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ALI Writing Labs

ALI Writing Labs are informal online weekly workshops run by USC native English speaking students who will assist international students in drafting their academic and professional writing and communications. These workshops will help prepare students to engage in deeper discussions with their professors and connect students with additional writing resources at USC.

Each week in the program will focus on a specific topic and writing prompt. Students are encouraged to prepare responses to the prompts ahead of time and come to the sessions with these writing samples so that they can be discussed and receive instant feedback on the samples during the workshop. Similar to ALI Conversation Groups, the Writing Labs will create an informal atmosphere to help students gain confidence and inquiry skills.

Keep in touch with ALI leaders, ask questions, and stay updated on all programs via the ALI Slack Workspace and check out the ALI Writing Labs Slack channel (#ali-writinglabs-spring2021) for a dedicated space to chat about Book Club with leaders and other students.

How to Join

Click the GO! link to enter each individual session Zoom room. The links to each room will stay the same throughout the entire Spring 2021 semester, although you will have to register each time you enter. You may register anytime but you will only be able to access the room at the time of the session.

Please note that only current students may join. You will need to use your USC email to enter the Zoom rooms.

Email hacco@usc.edu if you have any questions.

Spring 2021 Schedule

Running February 1 to April 22, 2021

Day

Time

Leader

Link to Zoom Room

Mondays 3:00pm – 4:30pm Natalie GO!
Tuesdays 6:00pm – 7:30pm Anahi GO!
Wednesdays 3:00pm – 4:30pm Veronica GO!
Thursdays 6:00pm – 7:30pm Stephanie GO!

Weekly Topics Schedule

Check the weekly Assignment for instructions on what writing sample to bring into the sessions. Students that bring in their writing samples can get instant feedback!

  • Week 1: February 1-4th, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Writing American Resumes
    • Assignment:
      • Write or bring in a current one page resume.
    • Tips:  
      • Use action verbs to explain your previous and current experiences with specific positive outcomes. 
      • We also suggest you bring a job posting to help the Writing Labs Leaders give specific feedback for your tailored resume. 
  • Week 2: February 8-11th, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Messaging Your Native English Speaking Peers
    • Assignment:
      • Bring an email you’ve written to a classmate or imagine you need to discuss a problem with a teammate for a project and write a short email to them. 
    • Tips: 
      • Your email should be around 2-3 sentences and should include a greeting and closing.
      • Consider how you message peers in group projects.
  • Week 3: February 15-18th, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Cover Letters
    • Assignment:
      • Bring in or prepare the first paragraph of a cover letter for a job in which you are interested.
    • Tips: 
      • The first paragraph should be 5 sentences or less, where you introduce yourself, the position you are interested in, and how you learned of the opportunity.
      • We recommend bringing the job description for the position you’re interested in to the Writing Lab session, so you can receive more individualized peer feedback.
  • Week 4: February 22-25th, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Answering Application Questions for Clubs & More
    • Assignment:
      • Bring in a response you wrote to a short application question for a job, leadership position, or school application.
        • If you do not have one, write a one paragraph response to the following prompt: Describe an event or success in your life that led you to a realization about yourself or your leadership capabilities. 
    • Tips: 
      • Focus on your strengths and highlight your achievements.
      • Show through examples.
  • Week 5: March 1-4th, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Bio Statements
    • Assignment:
      • Write a one paragraph bio statement for LinkedIn describing your education, job experience, and any other important fact that you would like to share about yourself.  
    • Tips:
      • We also recommend bringing a description for a job in which you are interested in and your LinkedIn profile page, so you can receive more individualized peer feedback. 
  • Week 6: March 8-11th, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Writing Professional and Academic Emails
    • Assignment:
      • Write an email in 2 to 3 sentences to a professor where you ask a question about a grade that you received.  
    • Tips:
      • Include a subject line, greeting, and farewell.  
  • Week 7: March 15-18th, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Academic Presentations
    • Assignment:
      • Bring a previous powerpoint presentation you’ve made or write an outline for a short 5-10 slide academic presentation. 
    • Tips:
      • Choose a topic in your field.
      • Show the progression of your presentation from start to finish.
      • Briefly write about what you are going to cover on each slide. 
  • Week 8:  March 22-25th, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Emailing Potential Employers
    • Assignment:
      • Write a short email introducing yourself to a company, organization, or person for whom you are interested in working.
    • Tips: 
      • Your email should be around 2-3 sentences and include a greeting and farewell. 
      • Write about how you heard about the company, and mention any documents that you have attached to the email (resume, cover letter, etc.)
      • We recommend bringing in a description for a job or organization in which you are interested
  • Week 9: March 29- April 1st, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Writing a Blog
    • Assignment:
      • Write a draft of a blog post you are interested in sending in to the ALI Life and Times blog, another website for publication or your own personal blog! If you are unsure of what to write, bring in a few topics you are interested in and an introductory paragraph. 
    • Tips: 
      • Show through examples and experiences the story you want to tell.
      • Remember you are telling a story! Make your writing engaging and interesting, as if you are talking to a peer.
      • A blog post typically ranges from 500-1,000 words and is written in the first person
      • For more inspiration, see the ALI Life & Times blog.

  • Week 10: April 5-8th, 2021
    • Topic:
      • Academic Proposals and Abstracts
    • Assignment:
      • Write an abstract (200 words or less) that could be used in a research or conference proposal on a paper you have written or a research project you have done. Your abstract should act as a snapshot of what your research or a conference presentation about your research will be about.
    • Tips: 
      • Use action verbs to describe the research you are talking about.
      • Engage your reader by describing why the research is important, innovative, or interesting.
  • Week 11: April 12-15th, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Cover Letters for Your Summer Job: Expanding on Previous Responsibilities
    • Assignment:
      • Bring in a previous cover letter you’ve used to apply for a job or prepare a paragraph within a cover letter that expands on responsibilities you’ve had and what experience you gained from them.
    • Tips:
      • This paragraph can build on the first paragraph of a cover letter covered from Week 3.
      • You should tie your experiences to how they would benefit you in the new position.
      • We recommend bringing the job description for the position you’re interested in to the Writing Lab session, so you can receive more individualized peer feedback.
  • Week 12: April 19-22nd, 2021 
    • Topic:
      • Resumes for Your Summer Job or Internship
    • Assignment:
      • Write or bring in a current one page resume..
    • Tips:
      • Make sure you write about your professional and/or academic experiences using action verbs to explain your previous and current experiences with specific positive outcomes. 
      • Focus on highlighting skills that you know will be used at this job.
      • Explain how you can contribute to the company in a short-term time frame.
      • Think about how you can make yourself stand out from other applicants, as internships are typically highly competitive.
      • We also suggest you bring a job posting to help the Writing Labs Leaders give specific feedback for your tailored resume.