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fleighton

Which is a good Community College course for a poor writer?

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Our local community college district has a few online Fall 2019 offerings still open in areas DS needs to get his high school diploma. For world history/cultures/geography, he could take a social sciences course in geography. For American history/civics, he could take a humanities course in U.S. history or a social sciences course in U.S. politics or government. For laboratory science in biology, he could take a life science course in human biology or marine biology. For LOTE (language other than English), he could take Elementary Chinese I. And for visual or performing arts, he has a ton of options: Art of Asia and the Near East, Art Appreciation,  Intro to Theatre, Intro to Film, Fundamentals of Music, Music Appreciation, and Music Listening & Enjoyment.

DS is a reluctant writer, but I want him to do well in his first dual enrollment class to help with his confidence. Do any of these options strike you as a good match?

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Geography, bio, and Chinese 1 probably would have less writing. All of the others would qualify as “writing intensive” at DD’s college, and usually have a prerequisite of English Comp 1. And, honestly, for a poor writer, I would recommend Eng Comp 1-in my experience with BK, the profs were really good at supporting kids with minimal writing skills coming in. I actually had DD take the class even though she had placed out of it because I could see where it would help her, too. 

Edited by dmmetler
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He did not test into English Composition, so he will have to take a remedial course, which is only available on campus, and there are none open since we are late to the party. If he had tested into it, he would have had a lot more options. All of these are courses that didn't have eligibility for English Composition as a prerequisite.

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Welcome to the WTM boards!

First, if he has not done dual enrollment before, I would start off gently, with just 1, *maybe* 2 classes in a subject that he will succeed with. Remember, community college courses are college level -- so: advanced material, and more material, and at a much faster pace. And the grades from a community college class are part of the *college* permanent transcript (even if being used for dual credit -- both high school and college credit) -- which can possibly impact the GPA for future admission to a university, or eligibility for scholarships.

That said, I personally would first consider getting DS stronger with writing as a priority-- perhaps with an online high school writing course, or possibly the community college's Writing 101 course.

That said: courses that will likely require a lot of writing (so perhaps NOT go with these to start with, until DS is a stronger writer): the Social Science courses (History, Politics, Government). Some Fine Arts Appreciation courses require a lot of writing -- often it is indicated in the course catalog whether or not it is a "writing intensive" course.

College level Science courses are very time intensive and move quickly, so I would also not suggest starting off with Science classes -- the biology courses -- unless DS is strong in Science.

Beginning foreign language courses are often a good starting point for doing dual enrollment. NOTE: because college courses move quickly, a student has to be able to keep up, and be willing/able to go get the free tutoring immediately, if not understanding anything. Another thing to consider is that many college courses are conducted almost completely in the foreign language (with the exception of grammar explanations), even if it is the very first introductory class in the language. So consider if the particular student can handle that type of "immersion", or if the particular student would be overwhelmed by this technique and would do better with a slower-paced course with more English involved in the teaching of the course.

Most of the Fine Arts courses can be more gentle, and require not much writing, so one those classes would most likely be a good choice.

Finally, does DS *want* to do dual enrollment at the community college? What subjects is HE interested in taking? Having a high interest in a topic can often help pull a student over the hurdle of the faster pace/higher rigor, or help a reluctant writer push through a class that requires more writing than the student would normally prefer to do.

BEST of luck as you plan for the upcoming school year! Warmest regards, Lori D.

(ETA: I see we just cross-posted and DS will need to take remedial Writing first. Since that is the case, I would definitely focus on getting Writing up to speed, and maybe do just the Intro to Theater or Film, or Music Appreciation, or Music Listening & Enjoyment. Or *maybe* Chinese I, if both of you think that he can handle the faster college pace for language learning.)

Edited by Lori D.

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23 minutes ago, Lori D. said:

Welcome to the WTM boards!

First, if he has not done dual enrollment before, I would start off gently, with just 1, *maybe* 2 classes in a subject that he will succeed with. Remember, community college courses are college level -- so: advanced material, and more material, and at a much faster pace. And the grades from a community college class are part of the permanent transcript, which can possibly impact future admission or scholarships.

That said, I personally would consider getting DS stronger with writing as a priority-- perhaps with an online high school writing course, or possibly the community college's Writing 101 course.

Courses that will likely require a lot of writing (so perhaps NOT go with these to start with, until DS is a stronger writer): the Social Science courses (History, Politics, Government). Some Fine Arts Appreciation courses require a lot of writing -- often it is indicated in the course catalog whether or not it is a "writing intensive" course.

College level Science courses are very time intensive and move quickly, so I would not suggest the biology courses unless DS is strong in Science.

Beginning foreign language courses are often a good starting point for doing dual enrollment. Also, most of the Fine Arts courses can be more gentle.

Finally, does DS *want* to do dual enrollment at the community college? What subjects is HE interested in taking? Having a high interest in a topic can often help pull a student over the hurdle of the faster pace/higher rigor, or help a reluctant writer push through a class that requires more writing than the student would normally prefer to do.

BEST of luck as you plan for the upcoming school year! Warmest regards, Lori D.

On 7/24/2019 at 8:03 AM, chiguirre said:

 

Crud. I accidentally messed up quoting. I'm sorry; I'm new.

Thank you for the warm welcome. It's much appreciated.

I definitely only want him starting with one class. His older sister takes 11 units a semester, and makes it look easy. So I think he underestimates the stress it could cause him.

Since he didn't test into the basic college level writing class, I have been googling other options. In case, I am the problem, I'd be neglectful if I didn't look into it.

I will definitely look to see if there's a notation by courses on whether they are "writing intensive." That's a good tip.

Thanks for the feedback on foreign language and fine arts classes. I think I'm the one most intimidated by Chinese.

He does want to do it. I wasn't going to, which is why we're so late signing him up. We had my older daughter signed up during the spring. And I think he's mainly influenced by seeing her. But she is very different, and attends a traditional school. (Well, kind of traditional. It's a charter that does not offer AP classes.)

32 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

 

 

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39 minutes ago, fleighton said:

Crud. I accidentally messed up quoting. I'm sorry; I'm new...

I definitely only want him starting with one class. His older sister takes 11 units a semester, and makes it look easy. So I think he underestimates the stress it could cause him... He does want to do it. I wasn't going to, which is why we're so late signing him up. We had my older daughter signed up during the spring. And I think he's mainly influenced by seeing her. But she is very different, and attends a traditional school. (Well, kind of traditional. It's a charter that does not offer AP classes.)


No worries on the quoting -- I've been here for years, and still mess that function up frequently... (:D

The nice thing is that colleges offer FREE tutoring for many of the introductory foreign language, math, and writing courses. It is VERY common for students new to the pace of community college to fall behind in those early weeks, so make sure DS understands that this is VERY typical -- no shame in it -- and that he knows to immediately go to the free tutors the moment there is *anything* he doesn't understand.

Another nice thing is that colleges have a withdrawal option. If the student finds that he/she is in over his/her head, it is a simple process to withdraw from the class (as long as it happens BEFORE the withdrawal deadline, which is usually at least 5 weeks into the semester, and sometimes as far as 8-10 weeks into the semester). The student does NOT get a refund (that only happens if DROPPING the class within the first week of class before the "drop deadline"), BUT, their is no grade awarded for the class -- just a "W" shows up on the transcript. So there is no "hit" to the GPA for future college admissions or scholarships. You just chalk it up as a learning experience and move forward as works best for the student for the next semester. 🙂
 

39 minutes ago, fleighton said:

...He does want to do it. I wasn't going to, which is why we're so late signing him up. We had my older daughter signed up during the spring. And I think he's mainly influenced by seeing her. But she is very different, and attends a traditional school...


Ug. That's always hard. If you can at ALL help him move away from the comparison / competitive with sibling mindset, that will help him a lot. Perhaps signing up for a class that is *completely* different from any of his sister's classes, so he can have something that he can work hard in and shine at, that is completely different from his sister's high academics...

Edited by Lori D.

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I think it is really hard to say what classes could be writing intensive or inappropriate for someone who isn't a strong writer.

I attended a community college for the first two years of my degree and then transferred to a state university that had a transfer agreement with the community college. When I was ready to transfer, I had the choice to take English Comp II at the community college or just take it at the university. I had put off taking English Comp II at the community college because they tried to squeeze 7 full length novels with full essays required for each into a 16 week semester for Comp II. I love to read and I don't mind writing essays but that just sounded like torture to me. In the end it made more sense logistically for me to take Comp II at the university. When I took Comp II at the University, we read one novel for the whole semester only had to write one full essay about it. The rest of the semester we wrote short papers and dove deep into the novel. It was actually a pretty interesting class for a gen ed class.

So many people try to take their gen ed classes at the community college level thinking it will be easier somehow but that was not my experience in this case. I would ask around about your particular college. Ask any students that might be able to give you some insight, ask your advisor(s), ask to talk to the department head. They would have a better idea of where a struggling writer would do well at their school than anyone else. They may even have study groups or tutoring that he could utilize to help him improve his writing skills.

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I have a reluctant writer (and slow reader) who started dual enrollment last fall. He has done quite well with math classes as that is a strength of his. Psychology was difficult for him due to the reading and writing requirements. This fall he is planning on beginning Spanish and a computer science for non-majors course. I have strongly suggested that he not take any English or History courses while a HS student as I don’t want him in jeopardy of not meeting a HS graduation. He is also considering a fine arts course.

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One note about fine arts courses. At least in my experience, they often involve attending concerts, plays, art openings, etc. (depending on the focus of the course) and writing reviews. My son had to do several of these during his semester long theatre tech course at the local LAC during high school.

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