Mar 16, 2006, 12:12 PM
I realize we're all still in the middle of it, but I've been thinking about what I've learned from applying and the things that I wish I had known before that I know now. Maybe this thread would help some other hapless applicant in the future:
What Have You Learned From the Application Process?
1. The process is ridiculously subjective - I guess this is obvious, but I don't think it can be emphasized enough.
2. Do my research - I wish I had read more books by faculty members, to have a better sense of the kinds of people who will potentially be instructing me. Also related to #3.
3. Apply to lots of schools - I only applied to six really competitive ones, and I only got in by a hair. I would have expanded my list by at least four schools if I hadn't gotten in this time.
4. Submit my best work - I don't think I accounted for this enough. I'm working on a novel that's very much in progress, and it's the thing that I'm most excited about, so I submitted an excerpt to half my programs, and sent older, more polished stories to the ones that had short page requirements or faculty who mainly did stories.
I got rejected by the three programs I sent the novel excerpt to. I got an acceptance, a waitlist, and a rejection for the programs I sent the short stories to. Moral: even though I was most excited by the thing I was working on, I should have been more objective in picking my best work.
5. Get someone I trust to look at my work - I have a tendency to be really independent. I didn't get any outside help on my applications even though a more established friend offered to help me edit. I should have taken her up on it.
6. Find a community to get advice and share experiences with - I wish I had known about Speakeasy!
(This post was edited by sibyline on Mar 16, 2006, 1:43 PM)