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First-Year Writing Seminars

Every entering first-year student is required to elect a First-Year Writing Seminar. These courses are available only to first-year students, have a maximum enrollment of 17 and are offered by a number of departments. The First-Year Writing Seminar introduces students to critical reading and persuasive writing at Vassar, and helps them make the transition to college-level writing. These courses from across Vassar’s curriculum challenge students to enter sophisticated conversations by asserting compelling claims and supporting those claims through an organized presentation of evidence. Each First-Year Writing Seminar is built around a rich topic, giving students a complex set of readings, questions, and debates to consider as they learn to engage with the ideas of others and articulate their positions.

You will note that most of the First-Year Writing Seminars are offered in the fall semester. The online pre-registration form will ask you to list four choices for a fall First-Year Writing Seminar. However, due to enrollment limits, not everyone will be placed in a fall First-Year Writing Seminar during summer pre-registration. There are additional opportunities to enroll in a fall First-Year Writing Seminar during orientation, as well as during the add period at the beginning of term. Students not taking a First-Year Writing Seminar in the fall will be given priority in selecting a First-Year Writing Seminar for the spring semester. While you may elect more than one First-Year Writing Seminar in your first year, you may not enroll in more than one First-Year Writing Seminar per semester. AP credit will not exempt you from the requirement. For department policies on AP, see the Departments of Instruction section in this handbook.

Specific information about the English 101 sections:

  • No first-year student should enroll in more than one English course in a single semester.
  • English 101 may not be taken more than once.
  • Students planning either to major in English or to pursue intermediate work in English are strongly encouraged to take 101 and 170 in sequence.

Fall Sections

Spring Sections