May 8, 2007, 5:32 PM
Post #52 of 119
here's the perspective of one BROKE student who has just taken Columbia over TNS -
Re: [Clench Million] ] New State U. of NY Grad Writing Program
I accepted an offer from TNS - four hours later, I recieved word that I'd been admitted to Columbia off of the waitlist. I agonized over the decision for a few weeks, and even considered not attending grad school this year, at all. Finally, I chose Columbia for the following reasons:
1. Not sure how the "credit hours" compare, but at Columbia, students take 1x workshop and 3x other classes / semester, one of which can be a class almost ANYWHERE in Columbia's world-class university. At TNS, I would only be able to take 1x workshop and 1x literature class, and would be barred from cross-registering in other classes. I believe that writers benefit from exposure to ideas and knowledge outside of the craft of writing, especially when it comes to non-fiction writers like myself.
2. I don't immediately assume that my MFA is going to result in a book deal. It's quite likely that I will be looking for employment not-related to writing after I graduate. Realistically, the name "Columbia" has a value outside of the world of writing. Like it or not, people hear the name and their eyes light up, as if you're some kind of friggin genius just for having gone there. I think this will have a $$$ value post-MFA.
3. I believe that the exposure and networks I build because of Columbia's stature and the intensity of its program will benefit me post-graduation.
4. I know I want to go to school in NYC, because of the supposedly increased publishing contacts, the inspiration i get from being in that vibrant city, and because of increased professional opportunities in other fields (I work in live music, film, and video production. This is flexible, high-paying work, and if i'm lucky, i'll be able to support myself via production while i'm in school.) If I'm going to go to a big-name program in NYC, I'm going to end up in debt. Why go to a less intensive and less presitigious (though obviously strong) program? If I'm going to spend 2 years and go 30k into debt, why not spend 2 years and double that for a program that i'm hoping will benefit me exponentially more?
All of these reasons are arguably insane, I admit. I know that I'll be in debt for a long time, and that I'll be eating nothing but macaroni and cheese for the next two years. Still I am gambling that my own ability to make connections and create opportunities for myself, along with the value of a columbia degree bring good results both within the world of writing and without. If I am wrong, I'll be be 26 when I graduate and have my whole life to pay down the debt.
Am I scared? Hell yes. Am I excited? Damn straight. Wish me luck.
(This post was edited by akivaf on May 9, 2007, 1:02 PM)