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Writing Center

First-Year Studies

The resources below will help you better understand your first-year students’ perspectives on writing. In addition, the resources will help you develop sound writing assignments for your First-Year Studies course. 

General Resources

Teaching Writing to First-Year Students
This comprehensive resource includes clear, concrete suggestions and strategies for teaching writing in a first-year seminar. Topics include how to incorporate writing into a course, how to design assignments, and how to respond to student writing.

FIYS Faculty Orientation 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions about how the Writing Center works and how you can best use it to help your FIYS students.

Transitioning: High School to College Writing

Why Do Good High School Students Struggle with College Writing? (PDF)

An outline of the main differences between how students approach writing in high school and in college.

Developmental Changes in College Writers (PDF)

A list of skills that high school writers will not have developed by their first year in college.

First-Year Writers’ Quotes about Writing (PDF)

Quotes that reveal misconceptions about the college writing process.

The Transition from High School Writing Evaluation to College Writing Evaluation (PDF)

A chart comparing different evaluative standards for high school and college writing.

Promising Instructional Practices to Support a Successful Transition from High School to College Writing  (PDF)

A list of research-supported practices that benefit first-year writers. 

Standards for FIYS Writing

Lake Forest College First-Year Studies: Measuring Writing Skills Rubric

This rubric was approved by the First-Year Studies Committee and the Writing Committee as the best way to capture standards and expectations for first-year writing at Lake Forest. FIYS faculty use this rubric to make recommendations based on student work for spring registration in College Writing. This rubric is also used to profile student writing progress in the First-Year Studies program for program review and development. 

The rubric includes performance criteria, descriptions of indicators of writing progress, and sample essays that help describe each criterion and indicator of progress. Log on to your Moodle page to view the sample essays. 

FIYS Writing Assignment Development 

Where to Begin? Basic Considerations for FIYS Writing Assignments (PDF)

Advice on the content, style, frequency, and goals for writing assignments in FIYS courses.

Tips for Writing Assignment Structure for the FIYS Course (PDF)

More focused advice on the theory and practice of FIYS writing assignments.  

Avoiding Writing Assignment and Grading Traps (PDF)

A list and discussion of practices that might prove detrimental to student progress in FIYS courses. 

The Ten-Step Research Assignment for First-Year Studies (PDF)

Describes ten steps that give professor multiple opportunities for feedback and give the reference librarian a meaningful role in the research process.

Sample FIYS Library Assignment and Writing Assignment Sequence (PDF)

Developed by Anna Trumbore Jones, History

Sample FIYS Writing Assignments, Workshops, and Grading Tools

Sample assignment sheet with links

This template includes links to the Writing Center scheduler, Academic Honesty information, citation guides, and a form to email librarians with questions.

Sample FIYS Writing Assignment and Rubric: The Ethical Brain (PDF)

Developed by Shubhik DebBurman, Biology

Sample FIYS Short Paper Assignment with Writing Workshop (PDF)

Developed by Davis Schneiderman, English  

Sample FIYS Final Writing Assignment (PDF)

A sample FIYS final that is not the traditional end-of-course research paper. Developed by Tracy McCabe, English

FIYS Grading Rubric: Evolution (PDF)

FIYS Grading Criteria: Equal Education (PDF)

Sample Questions for Student Self-Assessment (PDF)

A list of questions for students to use to reflect on their own writing process for a paper.