Directed Self-Placement Process for Writing Courses - Information

During the summer, some entering students are invited to complete the online directed self-placement process for writing courses. This web-based process has been designed to allow students who might benefit from a two-term writing course to have their writing evaluated and to receive a recommendation about whether to take Writing 2-3 or Writing 5.

Invitations are sent by email and mail in early June. The online directed self-placement process is only available to invited students. The information submitted is read by instructors in the Writing Program, who recommend a placement in the appropriate writing class - Writing 2-3 or Writing 5. Students can accept these recommendations or refuse them. No student is required to take Writing 2-3 instead of Writing 5.

Students who complete the online placement process and accept our recommendation for placement into Writing 2-3 will be preregistered for Writing 2 when they arrive on campus in the fall, before fall term course election. Writing 2 students will be pre-registered for Writing 3 before winter term course election. Students who take the Writing 2-3 sequence take their First-year Seminar in the spring term, and will need to register for a First-year Seminar at the same time they register for their other spring term courses.

Students who do not receive an invitation by June 10th to complete the online placement process but who feel that they would benefit from taking the Writing 2-3 course should contact the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric as soon as possible by email at: [email protected].

Students often ask how to determine which course is best for them. Admittedly, the decision can be difficult because, considered from a certain perspective, the programs are very similar. Both courses are rigorous and demanding; both help students to improve their writing; both are staffed by terrific, committed faculty. But there are differences between the two programs. For more information comparing these two courses, see our page "Writing 5 or Writing 2-3?"

Students who are not invited to participate in the online directed self-placement process for writing courses will take Writing 5 (or Humanities 1). Students taking Writing 5 are assigned to take the course in either the fall or the winter; this assignment cannot be changed. Information about when a student is scheduled to take Writing 5 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

For questions that are not addressed here, or if you have concerns about your individual placement, contact The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at [email protected].

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

Dartmouth's directed self-placement process for writing courses is designed to offer selected students two opportunities: first, the opportunity to learn more about Dartmouth's first-year writing courses, Writing 2-3 and Writing 5; and second, the opportunity to 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 undertake a series of steps, including completing a questionnaire, reviewing information about the course, offering a writing sample, and completing a writing profile. A member of the Dartmouth writing faculty then reviews these materials and makes a recommendation to the student regarding which writing course might be the best fit. The process itself is educational, in that it encourages students to think about the intellectual work that lies ahead.

How will I know if I have been invited to participate in the online directed self-placement process for writing courses?

We send out an email and hard copy invitation letter in early June based on the contact information on file with the admissions office. If you have not received an invitation by one of these methods by mid-June, then you were not invited. Students who are not invited to complete the online directed self-placement process for writing courses will take Writing 5 (or Humanities 1). If you have not been invited to participate in the placement process but feel that there are compelling reasons for you to take Writing 2-3, please email [email protected].

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

Writing 2-3 is a popular course, and we typically have a waiting list of students who want a placement there. Students who have completed the online placement process will be given first consideration. Completing the placement process enables you to make an informed decision about which writing course is best for you.

Do I need to complete the placement process even if I know I will not accept a Writing 2-3 placement?

All students who are invited to participate in the placement process must complete the process or risk being placed into a course that isn't suited for them. You'll receive valuable information from this process that will help you assess what course is best for you.

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

The placements are recommendations. You can refuse a placement into Writing 2 and take Writing 5. However, if you are recommended to take Writing 5, but want Writing 2, we may need to place you on a waitlist, as space in that program is limited. If you'd like to petition for a place in Writing 2-3, please email [email protected].

What's the difference between Writing 2-3 and Writing 5?

For more information comparing these two courses, see our page "Writing 5 or Writing 2-3?"

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

Follow the instructions that were sent to you by the College in mid-May to login to the Pre-Arrival Menu in DartHub. Once you are in the Pre-Arrival Menu in DartHub, click on the link for "First-year Writing". On the resulting page, a link to "Directed Self-Placement Process for First-year Writing" will appear after June 1. Only invited students are able to use this link to access the online placement process.

What if I have problems accessing the site?

Please contact the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at [email protected].

What if I don't have access to a computer?

Call Hope Rennie, the Institute Program Administrator, at 603-646-9748. Give her your mailing address, and she will mail you a paper copy of the placement materials.

What are the deadlines?

  • The deadline to submit information through the online placement site is June 15, 2018.
  • Your recommended placement will be available to you in the online system on July 9, 2018.
  • The deadline to accept or refuse your recommended placement via the online placement site is July 16, 2018.

If you have questions about your placement, or if you miss this deadline, feel free to send questions or concerns to the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at [email protected]. If you aren't able to resolve questions by July 16, don't worry: there will be time to revisit your placement between July and the start of classes. Students who are placed into Writing 2-3 will be pre-registered for Writing 2-3 when they arrive for orientation. Students who are not placed into Writing 2-3 will register for Writing 5 during the regular course registration period along with other courses.

What if I missed the deadlines for the placement process?

Please contact the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at [email protected] as soon as possible.