Tips and strategies for getting into Creative Writing Courses

The faculty who teach creative writing are well aware of, and sympathetic toward, the frustrations many of you experience trying to get into creative writing courses, especially the introductory ones.

While we cannot promise to solve the problem, given the disparity between the demand and the staffing we have, we continue to discuss how to make our enrollment policies as fair as possible. This page on the web site is designed to clarify a process that seems to mystify many of you.

The registrar does not permit preregistration for creative writing workshops (e.g., Writing Poetry I & II, Writing Fiction I & II). The purpose of this policy is to prevent students from getting stranded with too few courses, should they be dropped from a creative writing workshop.

The best way to increase your odds of getting into a writing workshop is to read and follow the application instructions. In addition, we have several general recommendations for how to be strategic about getting into creative writing courses:

  1. Feel free to show your face at the office hours of professors teaching these courses, to explain your writing background or how a writing class might fit in with the curriculum you're devising. It's a good idea not to crowd us during pre-registration, since it's such a hectic time, but you might want to stop by over the subsequent weeks. Do not leave messages on professors' voice mail asking us to call you with our office hours, or with information about the course. Check our office hours, and stop by or call during those times.
  2. Go to the registrar's office or get online, and explore all your options in the greater Five Colleges. There are excellent creative writing courses at other schools, and sometimes their professors keep slots open for Five-College students. Contact the professors of likely courses to find out how their admissions procedures work.
  3. Consider starting your own writers' groups. If you don't get into a creative writing course, or would like to do some writing to prepare for one, start your own group. You could ask Joe Thoron, the assistant to the Creative Writing Program, to send out an electronic mailing to those on his list who have expressed interest in creative writing events, and then hold a meeting for those interested. You could ask one of the faculty to meet informally with your group to strategize about how to run a good group, and you could even ask several of us to drop in to your workshop from time to time during the semester.

We hope this web site is clarifying and helpful, and wish you luck in your writing endeavors.

The Creative Writing Committee