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Directed Self-Placement

Welcome to Directed Self-Placement (DSP) at CSUSB

Take the DSP Survey

Your visit to the DSP homepage begins your journey through First Year Composition (FYC) at CSUSB. Welcome! Our writing faculty look forward to working with you. Before then, however, you will need to choose your first year composition course. This site will explain and guide you through that process.

What is DSP?

DSP—Directed Self-Placement—is an alternative to standardized placement processes for First-Year Writing courses. DSP allows students a means for selecting first year writing courses that are appropriate to their experiences, interests, and goals. As the name directed self-placement suggests, you will be making your own decision about which first year composition course suits you – with the help of our DSP survey. The DSP survey will guide you through a self-assessment of your current reading and writing practices, offer you suggestions based on your results, and provide you with a thoughtful overview of the available course options. By considering your own history and development as a reader, writer, and learner in relation to the first year composition course options at CSUSB, we believe that you will be able to make an informed and wise choice about your first year writing sequence.

The First Year Composition (FYC) Program:

You will complete your General Education Written Communication requirement (GE A.2) in the English Department's innovative stretch composition program. This program offers four writing courses of varying lengths to meet the goals and interests of all incoming CSUSB students:

  • 1050A-1060A: Stretch Composition I & II (2 semesters)
  • 1050B-1060B: Stretch Composition I & II for Multilingual Students (2 semesters)
  • 1070A: First-Year Composition (1 semester)
  • 1070B: First-Year Composition for Multilingual Students (1 semester)

A key feature of our program is that ALL of these courses are COLLEGE LEVEL. No matter which course you enter, you will be engaged in college-level reading, writing, and thinking, from beginning to end. The primary difference among them is the amount of time they allow for developing and practicing this college-level work. If you enroll in a two-semester sequence, you will have more time to develop and reinforce college-level reading and writing practices.

This is important because we know that writing and reading practices are acquired recursively – by repeated experiences that allow you to use, re-use, and reinvent these practices to meet the demands of new occasions for writing.

Another key feature of the program is this: in our Stretch Composition courses, all the students and the instructor stay together for the duration of the sequence. This ensures the coherence of the curriculum from semester to semester and encourages the development of exceptional working relationships among students and with the instructor.

We encourage you to take your time with our survey and make a thoughtful decision about which first-year composition sequence to enroll in.

The DSP Process:

We have designed an easy to use DSP Survey to help you make your first year composition course selection. The DSP Survey will ask you to do the following:

  1. Provide some personal information, including your COYOTE ID #.
  2. Take a short self-reflective survey about your reading, writing, and learning practices and experiences.
  3. Print or take a screen shot of the results of your survey.
  4. Read about which course sequences might be right for you, based on your survey answers.
  5. Look over all the options in the program.
  6. Choose the sequence that seems like your best fit.
  7. Submit your selection along with the reason for your choice.
  8. Print or take a screen shot of your DSP receipt, which will contain your name, Coyote ID number, and your course selection information. You will need your receipt at orientation (SOAR or International Student Orientation) for registration purposes.

Please expect that your DSP process will take about 30 minutes. Once you begin, you will not be able to exit and re-enter the survey, so plan accordingly! You can, however, repeat the survey if you need to. To begin, click the DSP Survey button to your left.

Questions or problems?

If you have difficulty with our website or questions about DSP that our FAQ page doesn't cover, please email Dr. Karen Rowan, DSP director and Professor of English at