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Washington State University Global Campus

What is the University Writing Portfolio?

The University Writing Portfolio is a mid-career diagnostic used to determine if students’ writing abilities have advanced in ways that can handle the writing demands of upper-division courses and courses in their major. At WSU, successful completion of the University Writing Portfolio is a requirement for graduation for all undergraduate students, including transfer students with an AA or AS degree.

Student Account Holds and Fees

Students who have not completed the Writing Portfolio by the time they reach 60 credits will have a hold placed on their account that will block their ability to register for Fall and Spring courses. Upon submitting the Writing Portfolio as outlined below, the Writing Center will remove the hold within 48 business hours and results will be posted on myWSU at a later date. If you have any questions about current holds, please reach out to the Writing Center at

A $50 fee is charged to students’ accounts for the writing assessment and evaluation.

Instructions for Submitting the Writing Portfolio

Step 1: Gather Two Writing Samples That Demonstrate Your Best Writing

Gather two writing samples from different college-level courses that are at least 500 words in length. The samples should be academic essays, papers, or course assignments that you believe best demonstrate your writing ability. Transfer students may submit writing samples from previous institution(s) they have transferred from. 

Here are some traits to look for as you deliberate which essays or papers to include:

  • In-depth writing: Your writing is developed well enough to capture the important aspects of your writing topic. This includes any detailed description, explanation, or narration. For this purpose, a well-developed essay should have a minimum of 500 words.
  • Analytical/Critical thinking: Your writing demonstrates your thoughtfulness in drawing connections across different ideas and experiences, explaining the way things are and why they are so, or developing a position or argument on issues or readings and supporting it with properly attributed evidence.
  • Organization: Your writing demonstrates that you thoughtfully placed and connected your ideas. Your organization of ideas into sentences and paragraphs seems intentional.
  • Clarity: You are aware of your audience and write for your reader to understand your thoughts or what the paper is about. You deliberately established and maintained a focus. Your writing clearly expresses your ideas.

Within the submission site, you will be asked to reflect on each essay or paper that you’ve selected with the above features in mind. The University Writing Portfolio readers will consider your answers to the reflection questions as additional texts of your Writing Portfolio.

Step 2: Prepare Your Two Writing Samples for Submission

Prepare your two writing samples for submission:

  • Format each writing sample to either a Word .doc or a pdf.
  • Note the course, term, year, university/college and instructions for each paper, if possible.
  • List your WSU ID number on each sample. 

Step 3: Get Ready to Start Your Submission

After you have completed Steps 1 and 2, find at least a 2-4 hour block of time to submit your Writing Portfolio. The submission process is through Qualtrics, a software survey tool. The link to begin your submission is provided in Step 4.

Before you begin, please note:

  • Within the submission site, you will be asked to answer a set of reflective questions in a short essay format. The reflective questions do not have a required length or need citations.
  • Be prepared to answer how your two writing samples demonstrate your strengths and ability as a writer, such as organizational skills, analytical/critical thinking, ability to provide clarity in your essay, and in-depth writing skills.
  • You will be able to exit your unfinished submission and return to finish it within the one week of starting it. If you do not finish within one week, your submission will be marked as incomplete and you will need to wait three weeks until you can attempt to complete it again.
  • It is recommended that you use one browser (i.e., Firefox or Safari) on one computer in one location to submit your portfolio, so you may begin where you left off if you choose to exit and return to complete your submission within one week of starting it.

Step 4: Submit Writing Samples and Answer Reflective Questions

When you are ready to start the steps below, select this link:

University Writing Portfolio Submission: April 12 – May 9, 2021 (The Writing Program will begin reading and evaluating submissions after May 9.)

  • Submit your writing samples.
  • Complete the reflective questions. The reflection questions will ask students to consider why they’ve selected these papers and what they show about their abilities and strengths as college-level writers.
  • Make sure to spend some time editing your response before submitting the portfolio. This will be your final chance to check for spelling or grammatical errors.

Remember, once you start you will be able to exit your unfinished submission and return to finish it within one week of starting it. If you do not finish within one week, your submission will be marked as incomplete and you will need to wait three weeks until you can attempt to complete it again. 

The Writing Portfolio is assessed in three-week cycles during the fall and spring terms. The Writing Program will accept submissions through the summer but will not evaluate those submissions until mid-August.

Step 5: Confirmation of Your Submission and Results

After you have submitted your Writing Portfolio, you will receive an automated confirmation email.

  • If you do not receive an email, you have not submitted a complete portfolio. Log in to the Qualtrics link again and resubmit your writing samples and reflective questions.

Congratulations! Your Writing Portfolio is now complete and will be assessed within four weeks of the submission deadline. Your results will be available under your milestones in myWSU after the evaluation.

If you have any questions, please email the Global Campus Writing Portfolio Coordinator at