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Five Questions Students Ask

1.   Why are writing courses required for all students?

Although there are many forms of intelligence, such as mathematical, musical, and spatial, literacy still will determines a great deal of your success in many professions. Studies of the workplace have shown that the ability to write well is one of the primary traits used to identify employees for rapid advancement. In response to these workplace and other societal concerns, most colleges and universities now require students to take first-year writing courses after Harvard was the first to do so in 1874.

2.   Why does RLC 110 sometimes seem harder than some of my introductory-level courses?

In consultation with many other departments, the curriculum for the required writing courses at UofH was designed to teach students to write well for academic and professional purposes. Of course, the two first-year composition courses, RLC 110 and 111, cannot teach students everything about writing so students are asked to take upper-level writing intensive courses as well. The curriculum for RLC 110 and 111 blends two approaches to writing instruction, which emphasize personal narratives and cultural analysis respectively, that are used by many other colleges. Therefore, it usually is easy for you to transfer credits for RLC 110--111 to other institutions if you decide not to complete your studies at UofH.

3.   Why do RLC 110 and 111 focus on one topic for so long??

While many of the beginning courses are surveys or general introductions to a field of study, the RLC sequence is a writing-intensive, thinking intensive skills course that asks you to actively engage in the tasks of writing, responding to others and argument on an almost daily basis. This active involvement with course material, together with the regular production of essays and other written documents, might make the courses seem hard. The purpose of the sequence is to prepare you for all the reading and writing task you will encounter in your college career, however, and it is just this kind of active involvement that will benefit you later in your course work.

4.   Is an honor-level course harder? Will it hurt my GPA?

A goal of the first year program is to help students develop expertise in historical and cultural analysis and to understand issues from multiple perspectives on issues. Pursuing one topic over several weeks can help you develop these abilities, giving you plenty of opportunity to really get to know a topic and to examine it in many ways. In addition, spending a long time on one topic will prepare you for the in-depth analytical work you will be expected to do in your upper level courses, especially in your major. The RLC sequence provides an introduction to academic rigor.

5.   What do I do if I fail 110 or 111?

Students in honors sections (HON 182-183) follow the same curriculum as students in RLC 110-111. They are not assigned any additional amount of work, nor are they graded using a higher standard. Thus, honors sections do not differ from 110-111 sections in terms of the quantity of work assigned, but they often are different in terms of the quality of work students submit. As suggested by their SAT verbal scores (550+) and high school English grades, honors students usually are more talented and motivated readers and writers. With fewer students per section (15-18), these sections are taught using more of a seminar style, and the good student discussions and helpful peer responses actually may make it easier for an honors student to excel.

No one likes to think about the possibility of failing a course. However, if you do not pass RLC 110-111, there are a few options available to you:

  • In six of the nine colleges at the University of Hartford, students must pass RLC 110 and 111. You must pass 110--or an accepted equivalent--in order to take 111. (For details about your programs' requirements, check with your advisor or the University catalog that corresponds to your year of matriculation.)
  • Since both classes are designed for first year students, please don't wait until your third or fourth year to take 110 or 111 again. Students find their majors require a great deal of their efforts, so they struggle to pass 110 or 111 in order to graduate.
  • Some students prefer to take these courses during the summer at other institutions. If you decide to do this, it is vital that the course you select is the equivalent of RLC 110 or 111. Before making the final decision to take a writing course at another school, make an appointment with your college's transcript evaluator to make sure the credit you earn fulfills 110 or 111 requirements.