The Graduation Writing Test is an assessment required in the California State University system. It is the university’s way to ascertain the knowledge students have in grammar and composition before they go off into the world and represent the school.

Although the test seems tedious after taking several English courses as an undergraduate, the GWT is necessary for the success of Cal Poly Pomona students.

(Nicole Goss | The Poly Post)

Even with those required English courses, students can still struggle to compose an adequate essay.

When you are writing a cover letter for a resume or an email to a future employer, you must use the simple writing skills taught in English classes.

Punctuation, grammar and style are taught in college freshman English and sneakily find their way in everyday life in ways like those emails or cover letters.

Autocorrect, which has been installed in most writing programs allows syntax errors to be fixed in seconds, even before you realize you made them.

With the heightened exposure of social media to college students, the GWT is needed now more than ever.

In a world of “LOLs” and “#homies4lyfe,” it is easy to forget basic writing skills.

Much of what college students see on social media is shorthand and lacks punctuation.

An emoji replaces a period at the end of a sentence – heck, an emoji replaces a sentence.

Are we creating our own millennial language?

If your friend sent you a thumbs down emoji followed by an hamburger emoji, that would translate to “No, I do not want sushi tonight. Let’s get In-N-Out instead.”

Thirteen words replaced by two images. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

That’s where social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram come into play.

In the wake of Mac Miller’s death, Ariana Grande posted a black and white picture of the famous rapper and Pittsburgh native. She refrained from captioning the photograph and the post received thousands of likes and comments. The image carried the mourning message that she wanted to convey.

As college students, we have become so accustomed to a media driven environment. We rely on technology to do so much for us that our own writing skills take a toll.

Imagine attending a job interview where previous education is mentioned, and your answer is CPP. In the application, a paragraph explaining your desire for the position is required and if there is an error, not only is the application taken less seriously, but it reflects poorly on the institution.

I believe that is what the CSU is trying to avoid with the establishment of the GWT.

CPP does not want to be represented as the school that graduates illiterate students.

Granted, anyone could be having a rough day and spell something incorrectly or miss a comma in that job application, but passing the GWT assures that students receiving bachelor’s degrees have the writing skills needed for any job.

The GWT may seem like another stupid writing test and another way to scam students into paying the school, but this test proves students at CPP can focus on a specific prompt for an hour without spell-check or emojis, and produce an essay displaying their English skills learned over the years. In the long run, the test guarantees that alumni represent the university well.

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