To become an English major, you will need to submit a writing sample to the department.
What do I need to submit?
If you are applying for the Literature, Society and Politics emphasis or the World Drama and Playwriting emphasis, your writing sample should consist of a photocopy of one graded essay, written for a previous or current English class. The essay should respond to or analyze a literary text. It should include the instructor’s grades and comments and should be an example of your best work.
• If you are still in high school, an essay from one of your high school classes is
fine, as long as it fits the description above.
• If you do not have a literary analysis essay with your instructor’s grades and
comments, we will accept a clean copy accompanied by a letter from the instructor, written on school letterhead, that states that you wrote the essay for his or her class and (if possible) briefly describes the assignment.
If you are applying for the Creative Writing emphasis, your writing sample should consist of one literary analysis essay, as described above, AND one of the following:
- a short story
- an original play (or portion thereof)
- a creative nonfiction essay
- three poems
Why does the English Department require a writing sample?
The English Department prides itself on providing individualized attention to all its students. Reviewing your writing sample is the first step in this process. By requiring the writing sample, we are able to
• communicate our high standards to prospective students; if you relish a challenge and value your own development as a thinker and writer, you will find the academic community you seek in our department;
• determine how well students are prepared for the demands of the major, which allows us to let you know if you need specific supplemental courses to help you meet those demands; and
• gain an opportunity to make scholarship recommendations for students whose work is particularly strong (please note that we do not have the opportunity to make such recommendations if you submit your writing sample after you enroll at Webster, as described in the next section).
After reviewing your sample, the department may accept you without reservation, accept you with suggestions for courses that will help you succeed, or decline your application. In this last case, you may become a pre-English major (see the next section) and apply again later.
What are my options if I am not accepted or do not have a writing sample?
If your application is not accepted, or if you do not currently have the required writing sample(s), you may become a pre-English major, which will allow you to be assigned an English faculty member as your advisor.
You should seriously consider taking ENGL 1030 Introduction to Literature in your first semester as a pre-English major. ENGL 1030 will improve your ability to understand and analyze literature and give you the opportunity to write literary analysis papers. (Other English Department courses may serve this same function, depending on your situation; please contact the department if you would like to discuss other options.)
Once you are a pre-English major, you will need to turn in your writing sample(s) in order to apply for full English major status
• by the end of your first year, if you are a first-time freshman, or
• by the end of your first semester, if you are a transfer student (including internal transfers).
Please Note: If you are already attending Webster, either undeclared or with another major, you may apply for the English major or become a pre-English major at any time (in the latter case, you will have one semester to submit your writing sample). You may reapply with new writing samples if your initial application is declined. Please apply directly through the department if you are already attending Webster. (Contact Karen Miller, the department coordinator, at 968-7170 or email@example.com.)