Jeanne Lyet Gassman
Feb 2, 2012, 4:29 PM
Post #2430 of 2687
I can speak to you from my own experience with a low-res MFA from Vermont. The degree opened doors for me, albeit slowly, that didn't exist prior to earning the MFA. Six months after I graduated in January, I was hired as an adjunct at a community college to teach English and creative writing. The pay isn't enough to live on, but it certainly covers the cost of my student loans with a little extra. Five other schools (including online degree mills) have approached me since then, but I've stayed with the school who first offered me a position. They have a great administration and support their adjuncts.
Re: [writer mom] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs
I've also developed a flourishing freelance editing business for fiction writers. I'm pretty cheap by most standards ($30 an hour), but I have more requests than I can handle, especially if I want to do any of my own writing. Interestingly enough, I've never advertised my editing services. Every single client has been a referral or by word of mouth. The MFA somehow provided the street cred to make my editing skills valuable to others.
I've also been asked to teach writing workshops at community events, park and rec centers, senior centers, etc. Again, most of these jobs appeared post-MFA.
I would say if you're flexible and are willing to network, you will probably find writing-related work after the MFA. You may not be paid for your published writing, but you will have other skills that are quite marketable.
I wouldn't pursue an MFA in low-res or residency programs simply with the goal of teaching, as it's a pretty expensive teaching degree. I wanted to devote two years to working on my craft, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm a much better writer than I was when I started, and I've learned more about how to learn. (That sounds a little weird but, trust me, it makes sense. The nascent skills I developed at Vermont have continued to grow and evolve.) The job opportunities are just gravy.