College Writing / Room 408/ Semester 1
This syllabus answers 5 questions you may have about this class:
Why should my senior take this class?
What will be learned?
How will my senior earn a good grade?
What are the rules and policies?
Anything else we should know?
After you have reviewed and talked about the syllabus with your senior, please initial and
sign the attached PARENT/GUARDIAN signature form.
If you haven’t already done so, please contact the registrar and sign up for your Skyward
Grading password so you may check on your senior’s grades throughout the semester.
Please, when you have a question, talk with your senior first and then if you still have
questions or concerns, contact me. My phone is (253) 804-5l54 and my email is
firstname.lastname@example.org (or send an email through my website).
NOW…on to the syllabus….
“It’s my last year of high school. Why should I take College Writing?”
I know this class sounds intimidating; you may think you’ll spend sunny autumn days miserably chained to a writing desk.
You may even wonder if it’s too late to transfer to an easier senior English elective.
However, if you’re planning on attending any type of college or post-secondary school, you will find this class quite helpful.
Students from the past decade have told us that this class should be required for all seniors. You will have plenty of time to
complete most of your work in class, and as long as you meet rewrite deadlines, you may rewrite any essay as many times as
you like until you earn the grade you want. So, please do not freak out about having tons of homework or destroying your
GPA. Work hard, learn, and prepare yourself for writing when you get to college.
A highlight of this class is that we will guide you through the college application process. While your friends are panicking and
working late nights trying to finish their applications at the last minute, you will rest peacefully knowing that yours is a) well-
written, b) completed, and c) submitted.
What about the rest of the semester? We’ve patterned the class after a typical college freshmen writing class. We’ve heard
from former students that freshmen college English classes are mostly about research, and that they were ready for this. We’ve
even had a number of students recycle their research papers for their college classes (not that we condone this, of course) . . . so
it’s like “two for the price of one!” Our most meaningful compliment is when former students tell us they earned their highest
grades in English due to what they learned and practiced in this college writing class.
Students who have absolutely no intention of attending any post-high school education are the only seniors who should drop
“What am I going to learn in this class?”
This is what we have planned so far. The course content is subject to change at Mrs. Rohlff’s discretion.
Self-Assessment / Reflection
SKILLS: Know and understand terminology important to academic college life
Know and understand terminology and information pertinent to financial aid
Reflect on progress in college/scholarship searches and applications
Reflect on skills, interests, and goals
ASSIGN: College related terminology (3 vocabulary quizzes)
Life Map and presentation (poster project)
Letter to me/Senior Reflection: 2-4 pages explaining
Where you are in the college process right now
Your interests, activities, hobbies, work experience, etc.
Your strengths, weaknesses, and other ways that you are described by your family, your peers, and
Description Essay: Strength/Weakness Essay for the Senior Biography
SKILLS: Write a descriptive essay using concrete details
Craft an engaging and meaningful introduction and conclusion
Provide and incorporate meaningful peer feedback
ASSIGN: In a well written one page essay, describe your strengths and weaknesses
SKILLS: Write a narrative essay using concrete details, an engaging introduction and conclusion
Use active tense
Provide and incorporate meaningful peer feedback
ASSIGN: ESSAY: Describe a success, failure, achievement, or another meaningful experience, and explain its
importance to you (l page)
Application Form Skills
SKILLS: Know and demonstrate how to fill out an application completely, accurately, and thoughtfully
Show you can actually turn in an application
ASSIGN: Senior Biography Form
Auburn Community Scholarship: application and essay
Requesting Letters of Recommendation
SKILLS: Know who and how to ask
Know how to say “Thank you” appropriately
ASSIGN: Write two letters requesting recommendations
Provide two “thank you” notes/cards
College Search Project
SKILLS: Be able to articulate the criteria for a college search
Be able to locate critical information pertaining to each college
Know how to locate 3 or 4 non-internet/print sources for college information
Synthesize the information into an evaluation
ASSIGN: Preface (typed/bulleted)
College Search Information Grid
2 written evaluations
Essay of Definition
SKILLS: Read and analyze the qualities of good definition essays
Write, revise, and edit an essay of definition
Denotative and connotative meanings
Categories, negation, history, synonyms
Multiple, specific examples
ASSIGN: 1-2 essays of definition (“Snob” “Prejudice,” TBD)
Craft an extended (2 page) definition on a term of your choice
Summaries and Annotation
SKILLS: Understand difficult texts
Annotation skills: highlighting, summarizing, responding
Evaluating an argument
Know how to use quotations accurately (transition, lead, quotation)
Readings to be determined
Persuasion (Aristotelian model)
SKILLS: Understand and evaluate multiple sides of an argument
Given a topic, and articles, craft an argumentative or persuasive paper
ASSIGN: Persuasive or argumentation paper (2 pgs.)
SKILLS: Understand and demonstrate mastery of the steps in a college level research project
Understand and demonstrate mastery of MLA citation/documentation formats
Understand and demonstrate mastery of APA citation/documentation formats
Utilize conferencing times with teacher to individualize learning needs
ASSIGN: 5-7 page research paper on topic of your choice
Preliminary research (highlighting, summarizing, reacting)
Refine thesis, create outline
Multiple drafts of the essay
Works Cited (MLA)
Submitting final draft on time
Conferencing with Mrs. Rohlff throughout the process
10 minute oral presentation on your topic
Reformat the completed MLA essay using APA style documentation
FINAL: Financial Aid + Scholarship Search
SKILLS: Understand basic financial aid information
How and where to look for scholarships
ASSIGN: Lecture notes and quiz (Mr. Mead’s lecture)
Auburn Community Scholarship (two hour final – required)
“How do I succeed in College Writing?”
This class is designed to prepare you for college level writing assignments. Thus, we expect you to exhibit the habits of
aspiring college students. This includes, but is not limited to,
1. Attending class regularly.
If you have an excused absence, make up the work within a reasonable amount of time.
The responsibility to find out what you missed is yours. The best time to ask for missing work is before school or
DO NOT, under any circumstance, ask to miss class to finish work in another class, for a club, or for any other
extracurricular activity or sport. Pre-arranged field trips and competitions are not included in this policy.
Miss more than 10 days (excused or unexcused) and you will need to make arrangements to make up seat time
after school with Mrs. Rohlff.
2. Submitting your work
Late assignments worth fewer than 20 points may not be made up for any reason
Assignments worth 20 points or more may be submitted late, but you will automatically lose 40%.
I will never, ever, ever accept computer problems as an excuse for late work
You must not come to class and expect to print your work. It is due as you walk in—so make sure you make
arrangements to have papers/work printed and ready to submit when you walk in.
If you miss a day of school, the assignment is due the day you return at the beginning of the period. For
assignments with extended due dates (three or more), the due date stands. I will explain when an assignment is
due—at the start of the period, at the end of the period, at the end of the day, at 4:45…it will be clear.
If you are going on a field trip and an assignment is due that day, you must turn it in before you go on the field
trip or it will be considered late.
Assignments may not be emailed to me. They must be printed and turned in on time in class.
3. Ask questions, use class time wisely, work!
The best students are the ones who listen and ask lots of questions. They also conference with me often, take help
with a smile, and transfer what they learned on to subsequent papers. They want to learn! When it’s time for me
to enter grades for the semester, I consider intangibles such as work ethic, class participation, willingness to learn,
conferencing, etc. Thus, if you have an 88% and work hard, actively participate, and show improvement, you
likely earn the +2% for an A-. This does not apply to students who have failed to submit assignments regularly
“What are your rules?”
1. Leave electronic devices home or turn them off completely when you enter room 408. You may not use a phone, text
message, ipod, MP3 player, and/or any other electronic devices during college writing. If you do, you will automatically
lose 100 points, be assigned detention with me, and be placed on a contract. The Rohlffinator will enforce this rule to the
max so be forewarned.
2. We rigorously enforce the ARHS tardy policy.
3. When it’s time to work, please use the time wisely. Students who do so rarely have much homework in this class.
4. Disrupting others’ learning and work is unacceptable.
5. My room is a drug and alcohol free area. Please arrive at school clean and sober. If I suspect that you are using drugs or
alcohol, I will refer you to the Student Assistance Team or to your counselor.
6. Keep your comments constructive.
7. Work honestly. Misrepresenting another’s work as your own is unethical and illegal. If you plagiarize another’s work (in
full or in part), you will lose my trust, receive no credit for the assignment, be placed on academic probation, and be
required to complete a time consuming packet on plagiarism. Expect no mercy in this category.
8. Miss ten days and you may be placed on an attendance contract which is monitored carefully..
9. All other ARHS rules are strictly enforced.
“Anything else I should know?”
What College Writing is NOT
What you should not expect in College Writing (we apologize for the negativity, but the following is based on some recurring
and unfortunate experiences we’ve had):
1. A personal college / scholarship application counselor
2. A personal editor; we will give you as much help as you need , but we do not take requests to “read over” college and
scholarship essays outside of conference times.
3. An editor / advisor / counselor for your friends who did not sign up for College Writing
4. A guarantee that your essay, application, letter of recommendation, resume, or interview will earn you a letter of
5. A guarantee that your application, essay, or letter of recommendation will yield scholarship money
GRADING SCALE + EXTRA CREDIT:
100-93% / A 89-88% / B+ 79-78% / C+
92-90% / A- 87-83% / B 77-73% / C 60-60% / D
82-80% / B- 72-70% / C- 59%- / F
I may assign “extra credit” assignments during the semester. Students who submit quality work will earn the maximum points
possible. I do not assign bonus points at the last minute to rescue grades. Just come to class, work, follow the rules/guidelines,
be nice, and your grade will take care of itself. I will not average your quarter grades for the final semester grade.
MANUFACTURER’S GUARANTEE AND WARRANTY:
You need this class to graduate. If you use your class time wisely you will have manageable amounts of homework. Don’t
wait to see me if you have concerns about your grade or your assignments! I will post grades frequently so check Skyward
often, call home if you have a low grade (under a 70%) after the first quarter, and provide you will plenty of help with your
work, but I will not “gift” you a passing grade.
Legibly print your name on this line
I understand and agree to the requirements of this College Writing class:
Parent/Guardian signature: _____________________________________________________________________
Do you have a study skills class?
If so, what period? ________ Teacher? _________ Room?___________
If I need to, how may I reach you during the school day?
Home phone number: ___________________________
Cell phone number:_____________________________
Work phone number: ___________________________
PLEASE make contact with the registrar if you have not signed up for Skyward grade
access. This way you can learn how your son/daughter is progressing.