Crossing the Bridge

What is College Readiness in Writing? and How Do We Get There?

Every year, we have far too many students like Ian. They aren't the AP kids (though they might be), and they aren't the students who fail our classes. They do OK, even sometimes receiving excellent grades in our high school classrooms. But when they get to college, they place into Developmental English classes, or worse (like Ian) they crash and burn and drop out of college. They fall off the bridge between high school and college. This site is devoted to local efforts to help more students graduating from high school place directly into college level writing classes, and importantly--do well in freshman composition. It is meant both as a resource and a professional community of practice dedicated to doing more to prepare our students for college and for helping these students do well once they are in college, for "college readiness" and "student success" in college are really two sides of the same coin.

The Three Frameworks of College Readiness
When we talk about "college readiness," we can understand it within three frameworks. Each represents a significant part of what we mean by "readiness."

Technical Readiness--Do students place into college level English classes? Refers to placement issues.

Writing Readiness--Are students' writing skills and literacy practices able to handle college-level writing and reading assignments?

Student Readiness--Do students have the study skills, personal discipline and emotional readiness for pursing college-level work?

The contents of this site will touch on these different frameworks for talking about college readiness. This material came from four Open Institutes from July 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 conducted by the San Antonio Writing Project, the local site of the National Writing Project, and it was supported by San Antonio College, the Special Advisors for College Readiness from UTSA and the Alamo Colleges as well as the Educational Service Center, Region 20. We hope this is the first of more efforts to help our students become "college ready, " and you are encouraged to join our community of practitioners.

This site has been created by Lennie Irvin, associate professor of English at San Antonio College and Co-Director of the San Antonio Writing Project. It is hosted and sponsored by the San Antonio Writing Project. If you have comments or suggestions for this site, please contact Lennie Irvin at lirvin AT (


  Site created by L. Lennie Irvin, July 2008 | Page last updated on October 4, 2012 | Sponsored by the San Antonio Writing Project

Ian's Story

"High School had come pretty easy for me. I survived school on just doing well in class and on tests. I passed the TAKS test the first time I took it. I hardly, if ever, did any homework. I cruised along with a C average, and I was happy. I did not think I needed to do well in school, only that I needed to pass and get finished. When I finished high school, I was just happy to be out of there. Now what? Some friends of mine were going to attend SAC, and I decided that might be something I was interested in. I was not prepared for the work College took. I did not prepare myself. I was not used to having to study and do homework. I was not made aware of the difficulties that college would bring. " ~Ian


Results from the 2008 - 2012 Open Institutes on College Readiness

Key Readiness Factors
--a summary of important things we learned about college readiness

High School Writing Assignments
a set of 29 writing assignments geared toward College-Readiness

--suggestions for what we can do to improve College Readiness

Holistic Curriculum for College Readiness
--big picture goals for teaching

--a chart with placement scores for entering Freshman Composition for local colleges and universities