AWP Recommendations on the Timeframe for Admissions & Enrollment in Programs with Traditional Fall Start Dates

AWP believes that prospective students should have adequate time in evaluating competing offers of acceptance from creative writing programs. For programs that admit only one class per academic year, with a traditional start date in the fall, AWP recommends March 15th as a reasonable deadline by which an applicant accepted in the first round of the admissions process may be required to make a commitment to enroll. A program should not demand an agreement of acceptance before this date.

AWP acknowledges, however, that creative writing programs need the autonomy to set deadlines in concert with their offices of admissions and financial aid. Our recommended deadline is earlier than that agreed upon by graduate schools in other fields. An earlier deadline for applicant decisions takes into account the planning needs of the thousands of prospective students on waiting lists for enrollment and financial support. To give those wait-listed applicants adequate time to plan their transitions to their schools after eventual acceptance, AWP recommends that programs adopt a deadline earlier than “the April 15th resolution.”

Regardless of the deadline a program chooses to implement, programs must give accepted applicants at least a two-week period in which to accept or reject an offer of financial aid or support. Applicants advanced from waitlists should similarly be given two weeks to decide whether or not to accept admission and support. To meet the planning needs of prospective students advanced from wait lists, all programs with a traditional start date in the fall should seek to complete enrollment of new students by May 1st. Accordingly, AWP recommends a March 15 through May 1 enrollment period.

— The AWP Board of Directors