Assignment: Prewriting

For this assignment, you will work with the following assignment prompt:

  • The term “college student” corrals a wide range of types of students in a single term. It stands to reason that different groups of people have different motivations for entering higher education, different goals while they are there, and different definitions of success once they graduate.
    • For this essay, you will select a specific category of college students and, considering challenges facing this category of students, detail a practice that could lead to enhanced success for that category, and argue for the adoption of that practice.

First, you want to think deeply about the prompt and break it down. For example, what does the prompt mean by “category of college students”? You may want to consider traditional students (young undergraduates), nontraditional students (older, part-time, etc.), first-generation students, student-athletes, working students, students with disabilities, commuter students, student parents, and more.

STEP 1: With this prompt and background information in mind, pick one of the student groups and do a 15-minute mind map or free-write that explores the problems related to your chosen student group. What are common problems they face? What kinds of things are already being done to address them? What do you think should be done to help those students succeed? What kinds of things do you think should be done? Write down as much as you can. Remember, there are no wrong answers here!

STEP 2: Next, pick one of the problems from your free-write activity and develop a simple outline for this essay. You don’t need to do research yet, but should develop a plan for what direction you’d like to take if you had to write the entire essay. For example, you could follow this template below and fill it in with appropriate information for your idea:

  1. Introduction and Thesis Sentence: 
    • Topic Sentence for paragraph #1:
      • Potential supporting evidence for this claim:
    • Topic Sentence for paragraph #2:
      • Potential supporting evidence for this claim:
    • Topic Sentence for paragraph #3:
      • Potential supporting evidence for this claim:
  2. Possible Rebuttal
  3. Conclusion

STEP 3: Write a one-paragraph reflection describing how you felt about this activity. Did you find the free-write valuable in developing your ideas? How can prewriting help you approach your writing assignments in the future?


Sample Grading Rubric
Criteria Proficient Developing Not Evident Points
Mind-map Writes at least a half-page paper jotting down ideas and thoughts related to the assignment prompt. Ideas include on-topic thoughts about problems facing students and potential solutions. Writes down some prewriting ideas but it is not at least half a page and too much is unrelated to the assignment prompt Incomplete freewrite. __/7
Essay Outline Includes an essay outline for what you could write for this essay. The outline minimally includes a thesis statement and topic sentences with some supporting evidence. It is easy to follow and correctly structured. Essay is partially complete or does not include supporting evidence. Does not include an outline __/7
Reflection Writes a paragraph about the benefits of prewriting, including reflection about how it can develop ideas and help approach writing assignments. Reflection is superficial or lacks details about the benefits of prewriting. Does not include reflection about prewriting __/6
Total: __/20


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