University Writing Portfolio FAQs

We have provided guidance below on important topics that frequently come up when answering questions students have had about the University Writing Portfolio.

You are welcome to submit any kind of writing that you believe showcases your abilities to write at the college level. This might look like a research paper or an argumentative paper, but it could also look like a case study, a literature review, an infographic with a cover letter, a business letter or memo, a lab report (as long as it contains an introduction, lit review, discussion, and/or conclusion section), a financial analysis, a design proposal, or a how-to manual. To put it another way, there are very few limits or restrictions. We do recommend that you look for a piece of writing with 500 words or more, but that is not a concrete requirement.

In the submission site, you will be asked to tell the readers about the writing you selected for the UWP. If you have chosen to submit writing that is specific to your discipline and may be unfamiliar to your UWP readers, be ready to explain in greater detail what the writing shows about your abilities. Regardless, be sure that you can explain your choices.

Ask yourself a few questions when selecting your writing for the UWP: Am I particularly proud of this piece of writing? What does this writing highlight in terms of my strengths as a writer and a communicator? Does this writing show what I am capable of as a college student? What does this writing show about my readiness for upper-division writing or writing in my future career?

If you enter the submission site but do not complete the portfolio within 72 hours, the system will automatically log your submission as “incomplete.” You will get an error when you try to enter through that link again. This means you can wait until the next link opens, or you can clear your web browser’s history, cookies, and cache in order to get back into the project.

If you realize you uploaded the wrong documents or otherwise messed up your submission, you are welcome to resubmit right away or in a later link posted to our website. If you did submit a complete portfolio, albeit with incorrect documents or information, email so that we can delete your incorrect submission. If you try to resubmit immediately after submitting a complete portfolio, you will need to clear your web browser’s history, cookies, and cache in order to get back into the project.

We do not recommend submitting more than one paper from the same course, but it is technically allowed. Specifically, your goal in putting together this portfolio is to demonstrate your abilities as a college writer, not as a writer for a specific course or within a certain genre. That being said, if you have two papers from one course that you are particularly proud of and you can explain that reasoning in your reflection within the submission site, then go for it.

Although we discourage students from submitting group work, you may submit a group assignment as long as the portion you wrote is highlighted and your answers to the reflection questions are thorough and clearly related to the sections you indicated as your own. It must be clear to the reader which sections are attributed to you.

You are absolutely welcome to submit papers that you wrote for a class at a different institution. That is, as long as you wrote it for a college-level course, you are welcome to submit it.

Within Qualtrics, you will be asked to tell the reader about “original prompts”—the assignments or instructions for each paper you include. You do not need to reach out to your professors to locate the original instructions or grades for these assignments; rather, do your best to describe the prompt or instructions from memory. You are welcome to copy and paste the instructions—or parts of it—if you do have the original assignment.

One purpose of the UWP is to gauge whether students are developing the foundation of writing skills necessary for upper-division courses. The registration hold at 60 credits signifies a “due date” for the portfolio and ensures students are assessed at the accurate point in their college experience. The hold establishes a timeline so that graduation is not delayed because of the UWP. The registration hold is removed by the Writing Program when a student submits the portfolio. Because of the reasons explained above, the Writing Program rarely removes holds without submission of the portfolio. Transfer students and nontraditional students should contact the Writing Program if they experience obstacles in submitting their portfolio.

Portfolio results will be available to students approximately four weeks after the submission link closes. It is important to distinguish here between the date a student submits and the date a link closes; evaluation of submissions does not begin until the Qualtrics link expires. The UWP page shows the link closure dates.

Results can be found in myWSU; we do not send emails about results. Portfolios evaluated as “completed” will result in an updated milestone, whereas portfolios determined to show a need for writing support will yield a service indicator called Writing Portfolio 1 or 2. These indicators can be expanded to show the required course (Write 302, Write 205, or English 202). All students will receive a notice in My.Wsu explaining their results, commenting on their writing, and noting any further requirements.

If you are dissatisfied with your results, you may write a formal, respectful letter of appeal to our writing assessment appeals team (comprised of several WSU faculty from across disciplines) addressing your concerns.

We recommend that your letter includes explanation of why you selected the two papers and what they show about your abilities as a writer. You might consider those papers in the context of your discipline, future career, or progress so far as a writer. Your letter should also include background information including your major, the term in which you submitted the portfolio originally, and the courses that assigned the two papers you included. Be sure to think carefully about your purpose and your audience as you write your letter of appeal.

Email your letter of appeal as an attachment (must be either PDF, DOC, or DOCX) to The subject line should read “UWP Appeal Letter.” Appeals must be submitted to the Writing Program within one calendar year from when your results were posted in My.Wsu.

We appreciate that many of you completed the timed write in a previous semester and we recognize that many of you will be frustrated to know that this document is no longer a necessary or viable component for the University Writing Portfolio. The constraints of the pandemic and social distancing make those physical blue books inaccessible; all aspects of the UWP must be digital and accessible to our assessment team remotely. A silver lining here is that students no longer have the timed write to worry about; the Writing Program staff and assessment team members are eager to read the best writing WSU students can compose as opposed to an essay composed under time constraints and about a topic likely of no interest to the writer. Overall, the Writing Program staff believes that the move to eliminate the timed write benefits most, if not all students.

The UWP fee was established through the WSU Fee Committee of the President’s Office in the early 1990s and exists to support the evaluation and improvement of cross-disciplinary student writing at WSU. The fee is automatically placed onto student accounts at 60 credits.