Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

About First Year Seminars & The Writing Requirement

How and when do I satisfy the Writing Requirement?

In general, students can meet this requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. Passing a First-Year Residential Seminar.

  2. Passing English 105.

  3. Passing another introductory course which has been designated as writing intensive.

  4. Earning a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement English Composition test. (While this satisfies the formal writing requirement, most students will still benefit from taking a First-Year Residential Seminar or another introductory course designated as writing intensive.)

You must complete the Writing Requirement by the end of your first year. Most students will take a course that meets the Writing Requirement during the first semester.


What is a First-Year Residential Seminar?

First-Year Residential Seminars are courses that integrate the academic and residential life of the participants. All first-year seminars satisfy the College's Writing Requirement. Committed to a discussion format, the seminars also emphasize critical thinking, critical reading and becoming familiar with learning resources on campus.

Several other features characterize the First-Year Residential Seminars. Each class is limited to 16 students. If you are enrolled in a First-Year Residential Seminar, you will live together with your classmates on the same or adjacent residence hall floors. The seminar professor often serves as your academic adviser. An upper-class student, called a preceptor, assists the faculty member in teaching the course and serves as an additional resource.

As First-Year Seminars are not required for graduation, the College does not guarantee placement into one of the courses. However, the vast majority of students wishing to take these courses will receive one (although not necessarily their first choice).


What is English 105?

Much like the First-Year Seminar, College Rhetoric is a content-based course with thematic readings, but, as its title suggests, devotes more direct instruction to rhetorical strategies and the writing process than do First-Year Seminars. ENG 105 sections are also limited to 16 students.

After reviewing Admission folders, the Director of the Writing Center will recommend students for enrollment into English 105. In making these recommendations, the Director selects students who will most benefit from the instruction offered by the trained rhetoricians who teach the course. These recommendations will be discussed with students during advising sessions at Beginnings. In addition to the instructor, writing assistants from the Writing Center serve as a resource to students enrolled in ENG 105.