First-Year Writing Choices

All first-year students are required to fulfill Dartmouth's first-year writing requirement and first-year seminar requirement. Through the first-year writing courses, the College offers entering students a valuable opportunity to develop the thinking, research, writing, and presentation abilities that characterize intellectual work in the academy and in educated public discourse.

On June 1, all entering students will receive notification about the directed self-placement process, a process that all students must complete to choose among the various writing courses that fulfill the first-year writing requirement (see below). 

Access the Directed Self-Placement Web Application

To begin the Directed Self-Placement process, please log in to the web application

Choosing Your Writing Course: Directed Self-Placement

Dartmouth uses an online process called Directed Self-Placement (DSP) to help you choose your first-year writing courses. You will receive more information about this process in June and will have three weeks to answer a questionnaire, read a few articles, and compose an essay. The questionnaire and the essay will then be read by our faculty, who will then make a course recommendation you will be able to accept or decline.

The purpose of this process is to help you understand the difference among the writing courses, reflect on your writing experiences and abilities, and make a thoughtful choice about which of these writing courses might be best for you. 

Important Deadlines for Directed Self-Placement:

  • The deadline to submit information through the placement site is June 22, 2020.
  • Your recommended placement will be available in the online system on July 17, 2020.
  • The deadline to confirm your placement decision via the placement site is July 24, 2020.

More information can be found here: FAQs about DSP.

First-Year Seminar Requirement

The first-year seminar requirement is satisfied, after successful completion of the first-year writing requirement, with either of these courses:

First-year Writing Course Choices

The first-year writing requirement at Dartmouth is satisfied by taking any of the following courses:

For further information on the differences between these courses, please see Differences among the First-Year Writing Courses. If you are interested in taking Humanities 1-2, you should apply to the program by July 24. 

Please note: You must complete the directed self-placement process, even if you plan to apply to the Humanities 1-2 program.

For more detailed information about the first-year writing requirement, visit the placement and enrollment policies page.