I have been in classes where professors have left me copious comments, and classes where  I’ve only received a few vague comments. How much I appreciate each style varies on the assignment and its purpose.

My professors for Creative Writing classes have been the ones to leave me pages on pages of response to my writing. In France, my Creative Nonfiction professor would leave comments all throughout a piece, and then finish my filling entire sheets with handwritten comments. I appreciate this type of response, knowing that she spent a lot of time on my work and see’s enough potential in it to recommend changes. I had the same experience in my Poetry class at Fairfield University, where a poetry portfolio would have an entire typed response, outlining the great parts and things that needed work. This, too, showed the professors commitment to helping me develop the craft of creative writing. I find that professors are more likely to give these type of comments when you are in a drafting process, since you are really looking for constructive criticism and helpful feedback, and concrete things that you can work on for future drafts.

On the other hand, I recently wrote a paper for my ethics class, where I did not get the paper back; just an online note that gave the grade and said “good outline, analysis shakey”. I would have loved to see her written comments scrawled across my paper, to see how my ethical analysis is lacking, and specifically what sections need work. I have been wondering where this paper went wrong. However, there is nothing I am doing with this paper in the future, and my grade is final, so I suppose it really does not matter.


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