18 May 2013
Read this statement from the university website. Most colleges and universities have this policy. Even if you have
your SWIC credit for English 101, the school will still require in-coming freshmen to write a placement essay to
determine whether they have the writing skills necessary to enter college. If the student fails to write well enough,
he or she will be required to take another writing class to make up that deficiency. Honest. Here is a sample of
the types of writing prompts used. I have included the ACT COMPASS prompt because many institutions of
higher learner use this testing agency for their essay scoring.
University Policy of Old Dominion University (Virginia)
All students (with or without transfer credit for freshman composition) are required to take the Writing Sample
Placement Test and, if necessary, follow a program that will develop their writing abilities.
Choose one of the following writing prompts and write an essay during class time today. Your essay will be a
“top-down thesis-based” closed-form essay. This is a point of view paper. In this kind of writing, you are
expected to present your point-of-view and support it with evidence or sound reasoning. Maintain an academic
semi-formal level of diction, in other words, no slang or profanity. Remember that the better papers will be
those that will clearly express your point-of-view and at the same time show the reader that you are aware of
the complexity of the issue.
Eastern Kentucky University
All communities, no matter how pleasant, have some problems. Think of a town or community you know well
and its problems. Singling out ONE problem of this community, write an essay in which you describe the
problem and explain a possible solution.
Highland Community College (Northwest Illinois)
We are all aware of the power held by the media in today’s society. The media is able to convey powerful and
influential messages to members of society. What examples could you give of specific ways the media conveys
positive or negative messages which influence society’s standards?
Elgin Community College (Illinois)
"It always strikes me as a terrible shame to see young people spending so much of their time staring at
television. If we unplugged all the television sets, our children would grow up to be healthier, better educated,
and more independent human beings."
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Write a composition of about 400 words presenting your
view and supporting it with examples from your own experience or your observations of others.
ACT COMPASS Test
A School Board is concerned that the state's requirements for core courses in mathematics, English, science, and
social studies may prevent students from taking important elective courses like music, other languages, and
vocational education. The School Board would like to encourage more high school students to take elective
courses and is considering two proposals. One proposal is to lengthen the school day to provide students with
the opportunity to take elective courses. The other proposal is to offer elective courses in the summer. Write a
letter to the School Board in which you argue for lengthening the school day or for offering elective courses
during the summer, explaining why you think your choice will encourage more students to take elective courses.
Begin your letter like this: Members of the School Board: