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Windiciti



Mar 13, 2006, 8:35 AM

Post #51 of 172 (4911 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I didn't feel old, Rooblue, until I read about people obssessing about being too old in their twenties, thirties and forties!

I also like a mix of ages in my class. Although last summer at a workshop in Madison, the three grad students...years younger than the rest of us... asked me what I meant by the use of the expression "Boomer Generation" in one of my stories.

Needless to say, I was startled. I grew up hearing about previous gens. and THEIR characteristics, at least when I went to undergrad school.


ssd


Mar 13, 2006, 2:48 PM

Post #52 of 172 (4864 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Just to jump in, I'm 27 and I feel almost too young to make the most of an MFA degree--more livin' for better writing, I think. But, having been accepted into 5 programs now (all low-res, so I think students will be older) and realizing how excited/nervous I am, I know I should take the plunge. I enjoy learning with/from people from a wide range of experiences/backgrounds/ages.

Speaking of, I've narrowed down my choices to Vermont College or a new program at Pine Manor (good director, affordable, horrible name, like a retirement home or a rehabilitation center!). Anyone have thoughts on either one?

ssd


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Mar 13, 2006, 5:13 PM

Post #53 of 172 (4821 views)
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Re: [ssd] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Hi ssd:

What's your genre? Okay, that's a bad writer's come on line.

I am starting my MFA at Vermont College this June. I had a chance to visit the program last summer and impressed with what I saw and the conversations I had with students. I have also had the chance to work with Ellen Lesser at the Keene State College Writers' Conference, who is a faculty member at Vermont. Terrific person. She also runs a critiquing business with another faculty member from Vermont. The web site is www.greenmountainprose.com. The web site has a couple of examples at how she examines manuscripts.

Good luck making a decision.

Darren


Windiciti



Mar 13, 2006, 7:24 PM

Post #54 of 172 (4780 views)
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Re: [ssd] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I just have to agree with you, ssd! Pine Manor does sound like a retirement home!
I have heard that Vermont is good and people seem to be happy there. Where else did you apply?


ssd


Mar 13, 2006, 7:39 PM

Post #55 of 172 (4764 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Hey Windiciti,

Yeah, I know! I've been accepted to Vermont, Lesley, Queens University of Charlotte, and Goddard. Still waiting to hear from Warren Wilson. I'm leaning towards Vermont at the moment, but I seem to be going back and forth a lot. Ah, I will be so happy when this whole application process is over!

Best,
ssd


Windiciti



Mar 13, 2006, 10:31 PM

Post #56 of 172 (4733 views)
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Re: [ssd] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

hello,ssd:
I also applied to WWC, Sewanee, and Bennington. I don't think WWC will have any news for a couple of weeks.
They are still waiting for one of my recs, so I know they are still looking at apps. I spoke to a very pleasant lady last week...Debra Paget?
Anyway, good luck! You have quite a few to choose from...
Vermont sounds like the best to me too. I had limited time to apply, or I wd. have tried Vermont myself.


ssd


Mar 14, 2006, 9:19 AM

Post #57 of 172 (4678 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Hi Windiciti,

I know--I've heard WW takes awhile. Still trying to figure out how to balance that out with the fact that Vermont wants an answer by the end of the month! Well, everyone in all of the programs has been very friendly and helpful--I think they will be flexible if I just explain the situation.

Good luck! Let me know what happens!

ssd


Windiciti



Mar 14, 2006, 11:10 AM

Post #58 of 172 (4647 views)
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Re: [ssd] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

ssd,
Not to worry...you have Vermont! I'm sure they will wait a few days, or you might contact the lady at WWC before the end of March ...NOT Amy Grimm, but Debra Padget to get a feeling about WHEN WWC will be letting you know.

Rooblue on this blog is at WWC, she loves it, and sounds like a kind, helpful person. You might ask her.

As far as the other schools...do any of them have funding for the students they admit? That wd. influence me somewhat in my choice. I thought, when I had already applied to all the others that Queens had funding. Do you know?

For everyone else who needs a low res school, University of New Orleans will take apps. until 4/15/06. The head is Bill Lavender, very nice man, will answer all your questions on the 'phone, if he can. Their residencies are in Europe:Spain, France and Italy for a month during the summer. It is an MFA program, 45 hrs. and not as costly as the others...only $2700 per semester, and about $3800 for the month in summer.

The new Sewanee School of Letters at the U of the South is also still taking apps. They are a brand new program, and they have a dazzling list of faculty for their summer residency. This is a great program for teachers, only meets 6 weeks in the summer. ie., tuition only comes due once a year, you can keep your job where you live, and the MFa can be completed in 4 summer, 5 if you need an extra one to complete thesis.

Good luck, everyone!


ssd


Mar 14, 2006, 11:19 AM

Post #59 of 172 (4641 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

Hi Windiciti,

No, Queens actually doesn't have any funding. Their tuition is a tad bit cheaper than a place like Vermont, but not significantly. My understanding is that most of these low-res places don't have much funding as most people will be keeping their job, which isn't always possible with a residential program. I'm a bit torn about Queens. They have a good faculty, the program director is awesome, but I really don't think their online workshopping method would work for me.

And UNO...yes, I applied there, too, but I haven't heard anything from them. I was mostly taken in by their European residencies (!), but come to think of it, I haven't heard anything about the actual quality of the program, so I don't think it's high on my list.

Thanks for the tip on WW. I'm actually going to Paris at the end of March, so I'd like have my decision made before I go away. Calling admissions offices on a vacation isn't the best!

Good luck!


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator

Mar 14, 2006, 12:15 PM

Post #60 of 172 (4625 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

Just a little reminder that there are several Low-Res threads here...let's try to keep things topical...

Thanks,
Dana


Windiciti



Mar 14, 2006, 12:31 PM

Post #61 of 172 (4611 views)
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Re: [motet] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

Ok, Sorry! Sometimes not quite sure how it works, especially if you want to address someone who wrote about another thread.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator

Mar 15, 2006, 8:36 AM

Post #62 of 172 (4575 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post


In Reply To
Windiciti said: Sometimes not quite sure how it works, especially if you want to address someone who wrote about another thread.



In the appropriate thread, just copy and paste the part of the post you're responding to and write a reply. Identify the original writer somewhere in the copy & paste (like I did above).

I can practically guarantee you that everyone posting in the MFA forum is reading every topic that has any information they consider pertinent. So, someone who is writing about low-res MFAs will more than likely read the topics about low-res MFA when they see a new post in one of them.

Make sense?

Dana


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 15, 2006, 6:22 PM

Post #63 of 172 (4527 views)
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Re: [motet] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

Back on the subject of age and MFA programs.

Will you feel strange if you're 22 at an MFA program? What is the social life like? I'm assuming people aren't as tight as they are during undergrad. Do people socialize in grad school? Or do they all have their own families and long-term sig others back at home... For some reason, I have a hard time imagining what life is going to be like.

I did stay with my sig other at his Yale Ph.D program a few weeks last year. And dormitory life was completely different from undergrad. When you walked through the halls, you couldn't hear music playing. People didn't have room parties or play drinking games.

I'm guessing that without sports teams and Greek life and campus cultural groups and a capella concerts, etc, that life is pretty quiet?

Hahaha--part of the reason I wanted to TA is because I thought it would be fun to socialize with the students you're teaching, but I guess that is not allowed. :-)


Jendago


Mar 15, 2006, 7:13 PM

Post #64 of 172 (4508 views)
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Re: [rapunzel1983] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

Rapunzel -
I'm also 22. Not sure if, by the heading of your post, you're planning to attend a low-res program, but, for what it's worth, here's my impression of a regular, full-time MFA environment. My mental image of the whole grad school lifestyle involves a tiny studio apartment and socializing with other writers at the local coffeehouse, where we all have stacks of freshman comp. papers and huge mugs of coffee on the table in front of us, and do readings there every week or so.

But that's just my little imaginary two-cents.

In terms of mingling with the students, I feel like there's more time and difference between us and the 18 year olds than we probably recognize. But hey, I took a year off after undergrad, so maybe it's all that "real world" nonsense that makes me feel apart from the college kids. In any case, I think it'll be neat, as TAs, to be working on the opposite side of the instructor's desk. We'll get to be in the professor's shoes, so to speak, as we're instructed by the experts - maybe, hopefully, we'll gain a new appreciation for both roles through that experience.

Anyway. Don't know if that helps, but there's my thought on the matter.


(This post was edited by Jendago on Mar 15, 2006, 7:42 PM)


rapunzel1983
Marisa Lee

Mar 15, 2006, 8:28 PM

Post #65 of 172 (4486 views)
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Re: [Jendago] Low REs MFA Programs Can't Post

You said:

"I'm also 22. Not sure if, by the heading of your post, you're planning to attend a low-res program, but, for what it's worth, here's my impression of a regular, full-time MFA environment. My mental image of the whole grad school lifestyle involves a tiny studio apartment and socializing with other writers at the local coffeehouse, where we all have stacks of freshman comp. papers and huge mugs of coffee on the table in front of us, and do readings there every week or so."

That sounds so much fun!! I hope that's what it's like.

I meant a regular, full-time MFA program.

Although I am thinking I might just want to be in a program for the rest of my life. :-) I know a lot of writers who just bounce here and there for as long as it takes to finish their first publishable manuscript.


sarandipidy


Mar 15, 2006, 11:47 PM

Post #66 of 172 (4445 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Twenty-one.


robbstl


Mar 16, 2006, 12:22 AM

Post #67 of 172 (4434 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I'm 24, finishing an MA this May, hoping to get funding for an MFA program for Fall...so that'd be 25...
It's youngish, I think...but there's still an enormous level of that need-to-publish-more-guilt...

It seems like no matter how much you get accomplished, how quickly, there's more that you need to do, more that needs written, more that needs done working for journals or teaching workshops and other courses...if you want to make a living at this, rather than drown as an adjunct or an editor (well, this one isn't so bad, it seems...so long as you're getting health insurance from someone) or doing some corporate job, it feels like you need to have a couple books and a prize under your belt by 30...or quit, get an MBA or go to law school...or work at Starbucks--they have good benefits...


bekih


Mar 16, 2006, 2:10 AM

Post #68 of 172 (4425 views)
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Re: [robbstl] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Wow, the last half of your post depresses me, robbstl. Then again, I guess drowning as an editor would still be better than drowning as a student editor like I am now. :)

-----

I'm 21, will be 22 this summer just after graduating from undergrad. It sounds nice to say that people waiting to get an MFA for five or more years to gain experience, appreciation, etc. will be better off, and maybe it's true in many cases. Then again, I would be furious if I found out that an admissions committee didn't choose me based on my age rather than my work. Not only is age a poor indicator of talent, but I don't want to put off the rest of my life waiting around for schools to think I'm "mature" enough. From what I've been reading though, the portfolio is the only thing that will really make or break you. Here's hoping.

Acceptance letters are going out now, so good luck to everyone (both young and, er, less young).


wordrabbit


Aug 21, 2006, 3:46 PM

Post #69 of 172 (4311 views)
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Re: Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I know a lot of people attend mfa programs after taking time off, and this is often encouraged at many programs, but what about after the degree? Has anyone run into age discrimination after receiving their degree and looking for teaching positions?


bighark


Aug 21, 2006, 4:11 PM

Post #70 of 172 (4303 views)
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Re: [wordrabbit] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

An applicant for a creative writing faculty position would have to have one hell of a publications section on his or her resume before he or she could start making claims of age discrimination for not getting a job.


__________



Aug 21, 2006, 5:01 PM

Post #71 of 172 (4295 views)
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Re: [bighark] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I think he's asking a practical question, not a legal one.


six five four three two one 0 ->


ejdifili
Emily

Sep 30, 2007, 8:09 PM

Post #72 of 172 (4046 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

I am 26 right now and applying to MFA programs; I'll be 27 when I start.

I already knew I wanted to pursue an MFA when I was 20, but ultimately decided not to apply to programs right out of undergrad. One of the events that provoked this decision was that I lost an undergraduate writing contest at my university. So, I figured that if I couldn't even win that, then I probably wasn't going to get accepted by the Iowa Writers' Workshop or anywhere else remotely competitive. Another reason I decided not to apply was this: I realized how unlikely it would be that I'd finish my MFA and immediately, at age 24, publish an award-winning novel and land a tenure-track teaching position somewhere. In short, I knew I'd have to find some way of paying the bills after completing my degree, and I didn't see my BA in English lit helping out too much.

In the five years since I completed undergrad, I have held down two despised corporate office jobs, earned an MA in Spanish literature, taught 4 semesters of Spanish at the college level, traveled internationally, been engaged and un-engaged, become a certified educator in the state of Missouri, taught 2 years of Spanish at the high school level and lots more. During this time, I have learned a lot about life, people and also literature. When I was 22, most of my short stories were about artistic people in their early 20s getting stoned and having sex. Now, I have a much broader repertoire of experiences and material to work with.

I don't mean this to offend young people who are looking to pursue an MFA. In my case, I will be 30 years old when I complete the degree, and then it will probably be a few years beyond that before I embark upon any kind of academic career. I realize that this might get cumbersome if I want to have a family, so some people might feel like they are better off starting young.


bennyprof


Sep 30, 2007, 8:53 PM

Post #73 of 172 (4038 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Age of MFA students? Can't Post


In Reply To
I am 26 right now and applying to MFA programs; I'll be 27 when I start.

I already knew I wanted to pursue an MFA when I was 20, but ultimately decided not to apply to programs right out of undergrad. One of the events that provoked this decision was that I lost an undergraduate writing contest at my university. So, I figured that if I couldn't even win that, then I probably wasn't going to get accepted by the Iowa Writers' Workshop or anywhere else remotely competitive. Another reason I decided not to apply was this: I realized how unlikely it would be that I'd finish my MFA and immediately, at age 24, publish an award-winning novel and land a tenure-track teaching position somewhere. In short, I knew I'd have to find some way of paying the bills after completing my degree, and I didn't see my BA in English lit helping out too much.

In the five years since I completed undergrad, I have held down two despised corporate office jobs, earned an MA in Spanish literature, taught 4 semesters of Spanish at the college level, traveled internationally, been engaged and un-engaged, become a certified educator in the state of Missouri, taught 2 years of Spanish at the high school level and lots more. During this time, I have learned a lot about life, people and also literature. When I was 22, most of my short stories were about artistic people in their early 20s getting stoned and having sex. Now, I have a much broader repertoire of experiences and material to work with.

I don't mean this to offend young people who are looking to pursue an MFA. In my case, I will be 30 years old when I complete the degree, and then it will probably be a few years beyond that before I embark upon any kind of academic career. I realize that this might get cumbersome if I want to have a family, so some people might feel like they are better off starting young.



I'm in the same boat -- 26 at present, will be 27 when/if I begin an MFA next year. From what I hear, 26-28 is the average age range at most programs.

I can second your thoughts on age and writing. For most, the early 20s are too soon. There's a sort of intangible intellectual maturation process that happens during the mid-20s (at least, it did with me). Not sure how to put it into words, but I suspect is has something to do with patience, discipline and a sense of balance. Vague enough for you? Ha! Though this is by no means a universal thing. Pynchon wrote V. when he was 21-22, a staggering literary achievement for an author of any age and a prime example of someone writing well beyond his years. Then again, Pynchon is a genius. Different rules apply.

I'm not sure why you let that contest get you down, though. Who knows what other talented writers happened to be attending the same university. You might have been competing with the next Franzen, Chabon or Wallace. And losing to one of them would have been nothing to scoff at. But it sounds like it turned out for the best, regardless.

Good luck with your applications!

-B


rpc
ryan call

Sep 30, 2007, 10:45 PM

Post #74 of 172 (4018 views)
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Re: [ejdifili] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

i applied at 21
entered the program at 22
and i am 24 now, working on my thesis to graduate in the spring
i am happy i started so "young"
that only applies to me...


i dont think age matters
i dont think its a question of age

so ill say again, i think this is a silly topic;
the best we can do is compare notes on each of our experiences and see what everyone else is doing.

but i dont think we can say general things like "oh, its best if you wait to get life experience" or "young mfa students have the all advantages" or whatever

all that matters is your own writing and whats best for it

my opinion anyhow


<HTMLGIANT>


bennyprof


Sep 30, 2007, 11:01 PM

Post #75 of 172 (4016 views)
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Re: [rpc] Age of MFA students? Can't Post

Thus, my "for most" qualification. Congratulations on your early success. Some are ready at that age; some aren't. I'd still submit that you're in the minority. And I really don't see any danger in pointing out that most MFA'ers are in their late twenties.

If anything, it should be an encouragement to those who aren't accepted into any programs the first time around. I suspect it's not always a matter of talent. Sometimes it's simply a matter of development. But you're right, it's something that should be evaluated on a case by case basis.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Sep 30, 2007, 11:03 PM)

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