College Writing Portfolio Criteria


The College Writing Portfolio, or CWP, has been a Goucher tradition in various forms for over 35 years. This current iteration affords Goucher graduates the space to reflect on their growth as writers and the transferable, marketable writing skills and habits they’ve learned as members of our community of writers. CWP contributes to the college’s mission of preparing students to live lives of inquiry and creativity including a lifelong engagement with critical and analytical thinking.


Students will submit a portfolio consisting of:

1.) 10+ pages of writing that best illustrates your growth and improvement as a writer. 

These 10 or more pages should come from classes you’ve taken as part of your Goucher experience and can be in the form of:

  • A Capstone, Independent Study, or Thesis paper you’re proud of
  • An early draft of an essay along with a substantial revision of it 
  • Two essays in two different areas of study that illustrate your range and flexibility as a writer 
  • One essay in English from one course alongside an essay from your foreign language WEC course that illustrates your flexibility and nimbleness in multiple languages
  • One creative, alongside one academic piece (that uses multiple sources) that illustrates your range both creatively and academically and professionally 

Successful multimodal work will also be accepted as a portfolio submission:  we will accept one multimodal text along with an academic essay.  Multimodal texts should 

  • Have a clear and specific focus
  • Show attention to detail and editing
  • Incorporate multiple sources and appropriate source attribution

This list of options is not exclusive; if you have work that doesn’t fit the above suggestions that you would like to submit, please email Charlee Sterling (

2.) A Reflection Essay (2+ pages, double-spaced) that discusses why you submitted what you did, and what your work illustrates about your learning, growth and improvement as a writer. Reflections should

  • Introduce yourself as a student and as a writer
  • Introduce and contextualize the essays submitted
  • Discuss their purpose, intended audience, and discourse communities*
  • Discuss the relevant rhetorical choices made, including revision and editing choices
  • Discuss how and why the work in the portfolio illustrates your proficiency as a writer. Use your submitted essays to make your case.

* “Discourse Community” means the conventions, norms and practices of the community of scholars and writers in a specific field or discipline.


The work you submit does not need to have earned a high grade: rather, it should demonstrate your skill, expertise, range and development as a writer. We will assess your reflection both globally (content, structure, organization) and locally (style, register, clarity and tone).  For example, when discussing your development as a writer in a specific course or within a specific essay, please make sure to refer to that work you’ve included in your portfolio, giving specific examples from the work itself.

Portfolios are randomly assigned a reader, who will read your work and your reflection carefully, and holistically assess your reflection’s strength with respect to its:

  • Thesis and/or focus
  • Development
  • Structure

Portfolios deemed “adequate” or “excellent” will earn CWP; portfolios that are incomplete, that have two or more of the above criteria at the level of “not yet adequate” (no clear thesis or focus, weak structure, lack of development of ideas or evidence, etc.) will not earn CWP.


Students are strongly encouraged to revise and edit their work multiple times before submission. They can make appointments with our faculty, and with tutors at the Writing Center, who are trained to work with portfolios and the CWP reflection.


Portfolios will demonstrate the following Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Compose essays that implement an effective organizational strategy and that are focused around a clear, developed thesis or unifying idea appropriate to the audience, purpose, and genre. 
  • Find, analyze, evaluate, interpret, and elaborate on evidence by evaluating multiple texts in varying modalities, responding critically to these texts and incorporating and documenting them accurately in their own writing.
  • Use language and register appropriate to each situation and genre. 


We will accept (re)submissions from seniors planning to graduate in December of 2022 or May of 2023 on a rolling basis from October 1 until 11:45 pm on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.

The deadline for students in their 2nd or 3rd year at Goucher who have not achieved CWP must submit portfolios by 11:45 pm on Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Questions or concerns? Contact Charlee Sterling (

Submit your portfolio