How to Ace English 105 at UNC

Every single student at UNC is required to take English 105: Composition and Rhetoric, no matter what. This course is generally taken in by most students in their first year and introduces college students to the writing style and rigor expected in college writing and papers. This is a very subjective course and almost everyone has different experience with it depending on the professor they take it with. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you are on your way to that A.


Take almost every 1005 student’s and professor’s word on this, SPEAK UP! Mentioned on the syllabus or not, participation is the hidden gem that will bolster your grade in this class. Many professor’s may say it explicitly and if they do, contribute to class discussion as if your life depends on it. If they haven’t said anything about it, well still talk in class, because that is going to be the deciding factor if you are on the fence of a B+ and A-.

2. Peer Workshopping

One cool thing about the English 105 classes is that it is meant to teach you the process of writing college level assignments. Therefore, this class breaks down the required graded papers and you are given the opportunity to submit complete or incomplete drafts and get them peer reviewed. It is important to take part in this peer review process because not only will it help a fellow student, but it also ~secretly~ counts for your final grade since the professor can see who is participating.

3. Work on Your First Drafts Seriously

A mistake that many make is that since they have the opportunity to submit multiple drafts, they don’t put effort into the first ones and rush it in the end. This does two things. 1) You are graded for effort and not content for all your drafts, so if the professor senses that you have submitted something with minimal effort, it is bound to affect your grade. 2) Last minute work isn’t “professor approved”. Doing it in the beginning allows you to get opinions and better it, increasing your chances of a good grade.

4. Office Hours!

Most heard of advice after “go to class” but of course, it is so for a reason. This is a big pro tip for all the writing based classes: it can never hurt to write up a rough version of your assignment and go to office hours to get it proof-read by your professor or TA. This will help you because the professor will be aware of the effort and also you will know from the grader itself what is missing. So you got to do then is fix it— and the A is yours!

5. Online Presence

Some classes have forums where your professor encourages you to discuss some topics covered in class. In ENGL 105, many a times, you are put in groups, asked to review each other’s works, and then write a critique on it. When mentioned in class, it is usually not passed on as ‘mandatory’ but Sakai lets the instructor know exactly who’s been reading what and exactly how much you’ve been posting. So take this advice, and keep the online presence up!

In the end, 105 isn’t a difficult class because every student is meant to take it and the school doesn’t want to fail everyone right? But it is also one of those not-very-important classes that can potentially hurt your GPA if you don’t pay any attention to it. So, follow the afore mentioned steps and you should be good to go with ENGL 105.

Author: Vedika Parikh

I write.

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