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University Writing Portfolio

The University Writing Portfolio is a mid-career diagnostic used to determine if students’ writing abilities have advanced in ways that can handle the writing demands of upper-division courses and courses in their major. This assessment is used to identify students who demonstrate a need for structured writing support with upper-division writing requirements, as well as recognize the standard of writing expected of all WSU graduates.

The University Writing Portfolio requires students to select two academic papers they’ve written that they are most proud of, reflect on their writing strengths and abilities demonstrated in those papers, and submit these documents to the Writing Program.

Upon reaching 60 credits, students will receive a registration hold as the final reminder that the University Writing Portfolio is due; students can begin the submission process as soon as they enroll at WSU. In other words, while there is not an exact “due date” for the UWP, students must submit the portfolio during the term in which they have 60 credits and are welcome to submit anytime before then.

Completion of the University Writing Portfolio is a requirement for graduation at Washington State University.

Changes to the University Writing Portfolio in 2020

Beginning in the fall term of 2020, students will submit their University Writing Portfolio (UWP) online rather than with printed copies and in-person. This change comes in part as a response to the restrictions of education during Covid-19 and in part as the natural evolution of the assessment. The Writing Program is currently using Qualtrics as the submission platform.

Students will need to select two of the essays or papers they’ve written for college-level courses to include in the portfolio. Within Qualtrics, students will be guided to reflect on each essay or paper; the reflection questions will ask students to consider why they’ve selected these papers and what they show about their abilities and strengths as college-level writers. The Writing Program has eliminated the Timed Write component of the UWP. Faculty signatures are no longer required, and student are no longer expected to include drafts with grades or faculty comments.


Instructions for Students

Read these instructions very carefully. Failing to do so will result in potentially-severe inconveniences for you.

What to submit:
Select two academic essays or papers that you’ve written for college-level courses and that you think demonstrate your best writing. The readers of the UWP are reviewing your work to ensure that you have the foundation of abilities and skills necessary for success in upper-division, writing-intensive courses in your major. Here are some traits to look for as you deliberate which essays or papers to include:

  • In-depth writing: Your writing is developed well enough to capture the important aspects of your writing topic. This includes any detailed description, explanation, or narration. For this purpose, a well-developed essay should have a minimum of 500 words.
  • Analytical/Critical thinking: Your writing demonstrates your thoughtfulness in drawing connections across different ideas and experiences, explaining the way things are and why they are so, or developing a position or argument on issues or readings and supporting it with property attributed evidence.
  • Organization: Your writing demonstrates that you thoughtfully placed and connected your ideas. Your organization of ideas into sentences and paragraphs seems intentional.
  • Clarity: You are aware of your audience and write for your reader to understand your thoughts or what the paper is about. You deliberately established and maintained a focus. Your writing clearly expresses your ideas.

Within the submission site, you will be asked to reflect on each essay or paper that you’ve selected with the above features in mind. The UWP readers will consider your answers to the reflection questions as additional texts of your University Writing Portfolio.

How to submit:
It is your responsibility to read these instructions and follow them diligently.
Failing to follow these instructions will lead to inconveniences for you, including delayed registration if you are submitting after having received the portfolio registration hold.

  • Be sure the essays or papers you plan to submit are in Doc or PDF formats. Convert them, if necessary.
  • Gather all of the important information necessary: the course, term, and year for each paper or essay; and your WSU information such as ID number. Try to recall the instructions for the papers you’re submitting, or find the assignment itself, if you still have it.
  • Set aside plenty of time to complete the process and remember that you will have only one week to complete the full task once you click on the link.
  • Click on the Qualtrics link below. Remember, once you click this link, you have just one week to finish and submit.
    • Please note: If you exit and return within the same browser (i.e. Firefox or Safari) and within one week, you will return to your place. If you exit and return in a new browser or from a different location or computer, you will be forced to start over. We recommend using one browser on one computer in one location to submit your portfolio.
    • If you do not finish the process in one week, Qualtrics will record your submission as incomplete and you will have to wait up to three weeks for a new Qualtrics link to be posted so that you can start over.
    • You will receive a confirmation email when you successfully submit a completed portfolio. If you do not receive an email, you have not submitted a complete portfolio.

During the academic semesters, a new link will be posted every three weeks. The Writing Program will begin reading and evaluating submissions once a link closes.

Click here when you are ready to submit: University Writing Portfolio April 12 – May 9

This will be the final opportunity to submit your UWP before the end of the term. The Writing Program will accept submissions through the summer but will not evaluate those submissions until mid-August.

WSU Campuses and WSU Online students

Contact your campus Writing Portfolio office with questions or concerns.

If you have further questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions or send us an email.


University Writing Portfolio submissions will be read and evaluated by members of the Writing Program’s UWP assessment team. These readers include faculty, instructors, and para-professional responders from all departments and disciplines who have been trained to review UWP submissions in light of the goals and purposes of the assessment. If a reader has concerns about a student’s writing or readiness for upper-division writing endeavors, they may assign a further course requirement, most commonly in the form of a 1-credit course designed to support you as you work on writing-intensive courses such as M Courses. These portfolios are read by two members of the assessment team. Results will be communicated through My.Wsu.

Completed: The work shows a proficiency in writing suitable for upper-division work at WSU. The University Writing Portfolio requirement will be fulfilled.

In progress: The work shows a need for additional, structured writing assistance in upper-division course work. The student will be required to take additional course work in the form of a one-credit writing collaborative (WRIT 205 or WRIT 302) taken in conjunction with a Writing in the Major [M] courses, or a three-credit writing course. The student must complete the additional course assigned in order to satisfy the University Writing Portfolio requirement. 

Please note: Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university. Any student who attempts to gain an unfair advantage over other students by cheating will have to submit a new University Writing Portfolio and will be reported to the Office Student Standards and Accountability. Cheating is further defined in the Standards for Student Conduct for students, WAC 504-26-010 (3). Read more.