How do I Complete the Directed Self-Placement Survey (DSP)?

If your standardized test scores place you into Group 2, you will be required to complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Survey. The Survey is not a placement test; it is a 10-minute survey designed to help you decide which composition course — CO130 or CO150 — is right for you.

How do I Find the Directed Self-Placement Survey (DSP)?

To find the Directed Self-Placement Survey:

Please note that only students who place into Group 2 based on their standardized test scores will have access to the DSP link through RamWeb.

Students completing the survey will be assessed a $12 charge, which will be billed to their student account. Payment of these charges is expected even if the student subsequently chooses not to attend Colorado State University after completing the DSP.

Why should I Complete the Directed Self-Placement Survey?

The Directed Self-Placement Survey has 20 questions about your writing process and experiences, critical reading, and rhetorical knowledge. Answer the 20 questions carefully and honestly. Doing so will help you:

  • Gain insight into your current reading and writing practices, especially in light of your prior experience in writing courses
  • Understand what will be expected of you in CSU’s college-level composition courses
  • Decide which composition course—CO130: Academic Writing or CO150: College Composition—is right for you.

In the end, the decision about which writing course to take is yours, and this is your opportunity to make a well-informed decision. 

How are CO130 and CO150 Different?

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

CO130: Academic Writing


This course 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


This course 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).


You may also find this short video useful in understanding the differences between the courses.

When you have completed the DSP, you will be able to register for EITHER CO130 or CO150. Remember, even if the DSP score suggests CO130, you may take CO150 if you feel it’s the best fit for you—and vice-versa. If you are unsure about which course is right for you, you can consult your advisor for additional support and information.

What If I Can’t Find the Link to the DSP?

Please note that only students who place into Group 2 based on their standardized test scores will have access to the DSP link through RamWeb. If you think you fall into Group 2 and cannot access the DSP link through RamWeb, please contact us.

What If I have Transfer Credits from Another Institution?

If you have transfer credit for composition courses, click here for more information.

Are There Sections of CO150 for Non-Native Speakers of English?

If you are not a native speaker of English, you may be interested in our sections of CO150 designed specifically for you. Click here for more information.


The CSU Composition Placement Program is directed by Nancy Henke. For questions about the program, please contact Emily Morgan, Composition Program Coordinator, at (970) 491-1898 or email her at