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 based on a portfolio of your writing. We believe 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 is a $50 fee for the portfolio evaluation. (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.

How to submit your placement portfolio

Step 1: pay the $50 fee at The University Testing Center Registration site. Please download a receipt of your payment, which you will submit with your portfolio.

Step 2: Assemble your portfolio. Please include three-to-four essays that represent your writing experiences and abilities. If you have only printed copies of your essays, scan them and combine them into a single PDF file with your name (for example, “Last Name_Placement_Portfolio.pdf”). Please make sure that each essay and each page is clearly labeled so that readers will know where each essay begins and ends. If you have electronic copies of your essays, please combine them into a single file, using headers to signal the start of each essay. Then save this file to Microsoft Word format and name it as above (“Last Name_Placement_Portfolio.docx”).

Step 3: Review your portfolio, and then plan, draft, and revise your cover letter. Your letter should include:

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

The cover letter is the most important part of your portfolio, so take care to plan your ideas, seek feedback at multiple stages of the writing process and revise. The University Writing and Speaking Center offers three online workshops during Summer 2020 that are designed to help you improve your portfolio.

Step 4: Copy your cover letter into an email addressed to  Isis Lopez Aguilar, the First-Year Writing Placement Coordinator. The subject line of your email should read " Last Name - Core Writing Placement Portfolio Submission.” Then attach two files: your portfolio as a single PDF or Word file and your receipt from the University Testing Center.

Step 5: Your portfolio will be read by Core Writing’s placement readers and you will receive the results  via email of your portfolio placement  within two weeks of receipt.

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.