Directed Self-Placement (DSP)

The 2018 Wake Forest Directed Self-Placement (DSP) will be due on June 1, 2018, at 11:59pm EST. The prompt will be available starting May 24, 2018. All incoming first-year students, regardless of AP or IB credit, complete the DSP

The 2017 DSP Task

In Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, Elizabeth Kolbert reviews research focused on whether there is a connection between strong feelings about issues and deep understanding about those issues. After reading Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, write an essay in which you analyze and explain what you see as Kolbert’s main argument about the relation between strong feelings and deep understanding about issues.

Write an 800-1000 word academic essay that addresses the prompt that includes the following:

  1. Audience: write for an academic audience who may or may not have read Kolbert’s article.
  2.     Focus: develop your essay around a clear, thoughtful, and compelling explanation of the key ideas in Kolbert’s text.
  3.     Evidence: support your analysis with well-chosen evidence from Kolbert’s article.
  4.     Structure: organize your essay in a way that supports and clarifies your key ideas.

When you have finished your DSP essay, click here to submit your DSP essay and answer the 10 reflection questions

For questions about the DSP process, please contact Laura Denlinger,; 336-758-5768 or


WFU DSP in more detail:

At Wake Forest University, you have the opportunity to decide which first writing course is most appropriate for you. The DSP process helps you make that decision. For the 2017 DSP, you will read an article, write an academic essay in response to a writing prompt, submit your essay online, and answer 10 reflective questions about your experiences as a reader and writer. Because writing is essential to a university education, Wake Forest University requires all entering, first-year students to complete the DSP process before enrolling in their first writing course, regardless of AP or IB credit.

All newly enrolled students should submit the DSP essay and reflective questions by June 9, 2017.

As its name indicates, Directed Self-Placement (DSP) is especially useful for your own reflection and self-assessment. The essays and reflective question responses are not used to evaluate you or place you in a course; and you will not receive formal feedback on your essay or questions. Rather, the DSP process simulates a college-level reading and writing task through which you self-reflect on your preparedness for college-level writing. You will receive a course recommendation based on your answers to the reflective questions before the first round of course registration in July. You are invited to consider this recommendation alongside your other writing and reading experiences as you make the important choice about your first writing course. After you have finished the process and registered for your courses, your DSP essay will be sent to the professor of your first writing course so that he or she can see some of your writing before the start of the fall semester.

For information about the importance of DSP: DSP Video