Much like the majority of writing hopefuls who enter Kenyon, I was eager for the time when I could finally take my first creative writing course. I quickly learned that it would be less “take” the class, and more “cross my fingers” for the class. As the deadline approached for my first window to apply in November of my freshman year, I began to hear all the drama surrounding applications to Kenyon’s creative writing courses. In the past, I heard that many people were rejected and told to apply next semester — and sometimes again another semester. Even once the acceptance emails are sent out, a select few are always placed on the dreaded waiting list.
On March 20, the Department of English announced a huge change in enrollment policy for creative writing classes at Kenyon. The department decided to nix the application process for 200-level or introductory creative writing workshops and increase the enrollment in those classes from 12 students to 15 students. I think that this is a great step for the English department, seeing as demand for creative writing classes has been so high for so many years. I was accepted to both creative writing classes to which I have applied so far, but I have watched many friends struggle with rejection. It’s definitely a self-esteem crusher, and an increasingly frustrating ordeal. Can you imagine working your butt off to come to this college to do what you love and then being told over and over to sit it out until next time because your writing didn’t make the cut? Some of my friends can. Introductory means introductory. And now, from this point forward, every Kenyon student will have the opportunity to try their hand at creative writing (class registration chaos permitting, of course).
As far as I know, there has not been much gossip about these changes in the English major circle. I could see some application veterans being miffed at the prospect of non-creative writing track students taking seats long awaited by English majors. But, quite honestly, I think it’s a great step for the College. As I have come to know them, liberal arts schools are havens for undecided majors, and I, for one, have loved being able to take classes in which I wasn’t majoring but one I wanted to try on for size. In other words, we do well-rounded well. Kenyon is known for its writing and English program specifically, and I think that this departmental policy change can only further accommodate the incoming classes.
Sloane Wilten ’20 is an English major with a creative writing emphasis and a comparative world literature concentration from Bethlehem, Pa. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.