START: Placement Instructions
The Learning & Advising Center staff is happy that you have decided to join the Philadelphia University community. As a first-year student, you will be enrolled in your semester courses according to the requirements for your major. Since you will receive your semester schedule at the START orientation sessions, it is important that we know more about your math and writing preparation as soon as possible.
We require that you complete a short online Math Questionnaire and timed Writing Placement Essay so that we can place you into appropriate level math and writing courses.*
The Philadelphia University Learning & Advising Center staff are looking forward to meeting you at your START session. You can find more good information at our website, including Advising Answers for Parents and Advising Answers for Transfer Students. In the meantime, if you have general questions about the Math Questionnaire or Writing Placement Essay, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more specific questions about writing placement, please contact Katie Gindlesparger, Director of the Writing Program, at email@example.com or 215.951.2600.
How to Complete the Placement Tests
1. Log in to WebAdvisor: https://wa.philau.edu. Use your unique Philadelphia University username and password.
2. Once logged in, click "New Students." Make sure you read over all of the information presented on the page, as it will answer many of your questions.
3. Scroll down to the box labelled Getting STARTed-Required. Click on either "Complete Math Questionnaire" or "Timed Writing Placement." You will be taken to the Blackboard LogIn.
4. Use the SAME username and password that you used to log in to WebAdvisor.
5. Once logged in to Blackboard, locate the My Courses box on the right-hand side. Choose either the "Math Placement" or "Writing Placement" link. Then, please read all instructions for beginning the tests.
6. The Math Questionnaire consists of 3 yes/no questions.
7. Though you have a choice of two topics for the Writing Placement, you will only need to complete ONE essay. Please read the Example essays and directions BEFORE you begin the timed test.
*Students in all majors and programs at Philadelphia University are considered for placement in three curriculum areas: Writing, Mathematics and Reading.
All new first time freshmen (and transfer students who do not receive course equivalency for WRTG) are required to complete a timed, on-line Writing Placement Essay prior to attending their START session. Writing Placement essays will be graded by Writing faculty members from the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. Writing assessment scores will determine the best writing course placement for student success in the freshman year. If a student places into WRTG 100 they will receive free elective credit for this course; after successfully passing this course with a “C” or better they will take WRTG 101 to meet their WRTG 1 graduation requirement.
Writing Placement essays should take no longer than 50 minutes to complete a thorough thesis driven essay. However, all students will be allotted a maximum of 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes) for the writing placement essay to ensure that students who are entitled to extended time under the Americans with Disabilities Act, will have appropriate time for this essay.
Math placement is determined by examining three distinct data points for all students. These include students’ SAT scores, their answers to a Math Questionnaire administered on-line prior to their START session, as well as the Mathematics requirements of the major to which students have been admitted. Students who took Advanced Placement examinations in Math may, in some cases, have their Math placement determined by their advanced placement exam score.
Students who score 470 and below on the verbal portion of the SAT, or 20 and below on the ACT Reading test will place into Fundamentals of College Reading. This course must be completed in the first semester at Philadelphia University and prior to all reading intensive courses required for first year students.