First Year Writing

Composition plays an important role in the General Education program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The purpose of the General Education program is to equip students with "those capabilities essential for all college-educated adults facing the twenty-first century," including "[s]kills needed for effective understanding and communication of ideas" (Undergraduate Bulletin). The composition courses at Minnesota State Mankato help students develop these skills by providing a rich understanding of how writing works and extensive practice with the writing process.

The General Education program consists of thirteen goal areas. Composition falls under Goal Area 1: Communication. It is one of three constituents of this goal area:

Goal Area 1: Communication:
       Part A) Composition
       Part B) Speech and Oral Reasoning
       Part C) Writing Intensive

To fulfill Part A of Goal Area 1, students must enroll in English 101, a one-semester, four-credit writing course, and pass it with a grade of "C" or higher. This course "offers students knowledge and skills that can be applied to a range of writing situations and provides them with multiple, varied opportunities to apply and reflect on what they are learning about writing."

Some students benefit from taking an additional writing course, prior to enrolling in English 101, to strengthen their preparation for college-level writing. The English Placement Test is used to determine when an additional writing course is appropriate for a student.

English 101:
English 101 is a process writing course; students practice strategies for exploring ideas and develop their revision processes through peer response, instructor feedback, and guided analysis of their own writing. Critical reading, research, and reflection are important components of the course. Class discussion and writing assignments help students read for comprehension, genre understanding, and rhetorical inspiration/critique. Students apply their developing reading skills in a multi-source library research project, which is showcased in their capstone portfolios. In addition to displaying their writing accomplishments, the portfolio includes a reflective essay in which students describe their rhetorical choices and writing development in the course.

Most students take English 101 during their first two years at our University. Occasionally, though, a student feels that he/she should be exempt from the course based on his/her prior writing instruction. The English Challenge Exam has been developed with these students in mind.

English Placement Test:
Students with ACT verbal scores below 18, students with SAT verbal scores below 450, or students admitted to the university without an ACT or SAT verbal score must take the Accuplacer Reading Comprehension Test and pass it with a score of 78 or higher to enroll in English 101.

International students with a TOEFL score below 575 (paper-based), below 232 (computer-based), or below 89 (web-based), or with an IELTS score below 6.5 must take the Accuplacer ESL Reading Test and pass it with a score of 110 or higher to enroll in English 101.

Students with an Accuplacer Reading Comprehension test score below 78 or an Accuplacer ESL Reading test score below 110 must pass either English 100 or ESL 202 or ESL 210 with a grade of C or better before enrolling in English 101. If a student’s test score falls below this benchmark, his/her advisor discusses course options with him/her and helps him/her determine which course to take. 

English Challenge Exam:
Most students take English 101 during their first two years at our University. Occasionally, though, a student feels that he/she should be exempt from the course based on his/her prior writing instruction. The English Challenge Exam has been developed with these students in mind.

For more information on First Year Writing, contact Heather Camp.