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Moonshade


Mar 6, 2008, 3:40 PM

Post #1726 of 2644 (17521 views)
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Re: [Lené] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Can someone tell me what the curriculum is like at VC for the MFA Writing for Children? I've reviewed their website numerous times and I don't see it. What specific classes do students take? What classes are available?

I'm thrilled to learn that they allow cross-genre studying. If I should apply to an MFA program (again), I want to take classes specifically aimed at Writing for children, however I want the regular "adult" classes too.


Lené
Lené Gary

e-mail user

Mar 6, 2008, 5:07 PM

Post #1727 of 2644 (17496 views)
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Re: [Moonshade] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Moonshade,
I don't know much about VC's MFA Writing for Children program. I believe it is structured similarly to the adult program. Because of the limited residency structure, you don't have "classes" per say. At each residency, you attend workshops and lectures, and you meet one on one with your assigned faculty member to design a study plan for the semester. This structure actually allows for more student involvement in his/her coursework than most traditional programs. You and your faculty write your study goals together. You both work to develop a bibliography as well as outline the assignments that you are expected to complete. I would recommend that you contact the MFA in Children's Writing office to explore their options. From my experience at Vermont College, I believe they will help you find a way to meet your learning goals.

Good luck. :)

Lene


Lené
Lené Gary

e-mail user

Mar 6, 2008, 5:10 PM

Post #1728 of 2644 (17493 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Jeanne,
Yes, bring the fan. It can be exceptionally hot and humid. The dorms do not have A/C, and if it happens to be one of our 85-90 degree streaks with 90% humidity, the stores downtown will quickly sell out of fans. Seriously. :) I think they may allow students to store their fans in the utility closets on campus. If you're concerned about toting it back and forth, you might want to inquire.

I look forward to meeting you, as well. :)

Here's to inspired writing!

Lene


NCwondering


Mar 8, 2008, 2:12 PM

Post #1729 of 2644 (17416 views)
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Re: [Lené] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Lene. I've been accepted to Vermont to study nonfiction, and am waiting to hear from a couple of other programs. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the program. Are you happy you chose Vermont? Who've you worked with there? What other programs did you consider?

Thanks!

--Alison

In Reply To


NCwondering


Mar 8, 2008, 2:19 PM

Post #1730 of 2644 (17412 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] Bennington versus VC? [In reply to] Can't Post

Any Bennington students grads out there? Vermont seems to have many loyal alums. I'm curious about how Bennington students would rate their experience. I'd particularly love to hear from people who studied nonfiction at Bennington. What was the atmosphere? Were faculty helpful, responsive?

Any input would be great!


Lené
Lené Gary

e-mail user

Mar 8, 2008, 5:15 PM

Post #1731 of 2644 (17386 views)
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Re: [NCwondering] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Alison,
Congratulations on the acceptance! Will you be coming up to tour the campus and Montpelier? If so, please let me know. I would be happy to show you around. I could meet you up at the MFA office. I accepted a work study position with Melissa and Louise my first semester at VC, and I'm always looking for a good excuse to pop my head in and say hello. :)

I'm very happy in the VC program. One of the comments I hear often from students that have either attended or visited other programs is that the faculty in our program are very approachable--that students feel like they are among peers rather than teachers. VC has a particularly warm community. Most of the students that came in the same semester I started just graduated in January. (I've taken a leave of absence, and I'm now also studying poetry, which requires an extra semester at VC.) We recently set up a Facebook group to stay connected, which has been hilarious. People have uploaded pics from the residencies, etc. I believe there are now more than 100 members.

Workshops during the residencies are usually facilitated by two faculty members. It is possible that you may or may not work with either of those two for your following semester. Chris Noel and Phyllis Barber facilitated my first workshop. They were a great team. I worked with Diane Lefer that semester. The next semester, I was in a cross-genre workshop (which can be a lot of fun--the offerings vary from term to term) in prose poetry and image driven narrative with Richard Jackson. I have to say, that group was AWESOME! I'm interested in lyric essay and other more experimental forms of nonfiction. I worked with Larry Sutin that semester.

Last semester, which was my third, I studied poetry. I decided after two semesters in the program that I wanted to stick around for a while longer. I got excited about the possibility of writing a critical thesis on prose poetry or lyric essays--something along that line. So, after the second semester, I applied to the poetry program as well. I have also worked with Robin Hemley outside of the MFA program, and actually, he is the reason I chose VC.

I could keep going, but this email is getting pretty long. I would be happy to talk more about my experience, so just let me know. Before I forget, if you don't know, VC offers a semester in Slovenia, which is basically a residency period there. I've had several friends in the program who went to Slovenia, and it sounds like an amazing opportunity.

Take care, and let me know if you have more questions.

Lene


NCwondering


Mar 8, 2008, 5:21 PM

Post #1732 of 2644 (17384 views)
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Re: [Lené] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your quick reply Lene. Yes, I've heard from others that the VC faculty is very responsive, approachable. Thanks for the reminder about Slovenia. I'll check into that!



In Reply To


effie.m

e-mail user

Mar 8, 2008, 8:10 PM

Post #1733 of 2644 (17350 views)
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Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

is anyone considering lesley? i'm accepted for cnf and i've been corresponding with current students and alumni and i'm wondering what other people are thinking/finding out. you can pm me if you like and we can brainstorm. it's a tough choice to make!


Lené
Lené Gary

e-mail user

Mar 8, 2008, 8:36 PM

Post #1734 of 2644 (17340 views)
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Re: [NCwondering] anyone going to vermont college? [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck making your final decision, Alison! :)


Lyz
Lyz
e-mail user

Mar 9, 2008, 9:17 AM

Post #1735 of 2644 (17305 views)
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Re: [effie.m] Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

I got accepted into Lesley and I am considering it. It is a top-notch program with good faculty and staff. One thing makes me hesitant is that they don't seem to be dedicated to helping their students after graduation. I asked about this and was told that this is left up to the whim of the individual faculty.

That is a pretty big sticking point for me. That and when I talked to the people who admitted me, they didn't seem as engaged in my work as people from other programs. I had one acceptance, where we spent the beginning of the convo talking about my work then about what my goals were and then moved on to how the school could help me reach them.

BUT...the emails with faculty have been frank and helpful. The program is top-notch...And it seems like with their set up they prepare you better to teach. Thoughts?

Do you know more about financial aid? Or about the negatives I noted above?

If I hear back a negative from the last school I am waiting to hear from my decision is going to be really hard and it would involve Lesley...


http://shopoftheheart.blogspot.com


effie.m

e-mail user

Mar 9, 2008, 10:11 AM

Post #1736 of 2644 (17299 views)
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Re: [Lyz] Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for responding Lyz! This is what I know in regards to what you were saying about Lesley.

I did get feedback from a student and professor who specifically said that there are (a few) faculty members committed to helping you after leaving the M.F.A. program. I have only been in contact with one professor who went out of her way to contact me and make this point. I assume there will always be one or two that you click with and will stay in touch with for a long time.

I haven't had much feedback on my work from programs that have accepted me either, (which right now is only 2 and one waitlist) aside from, "several faculty members were really impressed with the quality of your work..."

If you live near Lesley, I know you can apply to teach freshman comp, but I also spoke with a student who lives on the other side of the country and she was able to use her experience there to help her secure her a position in a university where she is. There is a pedagogy course offered as part of the low-res program and you can focus your interdisciplinary component on teaching as well. This is important to me as well since I want to teach at the college level.

I heard that there are small merit awards ($1000 or so) that typically go to students in genres that are underrepresented (YA fiction, etc.). You can begin to work teaching (think community centers and colleges) and use the money you make (sometimes up to 1/2 the amount of tuition for a semester) as your financial aid and use the experience for credit. I'm considering that and outside sources right now.

The feedback I've been receiving from students is very positive, but there seems to be an underlying concern that the residencies aren't as challenging as they could possibly be. I really want to be pushed and challenged through every aspect, especially when taking 10 days off from my job for a residency. Have you heard any feedback positive or negative about this? I'm also trying to figure out exactly how much interaction I will have with faculty in between residencies (I'm the kind of person who really needs constant feedback to stay self-motivated) but that's left unclear as well.

I hope any of this helps! Let me know what you think! Maybe we can share any feedback we received over email, since we might have had specific but different questions and contacts.


edwriter



Mar 9, 2008, 2:37 PM

Post #1737 of 2644 (17268 views)
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Re: [Lyz] Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that in any given low-res program, certain faculty will be more likely to take on post-graduation mentorship roles than others. Some faculty will likely see their jobs as more limited than others. Some are more invested in the relationship between alumni achievements and the potential bounceback to the program than others. And, frankly, some simply and genuinely care more than others. (Lyz, I've read your comments about your initial conversation with Fred Leebron from Queens [here and on your blog], and as I know from my own application experience way back in 2001, and what I've heard from others, he truly does spend a lot of time internalizing applicants' work [and, for that matter, trying to help alums after graduation]. But I'd argue that he's an exception--though there are indeed others--among the Queens faculty. Again, I don't think that's entirely uncommon or exclusive to Queens.)

I also think that post-graduation support depends to some extent on the efforts the graduate him/herself is likely to make, and the way s/he goes about it. For instance--any instructor is likely to be much more responsive to requests for recommendation letters for jobs/fellowships if approached well in advance rather than at the last minute, and if supplied with all the necessary information in a neat and organized way.

Finally, I do think there's a way in which programs that encourage/require internships, practica, independent projects, etc. assist students in developing skills (not to mention contacts) that can prove useful professionally after graduation. I'm a little partial to these aspects of low-res study, since I've spent a number of semesters as an interdisciplinary advisor for the Lesley program--an opportunity that arose, interestingly, through my having met Lesley's program director, Steven Cramer, when he was teaching at Queens. But Queens had nothing to do with my position at Lesley--that was the product of my independent communications with Steven, and writing/teaching experience and publishing credits that, again, I'd cultivated before and beyond Queens, on my own.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



Lyz
Lyz
e-mail user

Mar 9, 2008, 3:43 PM

Post #1738 of 2644 (17258 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Erika! It does and then it doesn't. I am now more torn than ever...And I have to make the decision in what, 3 weeks?! Gah.


http://shopoftheheart.blogspot.com


dawnbuth


Mar 10, 2008, 12:08 PM

Post #1739 of 2644 (17210 views)
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i'm in [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in at Hamline-I haven't seen them mentioned here at all. It's kinda anticlimactic at this point, since I've decided to go to Vermont. Still, it's nice to know I got in (that means I was accepted at 5 out of 5 schools-good for the ego!)


esined


Mar 13, 2008, 11:17 PM

Post #1740 of 2644 (17089 views)
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Re: [Lyz] Lesley? [In reply to] Can't Post

Lyz - I saw your question on the "I'M IN!!" thread and decided to answer it here. I talked to Steven Cramer for a pretty long time on the phone today, and Lesley does sound really great. It seems to have a lot of bells and whistles, I guess you could say, that appeal to me (especially the interdisciplinary component). I like that it's in Cambridge and I like that the students and faculty seem to be a little more diverse than at other schools. I like that I might have the option to do some cross-genre study, especially CNF and screenwriting. It seems to be like a place where they give you a lot of individualized attention. They also seem really organized; did you get the welcome email from Jana with all of the information and examples of faculty responses to student work and contact info?

I guess the thing I'm concerned about is that since it's a newer program, I'm worried that it may not be as selective or challenging (as someone on here has mentioned earlier) as Vermont or WW (haven't heard back from WW yet, though!). I sort of felt like the director was really trying to sell me on the program--he gave me LOTS of info, and a detailed comparison of how Lesley was different from other schools--and maybe I just wasn't prepared for that. He did mention a couple of specific instances in which faculty were proactive about helping students get access to publication/agent opportunities. He said that the program was supportive of students submitting work for publication while they were still in the program.

I still haven't talked to anyone at VC at length yet, so I guess I'll have a better sense of things tomorrow. Lesley sounds like they want an answer by the beginning of April, but I also want to wait until I hear back from WW.


mgoss7


Mar 14, 2008, 11:20 AM

Post #1741 of 2644 (17035 views)
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Just Starting Out [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been lurking around on these boards for awhile, thinking about trying again at the whole MFA thing (tried last year...didn't work out so well). But I've recently been lucky enough to have gotten a teaching position at a really awesome private school and am thinking about low-res programs (which I never really considered before, but if they're good enough for Tom Bissell...) I had two questions I wanted to pose to the low-res crowd here, as you all seem very smart and well spoken on the whole low-res program business:

1)Are any of you teachers and, if so, how do you find the residency week(s) to work for you? Do they coincide well with your breaks (specifically winter break)?

2) Do you feel that you are getting (or will get) as much out of a low-res program as those who are going to full residency programs (in terms of networking, teacher interaction, interacting with other students, etc)?

I'd love to hear from anyone who has some thoughts on these matters.

Also, congrats to everyone who's been accepted to programs this year!!


LaurenS


Mar 14, 2008, 1:35 PM

Post #1742 of 2644 (16995 views)
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Re: [mgoss7] Just Starting Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi mgoss,

I'm a teacher as well. I haven't begun a low-res program yet, but I will this summer. Part of what drew me to the format was the timing of the residencies. I'm a college lecturer, and I liked the idea of attending workshops between semesters (one in June/July and one in January). To my chagrin, my home institution starts the spring semester a week earlier in January than most other schools. If I had gone to a residency in January, I would have had to find someone to cover my classes for that week. Doing so would have been difficult and inconvenient but not impossible.

In general, the January residencies will probably make my winter breaks feel less break-y—I’ll have to start my course planning earlier. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Because I have an MA in English already, I didn't consider applying to traditional MFA programs. I don't need any more teaching experience, which seems to be a common motivation for selecting traditional over low res.

I can't speak to the prestige/networking factor--it's something I'm not so clear about myself.

Lauren


Sibella
Pam, that is.


Mar 18, 2008, 4:58 PM

Post #1743 of 2644 (16896 views)
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I think I should see other people. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm still in love with Warren Wilson, so much so that I'm considering a tasteful tattoo.

I have not applied yet. I know my odds are slim. I plan to apply for the fall deadline. (I'm a poet.)

But I know, especially after just reading a bunch of the "rejection" thread messages, that I need to broaden my scope.

Ideally, I'd like a low-res program that's similar to Wilson's: low student/teacher ratio, similar aesthetic, rigorous but not egotistical. More emphasis on creativity than critical reading--I certainly don't want to do more criticism than I'd do at Wilson. Similar residency time commitment--10 days, twice a year. East of the Mississippi is best for me, but not obligatory. U.S. is obligatory.

I can do the GRE again if need be (last time was 1985); I'd prefer not to.

If I need a second language to get in or to graduate, that might be a problem unless I do some kind of French immersion in the next few months to bone up on it.

I feel strongly about wanting a program that doesn't give grades.

I'm fine with getting a few recommendation letters and writing whatever essays and whatnot they want.

I really want, if not some level of diversity, at least a lack of diversity that meshes with my own demographic (middle-aged female).

I'd like funding but don't expect to get it anyway. Same with post-grad support...it'd be great if I could get help with a job search, perhaps in academia, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Any idea where I should look? Certain names I hear bandied about include Lesley, Stonecoast, and Vermont.

Thanks in advance.

- - -


"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Mar 18, 2008, 6:44 PM

Post #1744 of 2644 (16857 views)
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Re: [Sibella] I think I should see other people. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sibella,

I'm in the low-res program at Vermont (fiction). You've brought up a lot of issues here. I'll see if I can address them...

Vermont residencies are 10 days twice a year in late Dec. and late June. The student/teacher ration is 5 to 1, and I can testify that the program is quite rigorous. After the residency, you have a semester project. For fiction, this means I have five packets that I send to my advisor. Each packet consists of 25 pages of creative work and two 3-4 page critical essays on my reading. I'm required to read 10 books this semester (selected by me and my advisor). The critical essays analyze some aspect of craft in each of the books. I'm not a big fan of critical essays, but I have to admit that I've really learned a lot from my analysis--more than I ever expected. That new awareness of craft is starting to show up in my own work, I think. The poets have slightly different requirements than the prose writers. My roommate was a poet, and I think she had to write fewer pages of creative material but longer critical essays. This may depend upon the advisor, however. You should check directly with the programs you're interested in.

Vermont doesn't require the GRE--Most low-res programs don't. I've never heard anything about a foreign language requirement either. We don't receive grades, but we do receive detailed evaluations. The students at the last residency ranged in age from mid-twenties to late sixties or even early seventies. (Who tells?) Gender was about equally split between male and female, and I would guess that the average age was around 45.

Vermont does offer a few (one or two) merit scholarships, but they're quite small. The majority of the funding comes from your resources. I'm still pretty new (first semester), so I can't tell you too much about post-grad support other than I've heard good things. I know of a couple of people who graduated a few years ago, and some of the faculty at VC are helping them with their novels now. A lot of people do seem to get decent jobs in academia--especially if they have a few publications and/or awards under their belt.

Most programs require a writing sample, a statement of purpose, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The writing sample is the most important part of your application. Be sure to give yourself enough time to get everything in by the application deadlines.

If you're considering any low-res program, I would start by visiting the Websites of the schools. Most of them will send you an information packet if you request it. When I started looking at low-res schools, I read the threads on this site, checked out MFA blogs, looked at the schools' sites, and sent off for information. Then I made up a checklist, comparing the various programs, their costs, their faculty, their requirements, and their format. I had about 13 schools on my original list, but after some careful comparisons, I whittled my list down to 6 or 7. In the end, I applied to my top three choices first. If none of those worked out, I planned to go to my second tier. Fortunately, I was accepted by first-choice school.

Good luck to you. I love my low-res program so far.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


Sibella
Pam, that is.


Mar 19, 2008, 1:58 AM

Post #1745 of 2644 (16809 views)
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Re: [jlgwriter] I think I should see other people. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the info. I think a checklist is a good idea--and just writing my original query helped me see some of what I need to put on it.

- - -


"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson


mgoss7


Mar 19, 2008, 9:28 AM

Post #1746 of 2644 (16786 views)
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Re: [LaurenS] Just Starting Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks LaurenS.

Does anyone else have any advice?
Are there any programs that have their winter residency in late December (my break at my teaching job will be from mid December through the first week of January)?


spamela


Mar 19, 2008, 9:49 AM

Post #1747 of 2644 (16776 views)
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Re: [mgoss7] Just Starting Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Vermont College winter residencies are the last week of Dec. through the second week of Jan. Residencies are 10 or 11 days so it'll always be a little tight, but they do purposefully schedule the residencies to maximize holidays and weekends.

Another note about Vermont for Sibella: Vermont is one of the older low-res programs and very well respected. It's a great alternative to WW. They do campus visits during residencies. If you call the main office they can set you up with a student to take you around for a day or two and show you the program. The next resdidency's not until June or July though. In terms of post-grad support: I've found Vermont to be very committed to helping its students after graduation with publishing and finding jobs. Also, Vermont has a strong presence and mini-reunion every year at the AWP conference, which is really nice since we don't have a populated campus to return to whenever we'd like.


msuttonkiefer


Mar 19, 2008, 10:47 PM

Post #1748 of 2644 (16723 views)
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low-res considerations [In reply to] Can't Post

First off: I know one was asking about teaching and doing the low-res. I'm a high school English teacher, and I spoke with my principal. She is fine giving me the time off for a low-res MFA (she's crazy and seems to like me as a teacher, so that's a bonus, plus I like her as a principal, which is doubly crazy).

Anyway, I have been accepted into six low-res MFA programs thus far, and am still waiting to hear back from Alaska, Bennington, and Warren Wilson. I've been accepted into Stonecoast, Vermont College, Goddard, Pacific University, Antioch, and New England College for poetry.

Anyone have any strong opinions on any of these six (or six plus the three I'm waiting on)? I was also accepted into Emerson and FSU for regular residency and am first on the wait list at the U of MN, but I'm not one hundred percent sure regular residency is the way I can / should go (married, mortgage, good job).

Thanks in advance for advice!


dawnbuth


Mar 20, 2008, 9:38 AM

Post #1749 of 2644 (16681 views)
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Re: [msuttonkiefer] low-res considerations [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
First off: I know one was asking about teaching and doing the low-res. I'm a high school English teacher, and I spoke with my principal. She is fine giving me the time off for a low-res MFA (she's crazy and seems to like me as a teacher, so that's a bonus, plus I like her as a principal, which is doubly crazy).

Anyway, I have been accepted into six low-res MFA programs thus far, and am still waiting to hear back from Alaska, Bennington, and Warren Wilson. I've been accepted into Stonecoast, Vermont College, Goddard, Pacific University, Antioch, and New England College for poetry.

Anyone have any strong opinions on any of these six (or six plus the three I'm waiting on)? I was also accepted into Emerson and FSU for regular residency and am first on the wait list at the U of MN, but I'm not one hundred percent sure regular residency is the way I can / should go (married, mortgage, good job).

Thanks in advance for advice!


I almost applied to Stonecoast because it was soooo beautiful there! But they didn't have a focus on children's writing so I decided not to. I've heard good things about Antioch, Warren Wilson, and Vermont College (I'm going to vermont for writing for children-it's a separate program though.)
The waiting is torture, isn't it?
Good luck wherever you go.


Lyz
Lyz
e-mail user

Mar 27, 2008, 10:50 AM

Post #1750 of 2644 (16559 views)
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Pacific University [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone have anything to say about Pacific. I am trying to find info in order to make my decision. Please PM me as soon as you can. Thanks!


http://shopoftheheart.blogspot.com

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