Kaytie M. Lee
Nov 25, 2005, 1:08 AM
Probably best to discuss how you plan to grow as a writer in the MFA program. It's a school, after all--they're interested in what you can do for them (what talents and skills you'll bring to them) and what they can do for you (what you hope to learn while there).
Re: [gymnick] Statements of Purpose
No MFA program guarantees publishing opportunities that I'm aware of, so the statement of purpose is not the place to discuss that--it's a given. They want to know what you hope to get while enrolled with them, which is a very good reason why you should tailor your statement of purpose. It's a chance to show how much you researched their program. Many applicants (and writers) blindly submit to schools (and to agents/lit mags/editors). Show why you think you're a good match for the program. It's more work, but MFA programs want students who aren't afraid of the work it takes to be a writer.
Once you've written the first SoP you can easily alter it for the others. I applied to five schools and got into three, and I suspect that my statement of purpose had much to do with that since my writing samples, while clean and polished, were amateurish subject-wise.
Keep in mind: Those reading your application are writers, and sometimes even professors--they can tell a generic statement of purpose from a tailored one.
(Self-deprecating can work in your favor if it shows your personality--my SoP began with admitting that I failed my high school writing competency test. Granted, in my next sentence I mentioned how my English teacher waived the requirement to take it again since I'd always received As on essays. Still, it's a great story. I keep the card showing my "deficiencies" on my desk. As a creative writer you don't get many opportunities to show the "real" you. Your SoP is your chance to show your personality--take it!!!)
Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008
(This post was edited by Kaytie on Nov 25, 2005, 1:11 AM)