This page covers everything you need to know in order to put together your best possible application to our program.
For most graduate programs in creative writing, including ours, the most important part of your application is a sample of your creative work. We base admission decisions primarily on a written sample of the prospective student’s creative work submitted in the genre the student intends to study. If you want to study fiction, you should send us a short story or a portion of a novel, preferably the beginning. Poets should send poems; nonfiction writers should send their best narrative nonfiction of any type.
We read applications on a rolling basis. Once your file is complete, we try to make a decision on your application within one week. Our summer program begins July 15.
Supporting materials that accompany an application (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement identifying the student’s reasons for pursuing graduate study) are used to help consider the other positive attributes a student might contribute to the university and program communities respectively.
Advice on Applying to the Saint Leo M.A. in Creative Writing
For the Personal Statement:
Give us a sense of who you are and what you’ve read and why what you’ve read speaks to you. Stay away from platitudes and categorical statements.
If there’s a reason that the low-residency approach appeals to you, include it in your statement.
What writers have you read, what books have you loved, and how do they inform the kind of writer that you hope to be?
Finally, if there is something specific that you want to learn, a particular author or type of work that you hope to emulate, tell us here. The most helpful statements are the most specific.
For the Writing Sample:
Send only your best work.
Your writing sample should be in the genre in which you hope to be admitted; once you have been admitted to the program, you’ll have a chance to explore other modes and genres, but you should start in one genre. If you aren’t certain what your primary genre is, mention this conflict in your personal statement. All writing samples should be a minimum of 10 pages, and a maximum of 25.
We like to be able to read your work comfortably: all work should be in a 12 point, serif font, such as Times New Roman, Garamond, Cochin, etc., and prose manuscripts should be double-spaced. A minimum one-inch margin on all sides is necessary too. Please don’t shrink the margins to fit more pages. A smaller number of good pages beats a greater number of average ones every time.
We’re looking for promise implicit in the writing, even if that piece is substantially unfinished. The people who read your application are working writers and deal with this problem daily, in their own writing and teaching. Your strategy should be to send the piece (or pieces, as appropriate) best represents you as a writer.
Proofread. Check your spelling. This is a graduate program taught by professors of English. In other words, the rules apply, and spelling counts!