The Big Three: Writing, Speaking, and Arguing

by Sara Kowalski, Class of 2017, Humanities Fellow 

Communication. It’s how we solve problems, work together, express our ideas, and explain ourselves and our discoveries. Communication is how we speak and how we listen—on and off the page.

WRT 105, the only mandatory course at Rochester, is brought to you by the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program (WSAP), and that’s exactly what the course teaches you: how to write, speak, and argue at a college level, in an academic setting, and beyond. First-year students may finish WRT 105 and think they’re done with the WSAP for the next four years, but that is the farthest thing from the truth! The WSAP is here to support students throughout their college career, in a variety of ways.

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The Writing Fellows

Get free writing help from your peers by visiting the Writing Fellows on weekday and Sunday evenings in any of their three locations. Sessions vary from a quick question about citations to a full review of a draft. You can also take advantage of the online tutoring tool, “Write-On,” at any time.

At the end of every semester, the Writing Fellows are open for tutoring all night, from 2 pm on Sunday to 7 am on Monday. This is a great tool and motivator for when you’re writing your final term paper(s). The Write-a-Thon is always followed by Rush Rhees Library’s Night-to-Write, which is another useful resource and great motivator to get your paper written.

If you’re a strong writer and/or tutor, you’re encouraged to apply to be a Writing Fellow in the spring semester of your first or sophomore year. If accepted, you are trained in a semester-long class called Advanced Writing and Peer Tutoring and begin tutoring the next spring. It is a prestigious job on campus.

A few of our writing fellows!

A few of our writing fellows!


The Writing Consultants
In addition to the Writing Fellows, who are undergraduates, there are Writing Consultants, who are graduate student tutors. Writing Consultant sessions are always set up by appointment, and they usually hold their hours during the daytime. As an added bonus, Writing Consultants are often WRT 105 instructors too! Their services are free and available to all students. They span all disciplines and are specially trained to help any student, no matter the subject or style of their paper. They can also help with any stage in the writing process from initial brainstorming to making sentence-level adjustments on a final draft. Best of all, they are all students just like you! And peer support is often the strongest kind of support there is.

The Speaking Fellows
Like the Writing Fellows, the Speaking Fellows are your undergraduate peers. But whereas Writing Fellows will give you feedback on your essay, the Speaking Fellows will give you feedback on your presentation (these things often go hand in hand!). Speaking Fellows also help with job interview prep, conversation practice, and more!

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Undergraduate writing groups
Every semester, the Writing Fellows hold weekly writing groups for students to commit to coming together a couple hours every week, sit down, and focus on writing. Sessions begin with goal-setting and end with reflections. It is a great opportunity to eliminate distractions, get work done, and discover more about yourself by writing in an introspective way!

The writing studies minor and cluster
New to the WSAP this year is the chance to do a minor or cluster in writing studies! Taking courses in this program is a great way to get started in writing and writing studies-related research too!

About the author


URAdmissions features guest bloggers (both students and staff) who write about specialized programs, events, and opportunities at Rochester.

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