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Clear Writing Program

Whether you develop software, build houses, shape policy, or teach high school: at some point in your life you’ll need to write persuasively about what you do and why it’s important.

The ability to write with clarity and precision is key to success in practically any endeavor. In almost any career, and certainly in any graduate school program, you’ll need to be able to present your ideas in writing, to your colleagues or to the public. And the better you are at expressing yourself in words, the more likely you are to get a great job—whether that’s because of a great cover letter or a thoughtfully curated social media presence.

The Clear Writing Requirement has been part of Marlboro’s curriculum since the 1970s, but the central role of writing goes back to our founding in 1946. The definition of “writing” may be broader than it was back then, but the requirement is still a bedrock of our curriculum.

The basics

Midnight Breakfast is a celebration in the dining hall on the night before writing portfolios are...Midnight Breakfast is a celebration in the dining hall on the night before writing portfolios are due.Marlboro’s Clear Writing Requirement is something that all students must meet within their first two years.

Our writing-intensive courses will help you learn to think clearly, support your arguments with reliable sources, and present information with style and grace. One you’ve mastered those skills, you’ll turn in a 4,000-word portfolio of academic or expository writing.

The goal is to show that you can communicate your ideas well enough to approach your Plan of Concentration with confidence.

Required, but flexible

In keeping with Marlboro’s self-directed approach to education, you can choose your own path to completing the Clear Writing Requirement.

Build your writing skills while studying topics that aren’t writing-specific, like The Biology of Social Issues or Migrant and Diasporic Cinema. Or take classes that unpack the writing process, like The Art of the Essay, inspired by Susan Orlean, George Saunders, and other masters of the form.

You can submit your writing portfolio for review after your first semester. Or wait until you have a few more writing-intensive classes under your belt. And you can submit one or two long papers, or several shorter ones.

Throughout the process, you’ll find support from professors, peer writing tutors, and advisors all invested in your success.

3000

Some examples:

Read a Plan

  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2263-drawing-from-life-possibilities-in-cartooning" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1600,1200/1638_jurchak1jpg.rev.1557862289.jpg" alt="Drawing from life: Possibilities in cartooning"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2263-drawing-from-life-possibilities-in-cartooning"><h3>Drawing from life: Possibilities in cartooning</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Griff Jurchak</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2700-ambitions-as-a-writer-or-diamond-is-unbreakable" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1836,2876/2691_Rolfe1Oresteia.rev.1564600412.jpg" alt="Ambitions as a writer: Or, diamond is unbreakable"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2700-ambitions-as-a-writer-or-diamond-is-unbreakable"><h3>Ambitions as a writer: Or, diamond is unbreakable</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Tristan Rolfe</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2255-lacking-a-reckoning-with-absence-through-the" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1202,850/1620_amber1.rev.1557855055.png" alt="Lacking: A reckoning with absence through the lenses of Beloved, Housekeeping, and Infinite Jest"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2255-lacking-a-reckoning-with-absence-through-the"><h3>Lacking: A reckoning with absence through the lenses of Beloved, Housekeeping, and Infinite Jest</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Samuel Amber</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2266-cultivating-discomfort-an-exploration-of" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1116,1600/1646_mackin1.rev.1557864134.jpg" alt="Cultivating discomfort: An exploration of existentialism and horror"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2266-cultivating-discomfort-an-exploration-of"><h3>Cultivating discomfort: An exploration of existentialism and horror</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Autumn Mackin</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/120-that-they-can-talk-themes-of-communication-in" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,756,990/668_5cb8907996b62_download.rev.1555599481.jpg" alt="That they can talk: Themes of communication in wordless novels and post-apocalyptic literature"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/120-that-they-can-talk-themes-of-communication-in"><h3>That they can talk: Themes of communication in wordless novels and post-apocalyptic literature</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Sophia Gorjance</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2698-carnivore-ecology-through-study-and-story" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1828,1548/2683_medeiros1.rev.1564599785.png" alt="Carnivore ecology through study and story"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2698-carnivore-ecology-through-study-and-story"><h3>Carnivore ecology through study and story</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Daniel Medeiros</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/87-the-things-i-never-said" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2068,1374/599_5cb890583c4bf_download.rev.1555599448.png" alt="The things I never said"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/87-the-things-i-never-said"><h3>The things I never said</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Lindsay Stevens</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2268-on-closeness-explorations-of-intimacy-through" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,2133,3200/1652_mcgowan1.rev.1557865068.JPG" alt="On Closeness: ​Explorations of intimacy through narrative, sculpture, and translation"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2268-on-closeness-explorations-of-intimacy-through"><h3>On Closeness: ​Explorations of intimacy through narrative, sculpture, and translation</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Hannah McGowan</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/145-the-keeping-house-poems-short-fiction-and-an-essay" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2566/713_5cb8908bd3134_download.rev.1555599501.jpg" alt="The Keeping House: Poems, short fiction, and an essay on the travel poems of Elizabeth Bishop"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/145-the-keeping-house-poems-short-fiction-and-an-essay"><h3>The Keeping House: Poems, short fiction, and an essay on the travel poems of Elizabeth Bishop</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Anna Blackburn</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/2254-a-group-of-trees-is-called-a-forest-an-accidental" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/442,32,1312,901/1619_ackerman3.rev.1557853815.png" alt="“A group of trees is called a forest”: An accidental education in the West, the wild, and a changing world"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/2254-a-group-of-trees-is-called-a-forest-an-accidental"><h3>“A group of trees is called a forest”: An accidental education in the West, the wild, and a changing world</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Sophie Ackerman</div></div></a> </article>
  • <article class="plan-item"><a href="/live/profiles/133-its-the-job-thats-never-started-as-takes-the" class="inner clean-link"><img src="/live/image/gid/54/width/140/height/140/crop/1/src_region/0,0,704,587/697_5cb89086d32be_download.rev.1555599494.png" alt="It’s the job that’s never started as takes the longest to finish: Plants that invade and landscapes portrayed"/><div class="plan-item-text" href="/live/profiles/133-its-the-job-thats-never-started-as-takes-the"><h3>It’s the job that’s never started as takes the longest to finish: Plants that invade and landscapes portrayed</h3><div class="plan-item-meta">Kendall O’Connell</div></div></a> </article>

Detours

(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)