Writing Requirements

CSSSA Writing Required Assignments – 2021

Applicants to the Writing Program must submit a completed application, teacher recommendation forms and upload the following REQUIRED ASSIGNMENTS:

These assignments aren’t tests. There is no right answer. As you work through your assignments, rather than turn to a thesaurus, ask yourself the following questions:

What is your language? What are the words you use with your friends, your family, and in your private thoughts? What are the stories you want to tell? What are the stories you grew up with? What are your obsessions and preoccupations? What makes you want to write?

A. Personal Statement: This is your opportunity to thoughtfully tell us about you and why we would select you for CSSSA. Why do you write? What do you want to learn?

What kind of writing excites you most? Who are your favorite writers? Include writers you have discovered outside of school. Tell us why you love them and what you have learned from them. (Limit: 200 words / double-spaced.)

B. Memoir: Reflect back on an incident in your life — small or large — and write about how it impacted you and who you have become. The reflection should be about a brief incident, no more than an hour, and should happen in one place. (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 character: $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 / single-spaced.)

F. OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENT: Your own work: Submit some of your fiction, poetry, or memoir. Excerpts from longer works are acceptable. Do not include school assignments, essays or journalism. (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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 submission. For example, John Smith would save his work as follows:
  • jsmith_A
  • jsmith_B
  • jsmith_C