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Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs Don't yell at me, but...: Edit Log


Jan 15, 2007, 10:08 PM

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Don't yell at me, but...

...I did another new "ranking" of MFA programs, though this one is not truly a "ranking" so much as a series of Indexes (specifically, Selectivity Indexes). Also, it uses hard data only, so it should (I hope) not be particularly controversial. It has limited usefulness as anything more than a curio, something I admitted in the introductory remarks which precede the Indexes. The Selectivity Indexes can be found here:


I should say that one reason I did this (despite having limited data to work from) is because, as schools release new information (particularly this spring), it will be possible to add new indexes and/or make the existing ones more accurate.

One thing I found, in doing these Indexes, was that a school we've all been talking about quite a bit--Columbia University--fared incredibly poorly, which might help to explain why it was #4 in 1997 but (depending upon which if any of the new rankings you acknowledge as having any validity) is now #13 (TSE), #15 (LJPW), or #16 (TKS). [NB: The surprisingly high placement of other schools, like Wisconsin and SIU, and even Texas, is also becoming clearer now]. Specifically, it seems evident from the hard data collected in the Indexes that, at best, Columbia is the 23rd most selective program in the country, but is, more likely, much lower than that. [NB: I say this because only 25 of the nation's 400 programs were included in the Indexes, and while I admit that my "200 standard minimum APP" (you'll have to read the Introduction to the Indexes to understand this) likely only applies to the top fifty to seventy-five programs, that still leaves a lot of room for Columbia to fall to, say, between 30th and 35th in terms of selectivity].

Now, I can hear folks saying that "Columbia accepts more people than other schools, and shouldn't be punished for that," but remember, these are simply Selectivity Indexes. It's not necessarily any sort of judgment on the school. But that said, I'll also point out that Columbia isn't necessarily to be given a pass for accepting more people than other schools do and consequently giving their accepted students (or many of them, at least) less funding than they need. In fact, it lines Columbia's pocket to accept more students than almost any other program (because they're taking $35,000/yr. from each student, minus the occasional fellowship or grant or stipend). It seems to me unrealistic to claim that the only reason Columbia accepts so many people is because--say--they want to make their unique MFA experience available to everyone. Do schools really think that way? I'm not sure they do, or even, necessarily, that they should (if it comes at the pecuniary expense of all the school's admitted MFA students).

Anyway, not trying to start an argument here, just wanted to post the link to the Indexes and mention a few interesting things I think they show. Cheers,

(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 15, 2007, 10:31 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:20 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:22 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:23 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:24 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:25 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:26 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:29 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:30 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 15, 2007, 10:31 PM

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