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Writing Self-Placement and W-I Writing Courses


Overview of Our Guidelines

Most first year students are required to take a W-I writing course as part of the general education curriculum. To determine which writing class you will register for at orientation, you may have to take a Writing Self-Placement test.


Exemptions from W-I

Some students may be exempt from the W-I course altogether. Students who are exempt from the W-I writing course do not complete writing self-placement and may advance to their W-II writing course. Please carefully read Salem State's full exemption policy.


Honors Students

Students accepted and committed to the Commonwealth Honors Program do not need to complete writing self-placement. They are required to take either ENL 110H: Freshman Honors Writing (satisfies the W-I requirement) or ENL 225H: Advanced Writing in Honors (satisfies the W-II requirement). Most honors students will take ENL 110H, but those who have placed out of the W-I requirement must take ENL 225H.


International Students

International students do not need to complete the writing self-placement during orientation. You will register for ENL 109.


High School GPA

If your high school GPA was 2.7 or higher, you will have the option at orientation to choose ENL 110 or ENL 109; both courses satisfy the W-I requirement. You may prefer ENL 109 if you speak more than one language at home or school (this course is designed for multilingual or ESL writers). If you would like to speak to a faculty expert who could walk you through the differences between ENL 109 and ENL 110, please email


Writing Self-Placement

If you do not meet the above requirements, you must complete the Writing Self-Placement Exam. Before starting, please carefully read the instructions for completing the Writing Self-Placement Exam.

Complete your Writing Self-Placement Exam.



We're here to help — please email with any questions, and we will get back to you shortly.

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