Placement for First Year Writing

Placement into ENGL 1000 and ENGL 1050 in the Department of English at Western Michigan University is based on a combination of ACT-English or SAT-Verbal scores and high school GPA.

Placement will be at one of the following levels:

  • Required to take ENGL 1000 in the fall semester.
  • Placement at Proficiency 1, college-level writing. Proficiency 1 classes include ENGL 1050.

If you are an incoming first-year student and don't know your placement, contact the academic advisor with whom you met during orientation.

If you are a transfer student, contact the Office of Admissions to verify your transfer guide with credit evaluators. You can also check the Michigan Transfer Network to see which college writing courses transfer from one of Michigan’s colleges and universities to WMU.

Which course should you take?

The following determines your placement into ENGL 1000 or ENGL 1050. 

ENGL 1000: The Writing Process

  • High school GPA of 3.0 or above, ACT of 14 or less and SAT of 350 or less
  • High school GPA of 2.8-2.99, ACT of 15 and SAT of 351-370
  • High school GPA of 2.79 or less, ACT of 16 and SAT of 371-390

ENGL 1050: Thought and Writing

  • High school GPA of 3.0 or above, ACT of 15 and SAT of 351-370
  • High school GPA of 2.8-2.99, ACT of 16 and SAT of 371-390
  • High school GPA of 2.79 or less, ACT of 17 or above and SAT of 391 or above

Portfolio review

Students wishing to satisfy the college writing requirement (Proficiency 1) by portfolio review must have senior status (88 or more hours completed toward graduation).

Placement concern

If you believe that this placement does not best reflect your experiences and proficiencies with academic writing, please carefully review the Directed Self Placement Questionnaire.

If your score on this questionnaire is 19 or above, you are eligible to take the Placement Appeals Exam. If your score is below 19, you will automatically place into ENGL 1000 and will not be eligible to take the placement appeals exam. If you place into ENGL 1000 and have an ACT English score above 18 and/or a high school G.P.A. above 3.0 you are eligible to appeal. If you do not meet at least one of these requirements, you are not eligible to appeal placement.

If you are required to take IME 1020 after you complete ENGL 1000, you are not eligible to take the placement exam. Speak to your academic advisor about placement into IME 1020.

Placement appeal

To appeal:

  1. Verify your current placement with your academic advisor who will determine whether or not you place into 1000 or 1050. 
  2. Email Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark to make arrangements to complete the placement appeals exam. You will be given a 30 minute timed response, and will also have the option to submit a sample of academic writing that you previously produced prior to the exam for evaluation. We strongly recommend that you submit a writing sample in addition to completing the timed essay response. Your exam will be evaluated by the directors of First-Year Writing and ENGL 1000. They will review your essay and writing sample if you choose to submit one. From there, they will determine whether or not you place in ENGL 1000 or ENGL 1050.
  3. Check your WMU WebmailPlus account for your results which should be emailed within three to five business days. If you have not received results, you should email Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark, director of First-Year Writing. If your results reveal that you place into a different writing class, we will submit your name and WIN number to undergraduate advising in the Department of English. An undergraduate advisor will issue an override that will permit you to register into ENGL 1050. If your results uphold previous placement into ENGL 1000, no further action will need to be taken on your part. Results from the exam are final and cannot be appealed.

Placement appeals exam

The Placement Appeals Exam is scheduled during the first week of classes. You are responsible for knowing the date, time and location of the exam. There will be no make-up exams. The exam will be a timed 30 minute essay response on a topic pertaining to literacy.

When you arrive to take the exam, you will be required to submit the following:

  • A copy of your Directed Self Placement Questionnaire noting a score above 20.
  • Your name and WMU WIN number that is located on your student ID.
  • An optional writing sample that helps First-Year Writing evaluators evaluate your writing abilities. The writing sample should be a sample of academic/expository writing, preferably one you produced for a previous class. Creative writing assignments should not be submitted. Files should be submitted in print only and must be submitted at the time of the exam. If you choose to submit a writing sample, it should be an original piece of writing authored only by you.

The timed essay exam should be completed only by you, without assistance.

Date: TBD
Room: 3045 Brown Hall
Times: 9 to 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon

You may choose your preferred exam time. Exams will take no more than one hour. Bring writing utensils and a blue book to the exam. Blue books may be purchased at the University Bookstore.


For questions about ENGL 1000, contact Dr. Jonathan Bush, director of the ENGL 1000 program.

For questions about ENGL 1050, contact. Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark, director of First-Year Writing.