College of Arts and Sciences

Writing Placement

Why did I place into English 100? Is there a way I can move into English 180?

You are initially placed into your freshman composition course based on your ACT or SAT scores. Your advisor will discuss your placement with you at SOAR. If you have updated ACT or SAT scores OR evidence of having completed a transfer course or dual credit course equivalent to ENG 180, you should bring those with you to SOAR.

Students placed into ENG 100 who believe they are ready to take ENG 180 may choose to submit a portfolio for review. Click here for portfolio guidelines. Portfolios are due no later than the Monday prior to the start of the fall semester.


If I placed into English 180, can I still take English 100?

Yes! Students placed into ENG 180 who believe they would benefit from taking ENG 100 may choose to register for ENG 100 before taking ENG 180.

ENG 100 is a course designed to help students gain confidence as college-level writers. Students who take ENG 100 benefit from a lower course cap (20 students rather than the 22 in ENG 180) and increased attention from experienced writing faculty (TAs are not assigned to teach ENG 100). At the conclusion of ENG 100, students leave as confident writers who are familiar with the campus resources available to them as they continue to develop as college-level writers.


I’m a transfer student. What does that mean for me in terms of English placement?

New transfer students who have not completed ENG 180 or its equivalent (see for information on course equivalencies) must make an in-person appointment with their academic advisor. At your meeting you will need to provide your academic advisor with the following:

ACT or SAT scores: These may be unofficial, but must show the score broken down into components (for ACT, both the English and Reading subscores must be visible; for SAT, both the Writing and Critical Reading subscores must be visible).

If you have never taken the ACT or SAT, or if your scores from those tests are from before 2002, for ACT, or 2008, for SAT, you should plan to provide 8-10 pages of writing that you have done for coursework at a previous institution (such as a high school or community college) or professionally (memos, emails sent to superiors, reports, etc.) to the Writing Program Director prior to the in-person meeting with your academic advisor. Please ensure that you include with your writing sample your legal name, your WIU email address, and your WIU ID number.

If you prefer to submit your writing in hard copy, you may mail your work to the following address:

Dr. Magdelyn Helwig
129 Simpkins Hall
Western Illinois University
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455

You may also bring your work in person to Simpkins 127, M-F between 8:30 and noon and 1 and 4:30.

If you prefer to submit your writing electronically, please put each writing sample in a separate file. Label these files according to content and include your last name (for example: WritingSample1Name.doc). Files must be saved as either Word files (.doc or .docx) or Portable Document Files (.pdf). Send your portfolio to Dr. Helwig at You may attach each file separately, or you may put all files into a single folder, compress the folder, and attach the compressed folder.


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