Creative Writing Concentration

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APPLICATION PROCESS

There are many kinds of writers, and they are all welcome in most of the Creative Writing (CW) workshops. Here at Ohio State, the CW faculty specialize in mentoring literary writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, some of whom may later pursue a graduate degree in Creative Writing (an MFA). Students serious about reading and writing poetry, literary fiction and creative nonfiction are encouraged to apply for the concentration. There are also other opportunities in Creative Writing that may be of particular interest to those who want to write screenplays, YA novels and so on, including the minor in Creative Writing, which does not require an application process.

Applications are solicited twice per year: once in the autumn term and once in the spring term. If you are enrolled in your first 3000-level workshop in the summer term, we will consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

To apply to the Creative Writing concentration, you must have completed a 2000-level workshop and be enrolled in or have completed a 3000-level workshop.

Applications for Autumn 2020 are due by 11:59pm on Friday, October 2. APPLY HERE.

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HOW TO APPLY

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All applications are submitted via an online webform. You must submit the following information:

  1. Preferred Name
  2. Ohio State email address
  3. 9-digit Student ID number (the shorter of the two numbers on your BuckID)
  4. Genre of your writing sample (fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction)
  5. One document (Word or pdf) – titled “[Your Last Name], [Your First Name] CW Sample” – that contains the following items:
    1. A brief statement about your interest in the CW concentration
    2. A list of creative writing courses that you have taken at the university-level and the instructors for those courses

A writing sample of your best creative writing in one genre (fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction) – see below for important information about the writing sample

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The most important part of your application is your writing sample. Here are the requirements:

  • Length: maximum of 10 pages (double-spaced)
    • You may submit less: our creative writing faculty suggest submitting your best work that is under 10 pages, so if that is an 6-page story, then submit that piece.
    • Suggested minimum: 5 pages
  • Document Format: Double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1” margins
  • Genre: One genre only (fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction).
    • If you are interested in submitting for multiple genres, please submit multiple applications (i.e. one in poetry and one in fiction).
  • The writing sample should be preceded by a brief (1-2 sentence) description of the writing sample.
  • Be sure that your name is on the document.

You are strongly encouraged to submit work that has been workshopped and revised. You might ask your instructors from 2000- and 3000-level workshops which sample(s) of your work are best to submit.

Please contact Dr. Katie Stanutz (stanutz.3@osu.edu), the Undergraduate Program Manager, with any questions about the application process.

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APPLICATION FAQs

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Applications are sorted by genre (fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction) and are reviewed by creative writing faculty members who work in those genres.

As you will learn at the information sessions, all of the faculty across the three genres are interested in detecting the same four general qualities in your writing sample: 1) the ability to write clean clear sentences; 2) the willingness to avoid cliché, creating instead vivid sensory imagery, crisp scenes and compelling characters (or speakers); 3) the ability to create fresh dialogue (or voice); and 4) evidence that the writer understands some fundamentals of the genre most typically achieved by reading contemporary literature in that genre.

Faculty members vote on a decision for each application, and there are three outcomes: students are accepted to the concentration, encouraged to try again, or declined admission to the concentration.

Once all of the applications have been assessed, the Undergraduate Program Manager notifies all students of the decision via email before registration opens for the following term.

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There are no quotas, and the number of acceptances (and other decisions) vary each cycle. Each application is assessed on its own merits.

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Once you’ve been accepted into the concentration, you are eligible to enroll in advanced (4000-level) creative writing workshops. You cannot register for 4000-level workshops yourself; your advisor must enroll you in them each term. You will be asked to submit preferences for workshops each semester via an online form. Your acceptance email will detail the process for submitting your preferences. In subsequent terms, you will receive an email prior to registration with the form for selecting workshops.

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A “try again” response indicates that the creative writing faculty members saw strength and promise in your writing sample but felt that the writing was not quite to the level required for 4000-level workshops. Students who receive “try again” responses receive brief feedback on what to work in the future, and they are strongly encouraged to reapply in the future with fresh work. We suggest that students enroll in another 3000-level workshop.

Many students who receive a “try again” response are later admitted to the concentration.

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The Creative Writing faculty decline to accept students whom they think would not benefit from the type of instruction offered at the 4000-level. A “no” response should not be viewed as a negative judgement on one’s writing ability; rather, it indicates that the concentration is not the best fit for the goals and type of writing indicated by the application. Keep in mind that all writers who have done well in their Creative Writing workshops are invited to enroll in the Creative Writing minor. They are also always welcome to apply for admission to the 4000-level workshops via individual instructor, with the understanding that concentrators have enrollment priority.

Students who are declined admission to the concentration may reapply with fresh work in the future, but after two denials, we strongly recommend that they declare the Creative Writing minor and pursue a different concentration within the English major.