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 is an alternative to timed placement tests like the EPT; it is a more effective mechanism for placing students in 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.1.) in the English Department's innovative stretch composition program. This program offers five writing courses of varying lengths to meet the goals and interests of all incoming CSUSB students:

  • Stretch Composition (3 quarters),
  • Stretch Composition for Multilingual Students (3 quarters),
  • Accelerated Stretch Composition (2 quarters),
  • Accelerated Stretch Composition for Multilingual Students (2 quarters), and
  • Advanced First-Year Composition (1 quarter).

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. The longer the sequence you enroll in, the more opportunity you have 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 and Accelerated 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 quarter to quarter 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 writing 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 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 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 30 - 45 minutes. Once you begin, you will not be able to exit and re-enter the survey, so plan accordingly! To begin, click the DSP Survey button to your left.

Reporting Enrollment Problems:

If you are unable to enroll in your preferred first year composition (FYC) course please report the problem by using the "FYC Registration Problem" link to your left and following the directions. This will help us keep track of enrollment challenges and allow us to contact interested students if new sections open before the start of the quarter.

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 associate professor of English at