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Why Are There Writing Requirements for Particular Classes?

Posted on April 27, 2014

By: Monica Sedore

Why Are There Writing Requirements for Particular Classes?

I’ve heard this question both as an instructor and as a writing consultant. Sadly, students are often given the non-answer, “Because you have to,” or “Because you’re going to do this in the field.” The truth of the matter is that you probably won’t be asked to write once you’ve been accepted into your career path, unless it specifically involves writing.

Before I answer the question, however, let us break down what “writing” means. To write is to use letters to form words, then sentences, then paragraphs, and ultimately pages of text. Writing can be as simple as penning one’s name or as complicated as composing an entire collection of encyclopedias. To that end, then, I ask you: do you need to know how to write? Absolutely.

According to Forbes, in a survey published by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top ten skills employers are looking for include the “Ability to make decisions and solve problems” (#2), “Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization” (#4), “Ability to obtain and process information” (#5), and “Ability to create and/or edit written reports” (#9). You may be surprised to read that “Technical knowledge related to the job” ranked in at #7. I would classify items #2 and #4 as critical thinking skills, #5 as research skills, and #9 as writing skills. These skills are not learned through memorization, but through practice.

The only way to get better at something is to practice, and writing is not learned by osmosis. It is not a skill that lives in a vacuum, reserved only for English professors and authors. Any time you see words, they have been written by someone. But don’t take my word for it.

So why do we have to write in biology, psychology, anatomy and physiology, radiology, sonography, occupational therapy, forensics, criminal justice, sports marketing, medical terminology, physics, or even mathematics? Because writing makes us better thinkers and better thinking makes us better writers. Improved thinking and writing are going to help you better understand the subject of your field. I now welcome you, fellow writer, to our community.

Monica Sedore is the Writing Studio Coordinator at Keiser University.

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