Expository Writing

The First and Last Time You'll Start a Paper More Than a Day Before It's Due

Associated Press

An Expos preceptor leads class.

The College’s only universally required class, Expository Writing, promises to teach you to craft lucid, beautiful prose, to state your ideas with complexity and nuance, and to call your teacher a “preceptor.” It will succeed in at least one of these.

The Fates predetermine the semester in which you take Expos 20 and then determine which of your preferences you’ll be assigned to. Escape is impossible and transferring sections is difficult, so your initial choice is important and you have precious little information on which to base it. Enjoy!

Expos is a methods class; its aim is not to impart a corpus of knowledge to you. Different sections nevertheless vary in amounts of reading and requirements. Some classes emphasize image interpretation; predictably, those will entail less reading and consequently less work. Others are half-methods, half-material courses that require you to spend plenty of time in Widener (bring a friend for “study breaks!”). Regardless, Expos’ pre-writing, draft, and final paper cycle may make the class one of your most time-consuming.

For reasons now lost to antiquity, you refer to your Expos section leader as a “preceptor.” Your preceptor occupies a rung on the staff ladder somewhere above TFs. They are the nomads of the academy. It is considered rude to ask them about their tenure status.

The number of A-range grades is rumored to be capped across sections, so competition for grades can be intense. That said, grading is sometimes arbitrary, and naturally some preceptors are more gung-ho about their charge than others.

If you take an Expos with “Athletes” in the title, you can wear DHA’s to section sans peur et sans reproche, and the curve will probably be softer.

Preceptor Luciana Herman boasts one of the strongest reputations. Her sections, which have a political and rhetorical bent, are more intellectually stimulating and better at improving students’ writing than the standard Expos fare, and come highly recommended by sleazy IOP whores.

“Southern Writers Reconsidered” and preceptor Tom “Your Biggest Fan” Underwood are both long-standing Expos institutions. Tom will show you pictures of his dachshunds, then load section with extensive but interesting readings.

As a word of warning, be prepared for any class about “Encounters with the Other” or “East and West” or stuff like that to suck.

Further pearls of wisdom: many Expos sections include peer review sessions in which those who may not write as well as you will critique your writing. Peer review is tedious and forces you to read crappy student essays.

In all honesty, it doesn’t really matter which class you take. Expos is an unpleasant, occasionally educational experience. Your tutorial is probably going to be a more helpful, discipline-specific guide to college writing.