Seniors gear up for Writing Comp, job searches

by Hanna RussmannStaff Writer

Seniors preparing to graduate this year are keeping themselves busy with graduate and writing workshops and getting their writing competency portfolios ready for upcoming deadlines.

On Oct. 27, Simpson College held its annual graduate school workshop in Dunn Library. Hosted by Career Services and the Hawley Academic Resource Center, the workshop provided seniors with opportunities to look into different graduate schools that interest them.

This year’s workshop was part graduate school fair and part workshop. 10 different graduate schools came to Simpson to participate in the fair and three workshops of different focuses went on during the afternoon. The three workshops focused on how to write a personal statement, how to apply to graduate schools and what to expect in graduate school.

Career Counselor Erin Swancutt believes the workshop is important for the students to attend because of the availability of information.

“I think it’s important for students to attend events like that because they get the information that they need,” Swancutt said. “They’re offered because it’s right here on campus, and they (students) don’t have to go anywhere. When graduate schools come here, those schools are from across the state and from sometimes out of state.”

Along with possible graduate school opportunities, seniors are focusing on completing graduation requirements.

In order to meet requirements, seniors must submit a writing portfolio that includes four papers from two different departments, a reflective essay and a submission form.

One of the four papers must be from the student’s major, one must show the use of documentation style, one must be at least 1500 words, and the other three papers have to be a minimum of 500 words in length.

All the papers must be in original form that includes the grade and have been written after a student’s completion of English 102 or its equivalent. Deadlines for portfolio submissions are Nov. 9, Feb. 8 and March 29.

According to Todd Little, director of Hawley Academic Resource Center, the writing portfolio shows a student’s progression as a writer, by providing examples that demonstrate the development of a student’s writing style.

Simpson includes the writing portfolio as a graduation requirement because faculty believe writing is a means of developing a person’s understanding and growth intellectually and the portfolio serves as a way to measure that growth.

Senior Dana Wade is graduating in December and already submitted her portfolio. She advises underclassmen to look at professor’s comments on their papers.

“Just use your best work that you have to turn in,” Wade said. “In your essay, write a little bit about each piece. I have always based my writing on comments professors have made on my papers in the past, and then I would work to improve those for other classes.”

Other workshops Simpson offers students are writing workshops.

Unless requested by a campus organization, the Hawley Center does not have any workshops that pertain directly to the writing competency portfolio. However, students can schedule individual sessions through the Hawley Center.

These sessions can help students better understand the process of creating and submitting a portfolio and assist students in preparing their portfolios.

Little encourages students to come in with questions about their portfolios.

“I would recommend any student with questions or concerns regarding the writing portfolio to stop by the Hawley Center to discuss the situation further,” Little said.

Any students who were not able to attend the graduate school workshop or about the graduation portfolio can visit Career Services individually with any questions they have or visit the Career Service web site at