Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Susan Marine


As access to higher education continues to grow it is important to consider the way students are prepared for college level work. This is especially true in the area of writing, which is considered to be the academic skill most linked to success at the college level (Conley, 2008). This qualitative study investigates college writing preparedness through the perspectives of ten first-year students at a small, liberal arts institution in Massachusetts. The study sought to explore how K-12 institutions and postsecondary schools can work to better prepare students for college writing. Participants described the differences between secondary and postsecondary writing and expressed that there was a gap between the way they were prepared in high school and what was expected of them when they arrived at college. This study recommends ways K-12 and postsecondary institutions can improve upon college writing preparation to create a better transition for students between high school and college level writing. These recommendations include creating stronger K-16 partnerships, improving first-year writing courses, encouraging student use of faculty support and writing centers, helping students to see themselves as novices, and continuing to critically assess the education system in the United States.