Frequently Asked Questions

I took English in high school. Why do I have to take WCI?

All first-year students will take WCI, because the course will give you fundamental skills you’ll need to succeed while you’re here at UAlbany.

If there’s one thing you probably already suspect (or fear!) about college, it’s that you will be doing a lot of writing. But what you may not know is that you’ll be doing a lot of thinking, and this type of thinking is very different from what you did in high school. We call this type of thinking “critical inquiry.” We believe that you can learn this type of thinking by studying writing.

This means that WCI is not simply a writing course. It’s also not an English course. It’s not a remedial course for struggling writers or for students who did not get enough practice in high school.

Successful completion of WCI fulfills an important general education requirement. All first-year students who enter the University in Fall 2013 or after are required to enroll in UUNI 110 and successfully complete the course with a grade of C or better. You will take this course in either the fall or spring semester of your first year at UAlbany. Talk to your Advisor or contact the Advisement Services Center for assistance with any scheduling questions or concerns you may have.

How much writing will I do?

The short answer is it depends. Although all sections of UUNI 110 require students to complete three major writing assignments (see “Course Requirements”), the specific nature and length of these requirements is determined by the individual course instructors. One of the goals of the Program in Writing and Critical Inquiry is to help you understand and practice writing as a process of inquiry that emphasizes the importance of drafting and revision in an effort to learn more about your subject and about yourself as a writer and to refine your approach to writing. That means that you will write and revise several drafts of each major writing assignment, and you will likely complete a number of shorter writing assignments as well.

What will I be doing in WCI?

Because WCI is a course centered on writing and inquiry, the class will involve writing in many forms as well as the associated tasks that come with composition, including assigned readings, responding to your classmates’ writing, and discussing the many different elements of successful college writing. The course requires three major papers (see "Course Requirements”), each focused on a specific type of writing. These papers call on student authors to research, plan, read, and execute writing in a way that is appropriate for university-level academic work, which the class will help you understand and practice. You will learn to engage in writing as a process rather than a procedure for producing a certain kind of text.

In addition to engaging in all aspects of writing as a process, including planning, drafting, revising, and editing, you will read and discuss a variety of assigned texts and learn how to identify, evaluate, and use a variety of appropriate source materials to support your inquiry into the subjects you write about for your major assignments. This work will include using various technologies and digital resources, and it may involve producing multimedia texts.

Finally, the writing classroom is an inherently social and collaborative space. In UUNI 110, you will become part of a community of writers who regularly share their drafts, exchange ideas about their writing, and collaborate on various aspects of the writing process. As a result of these activities, you will get to know other students as writers and thinkers, and together with them you will learn how to think more carefully and in greater depth about the subjects you explore in your writing and about the world around you.

What will I get out of WCI?

WCI is designed to help students become critical thinkers capable of successfully completing the academic requirements of the university. Academic work at the post-secondary level is characterized by new challenges and new constraints that can be difficult for new students to understand and perform. WCI is a training ground for first-year students ready to take on these tasks. It prepares students to complete the writing tasks they will encounter over their college careers, to learn methods of research appropriate to the university, to think carefully and in depth about the subjects they examine in their writing, and to create effective texts of multiple kinds--digital, written, and oral. You will take these skills beyond the university into the modern workplace. (See also “Benefits of WCI.”)

I took AP English in high school. Can I waive out of WCI?

No. AP English is not the equivalent of WCI, which is a rigorous introduction to writing and intellectual inquiry at UAlbany. You might have earned college credit for your AP English test score, but that credit cannot be used to fulfill the UAlbany general education requirement for writing and critical inquiry.

While I was in high school, I took a college-equivalency class in composition. Will that count as WCI?

No. College-equivalency composition or writing courses are not the same thing as WCI. If you earned college credit for such courses while you were still a high school student, UAlbany might include those credits on your transcript, but those credits cannot be used to fulfill the UAlbany general education requirement for writing and critical inquiry.

Who will my classmates be in WCI?

Because all incoming first-year students are required to take WCI, your classmates will reflect the diversity of the UAlbany student population. That means that most of your classmates are likely to be from New York State, but you might also have classmates from throughout the United States and from one or more of 110 nations. Some of your classmates might have taken AP English courses in high school, while others have focused on communication or debate. For many, English is a second or third language. Although many of your classmates will be “traditional” first-year students – that is, students who go straight from high school to college – UAlbany also has many non-traditional students, those who chose a different path than college. Many incoming students have a wide range of life experiences, such as time spent in the military or the workforce.

All of these backgrounds and perspectives are celebrated in WCI because they help students explore and make sense of the complexity of the issues they will read about, write about, and discuss in class. What’s most important about students in WCI is that every student is a unique writer. WCI is a space where these writers can come together to learn in new ways.