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susanjoy
Susan Newell

May 11, 1998, 3:38 PM

Post #26 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Amy - are you applying for January? You're at the same spot I am -
draft of essay done and book essay is next. Although I enjoyed the
personal essay process more. It was good to sit down and really think
through where I've been. Where are you applying? Or should we take
this 'off line'? I notice you have a pw.org address. Do you work at
P&W? Susan


amy
Amy Holman

May 11, 1998, 5:59 PM

Post #27 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Either format of response is fine, Susan. I'm applying for January,
yes, and only Warren Wilson, since I've been given enough reaction to
it over the years that I wasn't interested in the MFA. I know
graduates. I like the more formal approach than the loose one at
Vermont. Some structure is needed, especially in the low-residency. I
like writing about writing, but that essay made me go back to college
and I feel I've regenerated since. I wish that with the second essay
it could be a comparison or contract between two books of a specific
theme or subject. I like making connections. I can't decide what book
I want to use. What about you?


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

May 28, 1998, 5:11 PM

Post #28 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I was wondering if anyone knew the acceptance rate at these low
residency programs. I know that the "normal" programs can run between
1% and 10%.


rk
Ren Powell

May 28, 1998, 5:42 PM

Post #29 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Well, gee, that's what I wanted to hear ;-) ren


pongo
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e-mail user

May 29, 1998, 8:53 AM

Post #30 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Unfortunately, since I was accepted, the only people I know are the
ones who were accepted (one of whom was rejected when he first
applied.) But I think you can call the admissions offices or the heads
of the programs and ask them about this, or check them out in a
reference like Barron's. dmh


bard
William Rudolph

Jun 3, 1998, 9:06 PM

Post #31 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Since I wanted the same information for a sabbatical application, I
asked Vermont College. Their answer was vague. With the number who
differ to a later semester and those who don't end up attending at
all, the person I spoke with said they had no accurate numbers. She
guessed somewhere between 15-25 percent, which seems high to me.


smerwin
Shawn Merwin

Jun 4, 1998, 11:45 AM

Post #32 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I received similar information (less than 20%, I was told) when I
asked about Vermont's MFA program. I asked a representative of Goddard
the same question and she told me they accept 70%!!! I almost dropped
the phone. Is that possible? I have already decided to go to Vermont's
program, so it's immaterial now, but I'm just passing on the info to
others who are interested. Shawn


adria
Adrianne Harun

Jun 5, 1998, 12:51 PM

Post #33 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I'm a fiction writer who graduated from Warren Wilson two years ago.
Let me sound cymbals and drums in praise of the program. The faculty,
which changes with each residency, was consistently outstanding --
supportive, generous, and tremendously talented. Not having
experienced conferences/workshops before, I took for granted the lack
of hierarchy at WW which I've heard pervades some other programs,
notably Bennington. The faculty at a residency is extremely
accessible. It is, in many ways, a learning residency for them as
well. Faculty almost always attend each other's classes and take an
active part in discussions. The community also changes from residency
to residency to some extent. I found the group I came in with a
remarkable bunch, and, living in a fairly remote area, these writers
are still the backbone of my writing community. The gold in the
program was the exchange with the supervisors. The classes and the
lectures (available on tape to WW students after each residency) were
almost always thrilling on some level. The workshops really depended
upon the participants but, in general, I found I gained more in
learning how to read a manuscript- in-progress (and transfer that
knowledge to my own self-editing) than I did from any particular
discussion of my work. My only caveat with the program is that the
community changes continually. It is not, despite the overreaching
program ethics, a closed system. But, of course, that's true for any
program. I've had prospective WW students who've read stories of mine
in literary mags (and noted in my bio that I am a WW grad) call me. I
don't think it would be out of place to call the WW office and ask if
you could contact a current poetry student/recent grad in your area to
get a poet's pov. I worked two part-time jobs throughout the program.
Writing consumed every spare minute. My family went through a
disgruntled stage, emerged a lot more independent with a great deal of
respect for my writing time. It was, in retrospect, a blessedly
obsessed time that informs my writing habits yet.


snarkout
Susan Katz

Aug 4, 1998, 11:50 PM

Post #34 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I've just stumbled into this discussion and I am what is known as a
"Goddard/Warren Wilson" alum since I was a student in the program
during its first incarnation at Goddard before it moved to WW. But I
want to add another echo to the trumpeting of the program's praises.
Enrolling in that MFA program was one of the smartest things I've ever
done. And twenty years later I still feel connected to other writers
who were there when I was (both students and faculty). I was in the
poetry side of things (though ironically I'm now publishing fiction),
and it was a great experience.


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Aug 26, 1998, 9:41 AM

Post #35 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Can anyone here give advice for the application essay? What approaches
worked? Also, one school wants a rec from a teacher. My BA days were
so long ago, I'm afraid anyone I'd ask is dead. Ideas?


pongo
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Aug 26, 1998, 10:48 AM

Post #36 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I applied for my MFA program 26 years after I got my BA. Instead of a
faculty recommendation, I used people who knew me and my writing, who
had some claim to being experts (published authors, that is). My own
essay was about why, after so many years, I decided to give up what I
had been doing -- working in publishing -- to get an MFA. dmh


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Aug 27, 1998, 4:25 AM

Post #37 of 2662 (21013 views)
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Thanks David. I have professionals to use as recs from my
freelance/public relations work. None of them are familiar with my
creative writing, but they will talk about my professionalism, blah,
blah. Hope that's good enough. I don't have authors to vouch for me.
I'm working on my essay right now. I guess they must all be similar to
some degree -- why we feel the need to write fiction/poetry, why what
we're doing now is not doing it for us... It's been interesting for me
to try to pin-point these reasons. If nothing else, it's been a
valuable soul-search.


pongo
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e-mail user

Aug 27, 1998, 8:49 AM

Post #38 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I talked a little bit with the head of my program -- Goddard -- after
I got there, and it was my essay that sold them on me. (The writing
samples had to be up to snuff, of course, but the essay was the big
thing.) And it was largely what you're talking about -- my
relationship with text and with fiction, and how I wanted to change
that relationship by getting a degree. It was precisely the level of
intense personal exploration that hooked them. dmh


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Aug 28, 1998, 4:40 AM

Post #39 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I have the Goddard application on my desk. What made you choose
Goddard over say, Vermont, or Warren Wilson? Did the degree (have you
finished?) do for you what you expected?


pongo
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e-mail user

Aug 28, 1998, 9:52 AM

Post #40 of 2662 (21013 views)
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I chose Goddard over the others because it was the one I'd heard of.
My research was shoddy. On the other hand, I'm very pleased with my
experiences there. I just got the degree in July, and I start teaching
on Monday, so that's one major goal achieved. I also wrote a novel
that is far beyond anything else I'd done in the preceding 25 years,
beyond anything I thought I could do. Working with Sarah Schulman was
difficult, but a joy overall (I did two semesters with her). I learned
more about myself and about writing in the last two years than in the
25 I worked in publishing. I also learned a lot about critical
writing, enough that I have one paper published and another possibly
publishable with a few minor changes. So I think I got everything I
could have hoped for out of it. dmh


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Aug 30, 1998, 5:48 AM

Post #41 of 2662 (21012 views)
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David: Your news is so encouraging. What I want to walk away with is a
novel I've been thinking about....I think I could do it on my own, but
I want the mentoring first because I need it, I'm not so confident yet
in my fiction skills. And second, having worked in journalism and PR,
I got feedback all the time on my work -- Whether it was an editor
saying: develop this line more, or the finished published piece (and
paycheck) that validated my take on the assignment. Getting that
feedback along the way, instead of sweating out a whole book and
hoping I'm heading in the right direction, will save me years of
frustration and many more gray hairs. Now, I just have to get accepted
in one of the schools... And, congrats and good luck. Where are you
teaching? --Mary Jo


pongo
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e-mail user

Aug 30, 1998, 10:40 PM

Post #42 of 2662 (21012 views)
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Thanks for the congrats. I'm teaching at Rockland Community, St.
Thomas Aquinas, and Marist Colleges. dmh


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Sep 28, 1998, 3:42 PM

Post #43 of 2662 (21012 views)
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Are there any Bennington grads or current students out there? I
applied for the January term at Vermont, Bennington and Warren Wilson.
Today I found out I was accepted to both Vermont and Bennington in
Poetry. I'm still waiting to hear back from Warren Wilson. I have a
friend at Vermont so he's filled me in on lots of the details there
(he loves it), but I don't know anyone from Bennington. The director
of the program called me and explained how the program focuses more on
the craft of poetry than the actual content, which is exactly what I
want. I've already spent 8 months (a winter semester and a summer
session) at a regular residency MFA program which focused more on
content and was so large I never got any time with or feedback from
the writers. It was a poor experience so I withdrew from the program
and applied to the low-residency programs because they really focus on
the mentoring apsect, the master teacher the apprentice. I've heard
wonderful things about Warren Wilson, but I haven't heard if I got in
yet or not, so i'm not going to spend too much time thinking about
that yet. Reb


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Sep 28, 1998, 3:43 PM

Post #44 of 2662 (21012 views)
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er . . . that should be "the master teaching the apprentice" :)


gravity
Ben Fishelman

Sep 28, 1998, 10:25 PM

Post #45 of 2662 (21012 views)
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oh, same difference.


mjo
Mary Jo Jerome

Sep 29, 1998, 6:21 AM

Post #46 of 2662 (21012 views)
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Rebecca: You've heard from Vermont and Bennington already? yikes. I
applied in fiction and only one word so far from Vermont -- "Your
application is complete and we are considering it." I'm hoping
international mail is just slowing the process, and that it's not any
indication of my acceptance. How long did it take to hear for others
out there who applied in fiction? Anyway, Rebecca, congrats. Let us
know which one you choose. --Mary Jo


pongo
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e-mail user

Sep 29, 1998, 10:06 AM

Post #47 of 2662 (21012 views)
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When I applied to Goddard I heard back in about five weeks. (Of
course, I was -- as the head of the program later told me -- their
dream applicant. Background in publishing, decent list of
publications, etc.) dmh


waterfence
Derek Bacharach

Sep 29, 1998, 3:54 PM

Post #48 of 2662 (21012 views)
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Where is Goddard? What is the tuition like for these low residency
programs?


rebliv
Rebecca Livingston

Sep 29, 1998, 4:29 PM

Post #49 of 2662 (21012 views)
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I don't know about Goddard, but the tuition for Warren Wilson, Vermont
and Bennington range from $4600 to $4900 per semester. These numbers
also include room and board during the two week residencies. It's
cheaper than most out-of-state tuition for full residency MFA
programs. Reb


otrouve
Olet Trouve

Sep 29, 1998, 8:41 PM

Post #50 of 2662 (21012 views)
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Hi, I was interested in Bennington too, and was wondering why I never
heard anything about them. But the fact that they offer no aid
whatsoever, at least for their fiction program, says something about
them. I read somewhere, in one of the brochures, I think, that Warren
Wilson makes its decisions during the month of October, so no one
should be concerned if they haven't heard from them yet. I've applied
to W.W. and Vermont, but I'm afraid I'm anything but a dream
candidate! Olet

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