Chance a self-conscious creative writer for Ivies + LACs

yes, to clarify, I’m not planning to major in creative writing. I’m planning to major in anthropology and linguistics (or minor in the latter, depending on what school I attend). I might not even minor in creative writing, but I still want to go somewhere where I can take a few strong writing/literature classes and have an established iterary scene on campus.


I just realized I never responded to this message, but thank you for the advice.

A year or so ago, when I was really beginning the college search process, I did think that I wanted to study English Lit/creative writing. But after going to a few semi-formal summer writing programs, I realized your main point—I write and read plenty without a class forcing me to do so, so majoring in it started to feel redundant. And, honestly, I wasn’t excited by the requirements for lit majors (too many classes like “British Literature” and “19th Century Literature”!) in the same way that I was by reading anthropology course descriptions.


For especially engaging creative writing classes, you may progress into areas you might not have experienced yet. For example, you could choose a class in playwriting, in which you would write and stage a one-act play.

Regarding anthropology, you may encounter some experimental authors in this field, particularly Castañeda.

For Young Writers:
Guides to Writing , Writing at Wesleyan - Wesleyan University

Totally agree with this and would add that this is the reason why non-STEM/business majors are not a wise choice. OP I’d recommend trying to find schools with good computational linguistics programs.

I like your list. Good balance of reaches, matches and safeties. I think you have a decent shot at the reaches (as decent as possible for sub 15% admit rate schools). I might even cut back a few schools so that you only are applying to 10-12 at most so that you can really hone the essays of your top choices. OTOH if you get into Yale early, that will certainly cut back the apps you otherwise you need to submit. Good luck!


thank you! i’ve already started my RD supplements, so i’m not worried about not being able to hone all of them in time. that said, getting in early would definitely make my life easier, haha.

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Sounds right on. If it’s a thing you really turn to, like you’re writing instead of doing your coursework, and you hit a point where you know something’s wrong with your writing but you don’t understand what it is, a CW course or program with the right people can make sense just because they tend to collect good readers and diagnosticians. And if that’s how you go, at some point you’ll probably go find all the stuff English depts put in subfield boxes anyway – you’ll just want to know what’s in there.

I guess the only other thing I’d say is that if you get to those anthro etc. courses and find them not to be as exciting as you’d hoped, talk to an advisor in the dept before you bounce. The thing you were hoping for may really be in that discipline, just not in the kind of course you were taking. But you won’t know unless you ask about it.

Good luck with your applications –

Thank you! Your advice about sticking with the department even if I have to adjust my expectations is really valuable. That’s partially why I’m so drawn to schools with open curriculums—I already have a good sense of a lot of my broader interests, but I haven’t really gotten to experience them in high school, so I want to be able to explore subfields across disciplines. (For example, the environmental science class I’m taking this year has piqued my interest in environmental studies, even though I used to think I didn’t science at all.)

Yeah – don’t be surprised if you get there and it just doesn’t look that interesting, and you wind up thinking “blergh, it’s all about measuring and memorization, and all these science types are interested only in the dullest things, I guess I don’t really belong, I don’t really think like these people.” Everything you’re drawn to is in there, and there’s more than one way of thinking about science that’s both legit and useful in science itself. If you do wander in that direction, do yourself a favor, go for the majors’ courses instead of the taste-of, and pick up the scientific fundamentals they’re trying to teach. Then you’ll be able to understand from their pov as well as yours. If you stick around in that area, whether or not you’re a scientist, they’ll not only listen to you, they’ll tell you things worth hearing, and those things don’t fit into the neat boxes advertised in the courses.

The fields of geosciences (geology, with perhaps some meteorology) and astronomy offer appealing and accessible college science courses for students who seek a breadth of perspective through the natural sciences. You also may be able to find a “light” physics course in quantum theory and relativity.

You list includes some great schools for environmental studies too, of course:

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Thank you! If only science courses relied less on math, haha, I think I’d be drawn to them more.

For a field like physics, calculus does indeed function as a “natural language.” However, you should feel comfortable exploring primarily observational sciences, such as geology, mentioned above. Physics courses designed for non-majors also should be readily accessible to you. In any case, you seem to hold your own in math.

Your SAT math score is better than that of 92% of the people who take the SAT. You’re pretty good at math.


Aw, thank you! Objectively, I know I’m good at math. I meant more of that I don’t find math interesting/enjoyable, so I tend to like science classes that are more qualitative.

I think you are an extremely strong candidate for any of these schools!! You have very impressive academic and extracurricular achievements, on par with admits even into your highest reach schools.

One thing that gives me pause is your self-rating for your essays. If your absolute strong-suit is writing (which it looks like it is based on your awards and activities), admissions officers will have especially high expectations when it comes to your essays. You do not want them thinking a “7/10” after they read them.

Yale tends to attract a LOT of artistically minded individuals, including writers. So it may be harder for you to stand out of the crowd for that school unfortunately… However, do not lose hope!

Here are my ratings for you:

High Reach (<10% acceptance rate)

  • Yale
  • Stanford
  • Brown
  • Amherst
  • Swarthmore

These schools are a crapshoot for EVERYONE, so while it is absolutely reasonable to expect success with some of them, it is also totally reasonable to expect 5 rejection letters, even with as strong an application as yours.

Reach (10-25%)

  • Middlebury
  • Vassar
  • Hamilton
  • Northeastern
  • Boston University

These schools are also very selective. However, I think you can expect positive results from most of them, given your outstanding record. :slight_smile:

The rest of the schools on your list look like targets, and your all-but-certain early admission into UMass guarantees a safety going into the regular decision round. Best of luck with your college app adventure, and keep us posted!

hi! thank you so much for such a detailed response, and it’s reassuring to hear that my prospects are looking positive. about my essays—personally, I do love all of my college essays, and my parents and teachers have said the same, but I’m just wary of rating them super high because they’re so subjective. (plus, I think it’s hard for me to judge my own since I’m used to expecting myself to write a certain way, and college essays are obviously less creative than fiction/poetry.)

also, as a general update to the info in my original post, I’ve since qualified for my state’s Seal of Biliteracy for Chinese. I also recently learned that I was selected to study Korean in the Virtual NSLI-Y Winter 2022 cohort (last year, I was only a finalist/alternate), and I’m anticipating another national writing award in the next week or two. I’m going to send this in an update to Yale/add it to my application for my RD schools : )


Ok! Best of luck and keep us posted! And remember - I’m sure you know this - don’t let college admissions be a measurement of your value as a human being, regardless of the outcome!


How’ve you been making out through this, @inflorescent?