Diagnostic Essay This diagnostic writing exercise will help your
instructor discover who you are as a writer. The essay will be used to help you
identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and it will allow the
instructor the opportunity to identify grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical
problems specific to each student. Do not fret over the idea that grammar,
style, and mechanics will be evaluated in this assignment. The diagnostic is
merely one way to take a look at any particular patterns that exist in your
writing. You will earn full credit for completing this assignment, as long as
you follow instructions.
Please select one of the topics below as
the subject of a short essay.
Topic 1: Favorite
Think of a specific location that means something to you, such
as the ocean, front porch of a favorite family restaurant, or perhaps a favorite
room in your home. Convey that meaning to the reader by describing the location
as it impacts three of the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, or
Topic 2: Healthy vs. Happy?
Is taking care of your
health—watching what you eat, exercising regularly, etc.—a big waste of time?
Isn’t life too short to worry about these things? Shouldn’t we just eat and do
what we want? Explain your position.
Topic 3: Work
Some people prefer to work for themselves or own a business.
Others prefer to work for an employer. Would you rather be self-employed, work
for someone else, or own a business? Use specific reasons and details to explain
Topic 4: Women in Combat
soldiers have recently been allowed to take jobs in previously all-male
battalions, over 250,000 combat jobs still remain closed to them. Some argue
that this unfairly limits career growth, while others contend that women are not
able to withstand the physical and psychological nature of combat. Do you think
that women should be able to serve in combat positions? Why or why
There is a two-page requirement. Your essay
should have an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph, and at least two
body paragraphs. Your essay should also have a title. It usually takes an
absolute minimum of three sentences to develop an idea in paragraph form. Please
take this information into account when you plan your essay.
Before writing your essay, watch Writing an Essay.
The essays written for this section are diagnostic
in nature. As such, you will not receive a grade, and your essays will not be
used to place you into classes. Your instructor will use this essay to provide
you with assistance tailored to your needs.
When reading your essay, your
instructor will look for the following features:
consistency with which the writer identifies and maintains the essay’s main
idea. Two main points of structure include the thesis statement and the topic
- Thesis Statement – Emphasizes the main point proven in the
essay. The thesis usually occurs early in the essay, most ideally as the last
sentence in the introduction.
- Topic Sentences – Occur near the beginning of each paragraph;
they state what the paragraph proves and advance the main idea conveyed in the
Development: How the writer
uses details and examples to evolve ideas throughout the
Organization: The sequence of ideas presented in the essay. All of
the ideas within the essay should clearly relate to the main
Style: How writers chose to express themselves. Elements of style
include word choice, sentence construction, and clarity. Style usually varies
somewhat according to the audience and purpose of the writing.
Your essay should be double-spaced and formatted as a Microsoft Word document
(.doc) or Rich Text File (.rtf