How to apply for Writing Program positions

The Writing Program Application

Materials you'll submit via our web form:

  • A personal statement. (A form is included in our application packet.)  Please let us know about your teaching experience, editing experience, writing experience, approach to writing, and/or anything else you think relevant. 
  • A 10-page sample of your own writing. Please, cut longer documents down to a 10-page excerpt, including your introduction and a coherent section.
  • A cover sheet, attached to your writing sample, which asks you to reflect on and evaluate your own work (form included in the application packet).  To preserve the anonymity of this portion of your application, please remove your name from both the sample and the cover sheet.  
  • comment on a student paper. The student paper is included in our Application Packet. Please take no more than an hour to write your comments.

Materials you'll ask someone else to submit by email:

  • A letter of recommendation from someone familiar with your teaching or your potential as a teacher. We ask letter writers to send recommendations by email to by February 11.

Once your application materials are prepared, please submit them here.  

What if you're away from campus and wish to apply?
If you're not on campus this quarter, you may still apply, using the procedure described above.  If you are invited to an interview, we can arrange an interview by Skype or FaceTime.   

What we look for in our applicants

In general: We're not interested in technical knowledge about language or composition. It's no great advantage to have taken any of our courses. We're more interested in how you approach the task of teaching writing. 

With regard to the paper comment: We'll ask you to pretend you're writing to the author of the paper, NOT to us. We're interested in how you engage with the writer, and the way you use the paper comment as an opportunity to teach the writer something about writing.

With regard to the writing sample: We'd like to see a ten-page (double spaced) sample of expository prose directed toward an academic or professional audience. If your available writing samples are longer than ten pages, please select a section that includes the introduction.

With regard to the letter of recommendation: We read letters of recommendation carefully as we assess each applicant's potential for a position with our program. It's less important to get a letter from someone who can speak to the quality of your scholarly work than it is to get a letter evaluating the way you interact in a classroom. If you have no previous teaching experience, ask someone who has seen you participate in a class, seminar, or workshop. The letter does not have to be from a member of the University of Chicago faculty, so if you have teaching experience at another institution, a letter from a faculty member there may be best.