Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Burmester

Second Advisor

Dr. Marti Singer

Third Advisor

Dr. George Pullman


First-year undergraduate students have vastly different perceptions of academic writing, the writing process, and the value of writing within their specific academic disciplines. These perceptions differ not only from their instructors but also from their peers. Yet, while reams of literature discuss, debate, and decipher student perspectives of writing from a scholarly point of view, the first-year student voice is conspicuously absent from this discussion. This study followed 92 first-year students through their first college composition course, English 1101, in order to capture the student perspective of how writing fits in their academic careers. The results indicate that while most students acknowledge first-year composition to be essential to their academic development, few report writing assignments in courses outside of 1101. This raises questions about how students identify writing activities and also suggests avenues for further inquiry, particularly the need for follow-up research at the culmination of their undergraduate careers.