Preparations and Writing Directions

System and Computer Requirements

To access the OWA, you will need:

  • A computer with any word processing software
  • An email account (use the same account for the complete process). You will be receiving important information from, please check your junk/spam folder if you have not received a confirmation email right before registration.
  • An internet connection
  • A web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox)

Download recent versions:

Internet Explorer
Mozilla Firefox

Writing Directions

Write your essay on a computer and give yourself enough time to read, plan, write, review, and edit your paper.

In your essay, you should:

  • Provide adequate background and context to help your readers understand and care about this issue;
  • Develop a thesis statement that clearly presents your position;
  • Anticipate and address alternative positions or points of view;
  • Integrate ideas and information from your sources to support your position, rather than dropping in random quotes and data;
  • Submit an essay of between 700 and 1000 words. Long essays will not necessarily receive higher scores than short ones.
  • You must write your essay on your own. You should not consult anyone for help in drafting your essay. Do not discuss the readings and prompt with anyone. Be advised that a breach of these rules is in violation of the University code of conduct.

(Note: the first day of classes, you will be taking an in-class writing assessment to assure proper placement)

Additional guidelines, instructions, and suggestions will be available once you download the corresponding writing assignment.