Introductory Creative Writing (CWR) courses will no longer require an application for enrollment, according to a statement from the Lewis Center for the Arts (LCA). This update to the Creative Writing Program will take effect beginning Fall 2022.
Prior to this announcement, students were required to submit an application for all CWR courses offered by the department, including an introductory poetry course, CWR 201, an introductory fiction course, CWR 203, and an introductory literary translation course, CWR 205. Students would then receive a decision prior to course selection.
Applications were also previously required for spots in upper level CWR poetry, fiction, and screenwriting classes such as CWR 301, CWR 303, and CWR 405. With the latest update, advanced courses will now only require departmental permission for enrollment.
The application consisted of a brief writing sample that varied based on the specific guidelines for enrollment into that course. Applications were also limited to one course per semester. While students no longer have to apply to CWR courses, they are still allowed enrollment in only one course per semester.
Director of the Creative Writing Program Jhumpa Lahiri wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian that the change was made to make the program more “inclusive.” These changes come in light of a history of competitiveness for spots in CWR classes.
The number of applications for CWR courses, not including cross-listed courses, has increased in past semesters for roughly the same number of spots within the program, according to the Creative Writing department. In Fall 2020, the CWR department received roughly 360 applications for 250 available spots. In Spring 2022, the department received over 500 applications for 260 available spots.
The Creative Writing Program gives students the opportunity to create original pieces while working alongside renowned writers such as Lahiri, Aleksandar Hemon, Paul Muldoon, and Susan Wheeler, among many others. The courses consist of approximately 10 students, these students gain personalized feedback throughout the workshop.
The Daily Princetonian spoke with students about the change in requirements for enrollment in Creative Writing courses for the upcoming Fall semester.
“With the application process gone, I feel like I can experiment with taking creative writing classes more freely and not feel that I am entering an overly competitive space that I had to earn,” Julia Nees ’25 said.
Liana Slomka ’23 told the ‘Prince’ that though the application process was not arduous, it was still daunting and a reason she opted out of applying for many semesters.
“The application for Creative Writing classes was pretty simple, not too difficult,” Slomka said. “But having an application in the first place was definitely daunting.”
“There were a few semesters that I thought I would take one but just was overwhelmed by having to apply,” she continued.
Slomka is a Satire staff writer for the ‘Prince’.
Other students felt the application removal had important drawbacks to consider as well.
“I think that there is good and bad to getting rid of the application requirement. Obviously, more people will have the opportunity to join the class,” Samyukta Neeraj ’25 said. “But I also think removing the application increases the rush to get into the class with limited spots and might limit people who are really interested but don’t have the right timing during course enrollment to successfully get a spot for the class.”
Mikayla Merin is a news contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mickyyyyyyy__ on Instagram.