NYU's Independent Student Newspaper

Washington Square News

Required Writing Class Needs Updating

Louis Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

Many first years walk into college thinking they’re hot stuff with a pen. Writing the Essay, the bane of the freshmen existence, serves as a rude awakening. That’s exactly what expository writing programs should do, and they’re necessary to help break the mold of the five-paragraph essay drilled into the high school brain. But the class causes frustrations, not only because of its difficulty. Too many find it nebulous and rigid. Writing the Essay needs some revisions on its structure.

Because there are so many classes and so many professors teaching them, the program’s curriculum is scattershot.  The website is a good example of the vague set of course guidelines which allow for personalization by each professor. There is a vague set of rules while the professor guides the rest of the course. The site advertises the broad batch of writers that make up the faculty: poets, journalists and scholars in the social sciences are just a few. When you have to decide among a melting pot of career writers, the chances of meshing well with the one you choose is tough. That’s not to say students don’t find satisfying teachers — many do. But if the class centers around the professor’s style, then students have to be properly informed on his or her subject area. Albert, NYU’s course-finding platform which is also begging for an update, should be consistent and clear about the professor that corresponds to each class. Even displaying a small blurb about the teacher’s experience would be a step in the right direction.

The Writing the Essay courses vary as wildly as the sources you’re asked to place “in conversation” with one another. Tisch, Steinhardt and Tandon students all have specialized courses for their specific majors. This idea works in theory: We should be strengthening the tenets of our majors and eventual careers, right? But the assumption that we write and think in the specialized manner our major implies is misguided. Writing is as ubiquitous as language and should not be organized into cookie-cutter classifications.

At the very least, freshmen should be given options and the freedom to decide what class will best fit their writing style. A science-driven curriculum may help the arts student tired of murky lectures on poets and paintings, while the engineering student may be more geared toward creative thinking than the filmmaker. Writing the Essay is crucial to strengthening critical thinking and analysis, but too many students are understandably frustrated and others are being left behind. NYU needs to reckon with its flagship course and deepen its positive impact.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 17 print edition.

Email Louis Rodriguez at [email protected]

Related Stories

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Leave a Comment

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    NYU Is Lacking Diversity Among Faculty and Administration

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Creating a Safe And Inclusive Campus For Our Undocumented Community

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Residential Staff Should Be Trained for Opioid Overdose Prevention

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Staff Rants April 19-25

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Protests Show a More Accurate NYU

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Thanks NYU. No, Seriously.

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Strike on Syria Was Good Move for United States

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Trump, China and North Korea: A Raw Deal

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    Snapchat Leads the Social Media Game

  • Required Writing Class Needs Updating

    OPINION

    NYU Doesn’t Reach Its Potential in Science

NYU's Independent Student Newspaper
Required Writing Class Needs Updating