Choosing the Right Writing Course

The aim of Grand Valley State University’s writing program is to help students succeed in their college courses and ultimately graduate as fluent, confident, and versatile writers. Students will write, both formally and informally, in the majority of their classes. All students are required to fulfill WRT 150 (first-year composition) and two Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) classes before graduation.

At Grand Valley, you will select the first-year writing course that is best for your academic success: Writing 098 or Writing 150. WRT 150 is the course required for all students. WRT 098 offers students a chance to develop and practice college-level writing skills to improve their writing before they take WRT 150.

Many schools use test scores to determine which writing course a student should take. Although test scores give us a sense of your writing skills, we believe that you know more about your educational experiences, skills, and preparation than a test ever could. That’s why you choose the course that’s right for you. If you’re interested in understanding the roots our our placement philosophy, the brief essay, “Why Placement? Why Directed Self-Placement?” explains more.

You should think carefully about which first-year writing class is right for you. Some students are prepared to meet the goals of first-year composition in a single term, while others need two terms or more of practice and instruction before they are ready to move on. In any case, to pass WRT 150 you must demonstrate a variety of abilities:

  • Read and discuss challenging material
  • Summarize and analyze what you've read
  • Conduct library research
  • Participate in writing workshops and conferences
  • Establish and maintain a single focus or thesis
  • Develop ideas with details and examples
  • Use transitions and other devices to guide readers
  • Cite and integrate ideas and information
  • Use style, tone, and sentence structure for strategic effect
  • Format and edit your writing

To better assist you in deciding whether or not WRT 150 is for you, answer the questions in this score card and use the result to guide you.

If you have any questions, please contact the Writing Department.