Oct 2, 2008, 1:56 PM
Post #1826 of 2652
Re: [rockjb] Low-Residency MFAs
[In reply to]
I do think that low-residency programs are easier to get into than traditional programs. For instance, Queens University of Charlotte, a respected program, admits 30 percent, and Warren Wilson, which many consider to be the best low-res program, admits about 12 percent. That's higher than the acceptance rates at pretty much every excellent or just good traditional program.
Anyway, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you evaluate low-residency programs:
Program Format. This is probably the most important thing to figure out: Would I prefer an online peer workshop (University of British Columbia, Queens University of Charlotte), which is like the traditional MFA model except virtual and requires lots of critique-writing and reading of peer work, or a mentorship (most other low-res programs), where I work directly with a single mentor each semester and write a lot of critical annotations of published work, or a partial combination of the two (Goucher, Spalding)?
Faculty. Are big names important? Is the overall depth of the faculty important? Am I looking for a regional focus among the faculty (Pacific)? Do I want to study with writers who teach creative writing at colleges/universities or with writers who write for a living or with publishing-industry editors?
Cost. Do I want to stick closer to $20,000 (Queens, Ashland) or can I afford to go over $30,000 when travel costs are included (Bennington, Vermont, Pacific)? Would I rather pay a lump sum for a semesterís tuition or pay every month (programs with monthly tuition plans)? What time of year can I best afford to make a lump sum payment?
Timing. Do I want the standard January-July or August residency schedule or would November/May or January/May work better?
Number/Length of Residencies. Do I want one residency (Pacific Lutheran, UBC) per year or two (most others) or a choice of one or two in a given year (Spalding explicitly, and most others if you take leaves of absence)? Also, would I prefer a 7-day, 10-day, or 14-day residency?
Semesters. Do I want a six-month semester (most programs) or a nine-month semester (Spalding, Pacific Lutheran)?
Specializations. Do I want a program that emphasizes one thing (New England, Poetry; Seattle Pacific, Spiritual/Religious Creative Writing), or am I looking for a broader but perhaps less deep experience?
I think I'm starting to confuse myself here, but, honestly, there's a lot to think about when it comes to low-res programs. Best of luck with it . . .
(This post was edited by lapwing on Oct 2, 2008, 2:00 PM)