Your First English Course

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At Whatcom, we are dedicated to helping you improve your communication skills—reading and writing and speaking—as well as your critical reasoning abilities, which are key to success in college and the workplace.  We have designed our English classes to aid in these important abilities.  These classes focus explicitly on the way we make meaning in writing, often in various media and in various settings.  The selection of the best class for you is very important.

Below are descriptions of the English classes that WCC offers incoming students.  Which one you take will be determined by two things: (1) the placement criteria you can provide (high-school GPA, test scores, etc.), and (2) the class you believe will benefit you most.  The placement criteria will determine which classes are available to you now.  You get to decide which option is best for you.

As a reminder, English 101 is required for all degrees and certificates at WCC, and it is the first-year composition course that transfers to four-year colleges in the state. Students who intend to complete a transfer degree (AAS) will be required to take a second, 200-level, composition course, following English 101.

English 101: Composition I

In English 101, you’ll be reading and responding to challenging academic texts, often in multiple media, with other students relatively new to the college academic experience. With your instructor, you’ll be analyzing these texts and producing your own responses that incorporate ideas you’ve developed through your analysis and that demonstrate your critical thinking in exploring and developing a complex idea. The class is dedicated to the kind of composing you will be required to do in transfer courses and professional-technical programs.  If you feel confident in your abilities to manage your time and to read college-level texts, this is the course for you.

English 101-Plus

English 101-Plus comprises two courses: English 101 and English 95, which you take simultaneously (in back-to-back time slots).  This allows you to complete the English 101 course requirement while receiving the kind of support you may need to do your best work.  The instruction and curriculum are coordinated, which means the instructors work together as a team, and the work you do in both classes is tailored to work together.  If you’re unsure of your abilities to manage your time and to read and write college-level texts on your own, you may want to consider this option.

English 174: Academic Skills: Gaining Knowledge and Power

In English 174, you will improve skills necessary for successful independent learning in a college setting, including writing, note-taking, test-taking, active learning, and time and stress management. You will develop these learning strategies while you examine issues of personal identity in higher education and society. If you’re unsure of your abilities to manage your time and to read and write college-level texts on your own, you may want to consider this option.  Successful progress in this course may qualify you for English 101.

100-level English Literature Courses

Our 100-level English courses are general introductory courses wherein you will read and write critically about literature.  We offer a variety of classes, from science fiction and fantasy, American and British literature.  The instructors have designed the content and curriculum to provide a challenging and yet supportive environment for students new to the field of literature and new to college.  Successful progress in this course may qualify you for English 101.

Developmental English and Adult Basic Education

Developmental English classes (English 94 and 95) are designed to prepare you for the entry-level expectations of English 101 as well as the academic writing expectations of college courses in general.  You will be strengthening your reading comprehension and analysis strategies for college textbooks, writing summaries, paraphrases, paragraphs, and a variety of essay types.  Adult Basic Education classes are designed to prepare students to be successful in college level courses. Emphasis is on reading and writing skill development for educational and career pathways. Successful completion of these courses may qualify you--and successful completion of ENGL 95 qualifies you--for English 101.

ESL-Academic Composition

In the ESLA composition courses (ESLA 113, 115, 117) you will learn how to craft essays that will meet the expectations of the audience in an academic setting, including engaging the reader and clearly conveying your ideas.  Based on current second language acquisition theory, research, and needs analyses, these courses are designed specifically to help ESL students write with logical organization and control of grammar in a variety of essay types.  Reading for academic purposes, paraphrasing-skill development, and incorporating source information are also emphasized. Successful completion of ESLA 117 qualifies you for English 101.

Now what?

After you complete the Placement Scorecard, you’ll have the chance to talk to an advisor about which course is best for you from among the courses that are available to you.  We look forward to your time here at Whatcom and to assisting you in any way we can.