEP College Composition Modular. You must also submit a portfolio for review.
  • Transfer Credit
    Colleges in your area may offer composition courses that will transfer as WRT 150 credit.

Which GVSU Writing Course is Right for You?

STEP 3: Choose Your Path

A key part of your educational goal at Grand Valley is to develop the communication skills needed in your future career. Selecting the path that best fits your needs and abilities is the first step toward reaching that goal. After reviewing the information above and viewing the informational video about first-year writing, take the Placement Survey to receive a summary of your responses and information about which first-year writing course is right for you.

Take the Survey


→ Do you have experience writing different kinds of essays, including research essays?
→ Have you done a lot of reading and writing in high school?
→ Do you consider yourself to be a good reader and writer?
→ Take WRT 150 in either the fall or winter semester.


→ Would additional practice writing essays make you more confident about writing?
→ Would you like additional support from an instructor to develop your writing skills?
Take WRT 120 in the fall semester and WRT 130 in the winter semester. Be sure to enroll with the same instructor for both classes.

Still Not Sure?

The Department of Writing is also happy to answer your questions, review your writing, and help you decide which path is best for you.

Department of Writing
326 Lake Ontario Hall
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
(616) 331-3411
[email protected]

Page last modified April 6, 2021