Oct 14, 2008, 8:36 PM
Post #177 of 329
The SOP is tough, tougher and more important than most admit. Mentioning your previous application might help you, if you handle it well. For example, if you were to discuss the changes you've made in your writing over the past year you might be able to better justify that you are ready to enter a program. Doing that would also show that you're able to be honest about and critical of your writing, a big plus as far as committees are concerned. I doubt most admissions committees would look poorly upon someone who was rejected before as they understand better than anyone how small acceptance rates are.
Re: [SevenFreckles] Sample Statements
To reference my first sentence, the SOP is, generally speaking, the second most important part of your application (behind the writing sample). I'm about to make a bunch of claims. They aren't unsubstantiated conjecture; I've actually discussed this with several profs at my program and others who have dealt with committees elsewhere. When schools are deciding who they want, they're often faced with a significant number of applicants who are equally strong. The SOP helps them pick out the potential students who seem to fit with the program, whether it's attitude or focus or whatever, the best. That's actually extemely important to many MFA programs as most of them hinge so heavily on a "writer's community" of sorts. So, tailoring your SOP is extremely important in that it can "nudge you over the line," especially if you're an emerging writer. I know that if an SOP sounds like a form letter, programs will often drop the app. I found this out the hard way. When I applied, most of the SOPs I wrote were highly generalized. The schools that got those, for the most part, rejected me, even if they weren't as prestigious as some of the programs whose SOP I spent time with. Every program whose SOP I spent time with (either by discussing the writers on staff, the focus of the program, or even the opportunities presented by the school at large) admitted me. Of course everyone is different, but it might be something to think about as you get your stuff togehter.
Good luck and if you have any questions, just PM me.