English Essay Test Prompt


    To what extent do you believe you are prepared for college-level writing? Develop an argument in which you make a claim for how prepared you are. To define college-writing, use the resources provided below (you do not need to use them all, but you should quote from at least one; be sure to cite appropriately). Evidence to support your claim might include discussions of your strengths and challenges with the following kinds of writing:

    • English class assignments or other school writing (such as writing for other courses, applications, standardized tests, clubs or organizations)
    • Writing done outside of school (such as creative writing, web writing, blogging, social media, community writing, podcasting, songwriting)
    • Other writing experiences


    From Patrick Sullivan, “An Essential Question: What is ‘College-Level’ Writing?” page 16

    “A student should write in response to an article, essay, or reading selection that contains at least some abstract content and might be chosen based on its appropriateness for a college-level course. In fact, having a student read, consider, and respond to multiple readings grouped around a thematic question or issue would be ideal, in my judgment. The primary goal, regardless of the number of readings assigned, is to introduce students to an ongoing conversation that is multilayered and complex. We would ask them, then, to engage the issues and ideas in that conversation thoughtfully.”

    From Michael Dubson, “Whose Paper is This, Anyway” page 96

    “College writing courses are supposed to give students experience in writing. In doing so, they should become familiar with the various stages one has to go through to write, the generalized process that we all experience, as well as learning and understanding more about their own working habits and the working mechanisms of their own minds. In the process, we teach them to write different kinds of projects… All of this to strengthen their sentence skills, their composition skills, their thinking skills - which will help them in their other coursework and in the real world.”

    From Herb Budden, Mary Nicolini, Steve Fox, and Stuart Greene: “What We Talk About When We Talk About College Writing,” Page 82

    “What we emphasize most in [college-level writing] is analytical thinking. We ask students to use their own experience and knowledge, along with ideas drawn from books or readings in the course, to identify questions, issues, and problems. In these assignments, students are not sent out to do unfocused, undirected ‘research.’ They are not asked to ‘choose’ a thesis, write an outline, and flesh it out with information. They are asked to remember, to read, to talk, to explore, to brainstorm, to freewrite, to question. Out of this work, out of much writing, emerge questions and issues.”