lone pine
« All Posts by this Blogger

All first-year students at Dartmouth are expected to fulfill the first-year writing and seminar requirements. Every year in June, incoming students complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP), which involves completing a questionnaire, reading a few articles, and writing an essay. The aim of this process is to recommend students the first year writing course most suited to their level of writing and needs as a writer. Students are either recommended Writing 2-3, or Writing 5. 

Writing 2-3 runs throughout fall and winter terms, in which students receive support from faculty and teaching assistants who meet with them in one-on-one meetings every week. One of the sections is for international students only, who may speak English fluently but want to gradually immerse themselves in academic writing in English. 

Students who are recommended Writing 5 have a range of sections to choose from. Each section is organized around readings chosen by the instructor. Writing 5 courses range from education to ethics, from history to government. My Writing 5 course was called Reviewing Ourselves: Critical Values and Criticism, in which we discussed how we developed our own aesthetics, politics and identities while also learning how to be more effective writers.

Students can also apply for Humanities 1-2, which is an interdisciplinary writing and seminar sequence for students interested in intensive reading and discussion in the humanities. Students may choose not to take Humanities 2 and instead take another first-year seminar course to fulfill their requirement.

First-year seminar is structured around class discussions, writing and research. You once again have a range of seminars to choose from in a variety of disciplines such as biology, film studies, geography, and government. I took an English seminar called Tales of the Avant-Garde, which was about different avant-garde movements, from futurism to punk, that challenged the status-quo. It was my favorite class from winter term, partly because I loved almost all of the readings, and partly because Professor McCann made sure each class was super engaging with interesting discussion topics on unique works of art. 

Even though I was a little cynical about the first year-writing requirement at first, because I just don't like the word 'requirement,' I still found myself enjoying both my writing and seminar classes. I appreciate how Dartmouth gives you the flexibility to choose your area of study even within requirements. 

Posts You Might Like