Uncw Admissions Essay Editing

Apply to the MFA Program

The application deadline for Fall 2018 has been extended to January 9, 2018.

Your application to the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington will be submitted online to UNCW's Graduate School. Along with your online application, you are required to upload an electronic copy of your manuscript (the writing sample), your personal essay (also called a statement of interest, purpose, or intent), and email addresses for three recommenders. In addition to the application materials submitted online, you will need to mail to the Graduate School your transcripts.

Here is a complete list of the required application materials:

1. An application for admission to the Graduate School (online)

2. A typed manuscript in the applicant's writing genre (uploaded as a single document—cover sheet is optional):

  • Up to 10 total pages of poetry (one poem per page; multi-page poems acceptable)
  • Up to 30 total pages of fiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces
  • Up to 30 total pages of creative nonfiction (double-spaced); single or multiple pieces

3. A personal essay (300-500 words), uploaded with the online application, which focuses on goals for the development of your writing. You will want to talk about your writing style, as well as literary influences (both contemporary and historical). In what way(s) does UNCW support/meet your vision for these goals? What will you contribute to the program? In the essay, identify the genre-Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, or Poetry-for which the application is intended.

4. Three letters of recommendation which are accepted ONLY via the online applications system. You will provide email addresses of recommenders, who will then be notified by the system to upload their letters. Thus, these letters may arrive after the deadline for application. Note: the system will now also accept letters from Interfolio. Details posted in the FAQs.

5. All official college transcripts, in sealed envelopes requested on or before January 5, or emailed directly from institution to gradtranscripts@uncw.edu. The UNCW Graduate School requires transcripts from every institution to which you matriculated. Your application will be considered incomplete until all transcripts have been received. Details posted in the FAQs.

DO NOT SEND transcripts to the Department of Creative Writing as this will delay the Graduate School from receiving and recording your application materials.

Send all official college transcripts, in sealed envelopes, to:

Graduate School
University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5955

Electronic password-protected transcripts may be sent directly from the institution to gradtranscripts@uncw.edu.

6. A non-refundable application fee of $75 (paid online as part of the application)

7. If you are interested in being considered for an assistantship in the Creative Writing classroom, or in the Publishing Laboratory, or in the Film Studies classroom, please include a brief (1-2 page) supplemental statement of relevant experience and interest. (upload with online application, in the Assistantship Essay section)

Additional information:

  • The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required for admission to our program.
  • There is no foreign language requirement nor interview process.
  • International applicants must meet additional requirements; details posted in the FAQs.

All application materials (including the application fee) must be posted to the online application system no later than midnight (EST) on January 9 (the new extended deadline). Late applications cannot be accepted as the system closes at 12:01 AM January 10. You may begin to apply as soon as the system allows applications for the following year (around September 1). We do not admit new students mid-year (i.e., in spring semester).

For more details, see our FAQs at uncw.edu/writers/mfa/faqprospective.

If you have questions about the application process after reviewing the FAQs for prospective students, please contact Lisa Bertini, MFA Program Assistant, at bertinil@uncw.edu or 910.962.3070, through December 21. (Holiday break follows and the university will be closed.)

To contact the UNCW Graduate School:

(Note: To check the status of your application or to request confirmation of receipt of application materials, see uncw.edu/gradschool/admissions/checkstatus. To address missing items in your application, please see the instructions at uncw.edu/gradschool/missingitems.) If you are having trouble with any part of the online application, please refer to the technical support options available through the application system. If you still need help resolving your issue you may contact Kimberly Harris in the Graduate School at harrisk@uncw.edu.

Be sure to review the Getting Started section of the Graduate School website for a step-by-step guide to applying for admission. Many of your questions will be answered there.

Focus on how you dealt with these obstacles/hardships.

This will reveal much more about your character and what type of student you will be on campus; the discussion of obstacles and hardships simply sets up the scene for you to talk about yourself.


Try to avoid cliches.

Many will write about a time when they tried out for a club or ran for student council and were not chosen. Try to go beyond something like this and think about times when you have encountered something that changed your view on an issue. You could even discuss a time when you encountered an obstacle and did not handle it as well as you had hoped, using it as a learning experience instead.


Doing the latter shows that you acknowledge that you make mistakes and that you grow from them. Writing about the former also shows that you are willing to learn and are open to other ideas and viewpoints. Make sure, however, that you answer the question as if you are writing about a change in viewpoint and are describing an obstacle that you encountered.


An example:


I used to stick my nose up every time I walked by someone huddled in rags begging for money on the side of the street. Insensitive to their needs, I harshly viewed them as people who should have been working and making society more productive. It was not until I began working with a homeless shelter in my area that I realized that by having these assumptions about the homeless, I was my own obstacle; I was holding myself back from accepting others and spreading kindness towards those around me.

Pick something that is important to you.

It is also important to realize that not all of us have been through the insane obstacles that many applicants will cite in their response to this question. You do not need to feel as though you must write about an obstacle as heavy as trying to study at school while living out of your car. If you have an experience like this, then feel free to share it; however, many of us do not. Simply write about something that is important to you. For example, if you have invested much of your time in playing soccer for your school, you could write about how you joined a sports team that was deeply divided and had to figure out how to create a team from all of the groups.


Be honest and show your personality.

When you write about how you dealt with your challenges, it is okay if you realize that there was a better way to deal with it. Admissions officers want to see your personality and how you will handle difficulties at NC State; explaining that you learned a better way to deal with the issue is perfectly fine. You do not simply have to write something because you believe that it’s what the admissions officers would want to hear. (Example: “After losing my student council election, I was upset at first, but I realized that it is more important to keep trying. The following year, I ran again and won because I did not give up.”)


They would rather hear your inherently unique story about how you worked through your obstacles. Maybe you did give up for awhile. Just make sure you explain how you dealt with it and what you learned from it. They want to see growth from this prompt. With this in mind, make sure that your material is appropriate and classy for a college application. They definitely do not want to hear about anything illegal. Use common sense with this, and if you are hesitant as to whether or not it is acceptable, then air on the side of caution.

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