In the end, I did learn what the UWriting program intended for me to learn. Do I think that what I learned was valuable? No, I think it made me a worse writer, but I don't think that those goals were unique to Trevor Corson's class. What was unique to his class was the sheer amount of busy work that he assigned for every class, always due at 2pm the day of class (class was at 5:40), supposedly so he could read over our homework before class. Each assignment, if done as thoroughly as he expected, probably took between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, with reading and writing combined. In my opinion, not every assignment was absolutely necessary, and because of the constant amount of busy work, my motivation for the class over the course of the semester went WAY down. I love writing and want to major in English, but even I couldn't understand why he assigned SO much work when he stopped checking homework assignments in September. For each progression, his feedback was helpful, and meeting with him was a good way to ensure that you were not way off from his expectations in your own writing. However, each progression formal draft and final submission was due Saturday at midnight. Off the top of my head, I can remember that homecoming, Halloween, and the weekend of the LitHum final were all taken up by UWriting due dates, and as a result, I couldn't focus on my other classes or on life outside classwork in general. He genuinely does care about his students, I think, which is also why he assigns so much reading and writing. If you think your writing seriously needs improvement before taking other classes at Columbia, Trevor Corson will really whip you into shape. However, if you consider yourself a good writer, care about your other classes, and don't want to take what should be, as he said himself, a 6 credit course, take a different section of UWriting. Also, he is incredibly strict about enforcing every single UWriting policy, in a way that a lot of my friends' professors were not (e.g. policies about being late, being absent, etc.). Full disclosure: I got an A- in his course after busting my ass all semester.
Take Trevor's class if you're nerdy and love writing because he is a GREAT professor who you will really benefit from, but only if you really try to. He puts in A LOT of time in giving you feedback for your essays but he is also tough so if you care about your GPA, you might want to think twice (unless you're very confident you're a good writer). I wouldn't recommend this class for anyone who hates writing and wants to get a lazy A. For people who are a bit more ambitious and hard working, however, I highly recommend Trevor because he's an incredibly smart man who will push you.
Prepare yourself. Trevor's class will be hard. As in, when you compare your UW assignments to your friend's, you will realize that yours require more work and writing. He's a tough teacher and will push your writing very far. The workload is tough and time consuming and not really in line with a 3 credits course load. Trevor's class will feel like 4 credits. That being said, I love Trevor. His class is my favorite taken thus far at Columbia. He's an amazing teacher and is incredibly invested in improving every single person's writing. Class discussions are really good (be sure to participate!), and the small size of the class will make you feel close to everyone in no time at all. Trevor is a strong proponent of peer review and one-on-one sessions (two are required). You work in depth with your classmates and learn so much. Thankfully, everyone is pretty interested in the focus of gender and sexuality. The readings are great, but do require multiple rereads. I would note that Trevor's class is a little different from other specialized sections in that he prioritizes writing and improving everyone's writing ability over learning about gender and sexuality. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm such a more confident writer now because of this class. In short, his class is pretty difficult and will require lots of work, but your writing will be elevated to such a great extent! For transparency's sake, I received a B+. My friends who had previously taken UW said my essays would have been more of an A- level in their classes, but that's okay with me. If you end up with Trevor, keep him! He's funny and endearing and a little awkward and will terrify everyone the first day with the textbook length syllabus and policy about coming to class late, but it was such a rewarding experience. He also does this great thing where he will edit your progressions via video, so you can understand "his experience as a reader". His feedback is invaluable; if you try to follow most of his advice you'll do just fine.
"I'm a mean professor." Trevor Corson He describes himself accurately and he's arrogant. Take Glenn Gordon instead; Glenn will give you an A.