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What’s This About?

This is a strongly suggested approach to the Tunxis First Year Writing cover letter. The motive behind this letter is to introduce your end-of-semester portfolio to a reader and, significantly, to apply techniques of academic writing to demonstrate your learning over the course of the semester.

How to Structure the Letter

1. First of all the letter should be written in block form: it’s left justified and single-spaced. You should address the letter to the Tunxis Community College Humanities faculty. You should submit the Cover Letter as a word processed document along with the other required submissions.

2. Secondly, you should structure the body of the letter around the Composition or Composition II abilities. You can find these on the course syllabus or in your assessment returns either in Blackboard or on your in-class submissions. The intent here is for you to draw evidence from the semester work that shows improvement in the course abilities.

For example, given the Composition II ability in argumentation, which reads “2. Writes articulate arguments with increasingly sophisticated claims using authoritative, documented evidence, and appeals,” draw examples from your writing that show weakness in this ability and then examples that show improvement. Same for Composition, whose abilities are a little different. Maybe in an earlier essay you were having trouble either identifying an argument made by an author and you were inaccurate about describing it. When you revised and studied and learned more, your edited version of the paper shows improvement. It’s this specific relationship that you want to demonstrate in the letter. Use these examples from your writing as evidence that you have improved in that ability.

In this, you don’t need to really dig into every course, only those that you want emphasize. Perhaps you’ll concentrate on those abilities against which you had most difficulty, such as this one from Composition: “1. Interprets and evaluates complex texts.”

Again, provide examples from your writing that demonstrate improvement in your ability to read and evaluate.

Note that this is yet another opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the ability-based approach and to explore your own learning in either Composition or Composition II. So, take this letter seriously. It is a significant element of your portfolio.