English Composition: The Most Important College Course You’ll Ever Take 

Beth Dumbauld

iStock_000007510126MediumEnglish Composition is the #1 college prerequisite course you’ll ever take. It’s required by nearly every school and major, and for good reason: Without the skills you pick up in English Composition class, you’re at an educational disadvantage. Here’s why English Comp is so crucial to your college performance.

Why is taking English Comp a good idea?

The world we live in is driven by language. From the text messages you send in the morning, to the books you study at night, the business contracts you sign… tutorials, instructions, and of course homework, it’s all what is referred to as “informational text.” In fact, about 90 percent of the words you read and write every day carry important information.

In order to succeed in this verbal whirlwind, you don’t just need to know how to read and write. You have to know how to read between the lines, how to compose, persuade, understand and respond. That’s the focus of English Composition: empowering you to interact with the world on your terms, in your own words. It might be the most important life skill any 21st-century person can have. If you don’t master at least the basics, you can expect to have a harder time getting ahead in school, in life and in business.

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Why is English Comp required for ALL students?

So you’re studying electrical engineering—why do you need English? There are several reasons why colleges require English Composition skill for students in every discipline.

First and foremost, your coursework is going to be delivered in English—and at the college level, coursework can get pretty complicated. You won’t just need to do problem sets; you’ll also have to explain yourself, negotiate, work on teams, and otherwise use your language skills to improve your grades.

Additionally, every subject has its own “language”: a unique set of terms and a distinct style of talking about the information. Whether you’re studying BusinessNursing, or Technology, you need to be able to pick up new words and concepts quickly and use them at a high level.

Finally, your college is dedicated to ensuring your success in life. In order to do that, it needs to make sure you’re starting on equal footing with all the other students in your class. Since everyone has a different educational background, the best way to even the playing field is to train you in vital skills like language. That’s why English Comp is usually a prerequisite for higher-level courses: You shouldn’t jump into the educational deep end before you’ve learned to swim well.

What if I just don’t want to take English Comp?

If you’re ambitious and just want to jump right in to your chosen major, you can try to “place out” of prerequisite courses like English Comp. But it isn’t easy. You’ll need to prove to your college that you already have a high level of language skill. Depending on your school, this might mean getting a high score on your SAT or AP test, or transferring ACE CREDIT recommendations. Ask your admissions representative what you can do to take care of the English Comp requirement before school starts.

Great language skill is one of your best tools for success, both in college and beyond. Don’t sell yourself short: Take English Composition class seriously. It’s a tremendous investment in your future.

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