Welcome New Students

WRITING PLACEMENT

One of your requirements for the Program of Liberal Studies is the Verbal Expression (VE) requirement. As the University catalog explains, these courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking. You MUST take one VE course, preferably during your first year.

We want to make certain that as a first-year student you register for the writing class that will best prepare you for the writing you'll do throughout your four years at Clark, whatever discipline you specialize in. To ensure that you register for the right writing course(s), you must complete the writing placement process and submit your questionnaire and placement essay by Saturday, January 3, 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does everyone have to complete the writing placement process?

A:  Yes! All incoming Clark students must complete the writing placement process and submit a writing placement essay by January 3, 2015.

How do I complete the writing placement process?

A:  To complete the writing placement process you will fill out a questionnaire that will help us understand more about your writing experience. Download the posted reading and the essay question. Write an essay of approximately 500 words. Then upload your essay.

All of this is done right here on the Welcome site but you must be logged in for access.

How will I be evaluated?

A:  The faculty members who read your essay will assess the strength of the essay's:

  • ideas and argument;
  • organization;
  • use of evidence and engagement with the posted reading;
  • in addition, the faculty readers will consider your essay's style and grammar.

Faculty readers are not just from English; they are also from fields as diverse as sociology, biology, economics, theater arts, philosophy and management. The faculty readers' evaluations of your essay will determine your writing placement. If the two faculty readers who read your essay disagree on your placement, your essay will be read by a third refereeing reader. Throughout the placement process your questionnaire will help us learn about your reading and writing experiences.

When will I find out what my writing placement is?

A:  The status of your writing placement will be posted on the homepage "checklist" of this site so check back on this site frequently.

What if I completed an Advanced Placement course and/or took an Advanced Placement test?

A:  Even if you took the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you must complete the writing placement process. Note: The ONLY exceptions are if (1) you have completed a college-level writing course or (2) you took the Advanced Placement in Literature and Composition previously and already have your score. Otherwise, you must complete Clark's Writing Placement process.

When Clark University has received your score on the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, we will, if necessary, change your placement as follows:

  1. If you receive a score of 5 on your Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will be exempt from your Verbal Expression (VE) requirement. (The VE requirement is part of Clark's Program of Liberal Studies. More about the VE requirement.)
  2. If you receive a score of 4 on the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will eligible to take any course at the VE level.
  3. If you receive a score of 3 or below on your Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will keep the same placement you were assigned in the Writing Placement process.

Fill out the Advanced Placement Form (you must be logged in) to report when you took the AP test, any advanced standing credits or a previous score received from the AP Literature and Composition exam.

What if English is not my native language?

A:  If English is not your native language, you will still complete the same Writing Placement process and respond to the same essay question as all other incoming first-year students. This will help us determine the appropriate writing placement for you.

If English is not your native/first/only language, please be certain to note this on the appropriate question in the writing placement questionnaire you complete as the first step of the writing placement process.

Should I write and revise my essay by myself?

A:  We strongly encourage that you not receive any help planning, writing, or revising this essay. It is important that you submit a true representation of your own writing if you wish be placed in the appropriate class. You will, however, be asked to state whether or not you received any help with your essay. Please answer honestly and completely. Read Clark University's Academic Integrity Policies.

What if I have other questions about the writing placement process?

A:  If you have questions about the writing placement process, or feel you do not have sufficient online access to complete the writing placement process online, please contact Jennifer Plante by e-mail or by phone at (508) 793-7469. Learn more about Clark's Writing Center.