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lapwing


Oct 2, 2008, 1:56 PM

Post #1826 of 2652 (17865 views)
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Re: [rockjb] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

rockjb,

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 . . .

Lapwing


(This post was edited by lapwing on Oct 2, 2008, 2:00 PM)


rockjb
Josh Rock

Oct 2, 2008, 2:03 PM

Post #1827 of 2652 (17861 views)
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Re: [lapwing] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

This is pretty much the direction i was looking for. thanks


crabbygirl


Oct 2, 2008, 8:07 PM

Post #1828 of 2652 (17828 views)
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Re: [ctodto] Any Stonecoasters out there? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, thanks for the comments! The big thing I am worried about is the weather, actually. I'm from the Deep South, so I don't plan to do a whole lot of anything outdoors. I did buy some rubber boots with faux fur lining to keep the feet dry, and I'm planning on just layering everything else.

I'm nervous, too, Carol. I am making up a list of questions to ask the people on the contact list. I'm really excited, though, and am just anxiously awaiting January!

PS Sorry for the multiple posts. I am new with this forum format.


(This post was edited by crabbygirl on Oct 2, 2008, 8:12 PM)


crabbygirl


Oct 2, 2008, 8:08 PM

Post #1829 of 2652 (17827 views)
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Re: [elli] Any Stonecoasters out there? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info! What are you doing now that you have graduated?


trinacria


Oct 7, 2008, 2:22 AM

Post #1830 of 2652 (17731 views)
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Re: [3m] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've heard from VC, Antioch and Fairleigh-Dickinson, but not Bennington or Warren Wilson yet. You?

I'm having a hard time making decisions.

Is anyone out there either a student or graduate of Fairleigh-Dickinson? I would love some feedback. Thanks!


cec_xt40


Oct 7, 2008, 10:20 AM

Post #1831 of 2652 (17709 views)
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Re: [trinacria] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've heard from Bennington, Lesley, Warren Wilson, and Vermont in fiction...


gladney


Oct 7, 2008, 3:56 PM

Post #1832 of 2652 (17672 views)
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Re: [cec_xt40] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've heard from Spalding and Antioch for Non-fiction


chuzunk


Oct 8, 2008, 8:00 PM

Post #1833 of 2652 (17611 views)
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Re: [cec_xt40] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey cec_xt40 -- you heard good news or bad? By letter, e-mail or phone?

Just curious, I'm also waiting to hear from a few of those...


cec_xt40


Oct 9, 2008, 10:07 PM

Post #1834 of 2652 (17542 views)
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Re: [chuzunk] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Good news by phone. Going with Warren Wilson for fiction. (I was really surprised.)

I wish I knew more about all the schools' timelines and where they are in contacting people. Good luck!


trinacria


Oct 10, 2008, 1:38 AM

Post #1835 of 2652 (17521 views)
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Re: [cec_xt40] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

What made you choose Warren Wilson over Vermont?


kfrankki


Oct 10, 2008, 4:08 PM

Post #1836 of 2652 (17481 views)
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Re: [chuzunk] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi-
I'm new to these postings, but have been following this particular thread for months.

I've been accepted to Goddard for fiction and poetry and just got word from Warren Wilson today that I was accepted for fiction!
Haven't heard from Bennington yet, but applied for poetry.
Hope that helps all that are waiting.

Those that have some choices to make, or have experience with either Goddard or WW, I'd love to hear about your decision making process.
Thanks!

In Reply To


rjfarrell28


Oct 13, 2008, 10:40 AM

Post #1837 of 2652 (17408 views)
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Re: [trinacria] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Just found this site today...don't ask why! I've been accepted at Vermont and am only waiting on Bennington. They said it could be a few more weeks. I've been really pleased with Vermont so far, so I don't know that my decision would change. Anybody else going to Vermont this Jan? Any thoughts on Bennington vs. Vemont?


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Oct 13, 2008, 11:21 AM

Post #1838 of 2652 (17399 views)
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Re: [rjfarrell28] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, rjfarrell28,

I'm in the middle of my second semester at Vermont. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a PM. The program, the students, and the faculty are all terrific.

What is your genre?

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


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


mcarr


Oct 21, 2008, 3:44 PM

Post #1839 of 2652 (17294 views)
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Re: [darredet2] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Contratulations!

I'm contemplating a low-res MFA vs. going part time to either Johns Hopkins or University of Baltimore (I live in the DC area). If I go the part time route, obviously it will take me longer. I work fulltime and am wondering how rigorous it is to do the low-res and work fulltime. I would like to apply to Lesley; that is where I got my undergrad and I love it there. I did their first Writers' Conference last July. Jane Brox headed up my group. She was an excellent mentor (and writer); she seemed to think it would be difficult to work fulltime while in the program, but I don't see any other option as far as working. Any advice, ideas, etc. would be appreciated!

Mary Ann


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 21, 2008, 4:37 PM

Post #1840 of 2652 (17284 views)
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Re: [mcarr] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Most low-res schools will expect you to set aside between twenty and forty hours a week for your work -- another whole job. But many people manage to do it. Yes, it's difficult, but most of the people with whom I graduated were working full-time.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


mcarr


Oct 21, 2008, 4:47 PM

Post #1841 of 2652 (17280 views)
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Re: [pongo] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Pongo! Love the cat!


jaywalke


Oct 23, 2008, 12:23 PM

Post #1842 of 2652 (17198 views)
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Re: [mcarr] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I work fulltime and am wondering how rigorous it is to do the low-res and work fulltime.
Mary Ann


It depends on the job and your home situation. I'm in my second semester at Queens, and work full-time. My job has fairly regular hours, and it doesn't "follow me home" (i.e. I'm not on call, I rarely think about work outside of 9-5 M-F, and the commute is short).

I also don't have kids. I know people manage to juggle school, kids and work, but I'm not sure how. To be honest, I don't even know how they handle kids and work.

I think you could half-ass a program no matter what else you had going on. As it is, however, a 40-hours-only job makes it possible for me to try to turn in a strong piece every month that incorporates what I'm learning, while also reading, critiquing, and still submitting pieces to journals and the occasional contest.

I try to work (read or write) three hours a night, and one full day on the weekends, so I'm at right around 23 hours a week spent on school and external submissions. It doesn't always work out that way, of course, but I try. Next semester I'll add thesis work, so the hours may need to go up.


bighark


Oct 23, 2008, 12:51 PM

Post #1843 of 2652 (17187 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not in a Low-Res program, but I tried to work full time during the first year of my traditional program last year. I had a 'low-res' job that allowed me to duck out for classes during the day as long as I made up the lost hours at another time.

Anyway, I worked full time and went to school full time for the whole year.

For me, this situation was not sustainable. I felt that I was cheating my employer and myself. I wasn't doing the best work for my boss, and I was not doing my best work for me. I realized that something had to give, so I chose to give up the job.

My job and situation are going to be different from yours, though. Lots of people are able to do both.

Good luck!


Amethyst


Dec 27, 2008, 8:46 PM

Post #1844 of 2652 (16994 views)
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Re: [lapwing] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a recent WW grad. I am not sure where the "12 percent acceptance rate" statistic you quote comes from. When I was there, I was told, by folks who actually oversee the admissions process, that the acceptance rate is around 5 percent overall. WW is hard to get into.

Keep in mind that, at most low res programs, not everyone goes through the program at the same rate. People take leaves of absence. People take extra semesters, or sometimes two, to work on special projects. The number of slots available for incoming students, consequently, can fluctuate from semester to semester. During a semester when lots of people have graduated or go on leave, there will be a lot more room for new people. But then, during semesters when people come back from leave or decide to take an extra term, there will less room for new people. At times the acceptance may be 12 percent, I suppose, but then at other times, the acceptance rate can be even lower. Around five percent, as I said, is supposed to be the average.


havana5am



Dec 29, 2008, 7:35 PM

Post #1845 of 2652 (16941 views)
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Re: [Amethyst] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying to Warren Wilson for fiction in a couple of months. Would any WW alumni (or any others) care to share their manuscripts that got them in? I'd like a sense of the level of writing that they're looking for. I've only been in two workshops my entire life and they were for poetry. One was with Michael Collier, who liked my work, but that was about ten years ago and I'm no longer interested in studying poetry anyway. The other was with Phyllis Levin and she hated my work, even shouted "this is not a poem!" to the class. She said one good thing about one of my poems, though, that it reminded her of a Grace Paley story. Still, it wasn't a poem to her. I have a couple of stories that I'm revising for WW and a few other low-res programs. I'm wondering if they should be workshopped. They probably won't be since I don't have the time, but still wondering.


"Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank - but that's not the same thing." -- Joseph Conrad


umass76


Dec 29, 2008, 8:39 PM

Post #1846 of 2652 (16932 views)
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Re: [Amethyst] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Amethyst,

Er...I'd assume he's getting it (as I did) directly from the Warren Wilson website:

"The program currently accepts approximately 10-15 percent of its applications."

[See: http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~mfa/newwebsite/Application_Materials.php].

That said, 12% is still pretty darn hard! Harvard Law School has just about the same acceptance rate, I believe (perhaps a tad lower, but it's close).

Best,
Seth


Amethyst


Dec 29, 2008, 8:55 PM

Post #1847 of 2652 (16929 views)
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Re: [umass76] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

That hasn't been updated in a million years. I got my info from current administrators in the program.


umass76


Dec 29, 2008, 11:34 PM

Post #1848 of 2652 (16901 views)
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Re: [Amethyst] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

On some level, a school's acceptance rate is what the school tells the public it is.

The rest (with all due respect to MFA faculties, who in my experience are usually well-intentioned) is unverifiable, accountability-free puffery. Until a program puts its money where its mouth is--or, its data where everyone can see it and hold them to it--I'm not inclined to trust word-of-mouth as accurate.

In any case, I was really just trying to answer your wonderment at the source of the other poster's data. Which is now matched, I suppose, by my own wonderment--at why a program would advertise itself as being 200% to 300% less selective than it actually is, when a single click of the mouse by a low-level administrator eradicates that program-diminishing discrepancy forever...?

Rhetorical question, I guess.

S.


Sibella
Pam, that is.


Dec 30, 2008, 9:32 AM

Post #1849 of 2652 (16868 views)
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Re: [Amethyst] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

If you've got other updated info on WW admissions, please feel free to share. I'm getting ready to apply (in poetry).

When I visited there last year, I was told by an administrator that the accept rate was around 5 to 10 percent. So that seems to be what they're telling people.


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


Amethyst


Dec 30, 2008, 10:26 AM

Post #1850 of 2652 (16862 views)
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Re: [Sibella] Low-Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I can tell you this: the readers change from semester to semester, so it is really impossible to predict what a given admissions committee will like. The old saw about 'sending your strongest work' is very, very true. Don't get hung up on trying to please the readers or appealing to a particular aesthetic. Send work that is good and that is representative of you as a writer. Good luck.

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