Transfer Student Portfolio

First Stage Writing Requirments for Transfer Students

In order to fulfill the First Stage Writing Requirement, transfer students must: 1) have completed two writing courses (minimum six semester units) with specific writing instruction (not simply a course offered in an English department, nor any literature, creative writing, “writing intensive" courses) prior to transferring to the College; any courses not approved by the Registrar upon entrance must be appealed through the Writing Program; or 2) complete Writing and Rhetoric 201 or 401 after entering the College; or 3) submit a petition and portfolio before the senior year. Students must contact Writing Programs at the CAE to receive instructions. Each student should receive, at the time of declaring the major, a description of the particular Second Stage Writing Requirement for the department. However, an overview of the department options follows:


Generally compiled over the sophomore and junior years, three papers are drawn from departmental work. Revisions are encouraged or may be required. One paper may be a retrospective analysis of the student’s writing. A reflective analysis of the portfolio may be required in addition to the three papers. Portfolios are read by more than one faculty member. The requirements for submitting a portfolio are available in the Writing Programs Office. The Writing Programs Department and the Director of the Core Program make every effort to work with an individual student’s portfolio submissions.


Writing and Rhetoric 201, 401 Or  Exemption Portfolio

Transfer Students Meeting Occidental’s First Stage Writing Requirement: A Transfer student must have completed two writing or composition classes to fulfill the first stage writing requirement. See catalogue for further clarification.  If they have not fulfilled the requirement, they may fulfill the initial writing requirement in two ways: 1) completing an Writing and Rhetoric Course [either WRD201 or WRD401] or  2) demonstrating writing proficiency by preparing a satisfactory portfolio of his or her writing.  

In order to pursue the portfolio option, send your request, your reasons for submitting the portfolio and any questions, to Professor Thomas Burkdall at  He will direct you on the details of submission and evaluation processes.

Contents of the Portfolio

Submit  3  of your papers--polished expository writing—i.e. analysis and/or argument.  

1.  Papers should represent work a student has submitted to three different faculty members (if possible).  At least one Occidental paper is required. 

  • We prefer graded hard-copies, but digital copies without final grades are acceptable.
  • Paper length may vary. You may wish to rework papers before submission, and consult with writing specialists in the CAE, but that is not required.
  • Your essays will be judged for writing competence: for their academic quality and originality, thesis clarity, development of ideas, organization, appropriate use and citation of sources, and effective use of Standard Written English.

2.  Each paper submitted should be accompanied by a cover-sheet with the following information:

  • The exact assignment. If you have the assignment, include it.  If not, tell the evaluators what the assignment entailed—as you remember it.
  • Number of drafts and length of time spent on writing including details of the writing process, if possible.
  • Attribution of help received from others.

3.  A title page should accompany the portfolio which includes: name, e-mail address, year of college, current date, title of each paper, course name and number for each essay submitted.