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


Aug 26, 2008, 2:34 PM

Views: 29590
Re: [ejdifili] Choosing an MFA Program (2009)

Hi Flobelle,

I can appreciate not wanting to go to a "less competitive" school. That said, there are at least 35 MFA programs in America as hard or harder to get into than Harvard University undergrad, so I'm confident when I say that the list of competitive programs is longer than the list of five schools you've developed. I think we can safely say there are a minimum of 20 MFA programs in the U.S. that are not just "competitive" or "very competitive" but "obscenely competitive." Realistically, anyone who limits themselves to applying to only five of these is likely to find themselves in that "don't get in" category you referenced for many, many years to come. And that's fine if an MFA doesn't actually interest you particularly, but if you really do want to attend one in the next decade or so, it's worth mulling over. Even the most competitive fifty applicants in each genre per year should be applying to a minimum of eight programs--and since there's no way to know one's competitiveness as an applicant (hundreds of writers are lauded, often rightly, by their undergraduate faculty advisers each year), the conventional wisdom of applying to 12 to 18 schools (and on the higher end of that if all the schools are fully-funded, and/or are harder than Harvard to get into) is the best course for all applicants. I believe I was a very strong candidate when I applied to MFA programs, and still I was rejected outright (not even waitlisted) by four of the seven programs to which I applied. In retrospect, it was a huge mistake to apply to only seven programs, and I'm lucky beyond words that it didn't end in total disaster for me. Fortunately, those applying to MFAs in 2008/9 can take advantage of the fact that the conventional wisdom about MFA applications is now better and more widely disseminated than ever before.

As to the Stegner, I'd respectfully (but strongly) advise against anyone applying to it straight from college. The odds are not just long, I fear they're quite nearly non-existent. Maybe it makes sense for a candidate who's already applying to 18 other educational options (i.e. MFAs), but perhaps not even then. And besides, why not try to get the best of both worlds and earn an MFA and a postgrad fellowship like the Stegner? It seems there's no pressing reason to put the cart before the horse here.

Be well,

(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 26, 2008, 2:38 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Aug 26, 2008, 2:37 PM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Aug 26, 2008, 2:38 PM

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