Feb 18, 2010, 10:47 PM
Post #323 of 351
I'm not sure how or why you took anything I said as some kind of slight against Brown. It wasn't. I applied to Brown in 2007 and didn't get in; it was my first choice. So obviously I don't mean to slag off on Brown, I would have gone there over Iowa. In my personal view it's the best poetry program in the United States, bar none. That said -- and this is a question of data, not preference -- Brown will get more poetry applications than Iowa when Saddam Hussein is making snow angels in Hell.
I appreciate you trying to "help out those applying" -- my aim is precisely the same thing, which makes your own subsequent comment ("I have no interest in assisting or providing services to the TSE [sic]") somewhat defensive, and perhaps more a product of that defensiveness than any sense that your aim and mine are different. Because they are not.
I get e-mails from MFA directors and faculty members all the time updating their data with TSE. Why? Because they, like you, like me, and like everyone reading this wants data out there that is accurate. I appreciate that Brown is willing to provide confidential admissions data to their students (and we must assume it's confidential if Brown refuses, as it does, to release the full data online), so that their students will be in a position to spread that data to others; what you need to understand is that if the second-hand data Brown puts out flies in the face of four years of research of hundreds of programs, a lot of people (not just me) are going to discount it. At which point either Brown can step up and put the data on their website -- which they could do any second of the day if they wanted -- or else run the risk that confusion reigns regarding their program. For make no mistake: If Brown comes out and announces it is the only MFA program in the United States conclusively known to receive more poetry applications than fiction applications, a) its fiction program will take a significant hit (because such deviation from hundreds of other data-points might suggest to some there is something wrong with the fiction faculty or genre at Brown), and b) it will also be effectively announcing that its poetry-genre applications represent the longest odds in America, and by a lot. Given that applicants these days are spending $2,000+ (in some instances) on applications, having poets feel that their odds in applying to Brown are lower (by far) than their odds in applying to any other program in the U.S. might lead to some applicants not to apply who would have otherwise. Every year we now hear from people who applied to nearly every top program but Texas -- citing its ridiculously long odds as making it a poor cost-benefit option in choosing which 10-15 programs to apply to (and Texas offers much more money, and for a longer period of time, than Brown or anywhere else).
It's odd that Brown told you the exact percentage by which applications increased this year, how many applications total were received, which genre received the most applications, and even put you in contact with (or allowed you to be in contact with) a Digital Writing faculty member with respect to this apparently lockboxed admissions data, but would not, after all that, reveal to you how many poetry applications were received. Mind you, I'm not saying you're making anything up, and I've no interest in arguing with you -- you have some kind of pride thing at stake here, I've nothing at stake except wanting to get accurate into out to the 20,000 people who read TSE every week (who you have "no interest in assisting" despite your posts here) -- but I'm saying that John telling you "we get more poetry applications than fiction" doesn't cut the mustard for even the sort of non-professional researcher I am.
And FWIW, I would love to know on what basis you could possibly make a determination about whether your numbers "sound" right. As far as I can tell the sum total of your background in MFA research and MFA statistics is a single conversation in the doorway of the office of a Visiting Professor at Brown. With all due respect.
(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 18, 2010, 10:50 PM)