Student Testimonials

Writing student

The certificate overall was a wonderful opportunity; I am grateful for the experience, and the professors I met through the program are some of my all-time favorites. The program pushed my limits as a writer, introduced other forms of writing, opened my mind as a reader, and increased my appreciation for the literary community.

--Shelby F., Class of 2017

Choosing to pursue the writing certificate was one of the best decisions I made in my undergraduate career. It challenged me to become a better, more concise writer and helped me gain confidence in my communication sills.

--Megan M., Class of 2017

Being able to participate in the writing certificate program, here at U of I, has benefited me greatly. It has brought out and nurtured my creative side. Ever since I was young, I have always loved stories. This program gave me the opportunity to delve into my imagination and write some stories of my own.

--Ethan H., Class of 2017

My experience in the certificate in writing has benefited me by broadening my horizons, daring me to be more creative, and creating concise and beautiful writing in all of my academic classes and on my professional pieces.

--Kat S., Class of 2017

My experience in the certificate in writing has enormously impacted my academic, professional, and creative self. Before starting my certificate, I studied political theory. I enjoyed writing academic essays, but never tried or even consider creative writing.

                The Magid Center for Writing, and the certificate in writing celebrates interdisciplinary studies, and provided me with the opportunity to explore an interest in writing while not having to abandon my political science degree.

--Phoebe Y., Class of 2017

Honestly, if I hadn’t taken [Writing With Purpose] then I never would have had the courage to apply for City Year where I’ll be working in an inner city school in Miami next academic school year. I cannot thank Andy Axl, Mal Hellman, Danny Khalastchi and the Magid Center enough for helping me find my true calling.

--Alexandra P., Class of 2017 

By far the best thing that I have gained from being in the Writing Certificate Program has been the connections I have made. From teachers and fellow writers to my Capstone mentor, this experience has given me access to a host of creative minds that share many of the same passions that I hold. From here, I have gained friends and contacts for whom I can ask for literary critique and professional advice. Whenever I have the chance, I already recommend this program to any student I meet.

--Luke B., Class of 2017 

The certificate in writing program has given me confidence as a person and to express myself. It helped carve my critical thinking skills that are so vital in my journalistic profession. It made me feel comfortable with myself, and taught me to love life. It also got me a girlfriend.

--Alexander B., Class of 2016

With the lessons I learned from this project in mind, I feel the Capstone Project itself has proven one of the most beneficial aspects of the certificate in writing, both professionally and creatively. The freedom afforded by the project, and its reliance on one’s own initiative to see it to fruition,  left me not only with a larger piece to aid in the publication/job search process, but also prepared me for setting my own deadlines and scheduling accordingly. Creatively, the project allowed me to focus on the fantasy genre, my preferred topic of writing, tested both my desire and willingness to do so.

                Along with the Capstone project, I found the fast fixes courses (particularly the one focused on dialogue I took under Amy Bernhard) useful in further developing my creative capabilities. Often, my writing leans towards the expositional, the dialogue usually downplayed. However through this course and Professor Bernhard’s exceptional tutelage, I was able to hone my ability to craft satisfying, organic dialogue between characters, a process that will no doubt also prove beneficial professionally as I continue to pursue career of novelist.

--Bram H., Class of 2016

I’ve learned I like to write. That is a silly thing to learn as one wraps up their final semester in a writing program, but it is true. I had always viewed my voluntarily taking writing courses to be somewhat masochistic. Every time I took more writing or English focused classes than necessary I would stress out, but deep down I found it preferable to another dull lecture. Would my writing always be good, or even complete? No but as I was introduced to readings and assignments that pushed me and got me to dig deeper into what it is I really wanted to say, the more I got a sense of who I was. And who I am now is different from who I will be. But whomever I turn out to be I will be more capable of expressing myself via the written word. And I look forward to getting started.

                I owe this confidence boost very much to my writing classes at Iowa. Taking the leap from High School English courses to collegiate writing courses at an institution like this one was one of faith but it was worth taking. I learned proper sentence structure (Art of Sentence), how to second-guess myself properly (Art of Revision), and most importantly I got to watch other people face the same struggles I did (workshops). It was a humbling experience and one that will aid every step of my career. I don’t know if I will find a career in writing. But wherever I go I will need these skills, including right now.

--Duncun S., Class of 2016

I think that “Fast Fixes: Grammar” and “The Art of Revision” are the two classes that I enjoyed taking the most in pursuit of the writing certificate. In fast fixes, I was surprised at how many common mistakes I overlook daily because no one had ever pointed them out to me. Small tweaks in grammar can completely change the flow and clarity of your writing. In addition, I think knowing how to properly string words and sentences together gives you more power when choose to deviate from it and play around with language. Art of Revision aided me in realizing that I can’t just think of revision in editing terms- sometimes revision requires re-visioning the purpose of your piece entirely. This notion has really increased my ability to go with the flow on this project. Sometimes you have to listen to the work itself and, instead of staying steadfast and trying to impose something you want to happen, accept that the work is going to grow the way it’s supposed to. It might not resemble what you originally intended, but that’s okay because that evolution shows that you are allowing the work to breath and develop naturally, in whatever direction that may be.

                I really proud of how this work came out. Yes, I would be happier if it could have been bound, but I’ve grown fond of the almost postcard-style format it’s in now. In all, it’s an expression of me, what I love and what I’m capable of in such a limited amount of time. I’ve gained confidence in myself and my work, and I can’t think of a better take away from the assignment.

--Emanuella I., Class of 2016

Taking creative writing courses have been that constant in my life where I know I’ll be able to write, whether it’s science fiction, a couple sentences, or some ghostly writing. I have heard people ask me the merit of getting a writing certificate, and I know they are actually asking, “How is this going to get you a job?”, to which I reply: I will have some great writing and editing skills, a fantastic sense of self confidence in my own work, and a love for writing renewed over and over again. Any student can get exactly what they want out of a creative writing certificate, whether their desire is to learn how to write non-fiction, science fiction, or even technical writing skills that will help in their research fields.

--Emily A., Class of 2016 

Writing is the most universally important skill that a person can have.  No matter what career you are in, good writing skills will help you to communicate your ideas and give you an advantage over competitors in your field.  Working on my writing certificate has helped me build my confidence in writing, and more importantly has helped me to not be afraid of writing.  When I hear now that I have a five page paper due, I do not get upset or worried, I simply write the paper.  This is something that I could not do before beginning my writing certificate.  Five pages would have seemed like a cruelly long paper for me to write, and still I hear many of my peers complaining about papers of this length.

--Isaac W., Class of 2016

I owe this confidence boost very much to my writing classes at Iowa. Taking the leap from High School English courses to collegiate writing courses at an institution like this one was one of faith but it was worth taking. I learned proper sentence structure (Art of Sentence), how to second-guess myself properly (Art of Revision), and most importantly I got to watch other people face the same struggles I did (workshops). It was a humbling experience and one that will aid every step of my career. I don’t know if I will find a career in writing. But wherever I go I will need these skills, including right now.

                The certificate in writing has been the most enjoyable part of my academic college experience. The classes I took... taught me so much about writing. The certificate criteria allowed me to take writing classes in different media which I think has informed my interest in works that transcend one media and expand into another. I think every class I have taken has helped me learn what I like and don’t like, what works and what doesn’t work, and the result is that I’ve come away with a defined personal style. The certificate basically gave me a direction to go in, it provided a framework of experience that would have otherwise taken me years to build on my own.
--Christopher J., Class of 2015

I have gained so much! I am so happy that I decided to declare the writing certificate. Not only have the classes have been interesting and informative, I have gotten an idea of what I want to do in my future career. I want to keep writing creatively, but the writing capstone has also taught me how to write professionally so that I can take my skills into whatever career I go into.
--Gianna C., Class of 2015

Some of the professional contacts and one-on-one advice that I earned from the relationships I have made with my writing certificate teachers have really helped me. I also think that the classes gave me more confidence and skills in writing that will translate into more success for my entire life.
--Megan J., Class of 2015

This [Capstone independent writing] project forced me to really listen to my characters and let them tell me where to go. I am learning to tune in to the story rather than broadcast it, an important concept I have only recently begun to understand. Writing takes time, patience, and most importantly, dedicated practice. The writing certificate has afforded me a deeper understanding of language, and the ways in which it can be contorted for creative effect. It has assisted heavily in developing my analytical reasoning and academic writing skills, and provoked a curiosity for lyricism and style. I still find myself collecting great sentences; a habit no doubt picked up from my writing observation logs.
--Evan K., Class of 2015

All of the courses in the program have helped me academically, as I was able to study great writers, practice different techniques, and employ them within my own work. The writing program not only unleashed my deep passions to read and write, but it has also challenged my preconceptions of art and literature.
--Matt B., Class of 2015

Earning the writing certificate was one of the best choices I made in my college career. I feel as though it has affected me on not only a personal level but a proficient scale in terms of being prepared to communicate professionally in the workforce. The certificate was my way of being involved in the writing program without having to sacrifice my interest in international development. I loved that I was able to merge my major, International Studies, and the writing certificate together.
--Allison U., Class of 2015

Through the different courses I took, I was able to discover what type of writing I enjoy doing most, and I think that is really important. Before I came to college I would write little things just for fun, but I never felt like I had a unique style or voice. Now when I write, I feel like I have that and it comes through in my writing.
--Anonymous, Class of 2015

Clarity in writing is clarity in thinking. The writing certificate program has been important and helpful for making me a better communicator, but also in strengthening the voice and authority of my own thoughts.
--Colin P., Class of 2015