English 1050 Project 1:  Autobiographical Essay


We will begin our semester by exploring three practices of successful writing: (1) presenting a persuasive argument, (2) emulating a genre, and (3) writing effectively while adapting to context. Your understanding of these key practices will form the foundation for the rest of this course. Future projects will develop your competence in these three areas while also asking you to perform research. For this project, however, you will explore these practices while considering something you are already well familiar with: yourself.

Understanding the concept of genre will be crucial to becoming a successful writer. In this project, you will be identifying and then using the elements of the autobiographical essay genre. You will write an autobiographical essay focusing on a particular moment or set of moments in your life. Through your essay you will need to present a narrative thesis: a moral, idea, theme, or feeling that you wish to impart to your readers. You will also need to construct sentences that are grammatically appropriate for your genre, your audience, and your voice. Pay close attention to grammar and basic writing mechanics like punctuation and capitalization. Those factors will affect your grade more in this project than in any other project this semester.

Assignment Specifics

  • Write a three to five page essay.
  • Your essay should express a narrative thesis (such as a moral like “never give up”), but that narrative thesis should only be implied.
  • Your essay should focus on a moment or a related set of moments in your life. The more you can focus on the details of a particular moment or moments, the better.
  • While your essay will not discuss the readings from class, think about what those readings revealed about how to write an autobiographical essay.
  • Think carefully about the best arrangement for your piece, remembering that strict chronological order is not always the best option.
  • Try not to do interpretative work for your readers (i.e., explaining what a particular event means). Instead, try to provide enough details and context so that readers can reach the interpretation you intended on their own. Show! Don’t tell!
  • Make sure you are using sentences that are grammatically appropriate for your genre, your story, and your voice.

Due Dates

  • Rough Draft: Due September 20th.
    • Submit through Elearning as a pdf using the Project 1: Rough Draft dropbox.
  • Final Draft: Due September 27th.
    • Submit through Elearning as a pdf using the Project 1: Final Draft dropbox.


      • Rough Draft: 30%
      • Final Draft: 70%

Only your final drafts will be graded rigorously. For your rough draft, I will assign a grade using the check system. See the class syllabus for more details.

This project will comprise 10% of your final grade for the class.

Late Work

      • Your rough draft cannot be late. Failing to meet the deadline will result in a zero for that portion of your grade.
      • Your final draft may be turned in up to a week late. However, your grade on your final draft will decrease by 5% for every day overdue. If your final draft has not been turned in within a week, you will receive a zero.
      • Technological difficulties are not an excuse.


After you receive your grade for your final draft, I will permit you to turn in a revised version once to try to get a better grade. To receive a better grade, however, your revised version must demonstrate substantial improvement and revision. Superficial changes will not result in a better grade. You are encouraged to meet with me prior to turning in your revised version.

If you choose to revise your final draft, you may turn it in at any time in the semester prior to the scheduled final exam period. However, any late penalties you received from turning in your final draft late the first time will carry over to your revised version. You may turn in your revised version through Elearning as a pdf using the Revision dropbox.


English 1050 Project 1 Assignment

English 1050 Project 1 Goals

English 1050 Project 1 Rubric