College English I

Why College? Essay

Length: 4-5 pages

What: Recount the events, motivations, and reasons that have led you to pursue your college degree, and write about it in a critical, reflective style. Develop your ideas using writing strategies, revision and editing.

Why: This assignment is designed to present information and reflection about you influences and motivations in a meaningful way; it will lead you to identify main ideas, supporting evidence, and conclusions. It will also provide practice in form, organization, syntax, diction, style, and tone, while reinforcing that writing is a process requiring substantive revision.

Writing a Personal Narrative Essay is beneficial in other ways, too.

• Sometimes called a “memoir” or “remembered event” essay, the personal narrative leads you to reflect on an interaction or experience that has shaped you into the person you are today. Such insight can inform your attitudes about yourself and society while influencing your goals for the future.
• Critical thinking and skillful writing used in development of a personal narrative can teach valuable skills for the workplace. At some point in your career, for example, you might be asked to explain an event or situation that occurred, detail your role in the event, and determine what you (and the organization) learned from its outcome.
• A personal narrative is also a great way for your instructor to get to know you and to assess your current writing skills at the beginning of a course. Your demonstration of organization and storytelling, along with your knowledge of grammar and punctuation, will guide your instructor in helping you attain your next level of excellence as a writer.

How: Work to see connections between your background, influences and experiences for this assignment and the person you are today in order to arrive at a new dimension of thought, and then communicate your reflection to your reader in a way that gives insight into your life. In other words, how did you come to this important decision to attend college? How does it influence your current outlook and decisions? Use Chapter 10 in The College Writer to guide your progression through the steps of process writing.

1.Brainstorm ideas on the topic you’ve selected.
2.Reflect upon memories and review personal documents that will assist in developing your topic.
3.Create an outline for the essay, if it will help you envision it.
4.Revise the entire document several times to ensure your thoughts are clearly conveyed and paragraphs are logically developed. By the final revision, make sure the conclusion circles back to the introduction and connects to the essay’s overall purpose.
5.Edit for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
6.The final draft of the essay must be 5 typed pages, double spaced, with 1-inch margins. Use Times New Roman style and 11 or 12 pt. font.

Textbook Sources:
Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0312601430
pg. 429-440: This provides another view of an MLA formatted paper

VanderMey, Randall, Verne Meyer, John Van Rys, Pat Sebranek. The College Writer. 4th ed.
Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0495803416
pg. 3-42 (please scan this section)
pg. 43-70: Pay special attention to the thesis statement and the formal outline, as we will be referencing them throughout the course.
pg 492-493; 518-527: These selections provide an overview of MLA format, which we will use to format our written submissions throughout this course

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This material may consist of step-by-step explanations on how to solve a problem or examples of proper writing, including the use of citations, references, bibliographies, and formatting. This material is made available for the sole purpose of studying and learning - misuse is strictly forbidden.

My path to the University of Massachusetts is not your typical high school to college story. I was not the high school kid who excelled academically and was driven toward college from the time of young. It was simply not the culture in my family, as it was in many of my friend’s families. I did not see or appreciate the value of college in terms of what it could do to both educate me and provide me with more opportunities in life. Rather, when I was finishing high school, I was focused only on my immediate future and what I thought were good choices at that time. Now that I’m being asked to write this paper and I’ve taken the time to reflect on that phase in my life and the choices I made, I can clearly see that I was not making good choices. But, life is like that, you can only see it clearly in the rearview mirror. While I’m grateful for my ability to reflect now, I’m also just happy to be here, finally pursuing my degree and securing the education that many of my friends did years ago, right after high school.

While education was not a priority in my house, I was raised in a hard-working family and I understood the value of hard work. I saw both my parents always working to get ahead and to provide my younger sister and I with all the things we wanted. In hindsight, I can say that they are the real heroes in my life for all the sacrifices that they made for both my sister and I. While I was not able to have many of the material things my friends had, especially the latest fashions or gadgets, I never felt lacking. I guess it’s because my parents always tried so hard to get us everything we wanted that I truly appreciated the things I did have....
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