What first-year courses are available?

First-Year Writing Courses at Wake Forest University

New students often ask:  What’s the best first-year writing course for me?

The Directed Self-Placement (DSP) is designed so that once you have read, written, and reflected throughout the process, you can look at 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, Laura Aull, and Ryan Shirey.

WRI 105: Introduction to Critical Reading and Writing

WRI 105 is offered during the fall semester.  It is designed for students who want a semester-long course that offers additional practice in making that important transition to college writing.  It promotes close, critical reading and thinking and offers additional practice in argumentation and research. Class size is limited to 15 so that students receive individualized attention. It is a 3 hour course for elective credit.

If the DSP task felt very difficult or unfamiliar–for example, you did not know what was most important in the article(s) or you were not sure you made effective choices from the article(s) for your own argument–WRI 105 can provide more one-on-one support as you develop these strategies for college-level writing. Overall, the benefit of WRI 105 is that they provide an extra semester of writing practice with close attention from faculty who will  help you develop the reading and writing strategies you’ll continue to practice and refine in WRI 111: The Writing Seminar and  FYS 100: The First-Year 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.

The Writing Seminar, a four credit course, introduces students to academic discourse and scholarly writing. Students learn how to write clear, cogent, and scholarly expository prose. Courses are generally organized around topical content to offer intensive study that promotes skills that are essential for academic writing–close reading habits and critical thinking skills–and creates a forum where students can share their points of view, enter critical debate with faculty and with one another, and practice and hone their writing skills. Class size is limited to 16.

WRI 111 is a required course for all students who do not have AP or IB credit (more information about the AP/IB policies can be found here).  It is also the best placement for students who felt during the DSP process that they would benefit from more practice with university-level argumentation, individualized instructor feedback, ways of reading a variety of university-level texts, and revision/ rewriting of their own prose. WRI 111 course descriptions can be found here.

WRI 210 : Academic Research and Writing 

WRI 210 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 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 is an elective course which also serves as a gateway course for the new Wake Forest Interdisciplinary Writing Minor.

210 is 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 focuses on reading, writing, and analysis of 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 creative writing. WRI 212 is an elective course which also serves as a gateway course for the new Wake Forest Interdisciplinary Writing Minor.

212 is good choice for you if you have exemption from 111 through AP/IB.  If you are not exempt, you must enroll in 111.

First-Year Seminar (FYS)

This course is also one of the five basic requirements that all students enrolled in the College must complete.

The FYS, a three-credit course, is offered in a variety of disciplines and taught by professors in almost every department. The FYS introduces students to college-level discourse in a particular field or through a topic of investigation. First-year seminars engage intense intellectual interchange, both written and oral, in a seminar setting in which all students participate in critical thinking and analysis of arguments. Class size approximates 17.Generally, the WRI courses (above) offer more one-on-one support and writing instruction, and WRI class size is slightly smaller than FYS class size. See FYS descriptions 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:

  • Because Wake Forest offers various writing resources–-from a range of writing-intensive courses to individual support at the Writing Center–-students’ self-reflection is especially valuable before their first year so that they can think about and take ownership of the kinds of writing support students need from the start. As students prepare to register in July for their first writing-intensive course, they are encouraged to reflect on their experience of  the DSP process as they review the course descriptions.
  • Most students who felt they understood the DSP task and were prepared to identify and explain key ideas in the reading will find that either WRI 111 or FYS is an appropriate choice for their first semester. Usually these students have some experience reading and writing texts but will also gain more practice and hone their skills by taking these courses.
  • Students who felt the DSP task was very challenging or unfamiliar will benefit from WRI 105 because it provides more one-on-one support and an additional semester of critical reading and writing practice to help students transition successfully from high school to university level writing. WRI 105 is an elective course.
  • Students with AP/IB credit who also felt prepared to write college-level reading and writing tasks like the DSP task should find their FYS a stimulating introduction to college-level reading and critical thinking. Students who earned  AP/IB credit and want additional writing instruction and feedback before major-level courses will find that WRI 210 or WRI 212 affords them the opportunity to sharpen their research and writing  at an advanced level. WRI 210 and WRI 212 are elective courses which also serve as the gateway courses for the Writing Minor. These courses can help students solidify a strong foundation in writing for future college courses.
  • No matter which course you take, you can also gain writing guidance and feedback outside of class, by meeting with your professors (e.g., to go over assignment expectations) and visiting the Writing Center. These are two excellent habits to establish early in your coursework at Wake Forest.