Welcome to the CSU Composition Placement Program

Critical reading and writing skills are significant components of every program and degree at CSU.  Moreover, research at CSU, as well as nation-wide, demonstrates a clear connection between academic success and the ability to write effectively for various audiences.  The CSU Composition Placement Program is designed to ensure that you register for the composition course most suited to your needs, CO130: Academic Writing or CO150: College Composition.

Students with transfer credit for CO130 can register for CO150 without completing the Directed Self-Placement Survey or writing the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay.

Students with transfer credit for CO150: College Composition have satisfied the All-University Core Curriculum Intermediate Writing requirement (AUCC Category 1A).  You do not need to write the Composition Placement Essay nor complete the Directed Self-Placement Survey.

The flow chart below illustrates CSU’s Composition Placement procedures.

If you have taken more than one test (for example, the ACT AND the SAT; or the TOEFL AND the SAT), we look at the highest score to determine composition placement. For example, if a student has an ACT COMPOSITE score of 18 and an SAT Verbal/Critical Reading score of 610, the SAT score is highest and places them into Group 1.

Match your highest test score (on the ACT, SAT, TOEFL IBT/PBT, IELTS or PTE) to the appropriate group.  Note that students admitted to CSU without any test scores will place automatically into Group 3.

Be sure to review the Frequently Asked Questions after the chart for additional information.


Click here to view this information in a table format.

Here is a quick guide about the differences between CO130: Academic Writing and CO150: College Composition:

CO130: Academic Writing is designed for students who require significant background to be prepared to take CO150.  The course includes extensive practice with a fewer number of writing assignments and instruction in critical reading, writing skills, and grammar and mechanics for Standard Edited English.  Significant time is dedicated to teaching students strategies for idea development, organization, citing sources, etc. to help writers build a repertoire of strategies to effectively communicate.  This 3-credit course offers elective credit; successful completion allows you to register for CO150, preferably in the following semester.

CO150: College Composition is designed for students who have successfully completed high school English courses, have a lot of recent experience with a variety of writing tasks, and who are motivated to enhance their critical reading and writing skills for college classes and beyond.  The course moves at a moderately faster pace than CO130, and objectives include writing for various audiences and purposes, including writing well-developed researched essays using multiple sources.  This 3-credit course fulfills the All-University Core Curriculum Intermediate Writing Requirement (AUCC Category 1A).

The CSU Composition Placement Program is directed by Nancy Henke.  For questions about the program, please contact Sue Russell, Composition Program Assistant, at (970) 491-1898 or email her at Sue.Russell@colostate.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions: