The Writing Program welcomes you to Haverford and looks forward to your arrival. In the meantime, we need your help as we plan for one of the foundational experiences of your first year: the Writing Seminar. Writing Seminars are integral to a Haverford education and every student (without exception) takes one in the fall or spring of his or her first year. This page describes policies related to the Writing Seminar and explains what you must do before July 20 to ensure your placement in a course that matches your interests and level of experience. Download the entire placement package.
Kinds of Writing Seminars: Writing Seminars are organized by academic discipline, topic, or individualized study. While all seminars pair writing instruction with intellectual inquiry, they do so in slightly different ways. As you read the descriptions below, consider which kind of seminar best matches your needs and interests.
- Discipline-based (WSD) sections offer instruction in critical inquiry and writing in the context of a particular academic discipline. These sections, taught by faculty from a variety of departments at the college, meet twice weekly; most also feature additional small group tutorials and/or conferences to discuss student writing. If interested in a particular discipline-based seminar, and if your past performance in courses that have included substantial writing has been consistently strong, these seminars may be for you.
- Topic-based (WST) sections also offer instruction in critical inquiry and writing, meet twice weekly, and feature regular small group tutorials and/or conferences. These sections, taught by Writing Program faculty, explore a thematically interrelated set of readings and tend to devote more attention than do WSD sections to all stages of the composing process. If you have experienced success with writing in the past but would like the chance to spend more time thinking about the elements of the academic essay, this type of seminar may be for you.
- Individualized (WSI) sections also teach critical inquiry and writing, meet twice weekly, and explore a thematically interrelated set of readings. They differ from other seminars in a few ways: they are limited to ten rather than fifteen students; they include more time for individual conferences; and they break down the writing of academic essays into even more manageable and explicit steps. Offered only in the fall semester, WSI sections do not alone satisfy the writing requirement but are intended to prepare students to continue their study of writing in either a WSD or WST section in the spring semester. If you have not had much experience composing academic essays or would like to develop more confidence in your ability to meet the rigors of college-level writing, these seminars may be for you.
Consider not only those courses that play on your strengths but also those that will stretch your interests in new directions.
How Placement Works: When assigning students to sections, the Writing Program will consider several factors: your own appraisal of your writing competency; your preferences for particular courses; SAT verbal and SAT II Writing scores; and a placement essay that you will soon submit. We will inform you of your placement during the week you arrive on campus.
What You Need to Do: To help us in the placement process, you need to 1) inform us of your preferences and 2) write a short essay.
- Complete the preference form. Consider your options and let us know both which kind of seminar you think is best for you and which particular sections you find most appealing. You will be asked to rank your top three section preferences.
- Write and submit your placement essay. For your own benefit in being matched with an appropriate seminar, and in accord with the Haverford Honor Code, you must write this essay without assistance from anyone (and without consulting outside sources).
These materials are due by July 15, 2012. If we don’t receive them by then, Writing Program faculty will need to place you in a seminar regardless of your preferences, so please do get them in to us.