Directed Self-Placement (DSP)

The Directed Self-Placement (DSP) will ask you to respond to reflective questions about your previous writing experiences and to compose an essay responding to a prompt. This process will help you determine which writing class is best for you. These questions will be available through an email sent to your WFU email account on May 31 for all regular-enrollment students. If you enrolled by May 31 and did not receive this email, please email All incoming first-year students, regardless of AP or IB credit, complete the DSP.

For questions about the DSP process beginning May 31, please email

Writing Task

At Wake Forest, professors in every department ask students to demonstrate through their writing that they can accurately summarize, analyze, and respond to assigned course readings. The purpose of this task is to simulate such a college writing experience to help you choose your first-year writing course. See prompt below. Your response will not be scored or evaluated. When you’re ready, you can upload your essay as a file in the Qualtrics survey you received in your WFU inbox on May 31. Preferable file formats are ‘doc’ or ‘docx’, but we can also accept ‘pdf’ or ‘txt’ files. 


The Specific Writing Prompt

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted higher education in significant ways. From March 2020 to at least Fall 2021, classes were held online and/or in hybrid learning modalities. This transformation has resulted in many discussions about long-term impacts on teaching and learning, as well as possibilities for the future. Read the research brief on “Strategic Student Engagement, in the Classroom and Beyond” (compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education) and the opinion essay “My College Students Are Not Okay” by Jonathan Malesic. Then, in a 750-1000 word essay, assess Malesic’s argument using facts from the research brief to support your analysis. 

Details and Tips

  • Length of your response: 750-words to 1,000-words 
  • Focus on both readings: Note that this task does not ask for your opinion of which article is “better” or “right.” Rather, it asks you to use data-driven research to assess an argument made in an op-ed. 
  • Engage with the articles: Most students find that in a short writing task like this one, paraphrasing and/or including very short quotations are more effective than long quotations. 
  • When you’re ready, please upload your essay as a doc, docx, pdf, or txt file.

WFU DSP in more detail:

At Wake Forest University, all students must satisfy the first-year writing requirement by taking (or exempting) WRI 111. Some of you may wish to take an extra writing class, before taking WRI 111. Some may wish to take a writing class beyond WRI 111, whether you have exempted WRI 111 or not. You have the opportunity to decide which first writing course is most appropriate for you, and the DSP process is designed to help you reflect on that decision. The answers you provide to the reflective questions are not used to evaluate you or place you in a course. Rather, the DSP process invites you to reflect on your preparedness for college-level writing.

You will receive a course recommendation based on your answers to the reflective questions and written essay before the first round of course registration in July. We invite you to consider this recommendation alongside your other writing and reading experiences as you make the important choice about your first writing course. If you enroll after June 7, you may not receive the DSP email or complete the DSP.