The Expository Writing Program publishes two collections of outstanding student work annually, Mercer Street and West Fourth.
West Fourth is a collection of the best work done in the College Writing Workshops offered by EWP in conjunction with NYU's Pre-College Program.
Mercer Street is a collection of the best work done in EWP courses the previous year. It is on sale in the NYU Bookstore each fall, and posted here online one year later. (Each issue remains available for five years; if you are interested in back copies, please contact us.)
Each semester, EWP invites students to submit essays for possible inclusion in Mercer Street. Students enrolled in any Expository Writing course are limited to one (1) essay submission for that course. Students enrolled in an Expository Writing course, and who then enroll in a subsequent or Advanced Expository Writing course, may submit a maximum of one (1) essay for each course. Students may not submit more than one essay per course to Mercer Street.
To submit your essay, please fill out the submission form (linked below) and then upload your essay following the guidelines from the submission form. If you have questions or need assistance regarding the submission process, please contact Richard Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read and follow all instructions on the form, or your submission will be disqualified.
Mercer Street Submission Form
How To Survive (And Love?) Writing the Essay
Writing the Essay is arguably the most notorious first-year requirement at New York University — it has a reputation that not only terrifies all incoming students but also lingers with dread in the minds of those who have taken the course semesters ago. But is it really all that bad? To all of you who immediately thought “yes,” it is time to discuss the bad along with the good — and give some solid advice to all future first-year students.
As a first-year student myself, it is with the horror of my peers that I admit that Writing the Essay has been my favorite course over these past two semesters. My professor was fantastic, the course load was not too overwhelming, and my writing was truly refined throughout the progressions. There have been plenty of moments where I doubted my academic sanity, but I have justified my admiration of the course with my passion for writing. As an anticipated Journalism major, it seems slightly more acceptable that I enjoyed Writing the Essay. For all of you out there who are nervous about the course and who may not share the same enjoyment in writing academic essays as I do, I talked with other first-year students to come up with a few steps that will help you conquer the most infamous first-year course of them all:
1) Be open-minded
Sal Maicki, Journalism and Philosophy Double Major, CAS
“I think to succeed in Writing the Essay you have to go in completely open-minded — you have to completely throw out the notions associated with the class and the idea that it is automatically going to suck and have no purpose in your college agenda other than being a requirement. You will get out what you put into it. I’m glad I went into my class with an open mind because my professor turned out to be really cool — we had really cool assignments, we even analyzed Beck lyrics and the openings to Wes Anderson films. So I think if you approach it with an optimistic perspective it will definitely make you a better writer.”
This may be the most important step in your success in the course. The first day of class, my professor asked us who had heard that this would be the worst class of their freshman year — everyone raised their hands. Over the course of a semester, my professor worked to disprove those assumptions and showed each of us how much the rumors had been exaggerated.
2) Know your options
Tomas Gepts, Biology Major, CAS
“I think the first thing that really helped me was knowing that there was more than one option for Writing the Essay — there’s Writing the Essay for science, so they have it geared for different interests. If one of those interests matches your interests then I really think it’s worth taking. I’m a Bio major and I took Writing the Essay for science, and I think that’s a lot better for me than the regular Writing the Essay would have been.”
There are different Writing the Essay themed courses that you can take, including a science-oriented class, as well as one that is paired with Texts and Ideas. Depending on your interests, this may help improve your experience by pairing preferred academic fields with the writing curriculum.
3) Know your resources
Justus Pennington, Neuroscience Major, CAS
“You need to go to the tutoring centers even if you feel a little bit nervous about your essays. The resources at the University Learning Center really helped my grade and improved my writing.”
There are plenty of resources available for students who are struggling with the course. The Academic Resource Center (located downstairs in the Argo Tea building) offers peer tutoring sessions as well as academic skills workshops that help to edit drafts and improve proofreading strategies.
4) Research your professors
Joey Beerman, Jazz Major, Steinhardt
“Professors definitely matter. My professor — Sam Beebe — is a very youthful teacher and brings a lot of music and movies into the assignments. He’s easy to get along with and a very friendly teacher.”
If I did not have such an awesome professor for this course, I probably would not have liked it nearly as much. When I compared my course work to the course work of my friends, there were huge differences that made me very thankful that I was assigned practical and helpful exercises — not just busywork. I would not recommend solely relying on Rate My Professors, but it does help start the process of finding a solid professor.
5) Acknowledge that it won’t be an “easy A”
Luca Diacul, Undecided, CAS
“I’m taking Writing the Essay right now and I can say that I’m enjoying the class. The work is hard but if you stay on top of it it’s fine. The writing style is different than it was in high school but if you put in the effort I think your writing will improve.”
This was not my favorite course because it was easy — in reality, it was probably the hardest of my courses and it required the most time and effort. It will be a challenging course but it will also be extremely fulfilling if you give it your all. As an incoming college student, it is important to understand that you want to get the most out of your money, so “easier” courses do not necessarily translate to “better” courses.
6) In the end, it’s all about surviving
Claire Leonard, Political Science Major, CAS
“My advice to incoming freshman about Writing the Essay is to take it the fall of your freshman year and make sure you get a great professor. I think some progressions are helpful but mainly you just have to survive.”
Even if you try to follow all the advice on taking Writing the Essay, you could still end up hating it just as much as everyone else. Ultimately, you do not have to love it — you just have to survive. In the end, you may not be a better person, but hey, at least you won’t have to take it again!