FWS Ballot Submission

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Students should aim to satisfy their First-Year Writing Seminar requirement during their first year. Balloting for FWSs is open only to freshmen, sophomores, and first-semester transfer students; juniors and seniors are not eligible to enroll in First-Year Writing Seminars, neither by ballot nor through electronic add/drop.

The FWS electronic ballot can be accessed by clicking here. You will be able to view Spring 2020 FWS classes beginning on November 11, 2020.

Those without a NetID may view current FWS offerings by clicking here.

Transfer studentsEnglish 2880-2890, a cluster of writing courses for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, may fulfill a First-Year Writing Seminar requirement for those who need it. Students enroll for these sections through Student Center.

Important Dates

  • Spring 2020 First-Year Writing Seminar Brochure will be online by November 11, 2020.
  • FWS Balloting begins on November 13, 9:00 am and ends on November 17, at 11:59 pm.
  • FWS will appear on your schedule by Monday, November 25.
  • Electronic Add/Drop for FWS starts Wednesday, November 13. See directions below.
    *This date applies to freshmen, sophomores, and first-semester transfer students.
  • Writing seminars begin Tuesday, January 21.
  • The last day to add an FWS is Tuesday, February 4.

Ballot Submission Details

To enroll in a First-Year Writing Seminar, click here (during a submission period) and select five (5) choices for your ballot. There will be pull-down pick-lists sorted by Department and by Day/Time.

The ballot does not operate on a first-come, first-served basis. During the submission period, you may enter a ballot at any time, or change your ballot as many times as you like. Only the last submission will count when the submission period closes.  

If you submit a ballot and then decide to cancel your ballot submission, please delete your ballot.


If you do not submit a ballot, you may add a FWS beginning at the start of the add/drop period.

If You Are Unable to Enter a Ballot

Matriculated Students: If you are or will be a matriculated freshman, sophomore, or first-semester transfer student in one of the seven undergraduate colleges/schools at Cornell, but the system does not recognize your NetID, e-mail Donna Newton (dlo1) no later than 4pm on the last day of the submission period (you may be in the University's system, but not in the locally-kept database). Be sure to include your NetID (Cornell email address), CUID (7-digit number), Class (freshman, sophomore, or transfer student), and College.

Continuing Education Students: Extramural students must receive permission from the Knight Institute to add a First-Year Writing Seminar starting January 21, at the Office of Continuing Education, B20 Day Hall.

Electronic Add/Drop for First-Year Writing Seminars

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.