Students feel added stress as Writing Competency II deadline approaches

by Derek SchutjerStaff Writer

Halfway through the first semester students are cramming for midterms and writing papers. On top of that load, most seniors and some juniors are also putting together portfolios for their given departments.

While some departments, such as education, require their students to fulfill their own portfolio requirements, all graduating seniors must complete the Writing Competency II Portfolio.

The Writing Comp. II Portfolio can be done by students at any time during their career at Simpson College. The portfolio can be completed after certain achievements have been reached at Simpson or before one’s arrival. Before starting the portfolio, a student must finish English 102 or its equivalent.

“The student must submit four original papers of their college course work,” Todd Little, director of Hawley Academic Resource Center, said. “The papers should include grades and written comments from the teacher of the class they handed it in for.”

These papers must be used from four different classes and must be written from at least two different departments. Along with their four papers, students must turn in a short essay explaining how they have developed as writers over their time at Simpson.

Throughout the year there are a series of turn-in dates for the Writing Comp. II Portfolio. The first passed earlier this school year, Sept. 22. Upcoming dates include Nov. 10, Feb. 2 and March 23.

While some students have already taken the initiative to get the ball rolling on their portfolios, others are taking their time during their senior year to make plans after school.

Though they are applying for jobs and working classwork, seniors must apply their free time in order to finish their portfolio for graduation.

“It’s tough when I’m trying to get my head straight about getting a job when I graduate soon,” senior Scottie Schuknecht said. “Now I have to look back and find a paper that I wrote at 2 in the morning on the day I had the class, back when I was a sophomore.”

Some seniors are not only scrambling for time, they are scrambling for papers. Math and chemistry majors are just a few that find themselves under the stress of homework but without any lengthy papers to show for it.

“I have a 25-page lab report,” senior Kelsi Anderson, a forensic science major, said. “But I can’t say that I have many papers, and I haven’t really thought about the portfolio.”

There are also many regulations that need to be met on the papers. Each of the papers must be at least 500 words in length, while attaining no lower than a C- grade. At least one of the papers submitted must be greater than 1,500 words in length.

A paper must also be turned in that shows one of three different forms of citation. The writer is given the choice of using the forms of MLA, Turabian, and APA.

Even though the expectations of compiling their old work may be stressful, students have a source if help is needed in the process. One place they can receive guidance on their portfolios is the Hawley Academic Resource Center, located on the third floor of Dunn library.

Little said he encourages students to utilize those at Hawley to talk about their portfolios.

“We’d be glad to look at the papers,” he said.

According to Little, Simpson requires the portfolios because it takes a very active role in looking out for the students after their time in school.

“The portfolio represents a broader look at writing across the curriculum,” Little said. “We want to evaluate students’ writing to make sure that Simpson students are graduating with adequate writing skills.”