Online Writing Placement

Students who are new to Bowling Green State University are asked to write a placement essay which determines the appropriate course in the General Studies Writing Program for them to enter:

  • GSW 1100, Intensive Introduction to Academic Writing,
  • GSW 1110, Introduction to Academic Writing, or
  • GSW 1120, Academic Writing.  

To this end, the General Studies Writing Program has designed an online placement process which allows incoming students to write and submit their placement essay in the comfort of their own home or high school—and to choose the day upon which they do so.

The online placement process works like this: students access BGSU’s writing placement site online, where they are provided with a short article of interest.  After reading the article, the students are asked to write an essay in response to one of three prompts which relate to the subject matter discussed in the article.  Students are allotted 24 hours in which to read the article, take notes, write a short essay, proofread and edit their work, and submit the essay on BGSU’s site. The essay must be produced without assistance from anyone and without any other sources; only the article read on the placement site can be used as a source. The the entire process ordinarily does not take more than a couple of hours.

Writing Placement

You will be given a choice of three possible writing prompts related to the essay you were asked to read. Read each prompt carefully and then choose ONE you wish to write on.

While you are expected to spend no more than two hours writing an essay of no more than 800 words in response to the prompt you selected, you will actually have a 24-hour window within which to submit your essay. The 24-hour period will begin when you first access the site and will end 24 hours later; you may access the site an unlimited number of times within that 24-hour period, and you may submit your essay at any point in that 24-hour period. However, you may submit only one essay.

You are encouraged to write your essay using your own word processing software (such as Word), and must cut and paste your essay into the writing placement text box to submit your essay.

When your 24-hour window for submitting your essay has ended, your access to the site will end, so be sure to complete and submit your essay within that 24-hour period.

To complete the writing placement:

  • Log on to and enter your BGSU username and password. If you do not have a home computer with an Internet connection, access is available at most schools and public libraries.
  • Hover your cursor over the "Students" tab at the top of the page and click on "New Students."
  • On New Students page, click "Placement Test" on the left-hand side and follow the instructions. 

At the entry pages you can obtain instructions and additional information about the process, and proceed to complete the placement. 

Once you have successfully submitted your essay, you will receive an email sent to your BGSU email account notifying you that BGSU has received your placement.  You will learn the results of your essay at orientation.

It is strongly recommended that students submit their placement essay as early as possible, to allow ample time for the essay to be evaluated prior to the student’s summer orientation program.

Why am I required to take the placement online by May 1st?

Relaxed setting. When you are relaxed in the testing environment, such as your own home or another familiar location, your performance may be enhanced.

Convenience. You can take the online placement at any time of day.

Skills. You can take the placement while skills from high school are still fresh in your mind.

Decreased fatigue. Often after a long drive to campus, fatigue may affect test performance.

Increased opportunities. With placement completed before you arrive, you can focus on learning more about BGSU as well as meeting other new students, faculty and staff.

What if I have technical problems while taking the placement?

If you have computer-related questions, please contact the Technology Support Center at 419-372-0999 or Live Chat.
Computer requirements for completing the online tests include a minimum Web browser of Internet Explorer 6. If you have disabled the cookies on your computer, you will need to refer to the "Computer Requirements" link on the community entrance page for further information. If you need additional assistance regarding your computer settings, contact the Technology Support Center at (419)372-0999.

For additional information regarding BGSU’s writing placement, please contact the General Studies Writing Program at 419-372-7885.