What Is a First-Year Composition and How to Nail It?

First-Year Composition

College life may sound intimidating to a freshman. Add college nightmares, spiced with stories of students failing to pass FYC, and the discouragement of all students-to-be will rocket sky-high. However, as the old proverb goes, the devil is not as bad as he is painted.

In reality, a First-Year Composition (this is what FYC stands for) is a course to master if one wants to nail academic assignments professionally. Alternatively, one may turn to a  PoetsEnciclopedia – this is the site where all the famous poets and the story of how they succeeded!

Still afraid of the FYC monster? Check our tips below on how to fight your fear.

The Best Course in Critical Thinking You Never Had

FYC is an official obligatory course in writing which every student must take while studying at American colleges and universities. Depending on the college a student chose to study at, the number of terms regarding a First-Year Composition course will vary. While some colleges suggest one term of FYC, others will demand one or two more semesters.

The course will teach you how to think like Sherlock and decide what the best option for you in particular situations is. What is more important, you will learn to give your ideas a structure on a paper, so you can easily persuade the reader. In short, FYC will teach you:

  • The importance of content, format, and style. Depending on the type of assignment, what and how you write will differ. The format of a resume, as well as its content, will differ from an email to your instructor.
  • Drafting and revising. Oftentimes, students omit these stages. In reality, being brave to cut out words and rewrite whole sentences is a skill to master if one wants to write like a pro.
  • You will learn different types of academic writing. Knowing how to create a job-winning resume or a cover letter will help you nail a dream job in the future.
  • Brainstorming and note-taking. Like drafting and revising, brainstorming and note-taking are among the practices for efficient writing, being vitally important in one’s search for the freshest ideas.
  • The credibility of a source. Ever read an article and wondered whether you had to trust the author or not? The FYC teacher will tell you which sources are fibs in disguise.

Now when you are familiar with what FYC has prepared for you, let’s learn some tips on how to nail it!

Tip #1: Asking Questions is a MUST

Remember that chill feeling of fear you had when crossing the threshold of your new school? Even the most confident students are lost in new academic surroundings. While as a real American individualist, you might be discouraged to ask for help, you should not. An FYC teacher is there to answer all your questions and help you understand such complex terms as ‘thesis statement’ or ‘outline structure.’

Next time you get confused when citing a source for your research proposal or scared of MLA and APA abbreviations, ask your FYC teacher for help. If you are too shy to do it in class, visit your instructor during their office hours.

Tip #2: Do Not Let Peer Reviews Hold You Back

As a part of class debates, you will be asked to upload responses to someone’s assignment straight to the discussion board. Judging one’s writing may seem horrendous. But no student can avoid the need to respond to one’s discussion post. Just remember that by criticizing one’s assignment, you allow that other person to see their writing outside perspective.

If you are afraid to hurt one’s feelings, always remember to mix praise with objective critique. Start with ‘I agree with…’ and ‘I liked … in your text.’ Then, follow with aspects which might be slightly changed. For instance, the critique like ‘Your thesis statement is well-organized, but adding a few details would be great’ will not offend your groupmate.

Tip #3: Become a Literature Addict

Reading books is the healthiest addiction and the most useful skill a person can master during their college years. Reading is the best way to polish your essay , since one learns to find mistakes in style and grammar quicker. Not only does a student get information by reading but also learns to distinguish truth from lies. By reading books, you kill two birds with one stone: read awesome stories and use the bookish knowledge in your college writing.

First of all, many FYCs include literature as a basis. If you are a humanities student, the chances that you will study writing an essay on Shakespeare or research papers on Virginia Woolf’s novels are much higher.

Secondly, all great famous writers are great readers first. Were it not for literature classes and long hours at the library, Hanya Yanagihara would not have written her beautifully crafted A Little Life story.

Bottom line: read to write like a pro.

Tip #4: Let Your Authenticity Shine

There is a high chance your professors are tired of topics that repeat each year. No wonder that almost all FYC teachers emphasize how the originality of thought is important. Most of all, FYC instructors will challenge you to think outside the box and communicate your ideas to a bigger audience.

When brainstorming for authentic ideas, think of what you love doing and talking about. If this does not help, remember the mainstream things you do not agree with and write about them. It is a bold decision, but soon, you will discover that people admire innovators.

Tip #5: Focus Better

Never rush yourself: one of the best guidelines on writing a coursework is staying internally calm and keeping a slow pace. In the race of becoming a better writer, be ready to accept failures. When feeling low, always think of everything you are good at. For instance, you may be naturally better at thinking of catchy lines but worse at grammar. Ask your professor to help you with the latter.

Final Thoughts

A First-Year Composition is a course that will give you new friends, confidence, and an amazing experience in writing all types of texts one can imagine. At the end of the course, you will have a portfolio you can be proud of. Meanwhile, such skills as critical thinking and an ability to persuade the reader will allow you to make decisions confidently and build relationships successfully in your future career.

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About the Author: Barry Lachey

Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources "Joe Joe." he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.