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First-Year Writing Requirement

The goal of the First-Year Writing Requirement (FYWR) is to help students develop their ability to produce effective academic writing, as preparation for their coursework at the University of Michigan as well as for their post-baccalaureate careers. FYWR courses emphasize academic writing in a variety of disciplines, genres, rhetorical situations, and modalities. Courses that fulfill this requirement emphasize self-assessment and substantive revision, critical reading and analysis, rhetorical awareness, genre awareness, ethical engagement with texts, and ownership of individuals’ language resources. 

Students should complete a FYWR course in their first three terms at U-M, and must earn a C- or higher to meet the requirement. Students must satisfy this requirement before electing a course to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Advanced Placement (AP) credit is not equivalent to the FYWR.

In a FYWR course, students will

  • Develop self-awareness about the choices they make as writers, reflect on how their readers respond to their choices, and plan specific improvements
  • Develop some compositions through multiple stages: planning, drafting, giving and responding to feedback on drafts, revising, and translating into a different medium
  • Improve their ability to analyze critically a wide range of texts in more than one genre and medium, such as traditional print essays, images, videos, and performances, paying close attention to the complex features of various genres and media
  • Express their purposes for writing (e.g., to persuade, analyze, describe, review existing scholarship), understand what they can do to advance those purposes, choose language that precisely conveys their meaning, and select genres and modalities that best express their intentions in particular social contexts 
  • Ethically engage the ideas and words of others
  • Learn to use their own languages—multilingualism, varieties of English, and dialects—as valuable resources in their compositions.

Students should expect to read up to 50 pages a week, conduct some research, compose and substantially revise 3-5 essays and/or media projects, each between about 250 and 2500 words long. They will regularly work on informal, low-stakes composition exercises. Throughout the term, they will write constructive feedback for peers’ essay or media drafts.

Sweetland offers a number of useful resources for students in FYWR and other courses. 

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