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First-Year Common Reading

The First-Year Common Reading Program is an essential part of your First-Year Experience at the University of Houston-Downtown. 

This year all incoming freshmen are required to read Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, write a 500-word essay due August 15, and attend UHD’s Freshman Convocation Saturday, August 24.


Cash Prizes for the Best Essays: 1st - $750, 2nd - $550, 3rd - $450, 4th - $350, 5th - $250, Plus Ten Honorable Mentions at $100 each!

The goals of UHD’s First-Year Common Reading Program are:


      • to offer college freshmen an introduction to UHD’s atmosphere of academic inquiry
      • to provide a common academic experience to all first-year students, including opportunities to engage in intellectual discussions with peers and professors both inside and outside the classroom
      • to communicate the expectation that college demands an active engagement with  reading that involves the  discussion of  complex ideas
      • to engage in a university-wide conversation about the dynamics of success

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Email Your 500-Word Essay to:

Write a 500-word essay that answers the following question:

By the end of the novel Christopher comes to believe that he can be successful at anything. How does Christopher’s journey empower him and how does his story empower you as you begin your UHD experience?


To submit your essay:

  1. Log-in to your Gator email account.

    1a. If you are using Gatormail, make sure that you set up Gatormail to save all your sent emails. See page 7 of the GatorMail How-To for specific instructions.
    If you are having problems using GatorMail, you may use your personal email to submit your essay. Be sure to include your full name in the subject line of the email. Help is available by phone (713-221-8031) if you are experiencing problems using GatorMail.

  2. Submit your essay as a typed email message or as an attachment. Note: Word, Wordpad, or Notepad are acceptable attachment formats.

  3. Send your 500-word essay email to

WRC (Writing & Reading Center) tutors are available to help you with your first college essay assignment, from invention through editing. The WRC also offers college-level reading strategies. Hours are M - TH, 9 am - 5 pm, until August 8th.

See the WRoCk website for appointments!

Click here for information about Freshman Convocation

PDF Click here to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
topics we will discuss at convocation!





Page maintained by Technology Teaching and Learning Center

Last updated or reviewed on 7/9/13

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