Who has to take the Multilingual Writer Placement?

All students who submitted English-language proficiency test scores (such as TOEFL and DET scores) to Admissions are required to take the Multilingual Writer Placement before taking a CAS WR course. This applies to both international and domestic students.

The presence of an English-language proficiency test score on your BU record is the only thing that determines if you have to take the placement or not. Other information about your background (ex. you attended an American high school, you took AP classes, you got high TOEFL scores, you weren’t required to submit the scores) will be considered later in the placement process.

Note: Transfer students who have approved transfer credit for CAS WR 13* (equivalent to WR 120) and/or CAS WR 16* (equivalent to WR 151, WR 152, or WR 153) are NOT required to take the placement. You may still desire to, however: the writing placement results, along with transfer course equivalencies, and a conversation with your advisor, can be useful to determine which writing courses you will need to complete your requirements. Please consult with your advisor about your options for fulfilling your Hub writing requirements.

Classes at my high school were taught in English. I have high TOEFL scores or other high test scores. I’ve lived in the United States for a long time. I wasn’t required to submit scores to Admissions, but I did so voluntarily. Do I still have to take the placement?

If you submitted English-proficiency test scores to Admissions and will be taking a CAS WR 120 at any point, you are required to take the placement. Students are not exempted from the placement for any of the reasons mentioned above, but you will have the opportunity to explain these and other factors during the placement.

I have WR transfer credit. Do I still need to take the placement?

Transfer students who have approved transfer credit for CAS WR 13* (equivalent to WR 120) and/or CAS WR 16* (equivalent to WR 151, WR 152, or WR 153) are NOT required to take the placement. You may still desire to, however: the writing placement results, along with transfer course equivalencies, and a conversation with your advisor, can be useful to determine which writing courses you will need to complete your requirements. Please consult with your advisor about your options for fulfilling your Hub writing requirements.

What class level should I register for if I have WR transfer credit?

If your CAS WR transfer credit is a lower level than your placement, we strongly advise that you register for the level of your placement. CAS WR 01* transfer credit is the same level as WR 111. CAS WR 02* transfer credit is the same level as WR 112. For example, if you received a placement of WR 112 and only have WR 01* transfer credit (equal to WR 111), you should take WR 112.

The Writing Program strongly recommends that ELL transfer students begin the WR sequence at the level of their placement. However, you may register for the higher level class if you choose to. Please consult with your advisor before choosing this option. It may be difficult for students to succeed in a class that is a higher level than their placement, especially if it is more than one level higher than their placement.

CAS WR 01* transfer credit fulfills the prerequisite for CAS WR 112. If you placed into WR 111 and have WR 01* transfer credit, the program strongly recommends that you register for WR 111, but you are allowed to start with WR 112 at your own risk.

CAS WR 02* transfer credit fulfills the prerequisite for CAS WR 120 for transfer students. If you placed into WR 111 or WR 112, the program strongly recommends that you register for your test placement level or no more than one level higher at most, but you are allowed to start with WR 120 at your own risk. If you choose to do that, we strongly recommend you take a WR 120 ELL section for extra support (WR 120 sections that have “English Language Learners Only” as a class note).

CAS WR 13* and CAS WR 16* transfer credit fulfill the prerequisite for the CAS WR 151, WR 152, and WR 153 for transfer students. If you place into WR 111 or WR 112, the program the program strongly recommends that you register for your test placement level or no more than one level higher at most, but you are allowed to start with a WR 15x-level course at your own risk. 

I am not sure if I need to take the placement. How do I find out if I need to take it?

Your advisor or the advising office for your BU college should be able to tell you if you need to take the placement. You may also email writing@bu.edu to check.

Do I need to register for the placement in advance?

You do not need to register. If you are an incoming first-year or transfer student, your advising office will send you the placement session dates and instructions. You can take the placement any day or time during a given session. You can see the session dates on the Placement page of the Writing Program website closer to the summer.

If you can’t take the placement at any of the scheduled sessions, please submit a Placement Help Form to request a different time.

How long is the placement, and what is it like?

The placement is an online, reflective, interactive experience, like a mini online “course” with just one class session. You will need to read, write (type), answer questions, watch and listen to videos, and think about your past and present writing skills and experiences during the placement.

What if I have a technical problem with the placement?

If you have a problem, please submit the Placement Help Form. Please describe what happened in as much detail as you can.

What are the possible placements? 

You will be placed in WR 111, WR 112, or WR 120, and you should register for the level course that your placement indicates.

If you are taking WR 120, you may choose to register for a WR 120 ELL section. These are WR 120 sections that spend extra time addressing common ELL writing challenges in addition to the material covered in standard WR 120 sections. WR 120 ELL sections are taught by instructors who have experience working with non-native English speakers. WR 120 ELL sections fulfill the same writing requirements as other WR 120 sections and appear the same on your student record and transcript.

How will I find out my placement?

You will find out your recommended level at the end of the online placement. In addition, your advisor or college’s advising office will contact you to notify you of your placement about 1-2 weeks after the end of your placement session.

What should I do if I have concerns or questions about my placement?

If you have questions or concerns about your placement, you may submit a Placement Help Form to request a review of your placement. On the form, you are welcome to provide additional information about your educational or personal background that relates to your writing skills. The Director of ELL will review your test and consider the additional information.

I attended the WR class I placed into, but it seems much too easy or much too hard for me. What should I do?

Please speak with your WR instructor about your concern as soon as possible, ideally after the first or second day of class, as the deadline to add a WR course is very early (7 days from the first day of classes–one week earlier than the standard add deadline for other classes). You may also discuss your placement with your advisor and reach out to Christina Michaud, the Director of ELL Writing, with questions. If you need to switch levels, it is best to do it as soon as possible so you do not miss much work in the new class.

I’m an English language learner, and I’m not sure I’m in the correct course. 

Please refer to our advising guide.