Directed Self-Placement Process for Writing Courses FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a directed self-placement process for writing courses?

Dartmouth's directed self-placement process for writing courses offers students the opportunity to  reflect on their past writing experiences and abilities, learn more about Dartmouth's first-year writing courses, and receive a recommendation from Dartmouth writing faculty regarding which of these courses might be the best fit for them.

How do I access the online directed self-placement process for writing courses?

On June 1st you may access the online DSP site using instructions that will be posted on the First-Year Writing Choices page. 

What does the process involve?

To complete the directed self-placement process for writing courses, students complete a questionnaire, review our course offerings, read a set of selected essays, and compose a brief writing sample. Our faculty will then make a recommendation that will help students with a final decision about which writing course to take. The process itself is reflective and instructional, encouraging students to think about the intellectual work that lies ahead.

Do I need to complete the placement process if I'm already sure that I want to be placed in Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support?

Yes. Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support is a popular course, and we typically have a wait list of students who want a 2-3 placement. Students who have completed the placement process will be given first consideration. Completing the placement process enables students to make an informed and thoughtful decision about which writing course is best for them.

Do I need to complete the placement process even if I know I will decline placement in Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support?

Yes. All entering first-year students must complete the process or risk being placed into a course that might not be the best match for them.  Students receive valuable information from this process that will help you assess what course is best for you. It also lets students indicate whether they are interested in taking other approved equivalents to Writing 5, such as new pilot version of Writing 2-3 "Writing Across the Disciplines."

Do I have to accept the placement I'm given?

No.  Our faculty make recommendations, not placements.  

Students may decline a recommendation for Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support and request to take Writing 2-3: Writing Across the Disciplines or Writing 5 by emailing writing.placement@dartmouth.edu.  

Students who are recommended to take Writing 5, but want Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support, may need to be placed on a wait list, as space in that program is limited.  Students who are recommended for Writing 5 after completing the direct self-placement process and prefer Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support should email writing.placement@dartmouth.edu.

What's the difference between Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support and Writing 5?

For more information comparing the first-year writing courses, see the Differences among First-year Writing Courses page.

What are the deadlines?

  • The online placement site will become available on June 1, 2021.
  • The deadline to submit information through the placement site is June 22, 2021.
  • Your recommended placement will be emailed to you on July 16, 2021.
  • The deadline to request a different placement is July 23, 2021.

What if I have additional questions?

Please write to the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at writing.placement@dartmouth.edu