Writing and Learning

Connect. Collaborate. Achieve.

Academic Support Programs

At Cal Poly, we believe you are already equipped to succeed, but we want to be sure you know that you are not expected to do so alone. From your first quarter at Cal Poly until your final degree requirement is met, you have access to a network of learning support programs and services that will help you to attain the foundational knowledge, skills, and understanding necessary to achieve your potential in academic, civic, professional, and social pursuits.

As the primary academic support unit on campus, the Office of Writing and Learning serves undergraduates and graduates through the academic support programs and services listed below, which are facilitated by nearly 200 peer learning specialists with discipline-specific expertise.

Academic Coaching

Academic coaches are student assistants who partner with their peers to develop skills, behaviors, and habits that contribute to academic success. The support coaches offer is designed to promote self-regulation and improve self-efficacy. Coaches are available upon request to assist with topics such as setting learning goals, cultivating motivation, managing time, thinking and reading critically, planning for assignments, preparing for exams, and communicating with faculty and staff. 


Cal Poly is proud to offer free peer-to-peer tutoring to all enrolled students. Tutors are available for one-to-one or small-group consultations on activities, assignments, writing projects, or exams for courses across all six colleges, including foundational courses in key subject areas such as written communication, mathematics, statistics, physics, and engineering. These collaborative tutoring sessions are student-driven, which means that the learning experience is propelled by the specific questions and individual needs the student brings to the session. Tutoring sessions are available by appointment and on a drop-in basis both virtually and in person six days a week at four locations across campus.

Study Session Groups

Study Session groups provide a collaborative learning environment through which students enrolled in STEM-specific courses engage together in discussions, review class notes, develop metacognitive learning strategies, and challenge their understanding of course concepts. Guided by peer leaders with subject-specific knowledge and experience, Study Session groups provide opportunities for students to engage in activities that ascend the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy of learning and develop fresh perspectives on course materials. 

Supplemental Workshops

The Supplemental Workshops program, designed in alignment with the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, provides students an opportunity to engage weekly in peer-led academic support sessions concurrent with the historically challenging science and math courses in which they are enrolled. During these weekly sessions, workshop leaders offer a process-oriented, guided inquiry approach to learning and practicing course concepts. Students enrolled in a supplemental workshop section earn one unit of academic credit as they engage in discussions; develop study strategies; and challenge their understanding of course materials through a series of group activities, problem sets, and practice exams. 

Study Strategies Library

This library serves as a collection of online resources that may help students to thrive at Cal Poly. 


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Winter Quarter At-a-Glance


Academic Preparation and Placement

Cal Poly adheres to the CSU's placement practice, which evaluates multiple measures of pre-college academic performance to determine placement in first-year English and math courses. Cal Poly also offers summer support courses in compliance with the CSU's Early Start Program to help incoming first-year students prepare for a successful college experience. More information is available on the Academic Preparation and Placement webpage

Academic Support

The Writing and Learning Initiatives Office offers a comprehensive menu of academic resources designed to ensure optimal educational opportunities for diverse student populations: peer consultants offer free tutoring in any course or subject, peer-led supplemental workshops and study sessions provide support for STEM-specific courses, and the online Study Strategies Library offers a collection of resources to help you achieve your learning goals. More information is available on the Academic Support Programs webpage

Graduation Writing Requirement

All degree-seeking Cal Poly students, including a Master's degree or teaching credential, must fulfill the GWR. Undergraduate students must complete 90 units before they can attempt to fulfill the requirement and should do so before the senior year. The two pathways to GWR completion are 1) in an approved upper-division course and 2) via the GWR Portfolio. More information is available on the GWR webpage