Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Entry Level Writing Requirement? 

The University of California requires all undergraduate students to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition by meeting the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR).

What happens if I don't meet the ELWR prior to my enrollment?

All students who have not previously satisfied the ELWR must take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE) prior to enrollment at UC San Diego in order to determine whether they are ready to enroll in the College Writing courses.

What happens if I don’t pass the AWPE?

Students who do not pass the AWPE are instructed to enroll immediately in the AWP course in which they are placed (either AWP 1 or AWP 2A) during their first quarter at UC San Diego. Students who enroll in AWP 2A are required to enroll in AWP 2B in the subsequent term. Earning a grade of C or better in AWP 1 or AWP 2A-2B satisfies the Entry Level Writing Requirement.

The AWP courses have a strict attendance policy. Be sure to attend every class meeting during the first week of the quarter. If you miss this enrollment, you will have wasted one of the quarters allotted you for fulfilling the ELWR.

Why was I placed in AWP 2A?

AWP 2A-2B is a two-course sequence for students whose AWPE indicates that they would benefit from extra English language support in order to develop their critical thinking and writing abilities. Students who successfully complete AWP 2A will receive a grade of IP (in progress) at the end of the quarter and must take AWP 2B the following quarter, with the same instructor.

At the end of AWP 2B, students will submit their portfolio for evaluation. If the portfolio demonstrates readiness for College Writing, the student will pass directly to College Writing. If the portfolio does not demonstrate readiness for College Writing, the student will enroll in AWP 1 the following term. Students will not be able to repeat the AWP 2A-2B sequence. 

How many quarters do I have in order to fulfill the ELWR?

Each quarter in which a student does not enroll counts as a lost term of eligibility.

Students placed in AWP 1 will have up to three consecutive quarters to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement, whether they enroll or not.

Students placed in AWP 2A will generally have up to five consecutive quarters to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement, whether they enroll or not. Students who take AWP 2A and AWP 2B in the first two quarters and do not pass can thus enroll in AWP 1 for up to three subsequent quarters. Students who do not successfully complete 2A within the first three quarters will be prohibited from further enrollment at UC San Diego.

Regardless of placement, no student can take more than three quarters of AWP 1.

Can I take AWP courses in Summer Session?

Students must receive department approval to enroll in AWP 1 in summer session. AWP 1 is only open to students who have exhausted their eligibility. Exceptions may be made for students who have completed AWP 2A and AWP 2B or students who have completed at least one quarter of AWP 1 only if there are seat available after all “last chance” students have been accommodated. Enrolling in AWP 1 during the summer does not count towards your allotted ELWR quarters of eligibility.

Students who pass AWP 1 in the summer with a C or better can then enroll in their College Writing courses in the fall. "Last chance" students who do not pass are prohibited from further enrollment at UC San Diego.

For current summer session offerings, see Courses.

Can AWP courses be counted toward my graduation requirements, GPA, or financial assistance requirements?

Under Academic Senate regulations, AWP 1, AWP 2A, and AWP 2B cannot be counted toward graduation requirements or factored into GPA. Still, the course units do count as workload credit toward the minimum progress requirement and toward eligibility for financial assistance.

Is there an exit exam that I need to pass before I can enroll in College Writing?

No. In Fall 2015, the university eliminated the exit exam and replaced it with a culminating portfolio. The portfolio, which includes several pieces of writing, is assessed by the student’s instructor and at least one other reader. For more information on the portfolios, see our grading policy. If the portfolio demonstrates that the student is ready for College Writing, the student will move on. If not, a student will enroll in an additional AWP course as long as they have not exceeded their ELWR quarters of eligibility.

Can I appeal the outcome of my AWPE or AWP course portfolio? 

No. AWPE and portfolio results cannot be appealed except in the rare case that a student has been discriminated against. Please see our policy on appeals.


Contact the Analytical Writing Program if you have any questions.