Jan 9, 2006, 7:42 PM
Post #79 of 1175
I think - and given that I'm applying like everybody else, take with a grain of salt - that what schools are looking for is _exactly_ what they ask for on the statement. Usually, why do you want to get an MFA, why here, and what do you want to do with it.
Re: [amarier] Application Time
I think the "why here" question is what you are talking about. The answer can be, I want to study at Iowa because I think that Ethan Canin is a wicked awesome writer and he also loves poodles, or it can be, I want to study at Cornell because the class size is really tiny and I am anti-social. (I wouldn't use those exact sentences, by the way). I think this is one of those questions that is sort of up to you and how strongly you feel; it's not brown-nosing if you actually are applying to a school for those specific reasons.
For example, one school I applied to has a very small prof pool, and I dedicated a paragraph each to two profs who I would mainly be working with. I've done a lot of research on that school, those profs, have met and talked to the profs, have talked to students, etc., and all of the things I said about them were real reasons why I was applying there. A second school, however, where I respect all of the profs, and have read all of the profs, but don't really know much about them (as people, their teaching style, etc.), I just didn't get into it at all.
Actually, let's back up: you said that you figure they know you're interested because you're applying. A lot of people apply to graduate school because they aren't really happy with what they are doing and think that grad school seems like a good enough diversion, and then they, more or less randomly, pick grad schools. They want to make sure you aren't that person; it does make sense to give _specific_ reasons why you are applying to that school. I.e., lets take Cornell: "I'm applying to Cornell because I think the high faculty to student ratio will give me the chance to have a mentoring relationship that I need to improve my writing." vrs, "I'm applying to Cornell because it is a good school."
Does that make sense? Note, I'm not asking if it is actually helpful....