Jul 21, 2008, 12:06 PM
Re: [aiyamei] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings
Honestly, that seems unlikely, as Iowa, which is generally seen as number one nationally, has consistently had a sizeable lead on all other schools in the P&W Reader Poll, and in terms of real-world applications has a 600-application lead (1,500 to 900) on its next-closest competitor (NYU hit a high-water mark of 900 applications several years back, and is now believed to be at around 700 to 750 applications). I've speculated before that one of the reasons for Irvine's failure to crack the Top 5 (or, in the past two years, the "inside" of the Top 10) is that it is considered a desireable target for fiction-writers, but less so for poetry. Also, there's been a tremendous amount of upheaval faculty-wise, so a significant amount of luster has been lost in that regard as well.
A few other reasons I doubt that theory: no other top-ranked school seems to suffer so (unless you count the drop-offs since 1996 of Johns Hopkins and Houston, which I think are clearly attributable to other factors); and since application-rate data was released a little over a year ago, it's become clear that Irvine is actually one of ten schools in America with an acceptance rate under 3%, and none of those other schools seems to have problems in this poll. If you look only at fiction programs, there are probably close to twenty which, along with Irvine, have an acceptance rate under 3%, and again, none of these programs are showing the trend we see with Irvine. My guess is that, as more and more applicants do research online and realize there are more top-notch programs than just Iowa and Irvine, Irvine is joining what I call the First Tier of programs, which includes eleven other schools--and thus could place any school in that Tier anywhere from #1 to #12 nationally--whereas Iowa, in a singular fashion, has maintained its long-standing lead on any other program (due in large part to the fact that it's much, much older than any other program, including Irvine, and not necessarily on the idea that Iowa is truly leaps and bounds stronger than, say, the amazing programs at Michigan, Cornell, Virginia, et. al.).
(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 21, 2008, 12:15 PM)