New students often ask: What’s the best first-year writing course for me?
The best writing course for you is one that will challenge you appropriately and help prepare you for the other writing tasks you will encounter in college. The Directed Self-Placement (DSP) is designed so that once you have reflected on your writing experiences and completed the writing task, you can read the course descriptions (below) and make a more informed decision about the best course for you. If you do have questions, we invite you to communicate over the summer with writing faculty and share your thoughts with your faculty adviser in the fall. Writing faculty who would be happy to answer your questions include Drs. Zak Lancaster, Erin Branch, Keri Epps, and Ryan Shirey.
WRI 105: Introduction to Critical Reading and Writing
WRI 105 is a 3-hour elective course offered during the fall semester. This course is designed for students who want additional support in transitioning to college writing expectations. WRI 105 promotes close, critical reading and thinking and offers additional practice in argumentation and research. Class size is limited to 15.
WRI 105 can provide more time and space for you to develop strategies for college-level writing. This extra semester of writing practice, with close attention from faculty, will help you develop the reading and writing strategies you’ll continue to practice and refine in WRI 111: The Writing Seminar.
WRI 111: Writing Seminar
This course is one of the five basic requirements that all students enrolled in the College must complete, unless exempted by the Department of English.
Writing 111 is a foundational course in college-level academic writing. Students in Writing 111 learn to write, and they learn through writing, but they also learn about writing. Unlike FYS, WRI 111 offers direct writing instruction while also providing students with space for developing and practicing respectful, critical engagement with others’ views and texts; developing and reflecting on their own claims, evidence, and reasoning; connecting specific writing choices with rhetorical purposes and effects, and composing in various genres. Courses tend to be organized thematically to promote intensive learning about and engagement with a topic. Class size is limited to 16.
WRI 111 is a required course for all students who do not have AP or IB credit. As of Fall 2022, only students with a score of 5 on the AP Language/Composition exam or a 7 on the IB exam are exempt from WRI 111. (More information about the AP/IB policies can be found here; please note that scores must be reported to the registrar, not the Writing Program, in order to be accepted for credit). WRI 111 course descriptions can be found here.
WRI 210 : Academic Research and Writing
WRI 210 is an elective course that further fosters the skills needed to succeed in academic research and writing in college. It is a good option for students who have exempted from WRI 111 but want more feedback and practice before major-level courses and/or those who felt during the DSP process that they would benefit from more practice with university-level reading, writing, and evidenced-based argumentation. In WRI 210, students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills individually with a faculty member who specializes in writing. WRI 210 also serves as a gateway course for the Wake Forest Interdisciplinary Writing Minor.
210 is a good choice for you if you have exemption from 111 through AP/IB. If you are not exempt, you must enroll in 111.
WRI 212: The Art of the Essay
WRI 212 is an elective course that focuses on reading, writing, and analyzing the development and various forms of the essay. The course covers essayists from a variety of disciplines. WRI 212 is a good option for students who have exempted from WRI 111 but want more preparation with literary nonfiction writing before their major-level courses. In WRI 212, students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills individually with a faculty member who specializes in writing. WRI 212 also serves as a gateway course for the Wake Forest Interdisciplinary Writing Minor.
212 is a good choice for you if you have exemption from 111 through AP/IB. If you are not exempt, you must enroll in 111.
A Note about the First-Year Seminar (FYS)
This course is also one of the five basic requirements that all students enrolled in the College must complete. It is not a writing course, but most students complete it during their first year. You may take the course in either semester, but we do not recommend taking FYS and WRI 111 at the same time. You can read more about FYS here.
A unique experience available to first-year students is Wake’s Living-Learning Communities. Students will live in the same hall, take an FYS/WRI 111 course together, and get additional out-of-the-classroom support from their professor/adviser. For more information, visit the Living-Learning Community website here.
In addition to the various courses students can take, there is a variety of resources available to Wake Forest students. Visit the Writing Center’s additional resources page for more information.
Other things to consider as you register in July:
Writing is foundational to the production and communication of knowledge, and therefore it is foundational to the mission of the University. We hope the DSP process provides you with an opportunity to practice a college-level writing task and reflect not only on your writing experiences, but also on the kinds of writing support you anticipate needing once you begin your studies at Wake Forest. We offer a variety of writing resources–from coursework to individual support at the Writing Center–and so the more aware you are of your own needs as a reader and writer, the better you can take advantage of these resources.
Students generally report very positive experiences in Writing 111. The course is unique in that students’ writing takes center stage and your teacher will have special training and experience in teaching writing. You, your classmates, and your teacher will work closely together on reading, analyzing, and producing texts.
If you generally feel prepared to identify and explain key ideas in academic texts, you will find that WRI 111 is an appropriate choice. If you feel less at ease with these skills, then WRI 105 may be a better choice for you. If you have high AP or IB scores but wish to hone your skills in a course dedicated to reading and writing, we hope you will consider enrolling in WRI 210 or WRI 212.
No matter which course you take, you can also gain writing guidance and feedback outside of class, by meeting with your professors and visiting the Writing Center. These are two excellent habits to establish early in your careers at Wake Forest.