Transfer Student Directed Self-Placement

At the University of Michigan, you will take a variety of courses in your major that require a substantial amount of writing as well as a familiarity with specific disciplinary writing conventions. This Directed Self-Placement (DSP) for Writing is not a test.  Rather, the DSP for Writing is designed to give you insight into the kind of writing expected of upper-division undergraduates at the University of Michigan, in order to help you judge your own readiness for and comfort with the College of LSA’s Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

You will make the decision about the writing courses you take, but this DSP will assist you in that decision, along with input from the Sweetland Center for Writing and your Academic Advisor. The Sweetland Center for Writing offers a range of courses that support transfer student writing, including Writing 350 and two courses specifically for multilingual and international students, Writing 240 and Writing 340.

Your DSP responses will be forwarded to a Sweetland Writing Workshop consultant who will contact you about scheduling a meeting to discuss your writing.

During the DSP, you will complete the following tasks:

  • Choose the area you plan to study (Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences).
  • Read (i) a typical upper-level assignment in the general area you chose, and (ii) a student paper in response to that assignment.
  • Write three short responses (6-10 sentences each) about the assignment and the student paper that you read.
  • Answer 11 follow-up multiple choice questions about your writing experiences.

The DSP is not timed. If you choose to exit, your work will be saved and you may continue at a later date.

IMPORTANT: You must submit your responses at least 5 BUSINESS DAYS (Monday through Friday) prior to the start of your orientation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should take a Directed Self-Placement (DSP)?
All students who have not received transfer credit for a First-Year Writing Requirement course must take the First-Year Directed Self-Placement. Students who have received transfer credit for a first-year writing requirement course must take the Transfer Student Directed Self-Placement (this page).

How do I know if a writing course I took at a previous institution will fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement?
In some cases, writing courses taken at other colleges or universities can be used to fulfill the University of Michigan’s First-Year Writing Requirement. Please refer to the Transfer Courses page for more information.

Which DSP should I take (the First-Year DSP or the Transfer Student DSP)?
You should take the First-Year DSP if you have not yet fulfilled the First-Year Writing Requirement. You should take the Transfer Student DSP (this page) if you have already taken a course that fulfills the First Year Writing Requirement.

What is the Transfer Student Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Process?
The DSP asks students to read an assignment from a subject area they plan to study as well as a sample of student writing produced in response to the assignment, write three paragraphs about these two selections, and answer ten questions about their experiences as writers.

How long will the Transfer Student DSP take?
Students who have completed the DSP report that it takes about an hour to read the assignment and student response, write the paragraphs, and respond to the questions.

When should the Transfer Student DSP be completed?
Students should complete the Transfer DSP at least 5 business days before their Orientation date.

What are the goals of the Transfer Student DSP?

  • Convey to students the importance UM assigns to writing well
  • Give students first-hand exposure to the kind of writing expected at UM
  • Provide students with substantial information about how their writing skills compare with those of others at UM

How will the results of the Transfer Student DSP be used?

  • Information from the DSP will be used by advisors to help students select a first writing course that will serve their needs best
  • Students’ DSP responses will also form the basis of a discussion with an instructor from the Sweetland Center for Writing. This meeting will focus on students’ DSP experience and introduce students to the resources and writing support available at the UM

What happens to students who do not complete the Transfer Student DSP?

  • Students who do not complete the DSP before Orientation will miss the chance to assess their preparation for Upper Level Writing Requirement courses
  • Students who do not complete the DSP before Orientation will miss the chance to learn about the expectations of Upper-Level Writing Requirement Courses
  • Students who do not complete the DSP will not learn about all the resources available to support their writing at UM