Directed Self-Placement and Enrollment Policies

Updated for the Class of 2025

Information in this Placement and Enrollment Policies section of our website has been updated for Class of 2025 students. This area contains information about the first-year writing and first-year seminar requirements and about the directed self-placement process and enrollment policies for first-year writing courses.

The First-year Writing & First-year Seminar Requirements

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.

This page explains the options that students have for fulfilling the first-year writing requirement and the first-year seminar requirement: First-year Writing Choices.

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Directed Self-Placement Process for First-year Writing Courses

In June, all entering students must complete a directed self-placement process for first-year writing courses, a process that helps students select among the various writing courses that fulfill the first-year writing requirement. Students will receive more information about this process in June and will have three weeks to answer a questionnaire, read a few articles, and compose a brief essay. Our faculty will then make a recommendation that will help students with a final decision about which writing course to take.

This page more fully explains this directed self-placement process: First-year Writing Choices.

First-Year Writing Choices

This page explains the process of choosing among the different courses available to fulfill the first-year writing requirement during the directed self-placement process. It will contain information about how to access the online directed self-placement process for first-year writing after June 1, 2021.

First-year Writing Choices

FAQ Directed Self-Placement Process for Writing Courses

This page answers commonly asked questions about the directed self-placement process for first-year writing courses: FAQ page

Humanities 1-2

Humanities 1-2 is an interdisciplinary, two-term, two-credit course sequence for first-year students offered only in fall and winter terms.  Completion of both terms of Humanities 1-2 is another way to satisfy the first-year writing requirement and first-year seminar requirement. Students interested in applying to take Humanities 1-2 must fill out the application form on the Humanities 1-2 program website by June 29, 2021.  

For details, please see the Humanities 1-2 Program website at:

Registration for Writing 5 or Writing 2-3

Students taking Writing 2-3 are pre-registered for Writing 2 before they arrive on campus in fall. Students taking Writing 5 are assigned to take the course either in the fall or winter; this assignment cannot be changed. Writing 5 term assignment information appears on the student's placement record in the information that is visible to the student and the student's advisor just before first-year students register for fall term. Students register for Writing 5 during the normal course election process when they choose their other courses for a term.

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Registration for First-Year Seminars

First-year Seminars offer every first-year student an opportunity to participate in a course structured around intensive writing, independent research, small group discussion, and reading across the disciplines. A First-year Seminar is taken in the term immediately following completion of the first-year writing requirement. During the normal course registration process for the upcoming term, students who are scheduled to take a First-year Seminar review the First-year Seminars offered and elect/request the seminar they prefer, along with their other course elections.

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FAQ First-year Writing Course Registration

Follow this link to a page of frequently asked questions and answers about how to register for first-year writing courses.

Writing 5 or First-year Seminar Switch Information

Advice for students who want to switch between Writing 5 sections or between First-year Seminar courses during the course adjustment and add-drop periods for a given term.

Switching writing courses after the third day of classes in a given term is strongly discouraged.

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Transfer Credit

Transfer students may request approval of transfer credit for WRIT 5, First-Year Seminar, upper-level Writing courses, or Speech courses based on courses taken at other colleges or universities before matriculation at Dartmouth. The deadline for all requests for credit is the end of the first term of study, but it is strongly recommended that students submit requests for Writing 5 transfer credit as early as possible, before registration for winter term begins, since transfer students who do not receive transfer credit for Writing 5 are assigned to take winter Writing 5.