...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. ....
Hey Seth, this is kind of interesting, but the problem is that your data, hard or not, is fundamentally flawed. And again, whether or not you preface this with the idea that it's simply a "curio," the problem is that - with your verbose elaboration of methodology - your rankings garner some veneer of absolutism and accuracy.
One fundamental flaw in your data is that you don't seperate fiction and poetry, which affects some programs more than others: Iowa had between 750-775 fiction applicants last year. Using those numbers, their acceptance rate changes significantly.
A second flaw is your assumption of a base of 200 applicants. There are a number of programs - of the top of my head I can think of two that have been championed by you as 'up and coming' - that had less than 100 applicants in recent years. Again, that fucks up the rates signficantly.
The third flaw is that some of the numbers posted by programs are a) out of date, or b) basically estimates by the program
And, of course, you didn't include a number of schools. As a cheerleader for my own school, I'll point out that Cornell is - by a fairly large margin - the most statistically difficult school to get into.
Again though, my biggest problem with ALL of these rankings that you have done is that even though you'll usually have a sentence or two saying why they are flawed, you'll also have about twelve paragraphs saying how accurate they are based on your methodology; the numbered rankings that you then post then come across with an aura of validity, as if you are somehow an authority on MFA programs rather than one of the chattering masses like the rest of us.
All I know is that when I have talked to people who seem like they would have an idea of which schools are hot - actual professors, editors, agents, published writers - the schools they talk about don't line up closely with any of your lists, and the "rankings" swerve back and forth depending on what you are looking for.
I'm tired of this argument though. [edited to remove an unintentionally snippy comment that I made and to add: I'm done arguing about rankings]
(This post was edited by HopperFu on Jan 16, 2007, 9:05 AM)