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University Writing Portfolio

Because writing skills can make the difference between success and failure in the professional world, all of the University’s degree programs include writing-intensive courses that prepare you to communicate in your chosen field.

As part of this university-wide writing emphasis, students at WSU are required to assemble a junior writing portfolio once they complete 60 semester credits. (Those who started college before fall 1991 or are seeking a second bachelor’s degree are exempt.)

The University Writing Portfolio is a mid-career diagnostic that evaluates your readiness for the writing demands of upper-division courses and courses in your major — and helps your advisers connect you with classes and resources that can build your writing skills if they need more work.

If you have reached 60 credits before you apply at WSU, you may see a registration hold in your student account; in that case, you will be able to register for your first semester, but will need to complete the writing portfolio before your second semester.

Completing your portfolio

The writing portfolio consists of two parts: the writing sample packet and a timed write essay.

The Timed Write: 

The timed write consists of two impromptu essays written during a single, supervised two-hour session. One essay will be argumentative and the other will be a self-evaluation.

To complete the timed writing, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sign-up for a timed writing session. Contact Cathy Wright or stop by room 110C to sign-up for an upcoming session.

Step 2: Attend your scheduled session and complete the timed write. Bring a photo ID and two pens (no pencils) to the session. We will provide the Blue Book.

The Packet:

The packet consists of three samples of your writing that you have completed for three different college-level courses. The writing samples should be copies of papers that were marked and graded by your instructor; you can submit samples from any course at any college.

To complete the packet, follow these steps:

Step 1: Please complete the following forms:

Form 1: Packet Cover Sheet– (1 total) To be taped on the outside of a 9″ x 11″ envelope (no other envelope sizes will be accepted.)

Form 2Submission Cover Sheet – (3 total) To be attached to each writing sample you submit.

Step 2: Choose three pieces of your best writing. This includes any assigned college-level writing: lab reports, case studies, group projects, creative work, memos, in-class writing, traditional essays, work from other colleges, and so forth.

Step 3: Fill out a cover sheet for each selection.

Step 4: Ask the instructor who assigned and graded the paper to sign the cover sheet as “Acceptable” or “Exceptional.” If the instructor is unavailable to sign the cover sheet (i.e. a transfer paper), an email from the instructor will be an acceptable alternative and should include verification that the paper is your work and deserves a rating of “Acceptable” or “Exceptional.”

Step 5: Turn the packet into Cathy Wright, in room 110 C. For full instructions on how to assemble and submit your portfolio see here.


Because the writing portfolio fulfills a UCORE Requirement, it will be evaluated by a cross-departmental committee of WSU faculty. The committee will give it one of three ratings:

Completed with Distinction
The work represents the top 10% of WSU junior-level writing. This achievement will be entered into your WSU transcript. Your writing portfolio requirement will be fulfilled.

The work shows a proficiency in writing suitable for upper-division work at WSU. Your writing portfolio requirement will be fulfilled.

In Progress
The work shows a need for additional, structured writing assistance in upper-division course work. You will be required to take additional course work in the form of a one-credit writing collaborative taken in conjunction with one of your writing in the Major [M] courses, or a three-credit writing course. You must complete the additional course assigned to you in order to satisfy the writing portfolio requirement.

In the case you believe the evaluation result is inaccurate, you have 120 days to formally appeal the decision. 

Important forms: