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FAQ

What writing courses am I required to take at USC?
Most students entering USC complete two semester courses to fulfill this writing requirement: at the freshman level Writing and Critical Reasoning (Writing 140), a course offered in affiliation with a General Education Category VI (Social Issues) course, and an advanced writing course (Writing 340) generally taken during the student's junior year at USC.  In addition, on the basis of a placement examination administered at USC, certain students are required to complete an introductory course prior to enrolling in 140, either Introduction to College Writing (Writing 120) or Introduction to College Writing in a Second Language (Writing 121), the companion course for non-native speakers of English.


Are there prerequisites to Writing 140?
Yes. To enter Writing 140, a student must satisfy one of the following conditions: a score of 560 or higher on the verbal portion of the SAT, a score meriting placement into 140 on USC's Composition Proficiency Examination, or completion of Writing 120/121 at USC.


What is the Writing Center?
The Writing Center is a service of the Writing Program that provides one-to-one consultations to assist any student who wishes (or is required) to have individualized assistance in writing. Open to all members of the university community, the Writing Center is characterized by a non-judgmental, comfortable environment; it is a friendly place where students and consultants work collaboratively at all stages of the writing process, from getting started on a topic to revising and editing a draft of a nearly completed essay. In fact, many students come to the Writing Center to talk about a topic before they have written anything at all.

Find more at their site here.


What's this USC College Debate Series I keep hearing about?
One of the advantages of attending a residential university is the opportunity that it affords to join the community of scholars and to engage pressing questions and contemporary issues. Here at USC, the College Debates Series promotes this intellectual tradition by inviting knowledgeable and diverse speakers to address a common theme and to initiate a discourse that will carry over from the auditorium to the residence hall and classroom. In addition, as mentioned above, the USC College Debates Series provides the topic for the in-class essay written as part of your final course portfolio.



What is a "final portfolio?"
In lieu of a final examination, the Writing Program uses a system of portfolio evaluation to assess the proficiency of students as they complete Writing 140. This approach not only allows students to present their strongest work for evaluation but also helps to ensure a more valid and equitable grading process.  The mark given your portfolio will count as 30-35% of your semester grade.