Guided Self-Placement

For Students About to Take First-Year Writing

Students can place themselves into ENGW 1111, ENGW 1111 SL and ENGW 1102. Students are placed into ENGW 1111 Honors by the Honors Program and ENGW 1110 by General Studies. Students can also meet the first-year writing requirement through transfer credit.


Welcome to First-Year Writing

Many students assume that First-Year Writing will be similar to their high school literature or AP English courses. However, it is quite different. While you will expand on some of the skills learned in those courses, you’ll also be learning rhetorical flexibility (how to write for different audiences in different situations) by writing in a variety of genres and media.

You and your academic advisor may have chosen a FYW course already (read full descriptions here). We want to ensure that each student is aware of their options as early as possible through a process of guided self-placementSelf-placement means that you have agency over which course or courses you want to take. Guided means the Writing Program directors, your advisors, and your instructors are here to help you make that decision.


Guided Self-Placement Steps


  1. Check to see if you’ve registered for ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, or a course with a service-learning component
  2. Read about each of the course options here.
  3. Complete a brief writing assignment for your instructor in preparation for the first day of class (below).

Contact your academic advisor if you are concerned about your course placement at any point in the guided self-placement process (before, during or after completing the writing assignment).


Writing Assignment

Due: First day of class

Write a 2-3 page letter to your instructor where you introduce your writing history and your expectations for the course. Please look up your instructor’s name so that you can address your recipient appropriately. Consider the following:

  • What experiences have made you feel successful as a writer?
  • What experiences have made you lose confidence as a writer?
  • After looking at the student learning goals and course descriptions, what do you think the course you enrolled in will entail?
  • If you selected a service-learning course or ENGW 1102, why did you choose this course?
  • What are you the most excited about and what are you the most uncertain about with this course?
  • Is there anything else you’d like your instructor to know?


What Next?

Bring your letter (typed, double-spaced, and stapled) to the first day of class. This writing assignment is ungraded but required in order to pass the class.

If you believe that your current course placement is not a good fit for you, contact your advisor as soon as possible.