College Comp and Research Portfolio

Renee Downing

Top 5 "To-Do"s

Self-Reflective Letter

When I first heard about the Self-Reflective Letter I was apprehensive. I did not know how I could possibly sum up my entire College English experience. Although, once I began writing, the process went smoothly. I was able to recount many lessons I had learned throughout the semester.


My essay explained all the knowledge I gained from College English. From learning not to use "you" in the Narrative Essay, to discovering the importance research from databases in the Argumentative Essay, I have learned a new lesson through every essay we did.

Pre-Write/Post-Write Essay

The first essay we wrote in College English was the Pre-Write/Post-Write Essay. I thought that my first essay was spectacular. Perfect, by all means. I had a creative theme and a cohesive idea. Nevertheless, when the time came to revise my writing, I had to make a lot of changes. First, I had to fix several comma splices. Then, I had to change over 30 "you"s into sentences with proper subjects. After all my changes, I am very proud of my finished product with its creative theme and cohesive idea.


In "Defining my Life," I chose to write about my educational journey and how it shaped me into the person I am today. I picked the key definitions of learn, share, change, responsibility, and remember to be the backbone of my essay. Each of these words became a valuable lesson throughout my schooling that later defined my life.

Narration Essay

The very first essay our class did for a grade was the Narration Essay. I did not get the grade I was expecting to get, and that scenario was definitely one I do not plan to experience again. However, due to the Narration Essay, I was able to see my errors in writing and improve upon them. Even though I got one bad grade, I was able to get numerous good grades afterwards, because I knew what I needed to fix.


In "Not Everyone Will Always Give the Same Answer," I wrote about the time my family was almost denied the right to go on a cruise. This trip was very important to my family because it was going to be the last time my grandparents would be able to visit from China as well as a long overdue reunion with my aunt from California. I learned from that experience that no matter how much planning I were to do, someone with little authority could easily shut me down.

Narration Essay Link

"Not Everyone Will Always Give the Same Answer"

Editorial Essay

At first, the idea of writing an Editorial Essay seemed very difficult. The thought of having to choose the perfect topic to write about was so stressful that I procrastinated far longer than I should have. However, once I chose my topic, writing the essay was not as strenuous as it had seemed earlier on. In the end, I was proud of my ability to write such an opinionated paper.


In my essay "It's Not All Sparkle and Shine," I discussed the dilemma caused by paparazzi regarding celebrities' privacy. My opinion on the problem was that Paparazzi should stop clinging to celebrities because they write false articles that damage the celebrity's name, cause self-esteem issues inside the celebrity, and interfere with the celebrity's attempt at an ordinary life.
Editorial Essay Link

"It's Not All Sparkle and Shine"

Summary #1

This summary was a group project. My table partners and I read Dahalia Lithwick's article discussing the act of sexting. We wrote a summary showing Lithwick's opinion on how minors should be punished for the acts of sexting, but they should be punished fairly.
Summary #1 Link

"Sextation Across the Nation"

Summary #2

Instead of being a group effort, the next summary our class did was individual. I chose to read and summarize an article by Brenda Iasevoli discussing high school portfolios. I summarized Iasevoli's opinion of how high school students should have to create a portfolio in order to graduate high school.
Summary #2 Link

"Portfolios to Graduate"

Summary/Response Essay

I knew going into the Summary/Response essay that I wanted to write about Summary #2. Having my topic already decided took a lot of the stress out of the pre-writing process. In the end, this essay was enjoyable to write.


In "Portfolios on the Rise," I elaborated on Brenda Iasevoli's article discussing the high school portfolio systems. My opinion was that although Iasevoli accurately explained how the portfolio system would help students retain knowledge and feel accomplished; however, she mistakenly tells readers that portfolios should be a large portion of students' grades.

Summary/Response Essay Link

"Portfolios on the Rise"

Interview Essay

When our class was getting ready to start our Skype interviews, I was excited. We would be interviewing The Switchback Kids, Brent Taney, and Todd Bradshaw. Everyone was unique and had a interesting story; however, I thought the Switchback Kids's story would make a fantastic essay. I knew their story was one that I would get into and research.


Using Cole and Elizabeth Donelson's interview, I was able to get many detailed quotes. Because they had their own website, I decided to use that resource as well. With all my resources, "What It Takes to Make a Dream Become Reality" was my favorite essay.

Interview Essay Link

"What It Takes to Make a Dream Become Reality"

Reflection of Interview Essay

Argumentative Essay

My Argumentative Essay, "Perks of Using Social Media," was one of my favorite essays to write. Ironically, I believed it was also the most challenging essay of the class. Doing the research was difficult; however, the resulting grade was well worth the stress. Not only did I receive my best grade, I also learned many facts from the research I did and numerous strategies for researching topics using databases (don't use websites).


This essay analyzed the pros and cons of social media and claimed that, overall, social media had more beneficial pros than cons. Many parties consider social media as an idle activity that leads to inefficiency. Nevertheless, social media has proven to increase productivity rates by providing students easy access to information, businesses a place to promote their products, and politicians ways to be involve their constituents.

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Argumentative Essay Link

"Perks of Using Social Media"