Alternate placement options for first-year writing classes

Important: Spring/Summer 2020 portfolio placement dates are February 8, 2020 - August 3, 2020. Submissions must be received by 8/3/20.

Note: The Core Writing Program at the University of Nevada, Reno does not accept results from Accuplacer for placement in courses. Students may only participate in the placement process one time.  Additional submissions will not be allowed, regardless if a different course placement is being requested. 

It is important for students to begin their college educations in writing courses that best fit their levels of experience and current ability.  If you believe your test score does not accurately reflect your writing skills, you may request an alternate placement evaluation. We feel that your actual writing, not just your test score, should determine your final placement in writing courses. When considering alternate placement, keep in mind that the writing samples you provide help us place you in the class that best fits your writing abilities. It is not a way to challenge a course and it is not the same as credit-by-exam. It only determines which writing course you take first in your college career. There are two options for evaluation, and there is a $35.00 fee for either. (Make checks payable to the Board of Regents). Your placement cannot be processed without payment of the fee. For this reason, faxes are not accepted. Portfolios and essays must be maintained in the Core Writing Program office and will not be returned. Your placement submission will be processed in approximately two business weeks. Note: It is important that you begin this placement process as soon as possible in order to ensure class availability.   Also, if any work in a portfolio is plagiarized, the student will be placed into English 098 automatically. In addition, the student's work and evidence of plagiarism will be kept on file and a copy will be sent to the Office of Student Conduct.

Option 1

Bring or mail to the Core Writing Program office, a portfolio containing three or four essays you've written in the past year. Submit clean, unmarked, ungraded, polished essays. Graded or marked papers will not be evaluated. Only hard copies will be accepted. Electronic submissions will not be accepted. It is prudent to send copies and keep your originals, as portfolios will not be returned.

Enclose a cover letter that includes the following:

  • Your full name, NSHE ID, address, phone number and an email address we can use to reach you
  • A brief statement explaining why you should be placed differently than your test scores suggest
  • A short description of what the essays in your portfolio show about your writing's strengths and weaknesses

Send your portfolio, including the cover letter and the $35.00 payments to:

Core Writing Program/0098
Attn: Placement Portfolio
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557-0098

We recommend that students submit a portfolio rather than take the exam because a portfolio shows more about your writing than the timed essay exam, which gives you little time for reflection and revision.

First-year writing placement portfolio workshops

You can improve your portfolio by attending a free first-year writing placement portfolio workshop designed by the University Writing & Speaking Center.

  • The Writing & Speaking Center will offer the following in-person workshops this summer:
    • Wednesday, June 17,2020 from 9 – 12 p.m.
    • Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 2 – 5 p.m.
    • Friday, July 24, 2020 from 9 - 12 p.m.
  • Each three-hour workshop will include plenty of time to write, revise and review your work (plus two short breaks). Please arrive prepared to work (bring paper and pens/pencils, existing essays (if any), snacks/water).
  • After the workshop, submit your improved portfolio.

Option 2

Make an appointment by calling the Core Writing Program office at (775) 784-6709 to come in and write a placement essay. The essay exam must take place during normal business hours and is written in our office. Please have several options in mind for your appointment. You will need to allow for a two-hour block of time. Bring your $35.00 placement fee to your appointment. An essay topic and all exam materials will be provided when you arrive.

Finding out results: As is noted above, you will need to provide an email if you want your results delivered to you. Otherwise, you will need to contact the English Department at (775) 784-6709 after two weeks and request your placement results.

Please note: due to FERPA regulations, we can only communicate placement information to the student in question. Any other person, unless that person is a parent and the student is a minor, must provide a signed privacy waiver (available from Admissions and Records) before Core Writing can communicate the student's placement results or any other academic information.