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InfoTrac College Edition

Why Write?

Chances are you are taking English because it is required. Whether you are going to college to major in engineering or accounting, whether you want to be a choreographer or a corporate raider, whether you goal is Wall Street or the Peace Corps -- you will probably be required to complete an English course.

  • English is required for valid reasons. English can be the most important college class you take. Other courses present information, much of which may be obsolete before graduation. English teaches skills you will use for the rest of your life.
  • English is required because your professors consider it important. If college instructors have a common complaint it is that students can't write. This troubles business and physics instructors as much as it does professors of literature and history. Writing is the principal method students use to demonstrate newly acquired skills. You will be judged by your term papers, lab reports, market analyses, essay tests. No matter what your major, writing skills will be critical.
  • English is required because your future employers know it's essential. A recent survey of 2,000 employers revealed that reading and writing were among the top skills companies look for in employees. A fast glance at the want ads reveals that company after company demands "communication skills" from applicants. Poorly written letters, awkward memos, and pretentious reports clog corporate operations and waste billions each year. Badly written instructions endanger employees and customers, exposing corporations to litigation. English skills are so essential that many firms now require employees to attend writing classes. Marketing new products or services, informing regulatory agencies, answering complaints, responding to customers, motivating employees all require effective writing skills.
  • English is required because it may be the only course that teaches you how to think. In most information courses data is poured at you through books, lectures, labs, and videos. Few professors bother to tell students how to read the text, how to analyze data, how to organize a logical argument. English may be the only course that will expose you to the basics of logic and reasoning. Clear writing requires clear thinking. English will sharpen your reasoning ability, challenge your customary way of thinking, and help you see the world in a new light.
  • English is required because writing is an essential skill in the information age. English is now the international language. Three-fourths of the letters mailed in the world are written in English. Nearly 80% of the information in all the computers on earth is processed in English. Half the business meetings in Europe are conducted in English. Telephones, FAX machines, telexes, and computers link the world in English. All of this makes writing in English the principal communications tool in the global economy.

Writing is an essential vocational skill in any career your select.

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From The Sundance Reader, Third Edition, Web Site by Mark Connelly.