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Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs Re: [ejdifili] Choosing an MFA Program (2009): Edit Log


Jul 28, 2008, 1:52 PM

Views: 30921
Re: [ejdifili] Choosing an MFA Program (2009)

Hi Emily,

Great post, and I'm so glad everything worked out for you. One thing I'd note (and I'm sure you'd agree) is that the ideal scenario, all things being equal, is acceptance to three or more programs--not for the purpose of stroking the ego, but for the far more pragmatic one of giving oneself (as applicant) as many options as possible. Many students were unlucky last year and the year before and, while getting into one school out of six or eight applications, weren't able to go to their sole-option program because no funding was offered them, or because for various unexpected reasons the location of the program was no longer feasible or desireable, or additional information about the program (e.g., a visit) soured the applicant on the school post-application, or a faculty member who had been the original impetus for the application chose to depart the program in question. And many other similar scenarios; the list is endless, and a lot can happen in the five months between November/December and March/April.

With multiple acceptances, the candidate not only has multiple options--and some time and space to really begin weighing which features of specific programs are the most important and valuable--but also in many instances can discuss their acceptances with administrative officials or faculty at individual programs, which sometimes results in an amendment to their financial aid package (NB: to be clear, this is not something I did myself, or would be inclined to do; that said, A., I know many, many people who did it, and B., sometimes programs will amend their financial aid offers simply upon discovering you are weighing other options--without any haggling, bargaining, cajoling, or needling on your part whatsoever).

So if people wonder, "Why can't I just apply to eight schools, if I'm only looking for one acceptance?", the answer is, "You can, but if you're only applying to top 25 schools eight applications probably won't be enough (for the typical applicant) for even a single acceptance, and if you're hoping to having even two options while applying to only top 25 programs, let alone three, likely 12 to 15 applications will be necessary."

Just wanted to clear that up, so that my "15 is ideal" theory makes some sense. And yes, I know there's also the "15 is damned expensive!" school of thought, too, which I also do subscribe to.

So, like anything, it's an if-you-can-possibly-afford-it piece of advice.

Be well, all,

(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 28, 2008, 1:54 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jul 28, 2008, 1:53 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jul 28, 2008, 1:53 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jul 28, 2008, 1:54 PM

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