The Writing Competency Requirement

In order to graduate, students at Hartwick College must demonstrate competence in writing at the college level, as defined in The Writing Competency Handbook.  Such demonstration must be made in one of two ways:

  • By progressing to Level 4 through a sequence of courses outlined below, beginning with the course at the level where the student was placed upon admission to the college.
  • By achieving Level 4 in the Writing Proficiency Examination.  The student may not retake the examination before completing the course at the level at which he or she was placed upon admission to the college.

Students should take their first writing course during their first year and are expected to satisfy the requirement by the middle of their junior year.

Course Sequence
Students admitted to Hartwick will be placed in one of four levels of competency according to results from a writing sample and SAT scores (when available).  The writing sample will be required during summer orientation or during the first week on campus.  The sequence of courses described below is designed to offer increasingly complex and challenging writing tasks.  Accordingly, the courses must be taken in sequence.  That is, a student placed at Level 1 must take English 101 before taking English 110.  A student may take a Level 3 course at any time but may not receive writing credit unless he or she is at Level 3. 

Level 1  Students needing review work in English grammar and in writing sentences and paragraphs will register for English 101: Writing Tutorial.  Students who successfully complete English 101 will pass to Level 2.

Level 2  Students needing instruction in composing whole essays will register for English 110: Composition.  Students who earn a grade of A- or higher will pass to Level 4; those who complete 110 with a grade of C through B will pass to Level 3.  Students receiving a grade of D- through C- will pass to Level 2b.

Level 2b  Students passing English 110 with a grade of D- through C- and needing extended work in the writing and particularly the revision of compositions will register for English 111: Composition Workshop.  Students who successfully complete English 111 will pass to Level 3.

Level 3  Student needing additional practice in writing and revising (but not an entire course in writing) will register for courses offered in many departments and in all divisions, and designated in the course schedule by a WL3.  These courses combine instruction in writing with introduction to a discipline.  Instructors may recommend further Level 3 course work for a student or pass the student into Level 4.  The instructor will determine whether or not a student is passed to Level 4 at the completion of the course.

Level 4  Incoming students placed at Level 4 or students who attain Level 4 through course work (or subsequent testing) are considered to be able to write at the college level of competency.  They should maintain and sharpen their skills by taking courses that require essays, reports, short papers,and essay examinations.


Transfer students

Students admitted as transfers who before entry have attained a grade of C or better in a college-level composition course will receive college credit for the course, but will be assigned to a Writing Level by means of testing at entry.  If review of the writing sample and SAT scores indicates that the student's writing is not yet at Level 3, the student must either take English 110 (see above, under Level 2) or English 111 (under Level 2b), which will allow the transfer student to pass to a higher Writing Level.