First-Year Writing Seminar Enrollment

Fall 2022 FWS Enrollment

Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar Brochure PDF (subject to change)

Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (subject to change)

For Fall 2022, First-Year Writing Seminar placements will be conducted through the University enrollment system on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Incoming First-year students will pre-enroll for a First-Year Writing Seminar beginning at 9:00am on July 19 and ending at 4:30pm on July 22.  Any further changes must await the Add-Drop period for first-Year Writing Seminars, which begins for sophomores and freshmen on August 19, at 9:00 am. Please visit the website of the Office of the University Registrar, or consult with your college’s Advising/Student Services office, for official information and dates regarding the enrollment process.

Many seminars are likely to fill to capacity very quickly after incoming freshmen pre-enrollment opens on July 19.  Students may enroll only in a seminar with open spots in it. No student can be registered for more than one FWS at a time.  Please do not contact FWS instructors, who have no control over the enrollment process; there are no waiting lists, and you will not be allowed to “sit in” on any seminar if you are not on the roster.  No registrar can enroll you in a FWS. All FWS enrollment takes place electronically only, via Student Center.

Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar Brochure PDF (subject to change)

Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (subject to change)


Juniors, seniors, and transfer students:

A preferable alternative for you is ENGL 2880 (fall) / Engl 2890 (spring), Expository Writing, which can substitute for FWS credit.

First-year students and sophomores:

Enrollments for First-Year Writing Seminars are strictly capped; no over-enrollments are permitted. Seminars could fill to capacity very quickly after the incoming first-year pre-enrollment window for students opens on July 19.  

Therefore, the Knight Institute recommends that you plan accordingly, taking your entire schedule into account.   

The Knight Institute will not oversee the FWS enrollment process this year, so we urge you to consult with your college’s Advising/Student Services Office or the University Registrar for guidance on registration.

Fall 2022 First-Year Writing Seminars PDF (subject to change)

Fall 2022 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (subject to change)

Here is our advice about Fall 2022 FWS enrollment:

  1. Incoming First-year students: If your FWS selection is a high priority for you, be ready to seek it immediately when your enrollment window opens at 9:00 AM on July 19, following the process set by the Office of the University Registrar.
  1. We further recommend that you prepare a prioritized list of several FWSs that fit in open time slots in your schedule, in case your top preference(s) have filled already.  You will not want to waste time returning to the course roster to ponder alternatives, since these too may be filling up meanwhile.
  1. You may not create any time-conflict or overlap between your FWS and any other classes on your schedule.  You may not create an “overload” beyond the credit limit set by your college.  You may not enroll in more than one First-Year Writing Seminar. Once the incoming freshmen enrollment period ends on July 22, at 4:30 pm, you cannot drop or change until August 19 at the earliest.
  1. Once a First-Year Writing Seminar is filled to capacity, it is unalterably closed until at least the opening of the Add-Drop process; even then, it would become “open” only if one or more enrolled students were to drop it.  Please do not contact your college registrar, who has no power to lift the enrollment cap.   Please do not contact the instructor, who has no control over enrollments.  There are no waiting lists for First-Year Writing Seminars, no “shopping,” and no forms to sign or stamp. Add-Drop for FWSs takes place electronically only, via Student Center.  See item #6 below.
  2. Add-Drop for first-year students and sophomores begins at 9:00 AM on August 19: this will be the first opportunity for first-year students to change their FWS enrollment, or to enroll if they did not do so in July. This is the first-time for continuing freshmen and sophomores to enroll in a First-Year Writing Seminar for FA22. This process is subject to the constraints explained above: students can only add a seminar that has open spots in it (i.e., an enrollment below the designated cap).   Please be aware that at this point capacity and choice will be limited. 
  3. Add-Drop process for First-Year Writing Seminars: To see the list of seminars that retain open spots after incoming freshmen pre-enrollment, beginning on July 23, log in to Student Center. Click “Search for Classes,” then “Additional Search Criteria.”  In the “Session” field, choose “FWS Session.”  This will show you the list of open seminars.  Once the Add-Drop window opens August 19, you may make changes from here.  Remember that the list of open seminars can change as students drop and add, so you should check frequently.  Please be aware that at this point capacity and choice will be limited.  See #4 above.

Important Dates

  • Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar Brochure (subject to change)
  • Fa22 First-Year Writing Seminar SEARCHABLE Brochure (subject to change)
  • Enrollment for incoming freshmen will occur from July 19-July 22 pre-enroll and during add/drop as noted below.

    • Incoming Freshman will enroll during their pre-enrollment period from July 19, at 9:00am through July 22, 4:30 pm. (dates and times subject to change)

    • First-Semester transfer students, sophomores, and all freshmen will be able to enroll during the add/drop period beginning on August 19. (dates and times subject to change)

  • Fall instruction begins on Monday, August 22.

  • Last day to add a First-Year Writing Seminar is Monday, September 5.

FWS Writing Consultation

Because Cornell’s writing seminars may expect a greater range of writing abilities than many students have exposure to in high school, the Knight Institute offers a FWS Writing Consultation to give students an opportunity to discover how well current writing skills fit into what Cornell expects.


During the FWS Writing Consultation, students submit short writing samples and meet with writing instructors for advice on which First-Year Writing Seminars are most appropriate for their learning styles and previous experience with academic writing.

Students can participate in the FWS Writing Consultation in one of three ways:

For more information about the FWS Writing Consultation process, students can attend INFORMATION SESSIONS during the Summer Scholars Institute, the PREPARE Program for International Students, and Cornell's New Student Orientation. They can also consult directly with Writing Workshop Director Tracy Hamler Carrick:

Electronic Add/Drop

FWS Add/Drop enrollment must be done electronically through Student Center. Neither instructors nor registrars can approve additional enrollment into any First-Year Writing Seminar. Caps on enrollment cannot be lifted. There are no wait-lists or forms to sign; do not ask an instructor about adding a seminar. Instructors will not allow any student not on the roster to sit in on a First-Year Writing Seminar.

To find open First-Year Writing Seminars during the Add/Drop period:

  • Go to Student Center.
  • At the search screen, click on “Additional Search Criteria.”
  • Choose “FWS Session” from the “Session” field. This will show you all open FWS classes.

A First-Year Writing Seminar is open ONLY if it appears in this list.  Check frequently, because the list can change.