Writing Requirements


The Writing Department welcomes all eligible applicants who are interested in writing creatively in an inspiring and supportive environment. We strive to admit a class with a large variety of interests, writing styles, and skill levels, and to create a workshop environment that is welcoming and expansive for all. Preparing your application will require time and thoughtful attention, so we encourage you to relax and enjoy the process. This is not a test and there are no right answers. And while we want you to be thoughtful about the work you present, we are not necessarily looking for literary or grammatical correctness. What interests us most is work that reflects who you are. We want to hear the unique qualities of your voice and get a sense of what interests you. To that end, applicants are required to upload five pieces of writing: a personal statement, memoir, drama, prose fiction, and poetry. Producing this variety of creative work is no easy task, and we do not expect you to be skilled in all genres. We do expect you to be brave and push your creative boundaries.

Students currently enrolled in grades 8 through 12 are eligible to apply.

A. Personal Statement: This is your opportunity to thoughtfully tell us about yourself and why we should select you for CSSSA. Why do you write? What kind of writing excites you most? Who are your favorite writers? Tell us why you love them and what you have learned from them. Reach deep inside and find your story. It can be anything you think will give us insight into who you are as a writer and as a person. (Limit: 200 words/double-spaced.)

B. Memoir: Reflect back on an incident in your life–big or small–and write about how it impacted you and who you have become. (Limit: 300 words/double-spaced.)

C. Dramatic Writing: Write a two-person scene in play format in which one character tries to get something from another: $20, a family heirloom, forgiveness—anything as long as it’s specific. Only use a few slight stage directions. (Limit: 300 words/double-spaced.)

D. Prose Fiction: Write a piece of flash fiction—a story under 500 words—in the category of speculative fiction where settings and stories are created out of your imagination rather than from reality (e.g., fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism). (Limit: 500 words/double-spaced.)

E. Poetry: Write a poem about anything you care to write about. This poem may or may not rhyme. (Limit: 1 page)

F. Optional Additional Sample: This is your opportunity to share an additional piece that you really like, or you think represents you well as a writer. Excerpts from longer works are acceptable. Please do not include school assignments. (Limit: 2 pages/double-spaced.)


If you previously attended CSSSA, upload your answer to the following question: What did you learn from your time at CSSSA? What do you plan to do with your four weeks if you return?

In addition, if you attended CSSSA in a different department, one of your recommendation letters must be from a former CSSSA instructor.


Parents and teachers are not to edit or collaborate with the writer. Perfection is not the basis for admission; the panel will evaluate the intent, talent, and creativity of response demonstrated by the applicant in the required assignments. Any suggestion of adult input will negatively influence the panel’s decision and hurt the applicant’s chances of admission.

All assignments must be typed or neatly hand-written, double-spaced, and free of errors, and on separate pages. All entries must be typed in 12 pt. Font, with 1- inch margins. No fancy fonts, please. Include your name and the proper assignment letter (A, B, C, D, E, or F) on each page.

Assignments will be uploaded once the application is complete. Please save your assignments with your first initial and last name followed by the appropriate letter for each of the submissions. For example, John Smith would save his work as follows: