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Frequently Asked Questions

General Education Writing FAQ

Q: What is General Education Writing (GEW)?

A: General Education Writing is a freshman composition course intended to provide students with an introduction to the conventions of academic writing. In our classes we teach and encourage critical thinking, research, and a thorough exploration of the writing process.

Q: Why do I need to take GEW?

A: GEW meets two requirements at CSUSM. First, it meets the English Proficiency Requirement for all students who score below 147 on the EPT. Second, it meets the A2 Graduation requirement.

GEW 101 is a foundational class that not only introduces students to methods of writing and research, but also to critical thinking and analysis skills that will prove essential in all their courses at the University.

Q: When should I take GEW 101?

A: Upon completion of the EPT, you will be given a recommendation based on your score. If your EPT score is below 147, this means that the English Proficiency Requirement is not yet met, and the University recommends you take GEW 101 in the fall semester of your freshman year.

Q: How big are the classes?

A: All GEW classes are capped at twenty students.

Q: How much writing will I be expected to do in GEW?

A: All GEW students are required to write a minimum of thirty pages over the course of the semester.

Q: What types of texts will I be reading?

A: The required texts for each course will vary according to your instructor. For the specific textbooks required in your class, click on "View Booklist for this Course" in the class schedule.

Q: Will I be required to complete any group projects?

A: Some GEW instructors do require group projects as part of the course, and some do not. Some instructors may require presentations as well, while others may not. These vary according to the instructor.

Q: Is there a midterm or final exam in GEW?

A: Sometimes, yes. Again, this varies according to the instructor.

Q: What is the Writing Center requirement for GEW?

A: All students, regardless of which instructor is assigned, are required to visit the Writing Center twice during the semester. Students are encouraged to visit the Writing Center even more than this as well, as it is an invaluable resource in assisting with the writing process.

Q: I received an 'RP' grade. What is this and what do I do next?

A: An 'RP' means that you received a "Report in Progress." If you received this in GEW 101 it means you completed all of the work required of you in the course and have attended regularly, however, your overall grade in the class is not yet at the passing level. An 'RP' grade requires you to enroll in GEW 050 in the upcoming semester to continue working on your writing skills. The grade you receive in GEW 050 will ultimately replace the "RP' you receive in GEW 101. Receiving an 'RP' grade in GEW 101 is not a failing grade.

Q: What is GEW 50?

A: GEW 50 is a course ONLY for students who have received an 'RP' in GEW 101. GEW 50 is also a composition course and may even use the same or similar texts as the GEW 101 course. This course further emphasizes the skills taught in GEW 101.

Q: When I look at the schedule, the word "STAFF" appears instead of the faculty name. Why? How do I know who is teaching the class?

A: Due to the nature of the state budget, many classes on campus (not just GEW) are not staffed until after registration has already begun. This means that sections listed with the name "STAFF" may not yet have a faculty member assigned to them. All faculty will be assigned prior to the first class meeting, so you can keep checking the schedule for updates.

Q: I really enjoyed GEW and would like to continue in another writing class. What can I take next?

A: The Literature and Writing department offers two different 100 level courses to consider: LTWR 100, an Introduction to Literature and LTWR 115, Critical Reading and Writing. Consult the University Catalog of Undergraduate Advising to determine which of these course might be a good fit for you!