Directed Self Placement

CI was the first CSU campus to pioneer Directed Self Placement (DSP) as an alternative to the English Placement Test (EPT) in determining how a student fulfills the first year writing requirement. Quite simply, DSP invites students to examine their own preparation as writers and researchers to determine whether to choose our two-semester Stretch Composition Sequence (English 103 – English 103) or our accelerated one-semester course (English 105).

While a brief overview of these options can be found below, further details are available in our DSP Handbook.

Stretch Composition (ENGL 102 – ENGL 103)

Most incoming students choose our Stretch option, which begins with a three-unit elective course, English 102. English 102 focuses on helping students develop strategies for using writing as a tool for thinking and learning. Students learn that writing involves a number of thinking and writing strategies, including invention, prewriting, drafting, peer review, revising, and editing.

In the second half of the Stretch sequence, English 103, students focus on integrating research into their writing to support their claims. Typical assignments include argumentation as well as collaborative research and writing.

The One Semester Course (ENGL 105)

Students who already have experience conducting research in academic databases and integrating multiple sources into their writing may choose English 105. This one semester course focuses on integrating research into argumentative and persuasive writing.

The first assignment in English 105 is typically a researched paper on the course theme (selected by the class instructor), and the pace is demanding throughout the semester. Students are required to complete at least two major research projects. Many English 105 courses include collaborative research and writing.

Already Fulfilled Your Writing Requirement?

Students who have  fulfilled the G.E. requirement for writing with Advanced Placement Credit, International Baccalaureate credit, or otherwise may be interested in one of our other course offerings: English 107 (our Advanced Composition course), English 206 English 106 (our Service Learning Course) or English 261 (Secrets of Academic Writing).

Details on these courses and the G.E. requirements they can fulfill are available in the DSP Handbook as well as on this page.

The Choice is Yours!

Our first year composition faculty are confident that students are much better judges of their own readiness for college-level writing and research than any placement test. We also know that you are more likely to succeed when the path towards completing your requirement is yours alone.

Please consult our DSP Handbook for additional guidance in making this decision for yourself. You can also view the syllabus for each course on this page.

Students are also invited to view the video at the bottom of this page from CI’s Academic Advising Center on placing themselves in first year composition.

Please note that traditionally, as you will see in all advising materials, ENGL 102 has always been offered in the fall semester only, with ENGL 103 being offered in spring only. This year, we are piloting a spring section of ENGL 102 that will be followed by a section of ENGL 103 in the fall. This piloted program is designed for students who were unable to enroll in ENGL 102 in the fall. However, any students who wish to enroll in our Stretch Sequence should plan to take ENGL 102 in the fall, as availability of ENGL 102 in the spring will be limited and is subject to change.