When I taught college writing courses, almost no one enrolled willingly. Whether it was required for their major or expected on their transcript for graduate school, many of my undergraduate students would have been quite happy to skip a composition course altogether. And with classes called College Writing or Research Writing or Advanced Writing, who could really blame them?
Over the years, however, I noticed an interesting trend among the truly motivated. The students who admitted, even at the cost of their social currency, they wanted to become better writers generally had two reasons:
They would imminently face an important writing project.
They were graduating, and although they were almost ‘college educated,’ they felt their communication skills were poor.
Both groups were dealing with as much fear and dread as the uninterested students, but they’d decided that becoming a better writer would make their lives easier and...