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Before I leap
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Mar 9, 2006, 2:32 PM

Post #26 of 33 (3317 views)
Re: [dintennessee] Need advice Can't Post

I wouldn't recommend going to any program that doesn't give you a good amount of funding. Not all people would agree with that advice, however.

If you don't get a positive response from your dream school, and you're not even excited about this "back-up" school, it seems like it would be a poor investment of your time and money to attend just because you can.

If you choose to reapply next year, I would suggest that you apply only to schools that you would be really excited to attend, even if they're not your dream school. As has been recommended elsewhere, apply to between 8 and 12 schools. And as may or may not have been recommended elsewhere, make sure that more than half of those schools typically offer full funding.


Mar 9, 2006, 3:10 PM

Post #27 of 33 (3286 views)
Re: [theapplepicker] Need advice Can't Post

Don't pay for your MFA.


Mar 9, 2006, 3:16 PM

Post #28 of 33 (3281 views)
Re: [bighark] Need advice Can't Post

I would echo the advice: don't pay for an MFA. It makes your writing better (usually). That's it. There are enough programs that have funding.
And you need to go to a school you are psyched about. Why go if you're just going to mail it in?
That being said, you MUST have a larger list or be prepared to wait another year, two, or more. Applications are completely subjective. I applied to four schools this year, which was crazy. I got lucky, but I was also prepared to apply again next year, and I already had a list of about a dozen schools I was going to apply to. .

Dana Davis / Moderator

Mar 9, 2006, 11:10 PM

Post #29 of 33 (3204 views)
Re: [dintennessee] Need advice Can't Post

I'm moving this topic into an existing one called "Before I Leap".

We've got over 20 active MFA threads now and there are more than enough opened topics to handle any advice queries.



Mar 10, 2006, 2:04 AM

Post #30 of 33 (3171 views)
Re: [HopperFu] Need advice Can't Post

There are a lot of outside ways to fund your education. Go to the school you want to go to #1 (I know most people disagree) and work your ass off before you get there to secure outside finacial support in the form of grants, scholarships, fellowships, jobs, you know. go live with your parents if you have to, for the summer, even if you're 35, and save up. if you really think the school is good, it's totally worth it.


Mar 12, 2006, 8:07 PM

Post #31 of 33 (3073 views)
Re: [bighark] Need advice Can't Post

In Reply To
Don't pay for your MFA.

I think this is a little naive ...for those of us who are older and living in an established family situation where, for logistical or financial or other reasons, we cannot move to a new location to attend a 'normal' MFA program, and are pursuing the MFA through the low-residency route. These programs have precious little funding, as the thinking seems to be "keep your day job." And, logically, how could you earn your keep teaching, when you are only on camput a few weeks a semester?

Personally, my "day job" right now is child care, volunteer work at kids' schools, and part time freelance writing/research jobs. We are not rich. I live near a lot of universities that offer MFAs in fiction and poetry, but only four offer an MFA in nonfiction -- one is exhorbitantly expensive even for a wealthy person, another is very very tough to get into and also kind of costly too. The other two don't interest me -- so my only recourse is a low=res program.

Try not to be so cavalier about the funding all of you "regular" full-time, day students will, I hope for your sakes, be able to get. I will find a way to finance my program -- loans, etc., but one thing I don't need is to be made to feel guilty for paying for something that is this important to me. In my situation, what would you do?


Mar 12, 2006, 9:28 PM

Post #32 of 33 (3047 views)
Re: [coolshoes] Need advice Can't Post

I think the following facts have been so drilled into my head, that I actually become irrationally irritated when they are disucssed around me:

- That I will never make money as a writer.
- That an MFA is, essentially, a useless degree.
- That at twenty-one years old, I have no chance of getting into a program
- When I, by some miracle, am accepted into a wonderful program, I will not appreciate it as much as I should because I am an idiot child
- That the only smart way to go about getting an MFA is to choose the school which gives me the most money
- That after I graduate with my MFA, I will be a discontented person with a low-paying job

There are way too many generalizations thrown around in these discussions, I think. It drives me a little nuts. The way I see it, we're all adults (yes, even the young ones) and we are talented, intelligent people to be accepted into these programs, and we should give each other respect while assuming that we will be making the right decisions for ourselves (i.e., methods of paying for the education). "Don't pay for your MFA" is a good idea, of course, but I don't think that if someone chooses not to follow this mantra that he/she is making a mistake. To me, that's just silly.


Mar 12, 2006, 10:20 PM

Post #33 of 33 (3018 views)
Re: [coolshoes] Need advice Can't Post


When I wrote "do not pay for your MFA," I was not talking about you and your situation.

My advice was directed towards a person who had asked about enrolling in a traditional program that had accepted him/her but would not offer funding. He/she wanted to know if it would be a better idea to wait a year and reapply.

We were not talking about the Low-Res option.

Low-Res programs are a completely different animal. I think you'll find that everybody within this community holds Low-Res programs in high esteem. Further, I think you'll notice a benign double standard that applies to Low-Res programs regarding funding.

When we're talking about traditional programs, though, which we were, I stand by my advice: Do not pay for your MFA.

(This post was edited by bighark on Mar 13, 2006, 12:25 PM)

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