First-Year Writing Guided Placement Survey

Writing at the University of Connecticut

Writing is a foundational competency in the University's General Education program. The writing competency, often referred to as the "W Requirement," consists of two components: A writing course in your first year at UConn and two "writing in the disciplines" courses that you choose in any discipline. The W courses cover a topic or body of knowledge in a particular field and writing in that discipline. All W courses have First-Year Writing as a prerequisite. Student Guide to General Education at the University of Connecticut

Our First-Year Writing (FYW) courses will give you the opportunity to experiment with new approaches to writing, to develop unique lines of thought, and to communicate them in a variety of different ways using writing, images, sound, movement, and video. As part of the University’s General Education requirements, FYW courses will expand your writing and composing skills, while you build on and add nuance to the skills you have been developing over the course of your education up to this point. While our courses are designated as "English," they are not language courses or, strictly speaking, literature courses. They are courses that focus on the habits of mind and practices experienced writers use to compose different kinds of texts. In our courses we aim to help you become careful writers, attentive consumers of knowledge, and insightful producers of meaning and texts.

Now that you’ve come to the University of Connecticut, you will be asked to engage with many different kinds of texts from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines. We’re also going to ask you to think more about the means you use to communicate, which includes writing--but also sound, visual/video, movement, and how we use space (like rooms or the flat field of a web page). You can expect that all FYW courses will challenge you but also guide you; you will become more practiced at pursuing your own questions and engaging with others’ work beyond just agreeing or disagreeing with them. You will also become more confident in composing communications that circulate beyond the classroom as you produce a range of texts aimed to help you become both a sleuth and a maker of knowledge. We hope you'll come to see academic and intellectual work as creative work.

To help you select a writing course that will help you expand your writing practices, all new students across all campuses will complete a Guided Placement Survey.

This page will provide the information you need to take the GPS. Below, you'll find information for what to do if you have SAT or ACT scores filed with Admissions, or if you anticipate AP scores of 4 or above, or if you have credits for college-level writing courses. 

Why, How, and When Should I Complete the FYW Guided Placement Survey?

Who completes the Guided Placement Survey (GPS) to find a course match?

  • All students who are beginning at UConn in Fall 2021 should sign into the GPS. If you already have standardized test scores from ACT or SAT, then you can document that at the beginning of the GPS and then decide if you want to use your SAT/ACT scores for placement or continue through the GPS. If you do opt to use your scores, you will immediately receive instructions on discussing a score-based placement with your advisor and need not continue with the GPS. If, however, you do not want your scores used for placement, you have the option of continuing the GPS to document your preference for a course and receive our recommendation for placement. 
  • If you anticipate College Board Advanced Placement (AP) scores of 4 or 5 on the Language and Composition or Literature and Composition tests, you can document that in the GPS.  Or, if you have college-level writing course credits (including concurrent enrollment programs like Early College Experience [ECE]), you’ll include that information on the GPS. The end of this webpage explains how AP scores and previously completed college-level courses impact your placement. 

Why should I complete the Guided Placement Survey?

  • The Guided Placement Survey (GPS) will help you decide which writing course to take first at UConn. The placement process will provide information about your choices that can help you predict which course best suits you. We refer to the choice of courses as your course match.

What is the Guided Placement Survey (GPS)?

  • To help you determine your pathway through writing at UConn, you'll respond to questions about your writing experiences, your typical practices when you compose, and your confidence in (or anxieties about) writing, at the end, we offer our recommendation, but the survey also asks which course you believe is your best match and documents that for advisors.
  • The GPS is NOT a writing skills test. You are not scored based on right or wrong answers because the questions are about you, your work, and your approach to writing.

What types of items will I respond to when I work on the survey?

You will be asked about 

  • Yourself as a student and a writer
  • The writing you do in non-academic contexts
  • Past writing projects you’ve completed for school
  • Your typical writing practices
  • Your confidence in and anxieties about writing

You will also be introduced to materials you might encounter in FYW courses, including

  • Brief examples of texts you might engage with 
  • Assignments or projects you might be asked to undertake 
  • Samples of student work from our courses
  • Examples of the kind of feedback offered by peers and instructors

When should I complete the Guided Placement Survey (GPS)?

  • The GPS is now open. 
  • Set aside 30-60 minutes or so to complete the survey. 
  • You will need to complete the GPS before you meet with your advisor for course enrollment.

What do I need to do to prepare for the survey? 

  • Until the survey opens on May 10, 2021, you can learn about the First-Year Writing program and the courses offered at your Fall 2021 campus. The survey offers you the tools to make an informed choice about which course you believe best suits your circumstances. Each campus has a link below to the courses offered at that campus. Even if you anticipate leaving that campus to move to another campus, you must select from the courses offered at the campus your admissions letter said you'd be starting at. Your advisor can discuss your campus admission in more detail. 
  • Remember that the GPS is not a skills test, so no need to cram or study for it. Your best responses are the responses that represent you.

Instructions for the Guided Placement Survey (GPS)

The Guided Placement Survey (GPS) opens May 10th at 8:00 AM EDT. You will need to complete the GPS before you meet with your advisor.

All students who will enroll in classes at UConn for the first time will complete the Guided Placement Survey (GPS) to determine their first writing course at UConn.  The First-Year Writing (FYW) Guided Placement Survey will ask you about your previous coursework (including Advanced Placement [AP] and college-credit writing courses) and experiences with academic writing. When you complete the survey, you will be given a recommendation for course placement at your home campus (Storrs, Avery Point, Greater Hartford, Stamford, or Waterbury) in First-Year Writing. The survey should take you about one hour to complete. 

To determine which First-Year Writing course you will take, you will need to:

  • Review the Guided Placement information for First-Year Writing on this page.
  • Learn about the courses offered in First-Year Writing for the campus you were admitted to. The descriptions for the courses offered at each UConn campus are linked below (look for the name of your campus). As you read about the courses offered for your Fall 2021 campus, think about which course might be the best match for you.
  • After you have learned about the First-Year Writing program and the classes available take at your home campus, please begin the Guided Placement Survey. It's very important that you select the campus that you have been accepted to for fall 2021; otherwise you may be matched with a course not offered at the campus through which you will take your first classes.
  • Complete the Guided Placement Survey. You will need between 30 minutes and one hour to complete the survey. The questions cover your writing experiences in several contexts with questions about your past projects, processes, and even about how confident you are in (and how anxious you feel about) writing. You will also be introduced to a very brief reading and then respond to a writing prompt. To ensure you find the right course to enroll in, be sure to respond to each of the questions or prompts in the survey. 

    Remember: The GPS should be completed before you meet with an academic advisors to register for classes. If you have not completed the survey, your advisor may need to reschedule your appointment for a time after you’ve completed the survey.

    The Guided Placement Survey can be accessed now.

    AP English and Early College Experience (ECE)

    First-Year Writing courses at the University of Connecticut will be different from English classes you may have taken in the past. The focus in FYW is on building an inquiry and undertaking the kinds of activities that experienced writers use in their work to develop practices, habits, and skills that you can take to future courses and your career.

    In some cases, you may have fulfilled the General Education requirement for first-year writing prior to enrolling at UConn through AP scores, concurrent-enrollment college courses (Early College Experience [ECE]), or writing courses taken at other post-secondary (college or university) institutions. 

    AP Tests

    You may, however, still use a score of 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) tests in Language and Composition OR Literature and Composition tests for college credit. If you have the minimum score of 4 you will receive 4 credits of ENGL 1011 on your transcript. ENGL 1011 satisfies the General Education requirement for first-year writing, meaning you can begin taking your "writing in the disciplines" (W) courses. For more information about the W requirement and courses, see the UConn Student Guide to General Education.

    Concurrent Enrollment (e.g., ECE)

    College courses offered through your high school may fulfill the General Education first-year writing requirement. The concurrent enrollment course must be affiliated with an accredited college or university writing program. The college or university generates a transcript with those credits. To learn more about how to apply those credits, please visit the UConn Early College Experience Transfer Credit page, or "Coming to UConn."

    Transfer Credits

    If you have writing credits that have transferred from another college or university and you would like to consider petitioning for a Course Equivalency Review (CER)  to receive a First-Year Writing waiver, please visit our Course Equivalency Review page. The page also lists all deadlines for submitting your materials. Please note that you will need at least 3 credits in either ENGL-91002 or ENGL-91003 in order to begin a petition for a Course Equivalency Review, and ultimately must have 6 credits that the University can classify as coursework in writing. The State of Connecticut has set the 6-credit threshold for transferred writing courses. 

    Return to the UConn placement page.

    Transfer Credits

    First-Year Writing courses at the University of Connecticut will be different from English classes you may have taken in the past. The focus in FYW is on building an inquiry and undertaking the kinds of activities that experienced writers use in their work to develop practices, habits, and skills that you can take to future courses and your career.

    Transfer Credits

    If you have writing credits that have transferred from another college or university and you would like to consider petitioning for a Course Equivalency Review (CER)  to receive a First-Year Writing waiver, please visit our Course Equivalency Review page. The page also lists all deadlines for submitting your materials. Please note that you will need at least 3 credits in either ENGL-91002 or ENGL-91003 in order to begin a petition for a Course Equivalency Review, and ultimately must have 6 credits that the University can classify as coursework in writing. The State of Connecticut has set the 6-credit threshold for transferred writing courses. 

    Return to the UConn placement page.

    Avery Point First-Year Writing

    If you have been admitted to the UConn Avery Point Campus, please review the Avery Point GPS page for more information about the courses offered at that campus.

    Greater Hartford First-Year Writing Courses

    If you have been admitted to the UConn Hartford Campus, please review the Hartford Campus GPS page for information about the courses available through that campus

    Stamford First-Year Writing Courses

    If you have been admitted to the UConn Stamford Campus, please review the Stamford Campus GPS page for information about the courses available through that campus.

    Storrs First-Year Writing Courses

    If you have been admitted to the UConn Storrs Campus please review the Storrs Campus GPS page for information about the courses available through that campus.

    Waterbury First-Year Writing Courses

    If you have been admitted to the Waterbury Campus, please review the Waterbury Campus GPS page for information about the courses available through that campus.