Transfer Students

First-Year Writing Requirement

All students at Washington University must satisfy a first-year writing requirement; most do so by taking College Writing. If you have not taken an equivalent course at your previous college or university, you must take College Writing during your first year of study at Washington University. If you have taken an equivalent course, you may be eligible to submit a writing portfolio, which will help us to determine whether or not you are required to take another writing course. Note: Those who transfer in as first-year students are not eligible for portfolio submission.

Engineering students should contact the McKelvey School of Engineering about the engineering English Proficiency Requirement.

Submitting a Writing Portfolio

To find out whether you are eligible to submit a portfolio, complete the Writing Portfolio Eligibility Form. The deadline to submit a writing portfolio is August 1. Students who miss this deadline will be required to take College Writing in their first year of study at Washington University. If you cannot submit your portfolio online, please contact our office by phone at (314) 935-4899 or by email at

Writing Portfolio Eligibility Form

Transfer Writing Portfolio

If you are not eligible to submit a portfolio,

Plan to take College Writing in your first year of study at Washington University.

If you are eligible to submit a portfolio,

You will be redirected to a webpage that allows you to submit a writing portfolio for our review.  On this page you will provide information about your previous course and writing samples from it.

All submitted work must be your own and adhere to the College Writing and Washington University policies on Academic Integrity.

Portfolios should include 3-5 analytical, argumentative essays (minimum of 4 pages each) from previous college coursework, including one researched essay, and a brief description of the original assignment / goals for each essay submitted. Essays should be ones written for college (preferably writing) courses. They should have analytical or argumentative thesis statements; use evidence to support claims; integrate and cite researched sources responsibly; and engage critically with sources. (The following items should not be submitted: responses to essay examinations, personal or creative writing, book reviews, journalism articles, response papers, or writing done during high school.) Where possible, essays should not be marked or graded; grades received in previous courses have no bearing on the portfolio review process.

If you do not have a complete portfolio, you should contact the College Writing Program as soon as possible. In most cases, students who do not have complete portfolios are required to take College Writing.

Some students may also be required to take a placement exam, in addition to the portfolio review process.


If you have further questions, check out our FAQ page or contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions