Directed Self-Placement Process for 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 our various writing courses to 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 an essay.  The questionnaire and the essay will then be read by our faculty, who will then make a course recommendation that students will be able to accept or decline.

The link to the directed self-placement process for first-year writing will be active beginning on June 1 and can be found on the First-year Writing Choices page. The purpose of this process is to have students understand the difference among the writing courses, reflect on their writing experiences and abilities, and make a thoughtful choice about which of these writing courses might be best for them.   

Course Offerings

The Writing Program presently offeres the following courses: 

  • Writing 5
  • Writing 5 for Prospective Writing Tutors
  • Writing 2-3: Writing Across the Disciplines
  • Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support
  • Writing 2-3 for International Students with Teaching Assistant Support

For more information comparing these several courses and information on Humanities 1-2, please see our Differences among First-year Writing Courses page.

Students who complete the online placement process and accept our recommendation for placement into Writing 2-3 with Teaching Assistant Support or Writing Across the Disciplines will be preregistered for Writing 2 before fall term course election. Writing 2 students will be pre-registered for Writing 3 before winter term course election and will take their First-Year Seminar in the spring term.

Students who complete the online placement process and choose to take Writing 5 are assigned to take the course in either the fall or the winter; this assignment cannot be changed. Writing 5 term assignment information appears in the online student placement record visible to students and their advisors just prior to fall course registration. Students taking Writing 5 in the fall will register for Writing 5 when they register for their other fall courses.

 

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.

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.  A member of the Dartmouth writing faculty then reads these materials and recommends a course that might be the best fit for the student. 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 approved equivalents to Writing 5, such as the Writing 5 course for prospective writing tutors or the Writing 2-3 disciplinary course called “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 take Writing Across the Disciplines or Writing 5.  However, 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 [email protected].

What's the difference between Writing 2-3 with teaching assistant support and Writing 5?

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

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

Students can follow the instructions that were sent in mid-May to login to the Pre-Arrival Menu in DartHub. Here there is a link for "First-year Writing" where a tile labelled "First-year Writing Choices" will appear after June 1.  Clicking this tile will allow access to a webpage that contains the link to the "Directed Self-Placement process for First-year Writing."

What are the deadlines?

  • 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.

What if I have additional questions?

Please write to the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at [email protected]