The Writing Program

The Washington and Lee Writing Program, with its WRIT-100 seminars, helps students learn to write effectively and prepares them for the personal and professional writing they will do later in their lives. The ability to write clearly, persuasively, and elegantly is a skill necessary for college-level academic work.  The program includes various components that support the faculty in helping students to achieve these goals.  The component of the program that works with students directly is the Writing Center.


Students of WRIT 100:

  • learn rhetorical conventions governing appropriateness and persuasiveness in writing;
  • learn the conventions of standard English;
  • learn to choose words more precisely, to write clear sentences and effective paragraphs;
  • argue a workable thesis;
  • integrate the work of others into their own work through proper citation techniques; and
  • increase their confidence with written language.


Students place themselves in sections of Writing Seminar for First-Years (WRIT 100) during registration time. Each section has a distinct topic. Sufficient spaces in WRIT 100 sections are always offered each fall and winter to guarantee a place for each first-year student. Students and advisers must NOT postpone WRIT 100 for the sophomore year. Students other than first-years will have last choice in the winter. You can review the descriptions for all the WRIT 100 courses in WebAdvisor:

Guidance for international/ESOL students: All WRIT-100 professors will be able to provide the support that international student writers need. But if you need extra help in the English language (or think you might), or need a professor who has training working with students for whom English is not a first language, look for sections taught by Profs. Kao, Smout, or Ruiz. Each term, one or two sections will be appropriate for ESOL students.  

Guidance for one-year visitors: One-year visitors hoping to take WRIT 100 must wait until first-year students who are here for the full four years have been accommodated. One-year visitors are encouraged to contact the professor teaching a winter term WRIT 100 with open spaces directly, or to enroll in English 201 if it is offered.

Guidance for sophomores and transfer students who have not taken college writing: You are unlikely to be exempted from the requirement without a college writing course. When you register for a section of the Writing Seminar for First-Years (WRIT 100), you will be placed on the waitlist because you are not a first-year student. Please see the Director of the Writing Program or the chair of the English Department immediately in order to gain admission to a First-Year Writing Seminar section. You may have to wait until winter term.