First-Year Writing Seminars

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Your first semester at Cornell should include a first-year writing seminar (FWS); what you learn in your writing seminar will help you in all of your courses, and you will need two FWS's to graduate. First-year writing seminars are 3-credit courses offered by nearly every department in the college. 

Enrollment in your FWS is conducted separately from (and after) enrollment in your other courses. All students submit five FWS choices via an electronic ballot - all the FWS choices you submit must fit around the days and times for the other courses on your schedule!

  1. Consult the list of spring-semester FWS offerings in the Course Roster (also available through the Knight Institute website).
  2. After you have enrolled in your other courses, submit your ballot at any time during the FWS ballot window: November 8 (9:00 a.m.) to November 12 (11:59 p.m.). Balloting is not time sensitive or "first come, first served," so make sure to ballot only after finalizing your other course pre-enrollments. If you change your mind you can submit another FWS ballot, because only your last ballot cast within the ballot window will count.

After ballots are processed, an FWS will be automatically posted onto your course schedule. You can also change or add an FWS to your schedule using your regular Student Center during add/drop at the start of the semester, but your choices will be limited by that time.

Students Said...

I always thought of first-year writing seminars as a chance to take something that was fun and interesting but had nothing to do with my major. It's a chance for a little pizzazz and I'd definitely advise that freshmen take advantage of the crazy topics available! - Alexandra McClellan, '17

There are a lot of different first-year writing seminars on offer [well over 100 each semester] - it would be hard to believe that someone wasn't able to find one from the list that they wanted to take. - Brian Park, '16

I chose unusual/out of the ordinary topics - I wanted to learn something new while also refining my writing skills. - Patrick Molligo, '15

I loved having a smaller class in the midst of my introductory lecture courses. I had the opportunity to get to know a diverse group of peers and it made the large Cornell community seem a little smaller. - Poornima Manikantan, '17

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