FAQ for the Wake Forest University Directed Self-Placement Process
FAQs for the Wake Forest DSP
- What is the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Process?
The DSP asks students to read a text, write a response to a writing prompt, and answer a handful of reflective questions about their experiences as writers.
- How long will the DSP take?
This may vary per student; however, you will want to leave time over the course of a couple of days or more to complete the process so that you can step away from your summary and then return to it. As with writing in college courses, many students are more successful at identifying weak or incoherent summaries when they allow themselves time to complete a draft and then go back to it a day or so later. The reflective questions should be answered thoughtfully but will not take long.
- Who should take the DSP?
All entering, first-year WFU students complete the DSP, regardless of AP or IB credit.
- When should the DSP be completed?
The 2018 DSP prompt and links will be available by May 24. Students should complete the DSP by June 1, or, if admitted later, within one week of receiving their Wake username and password.
- What are the goals of the DSP?
- Provide students with first-hand experience with a sample of reading and writing expected in their first years at WFU, prior to students’ course registration.
- Strengthen the reference point for advisers’ and professors’ conversations with students about their writing.
- Allow actual examples of students’ writing and reflections to help inform institutional decisions related to student writing.
- Should I use outside evidence in addition to the articles in my essay?
The DSP task asks you to engage with the article provided as your source for evidence. There is no requirement to bring in other evidence.
- What format should I use?
For citation format, feel free to use MLA, APA, or Chicago citation style; just be consistent.
- How will the DSP be used?
- Students’ own recognition of their unpreparedness or preparedness to complete the DSP process is the most important outcome of the DSP: students should thoughtfully consider their recent reading and writing experiences and needs as they select a first writing-intensive course. It is much harder after the first year to ensure students get foundational practice and help with reading and writing skills, and students often feel behind in their upper-level courses if they do not do so in their first year. It is thus all the more important that students select the first course(s) that will best serve their needs, and so they should reflect on the DSP process as they consider their first-year writing-intensive course options (see here).
- Students’ responses to the reflective questions are used by the DSP Team to offer a course recommendation to students which is sent via email.
- Students’ responses to the reflective questions can be used upon request by the Office of Academic Advising to help students select the best first writing-intensive course for them.
- DSP summaries will be sent to the professor of each student’s first writing-intensive course (WRI 105, WRI 111, WRI 210 or WRI 212, or FYS) and often incorporated into the course.
- Data gathered from the DSP will be analyzed to learn more about students’ strengths and weaknesses as writers and to improve writing instruction and curriculum at WFU.
- What happens to students who do not complete the DSP?
- Students who do not complete the DSP by June 1 will receive little guidance as to the nature of the writing they will be asked to do in their first-year courses.
- Students who do not complete the DSP by the assigned date may lose their place in their preferred writing course.
- When will I receive my course recommendation?
Students who have completed the DSP will receive the course recommendation for their consideration by early July or before (prior to round 1 course registration).
- What about AP/IB credit?
Most students choose to use those scores, because they receive AP credit and exemption from WRI 111. These students often still want to make sure they receive enough university-level writing practice and guidance in their first year. If this is true for you, you can consider:
- Taking both FYS and WRI 210 or WRI 212 in your first year. Sections of each course are offered in both spring and fall, and you may take the courses in any order. Note that WRI 210 is an advanced writing course that is designed to offer students practice in and exposure to advanced writing and rhetoric, especially as it extends beyond the first year and into a variety of university disciplines, while WRI 212 focuses on literary nonfiction and the art of essay writing (see course descriptions). WRI 210 or WRI 212 fulfill elective college credit toward graduation, are each a gateway course for the Writing Minor, and can offer a strong, writing-focused prelude to the FYS or other courses in which students are asked to write.
- Taking FYS and seeking extra help such as Writing Center guidance as you work on your papers in the FYS and any other writing-intensive courses you take.
- Taking WRI 111, with the understanding that this means waiving your AP / IB credits. Please discuss this possibility with Professor Branch, Professor Aull, or Professor Lancaster before making this decision.
- What if I want to take WRI 210 or WRI 212?
Students with AP or IB credit for WRI 111 (see above) can take WRI 210 or WRI 212 in the fall. Many other students take WRI 210 or 212 in the spring of their first year or in their sophomore or junior years; many of these students also choose to be writing minors. For questions regarding AP/IB credit, contact undergraduateadvising@
- What kind of writing support does WFU offer?
There are a variety of writing resources on campus for incoming and returning students. For a list, visit the Writing Center’s resource page.
- What if I have problems with my WFU ID or password?
Please call the Wake Forest Service Desk at 336-758-4357.