Frequently Asked Questions


How can I get help with writing?

1. Writing / Research Tutors

  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Location: Café area on the 1stfloor of the Marshall Brooks Library
  • Appointments:  Sign up for an appointment at the Tutor Station in the library
  • CLICK HERE to find out What tutors do

2. Wednesday Night Writing Clinics

  • Every Wednesday evening weeks 2 through 14 (excluding Thanksgiving week)
  • 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • School of Government Room #206
  • CLICK HERE to see the Schedule of Clinic Topics

3.  Writing Center Classes and Workshops for FALL 2012




Phase 4 Writing Workshop (0 SH)

WRIT 099

Lynn Horth

Reading Words and the World (3 SH)

WRIT 120

Brian Johnson

Revising and Editing (2 SH)


Erica Popp

Journaling: Writer's Practice (2 SH)

WRIT 159 Ellen Sprague

Analytical Reading (2 SH)

WRIT 230 A

Brian Johnson

Analytical Reading (2 SH) WRIT 230 B Liz Paul

Teaching the Writing Process (4 SH) 

(tutor training course; invitation only)

WRIT 350 Ellen Sprague


CLICK HERE for Descriptions of Writing Center classes and workshops 

What is the W: drive?

The W drive is the Writing Center’s network drive (writprog on ‘Es-filer-01’).  This is where you can find an electronic writing portfolio folder just for you, where you will drop portfolios and writing samples and retrieve your writing evaluations.  This is also where faculty portfolio readers can access and review your portfolio submissions.  You will use this e-portfolio throughout your experience at Principia. 

To access the W: drive:

  1. Click on My Computer, and you will see various drives to access. 
  2. Click on the following drive:  Writprog on ‘Es-filer-01\writcnt’ (W:)
  3. Within this W drive, choose the letter of your surname, and then scroll for your name and double click on your folder.  (If you try this and get an error or “access denied” message, call x5145)
  4. In a second window open the folder where you have stored the documents that you want to drag and drop onto the W drive.
  5. Here you have two options, depending on what you’re trying to do:
    • Access your “Working Space” folder.  Here you can save any of your papers from the Writing Seminar and any other class.  You have both “Read” and “Write” access to this folder, so you can save papers here that are either final or works on progress, edit them, rename files, etc. Note that while you can save writing files here throughout your Principia experience, you cannot save downloads or other personal files to this folder.  Click here to read "Your Dog Can't Eat the W: Drive" for more information.
    • “Drag and drop” your Writing Seminar Portfolio files into the Phase 1 folder.  (Note that you CANNOT do a “Save As” from an open document into this or any other Phase folder, as these are all DROP-ONLY file folders.) Make sure you retain a copy of each dropped paper in another location, such as your “Working Space” folder.  If you hold the “control” key while dropping a file, it will ensure that a copy stays in the original location.  NOTE: the documents inside the folders for Phases1–6 are “Read-Only” and cannot be changed.  

Faculty members will drop evaluations and other communications for you to view into the Evaluations folder.  This is a “Read-Only” folder.

How do I drag and drop on the W: drive?

  1. Click on My Computer.
  2. Open W: Drive (labeled: writprog on ‘Es-filer-01\writcnt’ (W:))
  3. Find file corresponding to first letter of your last name,
  4. Open file labeled Your Name (while you can open the folders labeled Phase 1- Phase 6 to see what’s in them, the documents in these folders are “Read-Only” and cannot be changed or moved. You can only drag and drop documents into them.).
  5. In another window, open the folder containing the file you wish to drop.
  6. Making sure that both windows are visible on screen at the same time, Drag and drop”the appropriate document from your file into the appropriate Writing Center folder as follows:

Where Do I Drop?


Writing SeminarPortfolios (2)

Phase 1

FYEcover letter, annotated bibliography and sample paper

Phase 2

WRPwriting sample

Phase 3

Phase 4writing portfolio          (all pieces)

Phase 4

Phase 5paper

Phase 5

Capstone paper

Phase 6


Can I see papers I’ve dropped on the W: drive?

You should be able to open any of the folders under your name on the W drive.  You have “read-only” access to any of the documents you’ve dropped in these folders.  If you’re getting an “access denied” or other error message, please call the CIS Help Desk at x5600.

Which phase am I on?

Here’s how to find out which phases of Principia’s writing requirement you’ve passed (from K:\Receptionists\ Which Writing Requirements Have I Passed):

  1. Log into Self Service Banner (SSB).
  2. Enter the Secure Area (use ID and PIN).
  3. Select Student Records and Registration.
  4. Select Access Student Records.
  5. Click on Degree Evaluation.
  6. Select the current term.
  7. Either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science will be highlighted — click on whichever one is highlighted.
  8. Click on the circle next to Additional Information
  9. Click Submit.
  10. At the bottom of the page, select Generate New Evaluation.
  11. Select your program.
  12. Select the current term.
  13. Click on Generate Request.
  14. Click on Additional Information.
  15. Click Submit.
  16.  At the top, you will see all six phases listed and your status for each.

 If you still have questions, call the Writing Program Coordinator at ex. 5145.

Do I need a cover letter for Phase 3?

Once you have completed a WRP3/Phase 3 class, all you need to do is drop a sample paper from the class into your Phase 3 folder on the W drive.  No cover letter is required.

What is the deadline for passing the Phase 4 Sophomore Proficiency Portfolio?

Principia College has set a deadline of 89 quarter hours (beginning of the junior year) for completing phase four of our across-the-curriculum writing requirement. This deadline is intended to ensure that students have demonstrated a basic level of writing skill that will enable them to proceed successfully with upper division class work.


Note that there is now only one opportunity to submit Phase 4 each term*If any of your portfolio pieces do not pass, you will have to wait until the following term to resubmit.

 *Click below to review letters sent out Fall 2010 informing students needing to complete Phase 4 about this upcoming change.


 Deadline for both new / initial submissions and resubmissions:


(For Fall Semester 2012, the specific date is Thursday, October 18)

Note that the above is a deadline, not a due date; initial and re-submissions are welcome & encouraged anytime before and up to the above deadline.  However, NO SUBMISSION WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER 2:00 P.M.ON THE ABOVE DATE unless you have requested and received in advance an exception from the Writing Program Director.

What happens if I don’t complete Phase 4 by the beginning of my junior year?

During your junior year, the Writing Center will send you quarterly writing alerts strongly encouraging your completion of Phase 4. However,

  1. If you have not completed your Phase 4 portfolio by the time you earn 149 quarter hours (the beginning of your 2ndquarter as a senior), you will be placed on writing suspension and will not be allowed to be enrolled at the college until Phase 4 is completed.
  2. In addition, if by your junior year you have been “red-flagged” by more than one of your professors as needing help with your writing, you will be automatically enrolled in the non-credit writing tutorial WRIT 099 each quarter until you have completed your portfolio.

What is WRIT 099?

WRIT 099 is a non-credit writing tutorial focused specifically on helping juniors and 1st-quarter seniors pass the Phase 4 Sophomore Writing Portfolio.  Students receive one-on-one help from a Writing Center instructor (2 sessions required) and from writing tutors (4 sessions required).

 Students are automatically enrolled in WRIT 099 when they:

  1. have earned 89 or more quarter hours without passing Phase 4
  2. have been “red-flagged” as needing help w/their writing by 2 or more teachers

What does a Phase 4 portfolio include?

You must turn in both a hard copy and an electronic copy of each of the following

  1. Writing specified by your major department(s)
  2. EITHER a revised persuasive essay from a WRP3 class (at least one previous draft must accompany your final essay when submitting) OR an original short, persuasive essay written in a proctored/supervised setting
  3. A cover letter providing your readers with a context for the selected pieces

Click here to find specific guidance on each of the portfolio pieces.

What do I need to do for the Proctored Essay / Revised Persuasive Essay from a WRP3 Class?

  1. If you are submitting a proctored essay, you may work on it in the Writing Center Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., provided there is someone available to proctor you.
  2. If you are submitting a revised persuasive essay from a WRP3 class instead of the proctored essay, click here to remind yourself about the requirements for this piece.   

How do I submit Phase 4?

On or before Submission Day

  1. Bring hard copies of your cover letter, persuasive essay (if you choose this option)*, and major piece(s) to the Writing Center and fill out a submission form.  Incomplete submissions that are missing one or more of these pieces will not be accepted.
  2. Drop an electronic copy of your cover letter, persuasive essay, and major piece(s) into your Phase 4 folder on the W drive

 *If you choose to submit a proctored essay, the Writing Center will print out a hard copy and drag it electronically into your Phase 4 folder for you.

 Note that your phase four portfolio will not be reviewed unless we have writing samples from you for the phase one Writing Seminar (two portfolios)**, from FYE (cover letter, annotated bibliography and writing sample)** and WRP (writing sample only).  If you have not dropped writing samples from these classes into your folder on the W drive, please do so prior to submitting your phase four portfolio.

 **No Writing Seminar or FYE writing sample is required from transfer students who were exempted from either or both of these phases of the Writing Program.

Who will read my Phase 4 portfolio?

Two faculty members from your major department (or from each department if you are a double major) and one from the Writing Center.

How do I request an exception to Phase 4 submission policy?

If you need to request a special exception to Phase 4 submission policy, print out a copy of the Phase 4 Exception Petition, fill in the portions that apply to your request, sign it, get your advisor’s signature (both advisors if you’re a double major), and then return it to the Writing Center.  Please do this as far in advance of the next resubmission deadline as possible in order to allow time for your portfolio readers and the Writing Program Director to consider your request.

When is Phase 5 due?

 Phase 5 completion forms and electronic Phase 5 papers (for each major if you have more than one) are due in the Writing Center and the W drive, respectively, no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday preceding the graduation date for the quarter in which you plan to graduate.

When is Phase 6 due?

Phase 6 completion forms and electronic Phase 6 papers (for each major if you have more than one) are due in the Writing Center and the W drive, respectively, no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday preceding the graduation date for the quarter in which you plan to graduate.

What do I have to do to complete Phases 5 & 6?

Phases 5 & 6 are completed within your major, instead of via a submission to the Writing Center.  Typically, each department designates specific courses as fulfilling the Phase 5 and Phase 6 (capstone) requirement.  At some point during your Phase 5 course you will submit a paper that will be evaluated by the course instructor in relation to the department’s Phase 5 requirements.  The instructor then fills out a Phase 5 completion form and forwards it to the Writing Center to let us know that you have passed Phase 5 in your major.  Once the Writing Center receives this form and you have dropped the final version of your Phase 5 paper into your Phase 5 folder on the W drive, we will enter your completion of this Phase on Banner.  The exact same process applies to Phase 6.

How does it affect Phases 4, 5 & 6 if I’m a double or triple major?

Phase 4:  If you are a double or triple major at the time you make your initial Phase 4 submission, your portfolio submission must include:

  • A cover letter
  • A persuasive essay
  • The major piece or pieces required by each of your majors

 If you declare an additional major or change majors after you have already passed Phase 4, the Writing Center will check with your new department to see.  Your new department will review the major piece(s) with which you passed Phase 4 and determine whether they will accept that as a pass for their major or if they want you to submit the major piece(s) required by their department.

 Phases 5 & 6: You must pass Phases 5 & 6 separately for each of your majors.