Kaytie M. Lee
Apr 21, 2005, 12:59 PM
Post #5 of 6
Re: [chitown] The Writing Sample?
Does anyone have any advice for judging the caliber of work produced by students in MFA programs (applicants or current students)? So I know if I have a shot at getting in :)
The only writing that would help you judge in this case is that of the other writers applying for the same spots you are. Each school is going to try to pick the best of the applications, so the writing of current students or graduates of the programs you are applying to will likely have little or nothing to do with how the admissions committee looks at your work.
The only aspect of this process you have control over is presenting yourself in the best possible light, so I think you're better off polishing your own submissions as best you can rather than worrying about others. Have someone else look at them--seems like there's always a typo or a grammar error an author will miss but a reader will catch--and follow each school's formatting guideline. The only aspect of this process you have control over is presenting yourself in the best possible light.
When I was applying to schools, I didn't give a thought to the other writers, but I attribute that to my own naivete rather than confidence. Now that I'm aware of so many other emerging writers, I tend to think about them too much. Awareness is a good thing--agonizing is not. :)
And as people mentioned, the application process for an MFA is as selective as any submission process, so a rejection doesn't mean you're not talented and an acceptance doesn't always mean you are...
But, if you're trying to decide where to apply, the other posters gave you good advice about that--check out the faculty, and see if there's anyone there you'd love to work with. Then make sure they'll actually be teaching when you're attending the program. Attend a class if possible--my program allowed prospective students to attend workshops, and that can be a great way to make your decision.
Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008