First-Year Writing Program

Welcome to the Lake Superior State University First-Year Writing Program website! We offer three classes, ENGL 110 First-Year Composition I, ENGL 105 First-Year Composition Workshop, and ENGL 111 First-Year Composition II. Below is a brief introduction to our placement policy, followed by answers to frequently asked questions about our program.

English Directed Self-Placement

At Lake State, all students may sign up for ENGL 110 First-Year Composition I (3) and begin earning college credit their very first semester in English. Incoming students have three choices when selecting an ENGL 110 section:

  • Honors sections of ENGL 110 meet three hours a week. These sections are open to students who have been accepted into the Honors Program. English majors or other students with a particular talent for reading and writing may also wish to seek instructor permission to sign up for an Honors section. Honors sections are smaller than traditional sections and help you get to know other honors students or English majors.
  • Traditional sections of ENGL 110 meet three hours a week. These sections are open to students who feel prepared to write college-level papers independently.
  • Workshop sections of ENGL 110 meet three hours a week in a traditional classroom plus two hours a week in a computer lab for ENGL 105. During ENGL 105, you will meet with your ENGL 110 professor to work on ENGL 110 writing assignments. Workshop sections are open to students who expect to need assistance learning how to write college-level papers.

Research shows that a range of factors must be considered in order to predict whether you are ready to take ENGL 110 without the workshop. Some of these factors are writing and reading experience, self-confidence as a writer and reader, high-school GPA, proofreading ability, and understanding of grammar. Many universities force students with low test scores or low GPAs to take college prep courses that do not count toward graduation. At Lake State, ENGL 105 is for credit, and taking it is your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ENGL 110 First-Year Composition I? Why do I need to take it?

First-Year Composition I introduces you to the discipline of writing through an exploration of your own writing processes and products. In this course, you will learn to think critically about your own writing and address issues of coherence, grammar, mechanics, organization, clarity, and content.  You will also consider the role of literacy in society, the ways in which readers engage text, and the role of writing at the college level.

What is ENGL 105 First-Year Composition Workshop?

ENGL 105 is a co-requisite skill-building course that you can take at the same time as ENGL 110. It is limited to 10-11 students per section and meets two hours a week in a computer lab. During workshop hours, you will consult with your ENGL 110 professor and your classmates to write and receive individualized feedback on ENGL 110 writing assignments. You will learn to write clearly, proofread your own work, practice effective peer-editing strategies, improve writing self-confidence, and independently apply the writing process, with emphasis on development, revision, editing for clarity and meaning, and proofreading final products.

How do you decide whether to add ENGL 105 to your schedule?

In deciding whether to add ENGL 105 to your schedule, you should consider a range of factors. Standardized tests alone cannot predict whether students are ready to take English 110 without help.  ENGL 110 is designed for the student who agrees with five or more of the following statements:

  • I regularly read the news and other periodicals, such as magazines.
  • I read biographies, novels, story collections, comics, or poetry for fun.
  • I wrote 3 or more essays per year in high school.
  • I wrote a research paper in high school.
  • I see myself as a good reader and writer.
  • My ACT English score was 18 or above, or my new SAT Writing and Language Arts was 25 or higher.
  • My high school GPA was above a 3.0.
  • I earned As or Bs in all of my high school English courses.
  • I understand the rules of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.
  • I am good at proofreading my work.

If you agree with five or fewer of these statements, consider choosing a workshop section with an affiliated ENGL 105 section and adding both to your schedule.

OK. I know which section of ENGL 110 I want to take. How do I register?

Copy down the CRNs for the sections you want. Enter them into the registration screen in Anchor Access.

Questions? Contact Mary McMyne, Chair (, X2327) or Jillena Rose, Administrative Head (, X2091).

What is ENGL 111 First-Year Composition II? Why do I need to take it?

By the end of the first-year composition program, you must be prepared to independently find and evaluate sources, conduct academic research, and write papers of ten or more pages using a recursive writing process. Some students are ready to do this after six credits of study. Others take eight. Ultimately, first-year composition courses are intended to prepare you for success with the sort of advanced writing assignments required in upper-level courses at Lake State, such as research papers, case study analyses, critical analyses, case studies, annotated bibliographies, reviews of the literature, and senior theses.

First-Year Composition II prepares you for the complex demands of academic literacy and research. These require you to be able to critically observe personal and public knowledge; ask questions of reading and research; formulate hypotheses; design and conduct research projects, both in the library and in the field; and identify further avenues of inquiry. To help you develop these abilities, the course also teaches the basic skills of analysis, interpretation, critical thinking, and documentation. Required coursework includes completion of an extended 10-page research project. Prerequisite: C or higher in ENGL 110.


The LSSU Department of English would like to thank Royer and Gilles, authors of the article “Directed Self-Placement: An Attitude of Orientation” in College Composition & Communication, and Nicola Blake, author of “Embedded Remediation: A New Paradigm” in NADE Digest, for their important contributions to the field of composition pedagogy.