For Students

This page includes information for students interested in, or enrolled in, Writing Intensive Courses. Included are helpful strategies for improving writing, proper citation, and links to powerpoint presentations prepared by Purdue OWL on effective writing.

As of 2003, all Hostos Community College students are required to take two Writing Intensive(WI) courses to graduate.

Writing Intensive courses meet certain criteria so your WI classes may be different from your non-WI courses.

There are WI sections available in all departments. While many English courses are WI, they are not all WI—WI courses exist across the curriculum. When registering for your courses, make sure the course is designated as WI.

How will a WI help you as a learner and a writer?

By taking a Writing Intensive course, you will have frequent and meaningful opportunities to write about your course material which will make you a better writer and learner. When you write about what you are reading, learning, and discussing in class you understand the course material more thoroughly, feel more comfortable participating in class discussions, and you improve your reading and writing skills. Writing Intensive courses also introduce you to the writing in your field or discipline such as lab reports, field observations, lesson plans, proposals, and case studies.

What can you expect from a WI?

You can expect to have 3-4 major paper assignments. WI guidelines require 10-12 pages of graded writing, but not all in one assignment.

You can expect to be required to submit drafts for about half of those papers.

You can expect your professor to write comments on your drafts that will help you to improve. Your professor may also draw your attention to particular grammatical errors you are making.

In addition to the graded paper assignments, you can also expect to do ungraded writing on a regular basis. This is called informal writing or writing to learn. These are opportunities to “think on paper;” it may be in the form of a journal, a blog, study questions, free- writing, or any other type of writing that does not get graded. These writing assignments are meant to help you work through the content of the course without the pressure of writing a formal essay.

You can also expect that your graded paper assignments will account for a significant percentage of your final grade.

When should you take your WIs?

Pace yourself when taking your WIs. Do not save them until your last semester and avoid taking both at once. If you are entering the college with remedial needs, you are permitted to take one WI at the ENG/ESL 91 level.

Tips on Writing
Useful links for students taking a WI course or just interested in improving their writing.

Study Skills and Strategies:
Summarizing, study skills, library skills, and test preparation.

Guide to Writing a Research Paper:
Information on how to write a research paper.

Guide to Writing a Lab Report:
Information on how to write a Lab Report

Avoiding Plagiarism:
A series of podcasts and activities on avoiding plagiarism and using MLA citations.

Descriptions of the different styles of citation you might encounter in a WI Course.

APA Style:
This guide provides information on APA style and formatting.

MLA Style:
This guide provides information on MLA style and formatting.

Chicago Style (Turabian):
This guide provides information on Chicago style and formatting.

A useful comparison of the three styles:
Helpful discussion of the differences between the styles.


For more information about WAC at Hostos Community College, please contact either Linda Hirsch ( or Sean Gerrity (, or send us a message using the form below.


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