Freshman Essay TopicsA freshman composition writing class can offer a wealth of new essay topics. The true freshmen who decide to spend their first year in college are more likely to find their pre-professional academic experiences are often filled with class assignments, thesis projects, and research projects. These students are usually less self-reflective, more focused on the task at hand, and less inclined to think of long-term goals and consequences for their work. So where do they find ideas for their freshmen essays?
Freshman essays follow many of the same rules as any other composition written by students. They will not only ask students to consider the world around them and develop their own opinions and insights but also to consider their future, personal ambitions, and motives. They will need to prove themselves competent, ethical, and knowledgeable in their chosen area of study. Most freshmen students, however, will only consider these subjects in the early stages of their college careers. The very first time a student undertakes a class assignment, they are usually motivated by interest or curiosity rather than a concern for their career direction.
Once students have established their academic careers, it is natural that they take some time to think about their first writing assignment. Writing a graduation speech, a faculty evaluation, or an undergraduate thesis is one thing and writing a freshman essay based on one of these projects is another entirely. For this reason, first-year composition assignments will inevitably be loaded with subject matter that has little to do with the subject matter of the future professional career for which they are writing. This subject matter is called 'brief' by senior writers, and they cannot write their freshman essays unless they make a deliberate effort to write briefs.
Brief can also refer to detail. The initial writing assignment will be quite a bit different from the commencement speech. Instead of developing an elaborate thesis, the students will be submitting a short description of their first impressions of the subject they are studying. This brief will also be the essay's most important subject matter. Senior writers find it helpful to bring their topic brief to the students before their assignment is due, and perhaps a day or two before, to offer them a chance to refine and polish their brief before submitting it.
By the time their brief is submitted, the writer should already have had an opportunity to refine and polish it. This is particularly true of first-year writers. In their sophomore year, writers will be faced with assignments that have more detail, more breadth, and more ambition. These writers should have ample time to reflect upon their career and decide how best to use it. With a little bit of reflection, students will usually find their careers to be useful in areas that will be relevant to their subject interests.
The junior year is always an exciting time for writers. One of the most exciting times for junior writers is the end of their sophomore year. Students who have shown very promising performance in their writing for a short time will generally be given an opportunity to take part in the senior writer's 'second helpings.' While this can be extremely gratifying for a writer, it also presents a particularly challenging writing assignment for a junior.
Sophomores are much more likely to take the writing assignment seriously and to turn in a college-quality essay. With this in mind, junior writers will need to consider the detail they are willing to offer up and their motive for writing the essay. Freshman essays can be comprised of things junior writers will find interesting. Sophomore writers will tend to emphasize areas that they have already developed a personal interest in.
Essay topics for junior and senior writers can also be relatively narrow in focus. Junior writers can take part in a senior writer's short writing exercise. Senior writers can also write first-year essays. Finally, a first-year writing assignment can become a springboard for the senior writer to write the senior essay.