Feb 11, 2011, 1:42 PM
Post #2309 of 2528
This is sort of long, but I hope it will be helpful both to those applying to programs and for any program staff reading this that want feedback on their admissions process.
Re: [Gi] Low-Residency MFAs
I based a big part of my decision on where to go on how programs treated me during the application process and after I was accepted. I think it's an indication of how they treat and value students at their school. By far, I had the best experience with Vermont. They called me just to chat before even getting my application, they let me know when they received materials and what they still needed, and they were always quick at answering questions. They also sent me a ton of materials like brochures, newsletters, sample residency schedules, and even a sample lecture from a faculty in my genre. Plus, I got a personal email from a faculty member who read my sample, giving specific details about what she liked about my writing. This happened to be the only faculty member I really knew and admired before applying, so that pretty much sealed the deal. Spalding had a faculty member call me who wasn't familiar with my work and didn't seem that interested in talking with me. Lesley also had a faculty email me, which I appreciated, but I'd already decided on Vermont.
Bennington was very distant and difficult to get a hold of. I've heard that from a couple other people as well. Spalding was slow to get back to me when I had questions about applying, didn't send me a notice that they had all my application materials, and I also wasn't impressed with them after I got accepted. They seemed impatient when I tried to follow up on questions I'd asked that they hadn't responded to for days. They sent me my acceptance letter two whole weeks after the call and it didn't even have any additional information in it that would have been helpful. Bennington sent me a letter saying they wouldn't notify about decisions until mid-March, and I decided not to bother asking them if they could make it sooner or trying to hold off my other schools.
Anyway, I'm really happy with my decision in choosing Vermont. I think these schools should really try harder to be responsive to potential students. With Vermont's reputation, they really didn't need to go above and beyond in terms of helping applicants apply and make their decision. They didn't only care about me after I was accepted, but were so great the whole way through. And once I was accepted, they did their best to give me all the information I needed without me even needing to ask for it. That meant a lot to me.