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kscampbell
Kyler Campbell

Jan 27, 2012, 11:14 AM

Post #2426 of 2662 (16769 views)
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Re: [ncmiller] Converse College Low-Res MFA Can't Post

I know there's been a lot of talk already about Converse College's Low Res MFA program, but I'll go ahead and briefly add my two cents.I shopped around for a while, looking at programs like Seattle Pacific, Warren Wilson, and VA Tech, as well. My undergrad professor recommended Converse because it was just starting up and it might be a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor. I'm now in my fourth semester and I'm consistently impressed with not only the quality of instruction but with the quality of creative work that the faculty puts out of their own accord. It's still a relatively small program so the interaction between students and faculty is consistent and personal. Also, our director knows everybody's name, from fourth semesters like me, down to prospective students. It's a wonderful opportunity to improve your craft, get some of the best instruction, and create important and helpful connections within the business! So if you're still in the market, check out: http://www.converse.edu/...ams-other-fields/m-6.


csnellgrove
Clay Snellgrove

Jan 27, 2012, 11:42 AM

Post #2427 of 2662 (16764 views)
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Re: [kscampbell] Converse College Low-Res MFA Can't Post

I started the MFA Program at Converse College this semester. Only days into my first residency I realized I was a part of a something special. The faculty not only led workshop and delivered lectures and readings with passion and purpose, but all of these seasoned writers made themselves available to me during the down hours as well. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktail hours became opportunities to engage the faculty. I left residency determined to exceed the lofty expectations that the program demands from the diverse and talented students. I became quick friends with my peers and have begun my semester's work knowing that if I have questions I have fellow students ready to provide support. I expected a lot from this program and so far I have not been disappointed. I am looking forward to my next residency as well as the rest of this two year journey.


writer mom
Jen Kunka

Feb 2, 2012, 1:24 PM

Post #2428 of 2662 (16682 views)
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Re: [mrabb] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

I'm new to the speakeasy but also considering a low-residencly MFA. I live in Montana and am looking at programs in Washington and Oregon. With two children still at home, though, I too worry about the cost...and the time. It's a bit scary to think of taking out such a huge loan without knowing that the degree will lead to any situation in which I can repay the loan. Are there similar teaching opportunities for those who have received low residency MFAs as for those who are in regular programs? And how about other possibilities for jobs that can make use of writing skill...since we all know that few people can make a living as published writers.


bighark


Feb 2, 2012, 3:08 PM

Post #2429 of 2662 (16671 views)
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Re: [writer mom] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

Welcome to the forum.
An MFA is often a minimum requirement for teaching jobs, but those jobs hard to come by. Whether you earned your degree in an full-time or low-res program doesn't matter, but you will be competing against candidates who come to the table with teaching experience earned through TA opportunities given at other programs.
When considering low-res programs, shop around. Ask questions. You might be able to assemble a teaching practicum in partnership with your program and another school, but that will most likely be something you'll have to set up on your own. Obviously, the training of teachers is not a major mission of most low-res programs.
You might also want to call around the local community colleges and post-secondary institutions in your area to see what they consider in their teaching candidates. For an adjunct writing instructor, perhaps the degree might be enough.
Now if you manage to assemble an impressive number of publications along your way to the MFA, your chances of getting a teaching job improve. Throw a book in there, and your attractiveness to schools increases quite substantially.
As far as other employment is concerned, I can tell you from experience that the degree doesn't matter and won't affect your pay. Real talk. You might be able to command a higher salary at a government agency simply by virtue of having earned a master's degree, but at newspapers, websites, and marketing and advertising firms, actual job experience and a portfolio of previously accepted work is what will get you a job, and the job you get won't pay very much, especially at the entry-level.


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman

Feb 2, 2012, 4:29 PM

Post #2430 of 2662 (16668 views)
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Re: [writer mom] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

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.

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.

Jeanne
http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


writer mom
Jen Kunka

Feb 3, 2012, 1:01 PM

Post #2431 of 2662 (16637 views)
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Re: [bighark] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

bighark,
Thanks for the realistic view on job possibilities after an MFA. I do freelance for our newspaper and some other area publications and know that an MFA isn't going to increase my freelancing work anymore than being an assertive freelancer with lots of article ideas.
My reasons for looking into an MFA program are my longing for a writing community and for one-on-one feedback. I want to become a good writer (and, of course, I'd like to be published). I know I can't do the MFA in order to gain a lucrative career. I must admit, however, the cost of low-residency programs is a bit frightening. Thanks for your good tips on possible ways to make the cost more doable.

-writer mom


writer mom
Jen Kunka

Feb 3, 2012, 1:12 PM

Post #2432 of 2662 (16634 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

Jeanne,
Thanks for your reply. It was just what I was looking for. I've had the sense that an MFA could possibly open doors that just aren't going to open without it. It does provide credibility that is not going to show up regardless of how many years I've been writing. (Without the published bestseller)
I've been teaching a writing class at the local senior center this year and have loved it. I've done it for free since I didn't have the credibility of having a degree or being widely published. I'd love to do more and was glad to see that an MFA opened those kinds of doors for you.
My reason for looking into MFA programs is to get better. I've been writing for over a decade and long for more of a writing community and more face-to-face feedback. I want to say "who cares about the cost, it's worth it to have the opportunity to grow as a writer"...yet its hard not to take that cost into account especially with children who seem to keep growing out of their wardrobe and increasing their appetites!
Thanks for your reply.


bighark


Feb 3, 2012, 2:26 PM

Post #2433 of 2662 (16627 views)
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Re: [writer mom] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

Jen,
I should say that I'm glad for the time I spent in my MFA. I increased the scope of my artist's practice, and improved in my professional capacity as well.
J


moxie


Feb 3, 2012, 8:33 PM

Post #2434 of 2662 (16608 views)
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resumes? Can't Post

Apologies if this is in the wrong place, but I was wondering if other low-res applicants were planning on including resumes with their applications? None of the schools I'm applying to ask for it, but I feel like it could really add to my application... on the other hand, I really don't want to unnecessarily piss off any reviewers....


pongo
Buy this book!


Feb 4, 2012, 4:55 PM

Post #2435 of 2662 (16596 views)
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Re: [moxie] resumes? Can't Post

Unless your resume includes a major award -- in which case your writing sample will probably do the trick without any help -- I don't think it will help much. Certainly at my program (Goddard) and a few others I've asked around about, all they really care about is the writing and maybe the statement of purpose.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


dahosek
D. A. Hosek

Feb 6, 2012, 2:15 PM

Post #2436 of 2662 (16546 views)
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Re: [writer mom] Looking for Grads & Students of Low-Residency MFAs Can't Post

If your objective is to be an adjunct instructor at a community college, there are much cheaper ways to get the qualification: An MA from your local public university with "State" or a direction in its name will be a tiny fraction of the cost (in some cases, as little as free as they may well give you a tuition waiver and small stipend in exchange for being a TA).
Borrowing money for an MFA is not something that I would consider to be a wise decision, nor is getting an MFA for its future remunerative possibilities. Get an MFA to become a better writer, if you can afford it. Otherwise, there are far cheaper options to develop your writing that may well equal or exceed what you can get from an MFA (less the prestige of those three letters after your name).


http://dahosek.com


eplayer
Eric Layer

Feb 10, 2012, 5:28 PM

Post #2437 of 2662 (16489 views)
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Re: [greenpenquills] Low-Residency MFAs - Winter Residency 2011/12 Can't Post

I'd be interested too, if you don't mind. Thanks, Eric


LMC


Feb 15, 2012, 1:02 PM

Post #2438 of 2662 (16432 views)
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Re: [sanssouci] Summer 2011 Acceptances Can't Post

Hi there, I am currently in Bennington's MFA program (Fiction, could not be more pleased) and there are people in the program from overseas. I believe you have to get a student visa and some of the financial aid/fellowship things might be different.There are also an number of US citizens who live abroad who come in for the program and at least one expat. Given the great mix of backgrounds attending, I think it would be an ideal scenario for an international student.

In Reply To
Thanks Gi and jitall! I checked with the program coordinator this week and she confirmed that they are now accepting applications from international applicants. I'm thrilled, though I'm sure it's next to impossible to get in ;)



moxie


Feb 28, 2012, 1:12 PM

Post #2439 of 2662 (16288 views)
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acceptance deadlines Can't Post

What do you do when you have to tell one school whether or not you're enrolling before you've even heard from other schools about whether you've been admitted?


pongo
Buy this book!


Feb 28, 2012, 1:16 PM

Post #2440 of 2662 (16286 views)
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Re: [moxie] acceptance deadlines Can't Post

You call the school with the tight notification date and ask them if they can wait.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


moxie


Feb 28, 2012, 1:59 PM

Post #2441 of 2662 (16280 views)
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Re: [pongo] acceptance deadlines Can't Post

thanks, pongo! Do you think there's any use in contacting the other schools that I haven't heard from in a little bit and filling them in on the situation? I don't want to be super-pushy, but I'm not sure the first school will consent to waiting that long (I'm supposed to tell them in 2 weeks, and the other two schools I'm waiting on said that I would hear their decision in 2-6 weeks).


pongo
Buy this book!


Feb 28, 2012, 2:10 PM

Post #2442 of 2662 (16278 views)
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Re: [moxie] acceptance deadlines Can't Post

As long as you're polite, there's no harm in asking.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


sanssouci


Mar 1, 2012, 11:36 PM

Post #2443 of 2662 (16229 views)
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Re: [LMC] Summer 2011 Acceptances Can't Post

Thanks for sharing, LMC. That's great to hear. I'm planning to apply for fiction. I'd love to pick your brain about the application process, particularly the essay. Can I PM you sometime?



In Reply To
Hi there, I am currently in Bennington's MFA program (Fiction, could not be more pleased) and there are people in the program from overseas. I believe you have to get a student visa and some of the financial aid/fellowship things might be different.There are also an number of US citizens who live abroad who come in for the program and at least one expat. Given the great mix of backgrounds attending, I think it would be an ideal scenario for an international student.

In Reply To
Thanks Gi and jitall! I checked with the program coordinator this week and she confirmed that they are now accepting applications from international applicants. I'm thrilled, though I'm sure it's next to impossible to get in ;)




LMC


Mar 2, 2012, 2:43 AM

Post #2444 of 2662 (16223 views)
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Re: [sanssouci] Summer 2011 Acceptances Can't Post

Absolutely. I am only in my first semester, but I will happily share what ever info I can give you. I am at AWP right now, so if you happen be in Chicago, there's a whole slew of us here.


LMC


Mar 7, 2012, 1:42 PM

Post #2445 of 2662 (16147 views)
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Re: [moxie] acceptance deadlines Can't Post

I contacted the schools I'd heard from and requested extensions, which they all gave me. Then I (with great trepidation) contacted the two I hadn't heard from. They both got back to me within a day, said they knew the situation, etc and would keep it in mind. Both of those then got back to me within 48 hours. I'm glad I waited, because my first choice was in that latter two, and I would have kicked myself if I had accepted elsewhere in haste. That said, on money offers, you need to answer in the right time frame. This all comes about because some schools, VCFA, Goddard, I think, and a few others are on rolling admit and others work with deadlines more like the res programs. The rolling admit ones tend to go quicker.Just be polite. They've all been there.


LMC


Mar 7, 2012, 1:53 PM

Post #2446 of 2662 (16146 views)
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Re: [LMC] Summer 2011 Acceptances Can't Post

Hi there,You can email me: no.hum.here@gmail.comor find me on facebookI don't know if my name displace on P&W, but its Linda Michel-CassidyMy cohort has a FB group is closed. We like it though, because we can be candid. I can run any questions you might have by them, though. And depending on your genre, you might want to talk to a different person and I can get one of them to talk w/ you. I'm fiction, but did a cross-genre workshop w/ CNF.I can tell you that I have had no regrets and am totally happy with the lo-res model. Bennington really will kick you in the ass, but that's what I need.If you are the person who asked about resumes, I did not include one. My day job is so unrelated, I didn't feel like it would add anything. The manuscript is the main thing, and supposedly B'ton does really read the "reading life' essay and likes some evidence of academic chops. The latter being the least of the three. It's really all about the manuscript.Best of luck, And don't hesitate to contact me.-Linda


LMC


Mar 7, 2012, 7:27 PM

Post #2447 of 2662 (16124 views)
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Re: [LMC] Summer 2011 Acceptances Can't Post

Wow. Ignore all of those typos, please.


laurenkcook
Lauren Cook

Mar 12, 2012, 11:52 AM

Post #2448 of 2662 (16022 views)
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Re: [greenpenquills] Low-Residency MFAs - Winter Residency 2011/12 Can't Post

I'm not sure if you've made your decision about what low-res program to attend this Spring, but as a current Spalding student I thought I might be able to answer some questions and shed some light on the program. What I really like about it is the opportunity to work with so many different mentors. You can choose a different one for all four of your semesters and they give you new ones for each residency workshop so you have the opportunity to learn from so many different people. It's virtually impossible for students to graduate from Spalding with all the same writing style since you're working with so many different faculty members and they all try hard to work with you and not mold your writing into what they personally prefer to read. Let me know if you have any more questions!


edmundwilsonregrets
edmund wilson

Mar 15, 2012, 9:20 PM

Post #2449 of 2662 (15944 views)
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Bennington vs. VCFA MFA - Thoughts? Can't Post

Hi, everyone -

I'm in the position of having been accepted into both Bennington and VCFA's CNF program for the summer and, as you'll probably know if you've been reading this board (or have been in these or similar programs yourself), they don't give you a lot of time to get back to them. Bennington especially. And, I must admit I'm a bit torn here. Both programs are obviously excellent, though they do seem to have somewhat different strengths. VCFA seems stronger on publishing and craft, and projects maybe a more easy-going or at least democratic environment, while Bennington features better known writers and residency offerings by the likes of James Wood, Geoff Dyer, etc.

I'm wondering if anyone on here has looked *closely* at both programs or has found themselves in a similar position of wrestling with a decision between the two. If so, I'd really appreciate hearing from you - either on the board or via PM.

I should say my own work is more personal essay than anything else, for what it's worth.

Note that I've spoken to a number of grads from each program, but have yet to find folks who really know both programs up close and can speak knowledgeably about their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks!
"Bunny Wilson"


LMC


Mar 17, 2012, 12:06 PM

Post #2450 of 2662 (16378 views)
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Re: [edmundwilsonregrets] Bennington vs. VCFA MFA - Thoughts? Can't Post

Hi Edmund,I was in exactly your position last summer. I ended going to Bennington after having quite a time choosing. I'd be happy to tell you about my decision process. I have friends who have already graduated from Vermont, so I was able to make some comparisons.Feel free to email me: no.hum.here@gmail.com-Linda

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