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sonshineslocs


Aug 9, 2004, 1:53 AM

Post #1 of 2090 (48020 views)
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creative writing ph.d. ? Can't Post

i've been collecting myself so that i can go about gathering materials for mfa applications. sitting at the computer i thought about creative writing ph.d.'s and whether or not there is such a thing.

lo and behold, according to google there are such programs in existence.

i've never heard of these... what do you think about them? any ph.d. in cw in pw cyberland?

**back to my research and procrastin--cough cough--exploration**


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Aug 9, 2004, 2:05 AM

Post #2 of 2090 (47990 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Sonshine,

I'm a PhD student in creative writing (AND literature; it's a dual degree -- which is pretty standard) at the University of Houston.

These PhD thingies, they're shockingly real. I'm about to enter the fourth year, and I'll be taking doctoral exams this Fall and Spring.

I'm glad I applied to and came to Houston for the PhD. I did a low-residency MFA at Bennington, and the PhD has helped me hone my writing, allow me to expand my aesthetic, refine a critical background, and think and write about literature. It's also allowed me to explore my genre (poetry) more fully, and also helped me discover another (literary nonfiction) a bit more quickly. The PhD has allowed me to teach different classes in a university setting, and also given me the opportunity to take classes in other fields (in this case, women's studies). I think that it comes down to a matter of professionalization, in addition to the added time and focus on the craft.

I like this PhD thing. :) There are drawbacks to each program, I'm sure, and UH certainly has its share. But on the whole, I'm happy I decided to pursue the doctorate, even though the MFA is considered the terminal degree in the field.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you might have....


sonshineslocs


Aug 9, 2004, 2:19 AM

Post #3 of 2090 (47988 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

woohooo! they do exist! UH came up on my search, as did ohio university and univ. of denver. the UH and Ohio sound really good/interesting.

i just feel a bit flighty right now. i just finished my master's in may (communication) and don't have a job lined up. i feel like a big loser ball :) but i know i want to write.

what led you to pursue a ph.d. as opposed to stopping at the MFA? i was considering the low res at spalding, but here i am with another bright idea. and my husband isn't helping, because he all "wants me to be happy, 'i'll support you in whatever'" and that kinda madness... i need ultimatums and reality checks here people!!!

i'm just shocked, energized, and dumbfounded that on a whim, the thing that i really believe i want/have wanted is tangible and feasible. wow.

not to mention i've gotten tired of having to explain to folks what an mfa is ;)

my real hang-up, is locating a creative writing ph.d. program in nonfiction...


(This post was edited by sonshineslocs on Aug 9, 2004, 3:03 AM)


freeverses
James Hall
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Aug 9, 2004, 2:48 AM

Post #4 of 2090 (47985 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sonshineslocs:

I'm sure there are PhD programs in creative writing/lit that will let you focus on literary non-fiction. I believe U.H. may be soon taking applicants for that genre (and at the MFA level too, I'd assume). Best to contact the program director.

Here's a site listing writing programs in the U.S.: http://www.awpwriter.org/membership/schools.htm

You can go through and find out which programs you're interested in; you may also want to search through the non-fiction and MFA threads as well.

As I said, I did the low-residency MFA. I think I wanted the other experience as well -- though I REALLY loved the low-residency program I went to (Bennington). I wanted to continue learning about writing; I felt as if I hadn't "terminated"; there was more to learn.

And I really wanted to work with some of the writers here at Houston. I took a year off between graduating from Bennington and coming to Houston, and I felt I made the right choice. My life, at the time, was malleable, and I wanted a change. And I wanted that change to emphasize writing and further immersion in literature and theory.

I'd say that the MFA is a good route to go -- it allows you to really focus on the craft, whereas the PhD is often a combination of a literature PhD with creative writing elements (5-6 workshops) on top of the requirements for the literature side. You write a creative dissertation instead of a critical one (though some programs require you to write a critical preface for your own creative dissertation).

The MFA, on the other hand, really puts the emphasis on honing your craft and thinking about generic considerations and histories and aesthetics. Your classes should be in addition to the creative work, not the other way around.

At least, that's how I see it....


sonshineslocs


Aug 9, 2004, 3:17 AM

Post #5 of 2090 (47983 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks for the link. i will definitely put it to good use. i was an English major in college and would like to refocus on literature/criticism as well as sharpening my own writing skills. i've taken some time off from English the last couple of years. perhaps i am in search of a "scholarly-like" MFA program--meaning one that does its fair share of literary and critical study.

that causes me to wonder if i'm seeking a more traditional MFA program if i go the MFA route. either that or a very creatively oriented ph.d. program: one in which the "creative" aspect of the program isn't an afterthought, but an integral component of the program.

i am torn as far as locale, though. i've basically told my husband that we should be near family--which means KY or MI. now i feel as though i'm reneging on that. while it's just the two of us (plus the puppies) which would make relocating less that impossible, i'm sick of being without a familial support system here in NC.

oh well, thanks. let me go to bed--it's not like i have to make the decision tonight. i'll continue my researching tomorrow (er, later today).

ssl


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Aug 9, 2004, 8:48 AM

Post #6 of 2090 (47976 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

As a writer and former Ph.D. student - albeit not in creative writing - I just want to say: Be careful. The Ph.D. is for someone who is profoundly committed to academic study in the chosen field without a certainty of relevant employment afterward. This should not be a snap decision. It takes a long, long time and can be economically devastating if your aid and benefit package isn't solid. Some Ph.D. students graduate 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars in debt. Note that James said he's in his fourth year and about to take exams. The Ph.D. program I was in required an average of seven (7) years to complete, even though when you entered the department told you the standard was four to five. It can be academically grueling and often you have to navigate a intradepartmental political minefield as well. Most people who start a Ph.D. do not finish. In my Ph.D. "class" the completion rate was 10 percent. (I was in the 90.)

It's right for some people. If you're academically inclined, have the qualifications to compete for a top-rate teaching/aid package, and you love your field so much that you don't mind living on a shoestring for an extended period of study, go for it. One advantage of the Ph.D. over the MFA for a writer is that it offers a longer period of immersion and time away from the workaday grind. Another advantage is that the credential is much more desirable when competing for college teaching positions against other writers, most of whom have mere master's degrees, if any graduate degree at all. But you're still going to have to publish if you want any shot at a teaching job.

I think if your goal is simply to become a better writer, you go for the low-res MFA. If your goal is to become a better writer and get some time away from the rat race to write, you go for the traditional MFA. If your goal is to study literature as well as writing, qualify yourself for an academic career, and get lots of time away from the rat race, you go for the Ph.D. If you can afford it.


silkfx2004


Aug 9, 2004, 11:05 AM

Post #7 of 2090 (47971 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think if your goal is simply to become a better writer, you go for the low-res MFA. If your goal is to become a better writer and get some time away from the rat race to write, you go for the traditional MFA. If your goal is to study literature as well as writing, qualify yourself for an academic career, and get lots of time away from the rat race, you go for the Ph.D. If you can afford it.



This is probably the best advice I've heard on this topic. Thanks a lot. I'm nowhere near wanting to be a doctoral candidate...I just want to be a better writer. And I've been vacillating between escaping from Chicago for a traditional MFA, and putting down roots and getting a low-res MFA.

BTW: Is this the same sonshine from NP? This is LBell. :)


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King


rooblue


Aug 9, 2004, 11:45 AM

Post #8 of 2090 (47967 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, if you're interested in a low-res MFA program and you're in Chicago, there are quite a few of us Warren Wilson folk here. I know three other current fiction students and there are probably some poetry people too. I just started at Warren Wilson in July and I really really like it so far. Also, I've heard rumors that U of C might be starting a low-res MFA program. Too late for me, because I'm happy going to North Carolina, but it might be interesting. Good luck,


sonshineslocs


Aug 9, 2004, 12:27 PM

Post #9 of 2090 (47964 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

hey Lbell *waving* it is I :) (must sound writerly ;) )

after sleeping (rather unrestfully) on it, i do feel as though the Ph.D. is a bit much for what i want right now. i believe my true dilemma for the time being is traditional vs. low res. though i have wanted a ph.d. since i was six...

i'm looking for a rather intense/rigorous and critical MFA program, that offers creative nonfiction outright. i want the freedom/responsibility to write without being burdened with making my 9 o'clock on time. then again, that is the structure with which i am most familiar--and i suppose that's also a reason why i want to go the nontradtional, low residency route.

my mind is just dancing with all of the possibilities...


j9


Aug 9, 2004, 12:50 PM

Post #10 of 2090 (47957 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you're looking around Kentucky, have you thought about the University of Cincinnati? I believe they have a Creative Writing thesis option in their PHD program there, although I don't know if that extends to creative non-fiction...
Good luck! Love to hear more about this discussion. I am in a low-res MFA program right now, but would definitely like the further study option, as I too am interested in focusing on the critical side of things after this time of intense writing.
Take care, Jeannine


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Aug 9, 2004, 6:19 PM

Post #11 of 2090 (47936 views)
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Re: [catherinebrown] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Catherine - Well, my applications are out (except for Warren Wilson, which wants that crazy critical essay). But I sure would love to hear whatever else, if anything, you know about a possible low-res MFA at the University of Chicago. It would be ultra-convenient for me here in Milwaukee, just a short train ride away, and I know the U of C wouldn't do a new program unless it was top-rate. You could reply in the low-res topic, start a U of C thread, or use the e-mail button at left to send privately. Also I wouidn't mind hearing from or talking to any fiction students at WW in Chicago, where I visit frequently for work and play. I'm vacillating on applying there because of logistical concerns. Thanks...

(we now return you to the Ph.D. topic, already in progress)


sonshineslocs


Aug 9, 2004, 8:08 PM

Post #12 of 2090 (47929 views)
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Re: [j9] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

as a matter of fact, univ. of cincy is on my list of schools to look into further. yeah, the family's in louisville and cincy is only an hour or so away.


rooblue


Aug 9, 2004, 9:36 PM

Post #13 of 2090 (47920 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Alex, I tried to email you re: the U of C low-res MFA program, but when I clicked on the email button, I got put into AOL, where I no longer have an account. Here's the little bit I know about MFA programs in Chicago: at the AWP conference this spring, a woman from U of C was sort of canvassing people to see if there would be an interest in U of C starting a low res program. She was some kind of administrator with U of C's English department, but I didn't get her name. She was very nice. Also, this summer at Warren Wilson, Reginald Gibbons, who teaches poetry at Northwestern as well as WW, mentioned that Northwestern was thinking of it. Reg discouraged the administration at NU from trying to build a low-res program, since it takes a lot of time and money and the school probably wouldn't want to invest enough into it. BUt it has come up. Meanwhile, the Art Institute has an MFA program that is still pretty new, but I've heard some people like it alot. It's not low res so I didn't even consider it. There are 15 low-res programs in the US now, up from just four only a few years ago. And, you should not worry about the essay for Warren Wilson. I just thought of it as talking with a friend about some piece of writing that I really liked, and it wasn't a big deal. They're more interested in your creative writing anyway. And good luck, whatever you decide.


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Aug 10, 2004, 7:15 AM

Post #14 of 2090 (47906 views)
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Re: [catherinebrown] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Catherine. I guess this mini-discussion does end up being relevant to the Ph.D. topic, because that critical essay reminds me chillingly of the academic hoop-jumping that turned me off so severely as a doctoral student. WW students and grads have said the same thing on the Speakeasy before: Don't worry about the critical essay, you're judged on the manuscript. And yet, there the essay is. I don't mind writing it, but it bugs me that I have to. Particularly when WW's deadline is half a month earlier than everyone else's. It's like they're hazing me before I even get there. Then you add in WW's reputation as being more "academic" than the other low-res programs, that WW grads have said the critical work in the program is a pain. And I can't discern a big difference between the success of WW grads in publishing and teaching versus Vermont College or Bennington. I just don't know.

But WW has the history and the name. When I visited VC I lunched with two students who, when I asked why they picked VC, both started off their answers with "I didn't get into Warren Wilson." And I do acknowledge that my Ph.D. experience probably oversensitized me to the "academic" stuff. My doctoral program was in political science. I wound up working in politics for a number of years after, and the disconnect between the academic theory and the reality was breathtaking. Perhaps the theory has more relevance to the practice in the literary world.


ddl


Aug 10, 2004, 8:42 AM

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In Reply To

i'm looking for a rather intense/rigorous and critical MFA program, that offers creative nonfiction outright. i want the freedom/responsibility to write without being burdened with making my 9 o'clock on time. then again, that is the structure with which i am most familiar--and i suppose that's also a reason why i want to go the nontradtional, low residency route.

Sonshine, you might take a look at the MFA program at Ohio State in Columbus. It's a three-year program, so it gives you a little more time to focus on writing than some of the others do, and it includes a track in creative nonfiction as well as fiction and poetry. (The nonfiction faculty are Lee Martin and Steve Kuusisto.) Further, every student admitted is funded for all three years, primarily through teaching, but also some fellowships.

The website is in transition right now and not as informative as it could be, but here's a URL: http://english.osu.edu/...graduate/mfaprog.htm

If you're torn between a Ph.D. and and MFA, a longer MFA program might be a good bet for you. I think Arkansas, Indiana, and the Michener Center also offer three-year programs, and I'm sure there are others.

Good luck with your search!
Danielle


sonshineslocs


Aug 10, 2004, 12:07 PM

Post #16 of 2090 (47896 views)
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Re: [ddl] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks danielle :)


freeverses
James Hall
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Aug 10, 2004, 1:19 PM

Post #17 of 2090 (47888 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Bob --

I do think that, while we're past "the golden age," theory is important and different in the literary world. This from a guy who almost double-majored in poli-sci but dropped it because the theory seemed, as you've said, incredibly disconnected from the reality of peoples' lives. I think that's partly true about literary theory as well. Part of the problem with queer theory, for example, is that it's hard for people to see themselves as being shaped as subjects, and as "performing" in roles. It shakes boundaries, refuses categories..... And, well, we Americans like our boundaries, thanks. But, ultimately, writing must operate from a theoretical place. It must engage some kind of worldview, analyze some aspect of culture. Literature can't happen in a vacuum.

I've worked with a few people who teach at Warren Wilson (again, poets), but they seem incredibly smart. I think the idea behind critical work is to help a student gain distance from creative work, to teach her or him to pick apart a work so that s/he can then bring that analytical acumen to more personal work. Where do I deploy emotion? How do I construct images? How does my piece's structure work? These are important things to ask oneself, but not easy things certainly.

Bennington, too, required a critical paper of some kind in the 3rd semester, as I recall. It wasn't a big deal at all. The program also requires a graduate lecture which happens at one's last residency. It was nerve-racking, but really helpful.

I'm not "defending" theory (if that was my job, I think I'd be fired). I just think its a useful tool for creating a writer's approach to subject matter.

Maybe we should all switch to politics.


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
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Aug 10, 2004, 9:44 PM

Post #18 of 2090 (47863 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so glad someone started this thread. I feel like I have something to relate to each of you in this thread. I'm at Warren Wilson now and love it, but I too like James don't feel like it is a "terminal" degree for me, perse. I think I've always been the overly academic type that loves learning and I want to immerse myself more fully into the study of poetry and criticism. Warren Wilson is amazing, Alex. The critical essay is so not a big deal, but I know it is a pain if you don't do it much. By the time you get in the program, you're pumping those short essays out in a few hours each. If you get in, you should go...I can't say it's the "best" one out there in terms of low residencies, b/c that's the only one I've gone to, but I can say it is very very rigorous and my writing has grown more than I ever could have imagined. I'm really interested in what James has to say, you sound very happy at Houston-I almost went there for my MFA, but decided against moving from California, but would consider going there for my Ph.D., which I am applying for this fall. Thanks for your insightful comments. It'd be great if you could pro and con it in even more specifics (both Houston specifically, but also a Ph.D. program in general). I'm going to apply to USC and Houston and that's probably it. I might apply to Irvine straight lit, but I'm not sure that's the right program for me yet. Thoughts?


freeverses
James Hall
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Aug 11, 2004, 4:43 AM

Post #19 of 2090 (47856 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Victoria (and everybody):

It does seem to me, more and more, that the MFA is not "really" terminal. I've heard quite a lot nowadays about the competitive job market, and it seems that PhD's have an easier time than MFA's. Especially without a book (which does not apply to you, Victoria).

I am happy at Houston, but it took a little while. The first year is hell. It's hard to adapt to the teaching and class loads, and I had 2 less-than-supportive instructors my first 2 semesters. I encountered some pretty severe homophobia, though nothing violent. It's gotten MUCH better, but it was indeed a culture shock. I come from South Florida, a mini gay mecca. I used to see drag queens go by on their rollerblades on South Beach, dressed in full regalia, and no one would bat an eyelash. Here, the only drag that seems acceptable is big hair for the ladies (a trend I can get on board with) and cowboy hats for the fellas (I really thought everyone was just being ironic for the longest time).

Pro's:

1. The faculty is amazing. In poetry: Mark Doty, Tony Hoagland, Nick Flynn, Claudia Rankine, Bob Phillips, and Adam Zagajewski. Kimiko Hahn will be joining the faculty in Fall 2005. In fiction: Antonya Nelson (whose writing I just LOVE), Robert Boswell, Bob Phillips, and Chitra Divakaruni. Colson Whitehead taught here for 2 semesters, and they're currently looking for another fiction person. In nonfiction: Ruben Martinez, who is one of the best souls around. Mark Doty also teaches a much-praised nonfiction workshop sometimes (I took a memoir class from him that was just life-changing).
I've worked with Adam, Mark, Tony, Ed Hirsch (who no longer teaches here, though he's still listed), and J. Allyn Rosser (who visited one semester). Each of them were instrumental in helping me to be a better poet. Indeed, that's the focus here: better poets, not better poems. I think that's right-on.
So, there's an interesting mix aesthetically. I think that fosters some very challenging, memorable, and provocative writing among students.

2. Students here are very serious about writing and literature. There are intense debates in classrooms about poetry and about aesthetics. No one brings a first draft of anything to the workshop. I think the workshop is less about being "praised," however, than learning how to push yourself beyond where you can push yourself. That said, the students can be a bit cliquish and competitive. But mostly they're generous and supportive of each other. Once, when one of our number needed to get home to see his dying father (and couldn't afford it), the program members took a collection and bought him a plane ticket. There's compassion and brilliance here among the students.

3. The students have worked hard to create a community. The women in the program have formed a Women's Dinner which meets once a week. It balances what can sometimes be a "boy's club" mentality in some of the workshops (and perhaps was formed to balance what turned out to be a boy's poker night). If you've any interest in feminism, you can complete a graduate certificate in women's studies (3 classes, 1 of which must be outside your field).

4. Rice is nearby, and you have access to classes there, as well as the Rice Library.

5. Montrose, which is where most people live in Houston, is a really cool, hippy-subversive place to live. Rent's higher there, but it's full of independent music stores, coffeehouses, and 24-hour Greek restaurants.

6. U.H. does a lot to help a student gain professionalization. There are seminars on preparing conference papers, publishing critical and creative work, etc. The professors are all very open and willing to help students achieve their goals.

7. There's a great network for teaching assistants. First-time teachers take a class their first semester about college teaching, and a bond really forms. You'll teach more than Comp -- it's just going to take at least 2 years, and maybe 3, before that happens. (That's a pro and a con). (I have a friend entering Western Michigan's PhD program this Fall: she's teaching beginning creative writing her FIRST semester).

8. Reading for Gulf Coast has helped me immensely. Gulf Coast provides a great opportunity for a lot of students to help produce a nationally recognized journal. Almost all of the editors right now are PhD students. (There are openings almost every Fall and Spring for Poetry and Fiction editors).

9. The creative writing administration works really hard to help students. You truly feel as if they're on your side.

10. Fellowships are given to every incoming student, of at least 5,000 (split between the first and penultimate semesters). Select students receive the bigger awards. Each year there are awards judged by an outside, unannounced creative writer for which everyone except first-year students are eligible. Amounts vary from 10,000 (the Michener award) to 2,500 (the Barthelme). There's even a contest for non-fiction, though not one awarded at the Michener level. U.H. has a great friend in Inprint, a non-profit organization that sponsors a reading series, as well as workshops and classes at its location in Montrose. Inprint was founded by U.H. faculty, but is now a separate entity. Still, they fund those incoming scholarships and the annual competitions.

11. A kick-ass reading series. This year, we'll be visited by poets like C.D. Wright, Harryette Mullen, Eavan Boland, and Paul Muldoon among others. Fiction writers coming this year include Jeffrey Eugenides and Jonathan Franzen. Nonfiction writers Abraham Verghese and Richard Rodriguez will be reading too. The writers usually give a craft talk or an interview at U.H. in addition to the reading series. Always, some of the visitors give residencies with students. These are pretty open and easy to get, in my experience. (The con of the reading series: the after-party for the big writers are always at someone's mansion; and it's really strange to be in these rooms with Picasso and wine and French cheeses and mostly minority men and women serving us. It's a bit distasteful).

Here's the cons:
1. It's the South. Expect sexism, homophobia, and racism to some extent. U.H. is not a progressive institution, but it tries very hard. Same for the city of Houston -- it tries very hard to be diverse, and in some aspects it is. You can eat any kind of food in the world here. Street signs are in several different languages in different parts of the city. But, still, when I wanted to write a queer Dickinson paper, I encountered some resistance to those critical ideas from a professor. And some of the creative writers feel a bit uneasy with sexual minorities. But, on the whole, I think I've been treated with respect and dignity.

2. It's the South. It's freaking hot. I mean, really.

3. We're not paid enough. Most people have another job or take out loans. As a PhD student, expect to earn about 1,000-1100 a month (there's a slight raise after the first year) -- for nine months. People scramble for summer employment, though there are some opportunities.

4. The administration won't tell you this: you are only guaranteed funding for 3 years of the doctoral degree. Usually, the English department petitions the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for funding for doctoral students for the next 2 years of the degree, and usually that request is granted. It's been more questionable in the past 2 years. There is a possibility that your last 2 years (the years in which you'll be taking doctoral exams and writing the dissertation) you'll have to pay tuition. If you continue to teach for them, you'll be allowed to pay in-state tuition. If this happens, it will eat away 2/3 of your paycheck at the least.

5. Teach 2, take 3. Every semester. 1 workshop; 2 literature classes. It's really heavy on the lit. I like that, as do others, but some people find it really hampers their time to write. You have to be able to budget time and make borders between your identities as a writer, a student, and a teacher (and a person who likes tv or movies or golf or whatever else). The major complaint around here is that we don't have time enough to write. I think a background in a low-residency program can really prepare you for this challenge better than anything.

6. As a PhD student, you have to be very careful about your requirements and electives, and so your exam areas are a bit dependent upon what classes you've taken (and thus what's been offered). But there's a regular seminar on Dickinson, a regular Queer Theory class, a regular Feminist Theory class, and pre-seminars in most of the major movements. There's a Modernism class (this Fall, it's a seminar in Marianne Moore). Three classes can be a bit much, but I've been rewarded, I think, in being pushed so hard. There are regular complaints, though, about the dearth of good offerings.

I hope I've been thorough enough. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.


sonshineslocs


Aug 11, 2004, 5:44 AM

Post #20 of 2090 (47855 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

very thorough, thanks :) hmmm. no questions just yet. give me time ;)


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
e-mail user

Aug 11, 2004, 10:26 AM

Post #21 of 2090 (47843 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

James,
That's fantastic! I really appreciate your response. I admire a clean, clear, and logical mind, which you most obviously have. I will print out your response and save it in my files. What are your plans after you graduate? And where do you plan to live? I find California the most progressive place I've ever lived and also the most accepting place I've ever lived. A lot of my friends are mixed couples, I'm going to a gay ceremony of one of my good friends here in a few weeks, I don't get weird looks for being Asian, and people don't seem to have harmful attitudes towards people who are different. I've lived in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Berkeley, San Diego, Irvine, and LA, and each is different, but acceptance is what I find to be a universal quality in California. When I visit other places I feel like I'm stepping back in time in terms of progressiveness. There are certainly pockets in other cities, but overall, California is great.

I have a few more questions for you: 1) How might you compare a Ph.D. in straight lit to one in creative writing/lit?

2) When you say most people work, how many hours can they realistically work? I've been known to be a workaholic and can do a billion things at once, so if I attend, I'd like to keep my job, which is flexible and remote. I just don't know how unrealistic I'm being. I can easily work full-time and more, while going to Warren Wilson, and still have plenty of time to goof around. Is it like that? Your perspective will be helpful b/c you went to Bennington.

3) Is it a competitive environment or a supportive one amongst students? I like excellence in terms of academic environments but not competitiveness, if you know what I mean. I like supportive, giving, and helpful colleagues, but those who are truly talented, work hard, and push themselves, not those caddy, back-stabbing types.

4) Do you ever feel like an academic environment hinders your poetry or boxes you in? I was resistant to Warren Wilson, but have discovered it's exactly the opposite of what I feared. The critical work has really enriched my own writing.

5) How competitive are such programs to get into? And which ones are known as the stronger programs?

6) Is the GRE Lit test important? I have to take that still and what a pain in the A$$. Do they have a minimum cut-off point that I should aim for?

Okay, I was going to send you an email, but maybe others will benefit from my specific questions. You are a superstar for answering all our questions...

v


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Aug 11, 2004, 10:33 AM

Post #22 of 2090 (47843 views)
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In Reply To
It does seem to me, more and more, that the MFA is not "really" terminal.


The Ph.D. is terminal, all right. It'll kill you.

James' lists say it all. High-investment, high-reward. You have to admire the ingenuity with which universities have been able to evade the minimum wage laws. And with the most qualified laborers, to boot.

Publication plus degree equals job. The bigger your publication is, the smaller your degree has to be, and vice versa. But I consider writing my job. That's the main reason I wouldn't consider a creative writing Ph.D. Teaching would be a way to augment my income without retreating to the soul-withering cubicle. I think I'd enjoy it. I think I'd be good at it. And I think it would help me as a writer. But I can't envision it as a career.

And in my mind that's the difference between the MFA and the Ph.D. as terminal degrees. The MFA is for writers who would write even if they weren't teaching. The Ph.D. is for writers who would teach even if they weren't writing. I think you have to love academics that much to cope with the Ph.D. con list.

Great post, James.


arielblue
Library Anne

Aug 11, 2004, 3:17 PM

Post #23 of 2090 (47828 views)
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In Reply To
The MFA is for writers who would write even if they weren't teaching. The Ph.D. is for writers who would teach even if they weren't writing.

This really hits the proverbial nail on its naily little head, for me. While I haven't (yet) gone after an MFA, I did finally find an alternative to the Ph.D. that -- for me -- has proved to be ideal: the MLS (Master of Library Science). This degree has enabled me to work full-time in an academic environment, with people who care passionately about books and learning, and with students who are actively engaged in study and research, without having to kill myself getting a Ph.D. and without having to jump through the hoops & entangle myself in the red tape of teaching. And while academic libraries do suffer from their own brand of departmental politics, in my experience librarians are less likely to wind up at each other's throats than teaching faculty. (Of course, experiences may differ.) And while in library school I got to do annotated bibliographies and bibliographic guides about such things as contemporary American poetry, creative writing pedagogy, and Adrienne Rich. I would want to be in an academic environment even if I weren't writing, but teaching isn't necessarily something I'm passionate about (at least, not teaching freshman comp!) -- so being in an academic library is perfect for me, and I've found it to be pretty good for my writing as well. If I didn't have to work to support myself, of course, I'd stay home and write full-time. But the 8-to-5 grind has to happen, so it may as well happen in a room full of books!


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Aug 11, 2004, 6:40 PM

Post #24 of 2090 (47815 views)
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In Reply To
If I didn't have to work to support myself, of course, I'd stay home and write full-time. But the 8-to-5 grind has to happen, so it may as well happen in a room full of books!


It's great you've found a paying job that also nourishes you as a writer. That's so rare...it's the next best thing to quitting the day job altogether, and maybe even better for people who need something aside from writing to keep themselves fresh and sane (not to mention as a source of material).

I might've given the wrong impression when I said I considered writing my job. That doesn't mean I do it full-time - I write (creatively) 2 or 3 hours a day and spend another hour or two at night reading. But those hours have top priority. The "day job" (I'm self-employed) is structured around it. The point at which that happened is the point at which I began to have some success as a writer. I never had the discipline or energy to be a serious writer in my so-called spare time. Some people do but I think it's unusual, more unusual than the writing manuals and magazines would have you believe.

I also didn't mean to imply that creative writing Ph.D.s are less serious as writers or don't give their writing a high priority. But I think a Ph.D. marks someone as an academic professional in a way that an MFA doesn't. I don't think I could balance that with the writing. If nothing else, I'm too lazy. Someone who really takes to the academic life, though, as James obviously does from his long list of "pros," can be nourished by it as a writer the same way you're nourished by the MLA. It's not an either/or the way it would be for me. Good for both of you.


freeverses
James Hall
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Aug 11, 2004, 11:52 PM

Post #25 of 2090 (47803 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Dear Victoria (and everyone, again):

If I've misled you to think I have a clear, organized, and logical mind, I'm quite sorry. How nice of you to say that, though. :) Actually, the structure is the last thing I put on a piece -- they're a red herring. Those numbers are QUITE arbitrary. Ask someone else, and you'd get a different list (obviously).

Your question about comparing PhD programs in literature and PhD programs in creative writing is a good one. Basically, it comes down to focus and dissertation. As a PhD in creative writing and literature, as opposed to just lit (for the PhD here at UH, and at most places, is a dual degree), you'll be expected to take a doctoral exam in your genre, and to produce a publishable manuscript in your genre. So, I'm taking PhD exams in Poetry genre this Fall, and will write a book of poems before I graduate. (I'm in a rough draft state now). As a poet, you might focus more of your classes on poetry seminars, rather than on "Movements." Lit students, I'd imagine, would be more interested in seeing how "Victorian literature," as a movement, might signify in a culture. Poets might be more interested in how Barrett-Browning crafts a long narrative poem....

And, there's the difference in electives as well. CW PhD's have 3 years of coursework because the workshops do not satisfy elective hours. Literature PhD's take 2 years of coursework, then have 3 years to complete the dissertation and tests.

So, you have to ask yourself what you want to focus on for five years of your life. If you want to study more intensely writing and craft, and also qualify yourself as an academic, the PhD in creative writing seems suited for those possibilities.

The GRE/Lit is not important. I know a student here who made below the "minimum" accepted by the College of Liberal Arts/Sciences, but was still accepted here (a case was made). I made something like a 480 on it. Nothing stellar.

I'll have to answer your other questions in another post. I promise I shall, though! -- James


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Aug 12, 2004, 11:26 AM

Post #26 of 2090 (21263 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Part 2 of the reply:

I think U.H. is mostly a supportive environment. Yes, there is competition, especially for the coveted annual awards. But it's mostly a feeling of camaraderie, of people trying to give you honest opinions about your work. There are times when it gets a bit much for everyone involved, and there are tiny spats. But it's a professional environment, one in which people are fostered and nurtured. It's not a catty environment, on the whole -- though there are always jealous monsters among the poetry circle. Mostly, I think the students here are INCREDIBLY bright, helpful people who are hungry for literary conversation, for ideas, for motivation. My feeling is that we want -- and push -- each other to be better writers.

Another problem, some people say, with the program is mentoring. Students here sometimes don't feel that one-on-one connection with writers with whom they're studying. I was quite used to that kind of attention in a low-residency program. But I've found it among several teachers here, both in literature and in creative writing. Tony Hoagland and Mark Doty, for instance, are both incredibly generous with their time. If Tony sees you in the halls, he might say, "Do you have a minute? I wanted to talk to you about your poems." That's pretty incredible.

I know plenty of people who only teach here and live off that income. It's entirely possible. But a lot of people do Writers in the Schools. Here's their homepage: http://www.writersintheschools.org/ It pays well, and isn't quite a burden in terms of time. I've never done it, and have had friends who really like it, and friends who've hated it. Other students pick up spare sections at the local community college, which can lead to summer work as well.

I've taken out loans, basically, because I want to focus on my studies. As a graduate student in America, you're able to take out up to 7-8,000 bucks each semester. And, honey, I'm taking it. I did my first 2 years without it, but I wasn't quite a social animal either. (And it's easy to be social here -- I don't know ANYONE who doesn't fit in here).

I can write anywhere -- always have been able to. I guess the question is writing well. My first year sucked, because I didn't understand how to make boundaries, to manage time. I didn't write well at all (but, as people say, the writing tends to break down a bit when you begin a new program -- I'm certain it has something to do with finding an identity in a new space). After that, things calmed down, and I got back to basics. I think the critical, academic world SAVED my writing. It forced me to become a better critic. Queer theory, for me, gave me an approach to material I was lacking; it helped me see how I could create mythic spaces with language by investigating the very tools of that language. I know that sounds very academic-speak, but I think what I'm saying is that theory returned me to the building blocks of the poem, which is what I needed to focus on.

As far as the strongest PhD programs, I've heard good things about the following programs (which I won't rank because I've never been to these programs):

Utah: Modeled on Houston's program (which I think was the first to have a creative PhD in the U.S.), they've since re-modeled the format. The comprehensive exams, for example, are designed on a student's own project. So, say you're working on a book of poems that explores ethnicity. Your doctoral exams would each feed into that project. (This is different than Houston's program, where this can conceivably happen, but is much more difficult to manage).

Florida State: funding is also an issue; teaching assistantships are limited from what I hear. The faculty is wonderful and includes the under-rated poet Barbara Hamby, whose first book "Delirium" is just fabulous.

Western Michigan: each student is fully funded (to about the same extent as TA's everywhere), but you get to teach creative writing much more quickly. There's also the wonderful Prague Summer Seminars, and the New Issues press (which sometimes publishes very deserving alum from this program). Bill Olson and Nancy Eimers are U.H. alumni, and from what I hear, excellent teachers.

USC: great faculty, incredibly selective. They only take 5 students each year. That's perhaps the most selective in the country, as far as I know. U.H. takes ten students each in poetry and fiction, and may begin admitting students in literary non-fiction soon.

Oh, before I forget: U.H. has started a program much like the Prague Seminars, only students go to Poland for a week of seminars. Poland faculty have included Adam Zagajewski, Ed Hirsch, Anne Carson, Carolyn Forche, Rosanna Warren, Clare Cavanagh (Zagajewski's translator), Czeslaw Milosz, and Wislawa Szymborska. I've not been, but I've heard it's fantastic. Students submit applications every Spring, and the manuscripts are judged by an outside creative writer. It's just for the poets, at this point, and the entire trip is free.

I should say one more note about U.H. and the application process. U.H. is notorious for letting people know REALLY late in the process. The faculty spend a lot of time on the decision process, and it's only faculty who read the applications. (The faculty who teach in the Spring, I should say: in poetry, it will be Tony Hoagland, Nick Flynn, and Adam Zagajewski; in fiction it's usually Antonya Nelson, Bob Phillips, and Dan Stern). I found out in late April that I was wait-listed here at U.H., then two days later got in off the wait-list (I was # 2 on that list). A friend of mine got a call 2 weeks before classes started, and came here.

Another thing: U.H. has recently been really strict about MFA's going on to PhD's here. No special consideration is now given just because an applicant did her or his MFA work here. It really is about the strength of the manuscript.

Okay, I think I've tuckered out this thread. Sorry to chatter on incessantly and make huge skyscrapers in this cybercity.....


arielblue
Library Anne

Aug 12, 2004, 12:34 PM

Post #27 of 2090 (21257 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

James, thanks so much for your long and detailed posts about U.H.'s program. Even though I'm considering low-res programs (and so the specifics of your program aren't relevant to me), the kind of in-depth information you've provided here has helped me zero in on what I'm looking for generally in a program. Plus, it's just plain interesting to think about how many different ways there are of going about constructing an MFA program!

So, thanks, and please don't feel the need to apologize for going on at such length -- at least some of us 'round here appreciate it!


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
e-mail user

Aug 14, 2004, 3:21 PM

Post #28 of 2090 (21238 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh yea, and your James, your honesty about your GRE scores was really helpful. I was so darn worried about those things--in business school, you had to be in the top 1-2% on the GMAT (over 700) to get into the couple of schools I wanted to go to, so I studied pretty hard. I'll study for the GRE Lit, but it makes me feel better that they don't matter as much and aren't weighted as heavily. Phew. You saved me a lot of worrying. But I guess it makes sense. It should be your creative work and critical writing ability, combined with one's passion to do a Ph.D. that matters. Law school and business school still think those scores are a measure of raw intelligence (if you ask me, they're just representative of how quickly one can bolt through a test under time pressure).


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Aug 15, 2004, 12:39 AM

Post #29 of 2090 (21229 views)
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Re: [fattery] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so glad I could contribute to the forum. And you're welcome to my honesty.

About GRE's: A friend who just entered Western Michigan had around the same score, if not lower, and she was really high on their list (if not ranked # 1). So, I don't think that opinion regarding the GRE/Lit is a local phenomenon.

I studied for 6 weeks for the test, while still working 8 hours a day (dispatching instead of driving -- I actually used to be a delivery boy. That seems another life ago).

Good luck Victoria (and everyone else)!
-- James


Jacobbarnez
Alexis Enrico Santi
e-mail user

Sep 13, 2004, 3:09 PM

Post #30 of 2090 (21200 views)
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In James We Trust [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, what a thread what a thread.

What is the conventional wisdom about getting a Phd, after getting an MFA?

I realize the road to MFA stardom is paved with book publishings
and critical essays, but I was just wondering amongst those of you who have
done a MFA when did that itch to get the PHd came in? Did you go out there
to hit the pavement teaching and not find what you were looking for?
I know in some cases as postings here have stated that they were not entirely
happy with what they had done in their MFA programs.

I am currently in George Mason's MFA program which is a rather long intensive
program of 48 credit hours spread over at least 3 years. I guess I'm just
wondering aloud that it is still a MFA when I'll done with it, a terminal degree
yes, but still a MFA the same degree as those who do a 2 year program. Will
Universities "know" - my take is some departments will, but you really can't out weigh
a PHd + MFA no matter what MFA program you did. I'm rambling but I think
I'm sorting out some of thoughts here.

So I guess I'm looking for some older wisdom here from those of you who have been
working in academia for years now to what extent you see the direction of MFA
programs, and the extent that the saturation of said programs has caused a rift
between continuing on for PHd programs.

Yours,

Alexis Enrico Santi


sonshineslocs


Jan 8, 2005, 12:11 PM

Post #31 of 2090 (21143 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

bumping for good measure. :)


sonshineslocs


Jan 9, 2005, 12:22 AM

Post #32 of 2090 (21121 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

anyone gotten a ph.d. before an mfa, or in lieu of one?

i know i sound absolutely insane, but i feel like ph.d. is the next logical step for me. my dilemma now is that the programs i like are too far away from me.

there are two ph.d. programs that i'm digging and very strongly considering applying to, but are no closer than 3 or 4 hours away. my husband and i live in frankfort ky, where he works (i'm unemployed) and must live on campus as a part of his job.

the english program offerings around here are just too limited/ing in terms of what i want to study. what, then, should i (or CAN i) do ?

the two main schools are:
http://www.english.ohiou.edu/grad/program/phd/ --the creative writing option

http://www.bsu.edu/...ate/gradling.htm#PhD --love the idea of applied liguistics with a cognate in creative writing (though i'm sure i don't meet the language requirement).

i've also considered this one:
http://asweb.artsci.uc.edu/english/cw/phd.html --the writing component/creative dissertations seems to be tacked on as an afterthought. admittedly, that's a bit of a turnoff. but it's the closest.

spalding is still on my list, but i wonder if it will satisfy my "literature loving" desires.

what should i do? what would you do? what are my options?


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Jan 9, 2005, 1:58 AM

Post #33 of 2090 (21117 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there,

I know people who have done a PhD in creative writing after doing masters work in another area; I don't know anyone who's done a PhD right after completing a bachelor's, though I'm sure such ambitious folk exist.

I've worked with J. Allyn Rosser, who teaches poetry at Ohio, and I thought she was really wonderful. The class was a bit small, and she was a visiting writer at Houston and so didn't quite know her way around our kind of graduate program, but I thought she was immensely helpful, supportive, and intelligent. I know David Lazar's nonfiction work (he received his PhD at Houston), and think he's pretty good too.

I've heard mixed things about Cincinnati. I've never worked with anyone there, though, and I hear that the funding is quite impressive. That was a few years ago, so you might want to look into that.

I think low-residency might be less hassle for you. I don't know enough about Spalding to advise you, but the low-residency program I went to (Bennington) really allows you to do what you like in terms of reading. It's my experience that low-residency allows you a more intensive, writerly approach to literature. MFA'ers here at Houston take the majority of literature classes with English literature faculty, and the emphasis is on scholarly research rather than craft-oriented lectures and papers. There's a big difference, and, actually, I'm glad I received both kinds of training.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
-- James


sonshineslocs


Jan 9, 2005, 1:14 PM

Post #34 of 2090 (21101 views)
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Re: [freeverses] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks James. i'm thinking i'll probably have to wait. do the m.f.a. first, then go back for the ph.d. when circumstances are more conducive. i'm also in the number of people who have a master's degree in another area, so i wouldn't be fresh from a bachelor's degree. it's the completion of my thesis that makes me believe that i can do a dissertation. i couldn't imagine it the other way around.

thanks again. please keep any input coming. i rrrreeeeaaaallllllllyyyy want a piece of that ohio program--i could taste it last night.


hapworth


Jan 10, 2005, 9:09 AM

Post #35 of 2090 (21071 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sonshine,

What genre do you wish to focus on: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction? I ask because I did my MA in fiction at Ohio University and know the department well. In general, I can say that the faculty at OU is strong, though the poetry department has had some shake ups. The creative writing program is also pretty competitive because of its small size. In my first year, I was one of two fiction MAs. There were also two new fiction PhDs. That's an entering fiction class of four! The quality of the student writing is a mixed bag. Because OU is one of the few creative writing PhD programs, we get people who did their MAs at Johns Hopkins and Iowa. But we also had people who, quite frankly, were weak. Two of them were good buddies of mine, so I mean no ill will. But one buddy of mine skated through the program, wrote his PhD dissertation at the last second (I helped edit it and--oh, gosh, was it bad!), and still managed to earn his degree! On the other hand, OU has graduated plenty of serious folk who have racked up strong publications and landed good jobs. I guess it's what you put into the program.

I hope this info helps. If you let me know more about your interests, I can perhaps offer more.

Hapworth


sonshineslocs


Jan 10, 2005, 4:46 PM

Post #36 of 2090 (21049 views)
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Re: [hapworth] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

creative nonfiction. how did weak writers slip into such a competitive program? and a last minute dissertation??? ludicrous. i'm still interested in ohio university, but i'm seriously considering a Ph.D. in Humanities at Univ. of Louisville. they have a creative dissertation option. :) and the interdisciplinary approach is VERY reflective of my academic background--definitely a mixed bag.


(This post was edited by sonshineslocs on Jan 10, 2005, 4:51 PM)


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Mar 5, 2005, 10:17 AM

Post #37 of 2090 (20906 views)
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Re: [sonshineslocs] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

A new LR-MFA programs thread has been started and the posts here pertaining to that thread have been moved over.

Thanks for the heads up sonshine. :)

Dana


tnu
Tanya Underwood

Jun 19, 2005, 11:57 AM

Post #38 of 2090 (20797 views)
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Does anyone know anything about the creative writing Phd at University of Southern Mississippi or the University of Hawaii. Thanks!

--Tanya


sovietsleepover


Oct 6, 2005, 2:23 PM

Post #39 of 2090 (20697 views)
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creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was researching creative writing PhDs & found a couple outside the US that hadn't yet been mentioned, so: in case anyone's interested...

University of Wales at Swansea has a creative writing PhD. Also, Bath Spa University, presumably in Bath, England, has a creative writing PhD, as does University of Manchester. (On the other hand, I've heard UK/EU advanced degrees aren't as highly regarded in the US because they tend to be solo research/mentorship degrees without much foundation level coursework, & because they specialize right off the bat they don't provide grads with the general knowledge necessary to teach outside their specialization... Any opinions on this?)

University of Calgary has an English degree with an emphasis in creative writing.


hapworth


Oct 20, 2005, 11:47 PM

Post #40 of 2090 (20648 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be applying to CW Ph.D programs this year, and I thought this list might be helpful. I probably missed some schools, but I believe these are all of the U.S. doctoral programs in creative writing. They are listed in no particular order.


1) Florida State U.
2) SUNY Albany

3) SUNY Binghamton
4) U. of Georgia
5) U. of Tennessee
6) U. of Missouri
7) U. of Nebraska Lincoln
8) U. of Houston
9) U. of Illinois Chicago
10) U. of Wisconsin Milwaukee
11) Georgia State U.

12) U. of Utah

13) U. Nevada Las Vegas (Fellowship only)

14) Oklahoma State U.

15) U. of Louisiana Lafayette

16) U. of Southern Mississippi

17) Ohio U.

18) U. of Denver

19) Western Michigan U.

20) Texas Tech U.

21) U. of Cincinnati

22) U. of North Texas

23) U. of Southern California

24) U. of Hawaii


Did I miss any? :-) Feel free to add.

Hapworth


Art
Arthur J. Stewart
e-mail user

Oct 21, 2005, 11:07 PM

Post #41 of 2090 (20627 views)
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Re: [hapworth] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think UT qualifies -- http://web.utk.edu/~english/creative.php -- but maybe you're targeting Creative Writing more narrowly?


traveler474


Jan 25, 2007, 1:41 PM

Post #42 of 2090 (20457 views)
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Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone care to join a discussion about the mfa vs phd thing? Such as...

-How did you decide to pursue one vs the other?
-Is the mfa going to stay terminal?
-Is the atmosphere in a phd program (creative dissertation) very different from an mfa?
-For those of you who have finished/are enrolled in one of the top several programs (not intending to fire that debate up again) have you considered going back for a phd afterwards?
-For those of you who went through a phd, was it worth it? Did you have a good experience?
-For anyone finishing up or finished - how's the job hunt? What are you seeing down in the trenches - is the mfa still enough, with pubs?

(This is from someone with a masters in a different area, intent on pursuing the craft of writing, but wouldn't mind subsidizing that with a professorship. So I'm torn between a second masters (I would only apply to those schools with the better reputation, and be willing to take several years to get in) and going for a phd with a creative dissertation. I keep hearing how the phd is going to help get you that job, but the schools I am most attracted to (michener center, iowa, brown) are mfa programs. Would love to hear input from as many folks who are willing to offer..)


gcsumfa


Feb 21, 2007, 7:45 PM

Post #43 of 2090 (20317 views)
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Re: [traveler474] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone heard back from PhD/CW programs? All of the talk on the "Waiting Game" thread is about the MFA. I'm curious if anyone is awaiting word from PhD programs. I applied to: UGA, U of Tenn, Denver, Texas Tech, FSU, Ohio U, and Nebraska. My genre is Fiction.

The only PhD update I've seen so far is a poetry acceptance for Texas Tech last week.


Sid Hammet


Feb 22, 2007, 9:31 AM

Post #44 of 2090 (20233 views)
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Had a friend accepted for fiction at Cincinnati last week. Guess that doesn't help you much.


gcsumfa


Feb 26, 2007, 11:58 PM

Post #45 of 2090 (20143 views)
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Re: [Sid Hammet] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, UC is supposedly a good program. I almost applied there, but didn't take the GRE LIT exam in time enough to meet their deadline.

Still waiting to hear from all of my schools.


bktv


Feb 28, 2007, 12:23 AM

Post #46 of 2090 (20069 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to FSU, USC and U of Houston. Nothing at all yet. Is it your sense that these programs are more or less competitive than the MFA? I know at USC that the PhD is more competitive. (Although at USC the MFA is not particularly competitive.) I am also in fiction. If I don't get in this year, I will use the list above in this thread!



In Reply To
Has anyone heard back from PhD/CW programs? All of the talk on the "Waiting Game" thread is about the MFA. I'm curious if anyone is awaiting word from PhD programs. I applied to: UGA, U of Tenn, Denver, Texas Tech, FSU, Ohio U, and Nebraska. My genre is Fiction.

The only PhD update I've seen so far is a poetry acceptance for Texas Tech last week.



gcsumfa


Feb 28, 2007, 1:41 AM

Post #47 of 2090 (20053 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it depends on how many slots a program typically has to offer. For instance, Ohio only takes 1-2 per genre per year, while a larger program like Denver admits 10-12 CW'ers per year. FSU seems to admit a lot of PhD CW'ers.

I talked to my MFA thesis advisor tonight; he got his PhD from Houston (Fiction). He told me to be patient because most PhD applications have to go through the CW faculty AND a few folks on the lit faculty. This makes sense, as it's obviously easier to admit someone to an MFA program. At most places, the lit faculty don't even have a say in the process, nor do they really care. I don't think that's the case with the PhD CW/Lit, because the degree is basically a dual degree, and we'll be taking doctoral-level lit seminars.

I wished I had applied to Western Mich; they've already accepted some folks, I hear--and w/ decent funding.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 28, 2007, 1:45 AM)


bktv


Feb 28, 2007, 1:24 PM

Post #48 of 2090 (20004 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Another school for the list is Wayne State U in Michigan.

As far as waiting goes, if PhD apps. take longer to review, then we probably still have two weeks or so. Although I thought it was strange that FSU didn't want a critical writing sample in addition to the creative sample. That seems (to me) that they don't really care that much about your literature background. And at USC what I've heard is that the fiction faculty choose the selected students (only 2-6 total) exclusively.


bktv


Mar 1, 2007, 2:53 AM

Post #49 of 2090 (19947 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.


Sid Hammet


Mar 1, 2007, 8:05 AM

Post #50 of 2090 (19928 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a couple of people (fiction writers) who were accepted at Missouri this week, if anybody applied there.


fuzen


Mar 6, 2007, 1:43 PM

Post #51 of 2090 (18296 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't forget Southen Mississippi, which offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. for creative writing, and offers full funding, with great teachers.

My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.



In Reply To
Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.



bktv


Mar 6, 2007, 4:14 PM

Post #52 of 2090 (18258 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, that's a double ouch, but thanks for the info. Come quickly rejection letters...


In Reply To
My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.

In Reply To


gcsumfa


Mar 6, 2007, 4:29 PM

Post #53 of 2090 (18251 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Texas Tech left a message for me yesterday while I was out, so I'm hoping I'm in there. We're playing phone tag right now. Stephen Graham Jones teaches there, they have awesome funding, and they allow you to teach literature and CW. No income tax in TX, either.

I was rejected by UGA, but that's probably a blessing in disguise, as I hear a lot of sketchy things about that place, one being that the there is strife between CW and Lit, and the other being that to apply, you have to be accepted into the Lit program first. I had to write two personal statements and send two sets of materials to two places (Lit and CW). For all I know the lit people rejected me just on my poor GRE Lit scores.

Waiting to hear from:

Ohio
Nebraska
Denver
Tenn
FSU (they didn't have all of my transcripts until the other day).


fuzen


Mar 6, 2007, 4:55 PM

Post #54 of 2090 (18235 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

For USC, you can e-mail cwphd@usc.edu and ask Pam if you're in or not. They've already made their decisions. (Though, if you haven't heard by now, it probably doesn't bode well.)

According to Pam, they received 80 applications this year, an "unusually large number." I know Iowa got 700+ applications this year, and Mark Winegardner at FSU told me this year was particularly difficult with admissions decisions. It's hard to judge competitiveness for programs like USC and FSU based on the number of applicants, since people who apply to creative writing Ph.D. programs are people who have M.A.s or M.F.A.s, and are likely more experienced and serious writers.

Best of luck with the other programs! If you're looking for a quick backup plan, though, you might want to look into Southern Miss (www.centerforwriters.com). We have rolling admissions (in fact, you can still apply for Fall 2007) and I love the program here. For a $15k Ph.D. stipend you had to have applied by March 1st, but if you're really interested, I'd suggest e-mailing or calling Rie Fortenberry (601) 266-5600 and asking her if you can still qualify. The people here are really easy going and laid back and I wouldn't be surprised if they said okay. What they want are student who show they care about writing, more so than students who show they can be clever about their writing. Does that make sense?

In any case, keep writing, and good luck!



In Reply To
Well, that's a double ouch, but thanks for the info. Come quickly rejection letters...


In Reply To
My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.

In Reply To



fuzen


Mar 6, 2007, 5:09 PM

Post #55 of 2090 (18229 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

For what it's worth, my best friend here did his M.A. at TTU and he says wonderful things about Stephen Graham Jones as a teacher. I've also had the opportunity to work with Stephen through a small lit journal I publish, and he's just a great guy to correspond with. Very gracious and humble and easy-going. Used to move refrigerators while he wrote books, until he threw his back out and had to go the academic route. Also plays basketball with his students.

I used to fret over my GRE Lit scores until someone told me any program that cares that much about GRE Lit scores is not a program a creative writer would want to go to anyway. Made sense.



In Reply To
Texas Tech left a message for me yesterday while I was out, so I'm hoping I'm in there. We're playing phone tag right now. Stephen Graham Jones teaches there, they have awesome funding, and they allow you to teach literature and CW. No income tax in TX, either.

I was rejected by UGA, but that's probably a blessing in disguise, as I hear a lot of sketchy things about that place, one being that the there is strife between CW and Lit, and the other being that to apply, you have to be accepted into the Lit program first. I had to write two personal statements and send two sets of materials to two places (Lit and CW). For all I know the lit people rejected me just on my poor GRE Lit scores.

Waiting to hear from:

Ohio
Nebraska
Denver
Tenn
FSU (they didn't have all of my transcripts until the other day).



bktv


Mar 6, 2007, 9:27 PM

Post #56 of 2090 (18185 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks again Fuzen. I think that I'd rather wait a year than go somewhere with no funding. As it is now, I'm looking at $12k in loans from my MFA (not bad for USC). I will certainly consider South. Miss. if I do pull the rejection trifecta. Any word on how FSU is doing their waitlist? Or any news from Houston?


fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 2:30 AM

Post #57 of 2090 (18147 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll ask Rie and see if they're able to offer funding still for applicants.

Haven't heard anything from Houston, but I'm thinking, even if I get in, I'd still rather go to FSU, so I'm just going to stick with FSU. From what Mark Winegardner told me, it sounds like FSU has their own inside waiting list, as in, people they have in mind but haven't contacted yet, while they wait to hear from the acceptances.

If you don't have a rejection letter in your hand, it ain't over yet.



In Reply To
Thanks again Fuzen. I think that I'd rather wait a year than go somewhere with no funding. As it is now, I'm looking at $12k in loans from my MFA (not bad for USC). I will certainly consider South. Miss. if I do pull the rejection trifecta. Any word on how FSU is doing their waitlist? Or any news from Houston?



gogogirl


Mar 7, 2007, 11:06 AM

Post #58 of 2090 (18111 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

 I was told the USM Ph.D. program is one of the programs I should avoid. A bad location, tiered funding, poor faculty, heavy teaching load (2 comp classes per semester) and heavy coursework requirements (49 hrs or something). Bad bad bad, this is what I heard from a USM graduate! Only apply if I’m really desperate…

In Reply To
Don't forget Southen Mississippi, which offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. for creative writing, and offers full funding, with great teachers.

My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.



In Reply To
Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.




(This post was edited by gogogirl on Mar 7, 2007, 11:11 AM)


fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 11:32 AM

Post #59 of 2090 (18084 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess this goes for anyone who's looking for an emergency backup plan for creative writing M.A. or Ph.D. degrees: The Center for Writers at Southern Miss technically has a deadline of March 1st for people who want funding, but Rie Fortenberry, the Admissions Coordinator, has just told me that they're willing to extend that deadline and it's not too late (though, obviously, the sooner you get in your application the better).

Some quick info:
- They offer full tuition waivers.
- They offer stipends of $10k and $15k. $15k stipends are strictly for Ph.D. students, and while not all Ph.D. students get the $15k, I'm pretty sure they get at least the $10k. (I'm finishing up my M.A. here and I've lived on a $10k stipend just fine, no loans needed.)
- The M.A. degree is two years, and the Ph.D. degree, unlike most other places, is three years.
- The program has about 45 people total, poetry and fiction included. It's a small faculty, with two poets and two fiction writers (they're looking to hire a third person to replace Mary Robison), and we have visiting writers conduct the occasional workshop. During my time here, I've workshopped with Amy Hempel, Ann Beattie, Tony Earley, and others. Additionally, we've had Dave Smith, Lucie Brock-Broido, Stuart Dischell, James Tate, and other people swing by for readings. Actually, Tate workshopped too, but I'm not a poet so I didn't get to work with him. Because it's a small program when these visiting writers come you get pretty intimate with them. I had lunch with Ann Beattie and James Tate, and talked to Amy Hempel and Tony Earley for quite a while at their receptions. By reception I mean a small party at some faculty member's house, where twenty people show up and eat and drink and chat.
- A typical courseload is one workshop, one literature class, and one readings class. Your dissertation is just your creative work, no lit papers. (Well, for M.A.; I think it's the same for Ph.D., though I'm not certain.)
- Don't need GRE Lit scores.
- Love the teachers here. My writing now and my writing two years ago are, well, night and day. One of the fiction teachers doesn't publish much because he spends all his time teaching. He will go through every single sentence, every word, of your story, regardless of what "level" you're at, and talk to you about what he thinks is working and not, and what should be done to address it. The other one looks at your stories and your writing as a whole from a bigger perspective. They balance each other out pretty well.
- They don't mind if you cross genres. I've taken two poetry classes, and another fiction person is enrolled in a poetry workshop this semester.
- The fiction writers, poets, and lit students all comingle together. My roommate, for instance, is a poet. It's a very supportive environment.
- Located in Hattiesburg, about a hundred miles north of New Orleans. I head down there for Mardi Gras, Voodoo Fest, Jazz Fest, etc.

Anyway, if you want more information about the program or the city let me know (jwang at juked dot com). And if you're interested in applying (still time to get financial support) I'd suggest getting in touch with Rie right away so they know to expect something.



In Reply To
Thanks again Fuzen. I think that I'd rather wait a year than go somewhere with no funding. As it is now, I'm looking at $12k in loans from my MFA (not bad for USC). I will certainly consider South. Miss. if I do pull the rejection trifecta. Any word on how FSU is doing their waitlist? Or any news from Houston?



fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 12:00 PM

Post #60 of 2090 (18059 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd be interested to see who told you that, gogogirl. Personally, I can't say enough good things about the program here. It's because of what I learned at USM that I got into FSU. The location is entirely subjective. I mean, it's a quiet little town, yes, but it's easy living and the people are friendly. If you really need a big city for your writing, then stay the hell away from here. If you need a program that gives you free schooling and enough to live on while you write, then you should definitely consider this program.

Tiered funding - well, either you get the $15k or the $10k as a Ph.D. student. I don't know that that's such a problem. It's not something that we get worked up about.

Faculty - I'll tell you my own experience. When I first got here, and I got a poor review on my story for my first workshop, I thought Frederick Barthelme was out to make me into a cookie cutter writer, that he just wanted me to write like he does. I considered quitting the program and moving back to California (shitty teacher, bad location, etc. etc.). But I was also a shitty writer who thought he was going to be the next big thing. I calmed down and wrote my next story and got a positive review, though if anything it was further away from Frederick's writing than my first piece. Since then I've also written an experimental story heavily based on rhythm and language, nothing like the minimalist realist style of the faculty here, yet gotten profuse praise for it. In time I learned the faculty (for fiction, anyway) are just honest people who see bad writing as any experienced writer would, and they're not afraid to point it out to you. Yes, I've seen a few students become unhappy here, but usually (and I stress that - not always) it's people who are sensitive and stubborn and unable to see past their own flaws. I've come to believe that you'll only become as much of a cookie-cutter writer as your own originality lets you. The faculty here doesn't stifle your creativity. They just give you their honest feedback, which is what we'd want, right?

If you want to hear from more people in the program I'd happily pass your e-mail along to others - in M.A. or Ph.D., in fiction or poetry. You can also call the department and speak to whichever grad student is working the desk at the moment. Out of the 45 or whatever people here right now, I'd say easily 40 of them would stand up for the program and tell you the same thing I did.






In Reply To
I was told the USM Ph.D. program is one of the programs I should avoid. A bad location, tiered funding, poor faculty, heavy teaching load (2 comp classes per semester) and heavy coursework requirements (49 hrs or something). Bad bad bad, this is what I heard from a USM graduate! Only apply if I’m really desperate…

In Reply To
Don't forget Southen Mississippi, which offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. for creative writing, and offers full funding, with great teachers.

My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.



In Reply To
Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.





gogogirl


Mar 7, 2007, 12:23 PM

Post #61 of 2090 (18048 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

fuzen,

If you like it there so much, why are you leaving? Isn't FSU a better program than USM?

gogogirl


In Reply To
I'd be interested to see who told you that, gogogirl. Personally, I can't say enough good things about the program here. It's because of what I learned at USM that I got into FSU. The location is entirely subjective. I mean, it's a quiet little town, yes, but it's easy living and the people are friendly. If you really need a big city for your writing, then stay the hell away from here. If you need a program that gives you free schooling and enough to live on while you write, then you should definitely consider this program.

Tiered funding - well, either you get the $15k or the $10k as a Ph.D. student. I don't know that that's such a problem. It's not something that we get worked up about.

Faculty - I'll tell you my own experience. When I first got here, and I got a poor review on my story for my first workshop, I thought Frederick Barthelme was out to make me into a cookie cutter writer, that he just wanted me to write like he does. I considered quitting the program and moving back to California (shitty teacher, bad location, etc. etc.). But I was also a shitty writer who thought he was going to be the next big thing. I calmed down and wrote my next story and got a positive review, though if anything it was further away from Frederick's writing than my first piece. Since then I've also written an experimental story heavily based on rhythm and language, nothing like the minimalist realist style of the faculty here, yet gotten profuse praise for it. In time I learned the faculty (for fiction, anyway) are just honest people who see bad writing as any experienced writer would, and they're not afraid to point it out to you. Yes, I've seen a few students become unhappy here, but usually (and I stress that - not always) it's people who are sensitive and stubborn and unable to see past their own flaws. I've come to believe that you'll only become as much of a cookie-cutter writer as your own originality lets you. The faculty here doesn't stifle your creativity. They just give you their honest feedback, which is what we'd want, right?

If you want to hear from more people in the program I'd happily pass your e-mail along to others - in M.A. or Ph.D., in fiction or poetry. You can also call the department and speak to whichever grad student is working the desk at the moment. Out of the 45 or whatever people here right now, I'd say easily 40 of them would stand up for the program and tell you the same thing I did.






In Reply To
I was told the USM Ph.D. program is one of the programs I should avoid. A bad location, tiered funding, poor faculty, heavy teaching load (2 comp classes per semester) and heavy coursework requirements (49 hrs or something). Bad bad bad, this is what I heard from a USM graduate! Only apply if I’m really desperate…

In Reply To
Don't forget Southen Mississippi, which offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. for creative writing, and offers full funding, with great teachers.

My roommate got a waitlist notice for poetry at USC yesterday. I got a call from FSU last Wednesday for fiction Ph.D. I haven't heard yet from Houston, but I'm thinking I'll be at FSU come Fall.



In Reply To
Two more programs while I'm at it:

University of North Dakota
University of Connecticut-Storrs

Those (in addition to the list) were the only others I could find.






fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 12:39 PM

Post #62 of 2090 (18040 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Easy. A) I've worked with Rick and Steve here for two years. They told me they'd love to have me back but they also think I'd gain more by working with different teachers at a different programs, hear different perspectives, and I agree, and B) in academia, it's always better to have different schools for different degrees, show prospective employers that you were wanted by different people instead of kept around, and C) FSU is, on paper, one of the best creative writing Ph.D. programs, as good as anywhere else. I mention USM because I get the feeling not enough people know of it or about it. Surely, if you got into FSU and USM both, you'd pick FSU, but I'd take a USM Ph.D. over an M.F.A. at any school outside of the typical dream list. If someone is looking for a backup at this point, USM is a great choice.



In Reply To
fuzen,

If you like it there so much, why are you leaving? Isn't FSU a better program than USM?

gogogirl


gogogirl


Mar 7, 2007, 12:49 PM

Post #63 of 2090 (18034 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

What's the funding situation at FSU? I remember hearing it's not good at all.

In Reply To
Easy. A) I've worked with Rick and Steve here for two years. They told me they'd love to have me back but they also think I'd gain more by working with different teachers at a different programs, hear different perspectives, and I agree, and B) in academia, it's always better to have different schools for different degrees, show prospective employers that you were wanted by different people instead of kept around, and C) FSU is, on paper, one of the best creative writing Ph.D. programs, as good as anywhere else. I mention USM because I get the feeling not enough people know of it or about it. Surely, if you got into FSU and USM both, you'd pick FSU, but I'd take a USM Ph.D. over an M.F.A. at any school outside of the typical dream list. If someone is looking for a backup at this point, USM is a great choice.



In Reply To
fuzen,

If you like it there so much, why are you leaving? Isn't FSU a better program than USM?

gogogirl



gogogirl


Mar 7, 2007, 1:55 PM

Post #64 of 2090 (17997 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyway, congratulations, Wang. Going from USM to FSU is a bit of a leap for you! Good job!


In Reply To
Easy. A) I've worked with Rick and Steve here for two years. They told me they'd love to have me back but they also think I'd gain more by working with different teachers at a different programs, hear different perspectives, and I agree, and B) in academia, it's always better to have different schools for different degrees, show prospective employers that you were wanted by different people instead of kept around, and C) FSU is, on paper, one of the best creative writing Ph.D. programs, as good as anywhere else. I mention USM because I get the feeling not enough people know of it or about it. Surely, if you got into FSU and USM both, you'd pick FSU, but I'd take a USM Ph.D. over an M.F.A. at any school outside of the typical dream list. If someone is looking for a backup at this point, USM is a great choice.



In Reply To
fuzen,

If you like it there so much, why are you leaving? Isn't FSU a better program than USM?

gogogirl



fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 3:01 PM

Post #65 of 2090 (17973 views)
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Re: [gogogirl] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmmm. Do I know you?

Re: funding, I haven't gotten the full details yet (they're currently on Spring Break), but I'm not worried.



In Reply To
Anyway, congratulations, Wang. Going from USM to FSU is a bit of a leap for you! Good job!


fleurdelis44


Mar 7, 2007, 5:43 PM

Post #66 of 2090 (17934 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry to interrupt the conversation. Just wanted to introduce myself: I just got into FSU too--PhD fiction with assistantship. I'm very excited and a bit nervous about the specific dollar amount of the funding. I don't think I can afford less than 10,000 a year. If you have any inside info on FSU, Fuzen, please pass it along. Looks like I'll be seeing you in the fall.


fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 7:30 PM

Post #67 of 2090 (17905 views)
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Re: [fleurdelis44] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, congrats! And yeah, I'll probably be seeing you in the fall, or even summer, if you go to the teaching training thing. I didn't get a specific dollar amount when I chatted with this one fifth-year Ph.D. student, though he said it's enough to squeeze by on. I doubt it's less than $10k, but I really don't know. As soon as I find out I'll pass it along (and likewise!). E-mail me at jwang at juked dot com - if I come across other resources (apartment, whatever) I'll send that to you too.

Congrats again, that's wonderful news! When Mark called me I was so nervous my tongue got all tied up and I said some pretty dumb things to him. I was worried he'd retract the acceptance. Haha...


In Reply To
Sorry to interrupt the conversation. Just wanted to introduce myself: I just got into FSU too--PhD fiction with assistantship. I'm very excited and a bit nervous about the specific dollar amount of the funding. I don't think I can afford less than 10,000 a year. If you have any inside info on FSU, Fuzen, please pass it along. Looks like I'll be seeing you in the fall.



gcsumfa


Mar 7, 2007, 9:24 PM

Post #68 of 2090 (17881 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm basically on Texas Tech's "inside" waiting list, according to them. They just don't have many slots this year for fiction, but I still have a chance, and they really did like my application. They really beefed up their PhD CW program three years ago, and I just happened to apply when that first class is still strong in numbers and not many people have graduated yet. But, they are really nice to deal with and you can tell that they have a good thing going in Lubbock. Every time I open a PW issue, I see an ad for their program--even in this latest issue with app season over.

Fuzen, thanks a bunch for that USM bit of info. I was actually thinking of contacting them and asking if I could submit a late application, but felt weird doing so. I think I'll send an app their way tomorrow.

As for FSU, I haven't heard anything back from them...I'm hoping I'm one of the ones on their "inside list" and that they've already rejected their first cuts.

Oh, about FSU funding: I'm pretty sure that when I researched their program, their stipend is only like 10,600K. In fact, I'm almost positive. The stipend amount has always been a concern of mine in regards to their program--the only concern, really.

One program that has always interested me is Ohio U. Did anyone else apply there?


gogogirl


Mar 7, 2007, 10:26 PM

Post #69 of 2090 (17853 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Texas Tech vs. Southern Mississippi

Which one would you choose? Which one is a better program?

In Reply To
I'm basically on Texas Tech's "inside" waiting list, according to them. They just don't have many slots this year for fiction, but I still have a chance, and they really did like my application. They really beefed up their PhD CW program three years ago, and I just happened to apply when that first class is still strong in numbers and not many people have graduated yet. But, they are really nice to deal with and you can tell that they have a good thing going in Lubbock. Every time I open a PW issue, I see an ad for their program--even in this latest issue with app season over.

Fuzen, thanks a bunch for that USM bit of info. I was actually thinking of contacting them and asking if I could submit a late application, but felt weird doing so. I think I'll send an app their way tomorrow.

As for FSU, I haven't heard anything back from them...I'm hoping I'm one of the ones on their "inside list" and that they've already rejected their first cuts.

Oh, about FSU funding: I'm pretty sure that when I researched their program, their stipend is only like 10,600K. In fact, I'm almost positive. The stipend amount has always been a concern of mine in regards to their program--the only concern, really.

One program that has always interested me is Ohio U. Did anyone else apply there?



gcsumfa


Mar 7, 2007, 10:38 PM

Post #70 of 2090 (17848 views)
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In Reply To
Texas Tech vs. Southern Mississippi

Which one would you choose? Which one is a better program?


Southern Miss is the more established program, and has been around longer, but I really don't get caught up in program x vs program y. For me, a creative writing program is ultimately what you, the writer, make of it. Often it comes down to "fit."

Stephen Graham Jones teaches at Texas Tech; he's an FSU grad. "Demon Theory" is an awesome novel. One of the things I like about Texas Tech’s program is that they allow you to teach more than composition. You teach lit and creative writing by your second semester. That’s huge for your CV. One of their grads just landed a tenure track job.

Their stipends are 14,600K. Not bad.

I don't think one could go wrong at either place, really. USM is a bigger name and a great program. Texas Tech is a newer program on the rise, and there’s always a lot of money in TX.


fuzen


Mar 7, 2007, 11:49 PM

Post #71 of 2090 (17834 views)
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Hey, great to hear. Always good to have a backup. And if you knew how the people are here, you wouldn't feel weird at all contacting them. I mean, honestly, they don't mind the late thing. Rick works extremely quickly - when I applied for Ph.D. programs he gave me my rec letters in less than 24 hours. If anything they'd like to hear from you first, and know that you're interested, late or not. There's a large number of people graduating this may so I'm thinking there should be quite a few assistantships available.

Re: FSU funding, the same fifth-year Ph.D. person I spoke to there mentioned that your stipend goes up after you've gained some experience. I don't know if it's by a noticeable amount, but it's something.

In any case, good luck with TTU! Great program they have going there.


In Reply To
I'm basically on Texas Tech's "inside" waiting list, according to them. They just don't have many slots this year for fiction, but I still have a chance, and they really did like my application. They really beefed up their PhD CW program three years ago, and I just happened to apply when that first class is still strong in numbers and not many people have graduated yet. But, they are really nice to deal with and you can tell that they have a good thing going in Lubbock. Every time I open a PW issue, I see an ad for their program--even in this latest issue with app season over.

Fuzen, thanks a bunch for that USM bit of info. I was actually thinking of contacting them and asking if I could submit a late application, but felt weird doing so. I think I'll send an app their way tomorrow.

As for FSU, I haven't heard anything back from them...I'm hoping I'm one of the ones on their "inside list" and that they've already rejected their first cuts.

Oh, about FSU funding: I'm pretty sure that when I researched their program, their stipend is only like 10,600K. In fact, I'm almost positive. The stipend amount has always been a concern of mine in regards to their program--the only concern, really.

One program that has always interested me is Ohio U. Did anyone else apply there?



bktv


Mar 8, 2007, 8:38 PM

Post #72 of 2090 (17766 views)
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Officially rejected by USC today by mail (in case anyone was waiting). I knew it was coming, but I guess was hoping for a late waitlist or something, since I allegedly "had a USC in." But when they only accept 2 people...

I assume FSU is also a rejection.

Texas and UH is looking better and better.


(This post was edited by bktv on Mar 8, 2007, 8:40 PM)


gcsumfa


Mar 8, 2007, 9:40 PM

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I assume FSU is also a rejection.

.


Fuzen said that FSU supposedly has an "inside waiting" list, so I wouldn't give up on them yet.

Did anyone apply to Ohio??


fuzen


Mar 8, 2007, 9:55 PM

Post #74 of 2090 (17730 views)
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Is that an exaggeration or did they really only accept two people? (I guess as exaggerations go it'd be a very small one. Four versus two is not that big a difference.)

But yeah, if you haven't heard from FSU don't give up yet.



In Reply To
Officially rejected by USC today by mail (in case anyone was waiting). I knew it was coming, but I guess was hoping for a late waitlist or something, since I allegedly "had a USC in." But when they only accept 2 people...

I assume FSU is also a rejection.

Texas and UH is looking better and better.



bktv


Mar 8, 2007, 10:40 PM

Post #75 of 2090 (17716 views)
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I should have said two per genre. So yes, four total.




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Is that an exaggeration or did they really only accept two people? (I guess as exaggerations go it'd be a very small one. Four versus two is not that big a difference.)

But yeah, if you haven't heard from FSU don't give up yet.



In Reply To





fleurdelis44


Mar 8, 2007, 11:13 PM

Post #76 of 2090 (18031 views)
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To Fuzen and everyone else concerned: when Mark Winegardner called to tell me I'm accepted, I asked about funding, but he said it so fast I didn't catch the number, and I didn't want to squawk, "how much?" and ask him to repeat. In the same breath, though, he said, "if money becomes a problem, you can also teach summer classes--although I wouldn't recommend that. If I were in your shoes, I would hoard my writing time like gold." Also, he said the official acceptance letter with all the funding/fees info will be out in a few days, so the wait should be short.

About Ohio University. I applied there, and haven't heard back. Though at this point I don't care much b'c Florida State is my dream school. I did my undergrad at OU. I minored in English and so know a bit about the fiction faculty. Joan Connor is moody but intriguing, and more often than not astute with her discernment. Zakes Mda, however, is, frankly, mediocre. He is a big name, but everybody who's taken him has said that he is unhelpful as a teacher. Athens is a great little town, though--picturesque and secluded and unpretentious. Overall, I'd give the OU program a thumbs-up.

I know this is an unpopular opinion here, but I love the notion of getting a PhD instead of an MFA. Here at my current English department, creative writers are sometimes seen as second-class citizens b'c our discipline is supposedly less rigorous and our job prospects much dimmer. With the FSU program, though, it is the best of both worlds: structured, rigorous seminars plus the opportunity to write a creative dissertation that might actually be read by people other than other dissertation-writing lit students. Plus, the beach is 20 miles away from Tallahassee. Plus the living costs are cheap... I should stop, really, I'm starting to sound smug even to myself.


fuzen


Mar 9, 2007, 2:52 AM

Post #77 of 2090 (18014 views)
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That is a very small number. Almost makes me proud to hear they had a "favorable review" of my application though they turned me down.



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I should have said two per genre. So yes, four total.


gcsumfa


Mar 9, 2007, 3:45 PM

Post #78 of 2090 (17968 views)
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I have a friend in the PhD CNF program at OU. She said letters were mailed on Wed, so people should hear something soon.

I'm not really hopeful though, because they usually only accept 1-2 per genre at the PhD level, from what I hear.


rpc
ryan call

Mar 10, 2007, 12:33 AM

Post #79 of 2090 (17928 views)
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do you know how many they typically accept at houston phd?


<HTMLGIANT>


fuzen


Mar 10, 2007, 2:13 PM

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FWIW, a friend of mine here at USM got into Houston Ph.D. last year but said that when she visited she didn't like the department/faculty. Very cold, was how she described them.



In Reply To
do you know how many they typically accept at houston phd?



fleurdelis44


Mar 10, 2007, 6:05 PM

Post #81 of 2090 (17859 views)
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Got letter from Ohio U today. Waitlist.


gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 9:21 AM

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I was waitlisted by Ohio U too. PhD/Fiction. Email. Today, 3/12.

Snailmail letter should arrive today confirming the same thing.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 12, 2007, 9:32 AM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 12, 2007, 9:36 AM

Post #83 of 2090 (17787 views)
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Hello,

I know it is a bit early, but I am starting to research PhD programs (for poetry...) and figure out where I want to apply next year. So far, FSU is at the top of my list, as is Utah and Goldsmiths College at the University of London. I'm thinking about applying to GSU and U Missourri Columbia and have heard that Texas Tech has a pretty good small program and am wondering if any of you know much about any of these programs?

(I am debating Houston--I have heard so many mixed things about the program. One of my mates from my MFA program just defended his dissertation there, but another friend of mine attended for a year and then high-tailed her way out of that place as fast as she could...all of the other experiences I have heard on their program are equally mixed--and I am unusre whether or not I want to make that a possibility for me. But I might...just to apply and see what happens...)

ALSO I am wondering from those of you who have applied and are, well, more experienced with this stuff than I am, some of the things that you thought about when writing your personal statements? Those are, for me, the hardest things to write. I know that with CRW PhD programs they're secondary to the poetry manuscript, but I also know that on the PhD level they tend to matter more than on the master's level (when I applied to my MFA programs, it seemed that people didn't look at my personal statements that much, if at all).

Does anyone here have a program other than what I have listed that, on the poetry side, you think is SO good and worthwhile that I should consider that as well?


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 11:43 AM

Post #84 of 2090 (17753 views)
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Hi,

I am in the same position. I am planning to apply next year. Have you heard about the Ph.D. program at the U of Manchester in the UK? I heard it’s a new program. People say a CW Ph.D. degree is more of an academic degree, different from an MFA; and that I should get one from a English grad program with some reputation. USC is the only highly ranked English program in the US, I think, and in a good location. And like you said, the retention rate is a very important factor I have to consider when I selects the right program for me. I read about some people leaving the FSU program for whatever reason, which is not a good sign.


In Reply To
Hello,

I know it is a bit early, but I am starting to research PhD programs (for poetry...) and figure out where I want to apply next year. So far, FSU is at the top of my list, as is Utah and Goldsmiths College at the University of London. I'm thinking about applying to GSU and U Missourri Columbia and have heard that Texas Tech has a pretty good small program and am wondering if any of you know much about any of these programs?

(I am debating Houston--I have heard so many mixed things about the program. One of my mates from my MFA program just defended his dissertation there, but another friend of mine attended for a year and then high-tailed her way out of that place as fast as she could...all of the other experiences I have heard on their program are equally mixed--and I am unusre whether or not I want to make that a possibility for me. But I might...just to apply and see what happens...)

ALSO I am wondering from those of you who have applied and are, well, more experienced with this stuff than I am, some of the things that you thought about when writing your personal statements? Those are, for me, the hardest things to write. I know that with CRW PhD programs they're secondary to the poetry manuscript, but I also know that on the PhD level they tend to matter more than on the master's level (when I applied to my MFA programs, it seemed that people didn't look at my personal statements that much, if at all).

Does anyone here have a program other than what I have listed that, on the poetry side, you think is SO good and worthwhile that I should consider that as well?



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 12, 2007, 12:09 PM

Post #85 of 2090 (17734 views)
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Yeah, you know, I know that Manchester has a program but I don't know much about it. I think, first and foremost, I need to read work from the professors there and then proceed with research on the program (I think, also, that as I learn more about the PhD program at Goldsmiths College/University of London it will give me a sense on how to research Manchester).

USC--David St. John is there. He's a GREAT teacher and a really nice man. Carol Muske is also there. I hear she's a good teacher. It's a good program and one for me to consider applying to, but I have heard of one of my MFA classmates who is pretty unhappy there. I can't imagine that the location is that great--it's in a pretty shitty area of LA from what I have heard that isn't exactly safe to be in after sunset. I heard it's not so bad if you have a car, but right now I don't even have a car (cars are more of a frustration than anything else if you live in Boston). But it might be worth the application. It's one of the ones I have not yet made up my mind about.

One of the things that attracts me to University of London is that Lavinia Greenlaw is there (and, to be honest, that I am a Greek citizen, so there are government funding for education benefits there that could be quite nice for me). I really love her work (check out her collection MINSK--I find it absolutely beautiful). But my gut instinct says, um, fsu--fsu--fsu...so we'll see. I still have a lot of research to do...


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 12:28 PM

Post #86 of 2090 (17714 views)
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One of the other reasons I am drawn to USC is the size of the program. I’d rather avoid any huge writing programs like FSU. Do you happen to know why your friend was unhappy at USC?


In Reply To
Yeah, you know, I know that Manchester has a program but I don't know much about it. I think, first and foremost, I need to read work from the professors there and then proceed with research on the program (I think, also, that as I learn more about the PhD program at Goldsmiths College/University of London it will give me a sense on how to research Manchester).

USC--David St. John is there. He's a GREAT teacher and a really nice man. Carol Muske is also there. I hear she's a good teacher. It's a good program and one for me to consider applying to, but I have heard of one of my MFA classmates who is pretty unhappy there. I can't imagine that the location is that great--it's in a pretty shitty area of LA from what I have heard that isn't exactly safe to be in after sunset. I heard it's not so bad if you have a car, but right now I don't even have a car (cars are more of a frustration than anything else if you live in Boston). But it might be worth the application. It's one of the ones I have not yet made up my mind about.

One of the things that attracts me to University of London is that Lavinia Greenlaw is there (and, to be honest, that I am a Greek citizen, so there are government funding for education benefits there that could be quite nice for me). I really love her work (check out her collection MINSK--I find it absolutely beautiful). But my gut instinct says, um, fsu--fsu--fsu...so we'll see. I still have a lot of research to do...



(This post was edited by gogogirl on Mar 12, 2007, 12:30 PM)


gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 12:40 PM

Post #87 of 2090 (17705 views)
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USC is the only highly ranked English program in the US, I think, and in a good location; and that I should get one from a English grad program with some reputation.


I wouldn't say that at all. Houston is very highly regarded.

As for USC’s location, while it is certainly good, I can’t imagine living in LA on a graduate stipend.

Also, keep in mind that only a handful of schools offer the Phd in CW. Because of this, all of the programs are very selective, even if they aren't at "prestigious" institutions. I would focus more on the reputation of the actual program than the reputation of the university.

Southern Miss, for instance, isn’t a prestigious institution, but tons of their PhD Creative Writing grads have published books and have landed tenure track jobs.

Houston isn’t a prestigious institution, but they have a ridiculous star-studded faculty, a who’s who of American Letters. Having a PhD in CW from Houston is like having an MFA from Iowa.

Finally, another reason why I wouldn’t get too wrapped-up in attending a “prestigious” university is that your chances of landing a tenure track job at a prestigious university teaching creative writing are less than winning the powerball lottery. Realistically, your more likely to land some job at an out-of-the-way university that will just be happy that you have a PhD and some publications.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 12, 2007, 12:46 PM)


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 1:00 PM

Post #88 of 2090 (17691 views)
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Hi, thanks for your comments. I have been to the Southern Mississippi website, but it kind of looks sad. I mean the alumni publication list and the current students they call "inmates." If that looks like tons of published books and great alumni, that's a program for you, but not for me. FYI I meant the academic reputation in literatire at USC, not in CW--that's what counts more when you apply for a teaching job, I heard.

In Reply To

In Reply To

USC is the only highly ranked English program in the US, I think, and in a good location; and that I should get one from a English grad program with some reputation.


I wouldn't say that at all. Houston is very highly regarded.

As for USC’s location, while it is certainly good, I can’t imagine living in LA on a graduate stipend.

Also, keep in mind that only a handful of schools offer the Phd in CW. Because of this, all of the programs are very selective, even if they aren't at "prestigious" institutions. I would focus more on the reputation of the actual program than the reputation of the university.

Southern Miss, for instance, isn’t a prestigious institution, but tons of their PhD Creative Writing grads have published books and have landed tenure track jobs.

Houston isn’t a prestigious institution, but they have a ridiculous star-studded faculty, a who’s who of American Letters. Having a PhD in CW from Houston is like having an MFA from Iowa.

Finally, another reason why I wouldn’t get too wrapped-up in attending a “prestigious” university is that your chances of landing a tenure track job at a prestigious university teaching creative writing are less than winning the powerball lottery. Realistically, your more likely to land some job at an out-of-the-way university that will just be happy that you have a PhD and some publications.



gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 1:23 PM

Post #89 of 2090 (17670 views)
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Really? No, that doesn't sound right to me. Getting into a CW Ph.D. program are not as competitive as getting into one of the top MFA programs. For example, I heard the MFA students at Houston are better than the Ph.D students there, most of whom come from lesser known programs.


In Reply To


Also, keep in mind that only a handful of schools offer the Phd in CW. Because of this, all of the programs are very selective, even if they aren't at "prestigious" institutions. I would focus more on the reputation of the actual program than the reputation of the university.



(This post was edited by gogogirl on Mar 12, 2007, 1:31 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 12, 2007, 1:45 PM

Post #90 of 2090 (17651 views)
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I have to say I'm really with GCSUMFA when it comes to ideas of "prestigious." When it comes to PhD programs--where there aren't that many CRW programs and there isn't a HUGE history of the degree option--it is, perhaps, more important than EVER to look at what the program offers as opposed to what the university offers or what the university's reputation is. Just like in looking with MFA programs it's important to think about how you will be mentored and guided in your writing and how you will be encouraged and challenged to produce, revise, and then send out into the world your new work, it's super-important to look at that stuff with PhD programs.

At least for me it is.

(sorry if this will seem a bit long--I just have so much on my mind because of all the research I am doing with programs myself and my own figuring out of what it is that I need/want from a PhD program...)

Funding, yes I need that; a sense of community, yes I thrive with that (as introverted as I am in my day to day life I just seem to do better when I am in a community-minded environment); a faculty that will believe in me enough to keep on poking and prodding me to take risks with my writing and to keep on becoming more and more self aware with my revision process--that is absolutely non-negotiable. And having the faculty understand that I need to not only generate enough work to fill that first book manuscript but to be there with me as I go through the steps of arranging a manuscript, considering my themes, and sending out to contests? Priceless. Absolutely priceless. So for that it's such a matter, for me, of finding schools where I can sense, from research, that the faculty will guide me in great directions and will also give me enough freedom to try out a bunch of different things and find a good many of my own directions. That has nothing to do with a school's reputation.

I know that to be marketable for good jobs (read: with job security, at least over the course of an academic year...) teaching comp I need the PhD. I also need teaching experience--right now I have over 5 years of that and in a variety of writing and lit classes, and the time I spend in a PhD program will give me even more--but really, because of the way the market is going, without a PhD I am going to have a tough time finding good jobs teaching comp. In an ideal world I will get a job teaching creative writing--but that will come with publication and time. But for now I know that I work hard at what I do. And I believe that being in a program that will be right for me for my writing and that will give me opportunity to keep on teaching will do a LOT for me, on a functional and professional level, to round out what I already have--doggedness, a pretty strong work ethic, a great bachelor's degree, an MFA from a top 20 program and a program that REALLY affected me positively, a good handful of publications, a residency with a Boston-based writing center under my belt, teaching experience (and good student evaluations...and my own sort of teaching philosophy...), and a few people who I trust who have been pretty amazing, so far, in giving me advice and in telling me when I don't need advice and I just need to trust my own instincts.

(end)

PHEW--I just needed to get that out. Sort of my raison d'etre with this PhD stuff. Now y'all can just ignore the stuff that came from my mouth and go back to your lives!


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 1:55 PM

Post #91 of 2090 (17639 views)
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Stephanie, that's a long post. I did some research on the FSU program and learned that the funding there is not as good as that of the other Ph.D. programs. $10K per year for two comp classes per semester? Right?


In Reply To
I have to say I'm really with GCSUMFA when it comes to ideas of "prestigious." When it comes to PhD programs--where there aren't that many CRW programs and there isn't a HUGE history of the degree option--it is, perhaps, more important than EVER to look at what the program offers as opposed to what the university offers or what the university's reputation is. Just like in looking with MFA programs it's important to think about how you will be mentored and guided in your writing and how you will be encouraged and challenged to produce, revise, and then send out into the world your new work, it's super-important to look at that stuff with PhD programs.

At least for me it is.

(sorry if this will seem a bit long--I just have so much on my mind because of all the research I am doing with programs myself and my own figuring out of what it is that I need/want from a PhD program...)

Funding, yes I need that; a sense of community, yes I thrive with that (as introverted as I am in my day to day life I just seem to do better when I am in a community-minded environment); a faculty that will believe in me enough to keep on poking and prodding me to take risks with my writing and to keep on becoming more and more self aware with my revision process--that is absolutely non-negotiable. And having the faculty understand that I need to not only generate enough work to fill that first book manuscript but to be there with me as I go through the steps of arranging a manuscript, considering my themes, and sending out to contests? Priceless. Absolutely priceless. So for that it's such a matter, for me, of finding schools where I can sense, from research, that the faculty will guide me in great directions and will also give me enough freedom to try out a bunch of different things and find a good many of my own directions. That has nothing to do with a school's reputation.

I know that to be marketable for good jobs (read: with job security, at least over the course of an academic year...) teaching comp I need the PhD. I also need teaching experience--right now I have over 5 years of that and in a variety of writing and lit classes, and the time I spend in a PhD program will give me even more--but really, because of the way the market is going, without a PhD I am going to have a tough time finding good jobs teaching comp. In an ideal world I will get a job teaching creative writing--but that will come with publication and time. But for now I know that I work hard at what I do. And I believe that being in a program that will be right for me for my writing and that will give me opportunity to keep on teaching will do a LOT for me, on a functional and professional level, to round out what I already have--doggedness, a pretty strong work ethic, a great bachelor's degree, an MFA from a top 20 program and a program that REALLY affected me positively, a good handful of publications, a residency with a Boston-based writing center under my belt, teaching experience (and good student evaluations...and my own sort of teaching philosophy...), and a few people who I trust who have been pretty amazing, so far, in giving me advice and in telling me when I don't need advice and I just need to trust my own instincts.

(end)

PHEW--I just needed to get that out. Sort of my raison d'etre with this PhD stuff. Now y'all can just ignore the stuff that came from my mouth and go back to your lives!



gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 2:09 PM

Post #92 of 2090 (17627 views)
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I did more research and found this comment from a former FSU student at the MFA blog. I don't know whether she was in the Ph.D. program or not, but it says something about the program, I guess.

"STAY AWAY from the florida State program. I was there for one yr and left b/c faculty were so unhelpful, funding was pathetic in comparison as to what it takes to actually live in tallahassee where rent is mucho expensive! those so called big guys (and gals) are never around for office hours and everyone ends up stroking their ego in workshop anyway. i applied to PItt, INdiana, and Michigan and notre dame and picked Michigan and i couldn't have been happier. students AND faculty work fabulous together and compared to FSU's TOTAL LACK OF ORGANIZATION, Michigan rocked!"


In Reply To
I have to say I'm really with GCSUMFA when it comes to ideas of "prestigious." When it comes to PhD programs--where there aren't that many CRW programs and there isn't a HUGE history of the degree option--it is, perhaps, more important than EVER to look at what the program offers as opposed to what the university offers or what the university's reputation is. Just like in looking with MFA programs it's important to think about how you will be mentored and guided in your writing and how you will be encouraged and challenged to produce, revise, and then send out into the world your new work, it's super-important to look at that stuff with PhD programs.

At least for me it is.

(sorry if this will seem a bit long--I just have so much on my mind because of all the research I am doing with programs myself and my own figuring out of what it is that I need/want from a PhD program...)

Funding, yes I need that; a sense of community, yes I thrive with that (as introverted as I am in my day to day life I just seem to do better when I am in a community-minded environment); a faculty that will believe in me enough to keep on poking and prodding me to take risks with my writing and to keep on becoming more and more self aware with my revision process--that is absolutely non-negotiable. And having the faculty understand that I need to not only generate enough work to fill that first book manuscript but to be there with me as I go through the steps of arranging a manuscript, considering my themes, and sending out to contests? Priceless. Absolutely priceless. So for that it's such a matter, for me, of finding schools where I can sense, from research, that the faculty will guide me in great directions and will also give me enough freedom to try out a bunch of different things and find a good many of my own directions. That has nothing to do with a school's reputation.

I know that to be marketable for good jobs (read: with job security, at least over the course of an academic year...) teaching comp I need the PhD. I also need teaching experience--right now I have over 5 years of that and in a variety of writing and lit classes, and the time I spend in a PhD program will give me even more--but really, because of the way the market is going, without a PhD I am going to have a tough time finding good jobs teaching comp. In an ideal world I will get a job teaching creative writing--but that will come with publication and time. But for now I know that I work hard at what I do. And I believe that being in a program that will be right for me for my writing and that will give me opportunity to keep on teaching will do a LOT for me, on a functional and professional level, to round out what I already have--doggedness, a pretty strong work ethic, a great bachelor's degree, an MFA from a top 20 program and a program that REALLY affected me positively, a good handful of publications, a residency with a Boston-based writing center under my belt, teaching experience (and good student evaluations...and my own sort of teaching philosophy...), and a few people who I trust who have been pretty amazing, so far, in giving me advice and in telling me when I don't need advice and I just need to trust my own instincts.

(end)

PHEW--I just needed to get that out. Sort of my raison d'etre with this PhD stuff. Now y'all can just ignore the stuff that came from my mouth and go back to your lives!



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 12, 2007, 2:18 PM

Post #93 of 2090 (17617 views)
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I know it was long. I did claim, though, that my post would be long.
10K/year in Florida is, though a bit tight, something that one is able to live on, assuming that tuition is 100% paid for and health insurance is free. And Tallahassee strikes me as a town where one can get some part-time work if need be to supplement.


bktv


Mar 12, 2007, 2:41 PM

Post #94 of 2090 (17594 views)
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If anyone has questions about USC's program, I think I am fairly well-qualified to answer, since I am finishing my MFA there this semester. The faculty (both writing and lit.) are incredible, the classes small, and the opportunities in the wider university great. (Note, the above describes the PhD program only. The MFA program has a different set of faculty, and is very, very large.)

The stipend at 'SC it actually $9,000/semester, or $18,000/year. Typically grad students teach two sections of a class (or discussion) and take two-three classes. It's not a lot for LA, but I am a TA this year (funding for the MFA is the same as for the PhD, just much harder to get if you are in the MFA program). I have been able to live comfortably off of my stipend in a house with roommates. Health/dental is included, as well as tuition remission.

As for the area, you do need a car, but that is true of any school in/around LA. I actually take the bus to/from campus two days a week. It's not that bad. Campus is 100% safe, but walking around more than a block or so off-campus late at night and alone is not smart. But most grad students don't live right next to campus anyway. Most live in better areas. On the other hand, developers in LA are really trying to turn around the inner city, with luxury high-rise condos/apartments. USC just built the Galen Center (basketball arena/convention center) across from campus. I wouldn't be surprised to see that area only continue to improve in the coming years.

USC was my first choice for the PhD, over FSU and Houston.


(This post was edited by bktv on Mar 12, 2007, 3:14 PM)


fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 3:19 PM

Post #95 of 2090 (17574 views)
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You're going to hear from detractors for every program. The detractors are also going to be louder than the supporters. I'd think harder before making decisions based on comments made by people you don't know. It could well be coming from someone you wouldn't trust to pick out a sandwich for you.

USM's Center for Writers, by the way, has been very generous with its students. Rick can be intimidating, but he cares about the students and looks after them. I know this sounds vague, but I'd rather not go into too much detail in a public forum. I'll just say that I see, time and time again, the Center doing what it can to help the students with their careers. These aren't just the strong writers, either. It's a small program, and you're on first-name basis with everyone, including the visiting writers when they come. I had lunch with Ann Beattie along with two other students. Tony Earley sat down next to me at his reception and shared his thoughts on writing and publishing. Amy Hempel whispered to me a private thought about metahpors in fiction after her Q & A. The year before I came we had Tim O'Brien, Percival Everett, Francine Prose, others.

Re: CW PhD programs in general, I'd suggest looking into as many as possible. University of Denver, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Hawaii, Texas Tech, Ohio, Louisiana Lafayette, Houston, FSU, USC, USM, whoever else is out there. Unlike some MFA programs, most PhD programs can only accept a few people (viz. USC's two or four spots this year), and all applicants already hold MAs or MFAs. Give yourself some backups when you apply.

After you've heard back from the programs, if you can, try paying them a visit. I think it says a lot how the faculty treats you - you can tell if they really want you there or not, and how you might get along with them on a personal level. You can work with the best writer in the world, but if that person doesn't care about you as a student, as a human being, then it's not going to be a helpful experience.

I also agree with the general sentiment on "prestige." It comes down to which program is the best fit for you, really. James Kimbrell, who was the director of the FSU program, graduated from USM. Stephen Graham Jones, who directs Texas Tech, graduated from FSU. Angela Ball, who once directed the program at USM, graduated from Denver. Michael Knight, who (I think) directs the program at Tennessee, graduated from USM. It's a pretty small circle, each feeding into each other.

Re: LA, I'm from LA, grew up there. You cannot live in LA without a car. No way. USC is indeed in an unsafe neighborhood, and you wouldn't want to walk around the area. Most students commute to USC. That said, I think the city gets a bad rap. I don't think it's the best place in the world, but it's got a diverse culture, amazing restaurants, a great music scene, plenty of museums, all the positives of big cities. You just have to find your own little niche there.


gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 4:21 PM

Post #96 of 2090 (17554 views)
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Gogogirl, I find your smug little posts amusing, especially when all of your claims are based on what "you've heard" from someone posting on a blog, or from someone on the other side of the pond.

If you think PhD programs are so easy to get into, and if USC is the only program good enough for you, then why didn't you apply to any this year? You know, just for kicks—so you could hold your nose above all of those “lower tier” schools by declining their offers, which I'm sure would come pouring your way. Why didn't you apply to Tennessee or Ohio, where they accept 1-2 per genre? Are those “prestigious” schools?


In Reply To
Really? No, that doesn't sound right to me. Getting into a CW Ph.D. program are not as competitive as getting into one of the top MFA programs. For example, I heard the MFA students at Houston are better than the Ph.D students there, most of whom come from lesser known programs.


Yeah, once again, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I don't care what you’ve "heard." Most of the PhD CW students I know would write most MFA students under the table. Furthermore, the MFA is pretty much no longer terminal—no matter what MFA programs try to sell you—so most MFA students who are serious about teaching creative writing actually pursue PhD’s, and everyone knows that in order to get hired as a creative writing professor, one must be published, so it's a combination of the PhD + publications.


Quote
FYI I meant the academic reputation in literature at USC, not in CW--that's what counts more when you apply for a teaching job, I heard.


Would you like me to produce a list of all of the CW tenure track faculty from PhD programs other than USC?

I think you need to extend your research beyond blog postings and Myspace.


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 5:29 PM

Post #97 of 2090 (17528 views)
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Uh uh, gcsumfa is pissed off at my comments. I’m in no hurry because I have a cushy fellowship right now. FYI I am planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in literature and am considering adding a few CW Ph.D. programs to my list. I graduated from one of the top MFA programs you seem to have a lot of hostility towards. As a matter of fact, none of my friends are interested in the CW Ph.D. programs you’re so enthusiastic about. So you may have more knowledge about such programs but you don’t have to be so condescending about it. Maybe I am just looking at the MFA programs you wouldn’t even consider, where most of CW teachers are writers with a MFA or no writing degrees. We may look at different directions, you look for a job at an “out-of-the-way” university and I at other jobs at schools where I’d feel more comfortable.


In Reply To
Gogogirl, I find your smug little posts amusing, especially when all of your claims are based on what "you've heard" from someone posting on a blog, or from someone on the other side of the pond.

If you think PhD programs are so easy to get into, and if USC is the only program good enough for you, then why didn't you apply to any this year? You know, just for kicks—so you could hold your nose above all of those “lower tier” schools by declining their offers, which I'm sure would come pouring your way. Why didn't you apply to Tennessee or Ohio, where they accept 1-2 per genre? Are those “prestigious” schools?


In Reply To
Really? No, that doesn't sound right to me. Getting into a CW Ph.D. program are not as competitive as getting into one of the top MFA programs. For example, I heard the MFA students at Houston are better than the Ph.D students there, most of whom come from lesser known programs.


Yeah, once again, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. I don't care what you’ve "heard." Most of the PhD CW students I know would write most MFA students under the table. Furthermore, the MFA is pretty much no longer terminal—no matter what MFA programs try to sell you—so most MFA students who are serious about teaching creative writing actually pursue PhD’s, and everyone knows that in order to get hired as a creative writing professor, one must be published, so it's a combination of the PhD + publications.


Quote
FYI I meant the academic reputation in literature at USC, not in CW--that's what counts more when you apply for a teaching job, I heard.


Would you like me to produce a list of all of the CW tenure track faculty from PhD programs other than USC?

I think you need to extend your research beyond blog postings and Myspace.



(This post was edited by gogogirl on Mar 12, 2007, 6:06 PM)


fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 6:10 PM

Post #98 of 2090 (17516 views)
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I'd think a little harder about listening to someone incapable of writing with correct capitalizations, spelling and grammar.

On the other hand, maybe this does prove something, that FSU requires their students to know how to write...


In Reply To
I did more research and found this comment from a former FSU student at the MFA blog. I don't know whether she was in the Ph.D. program or not, but it says something about the program, I guess.

"STAY AWAY from the florida State program. I was there for one yr and left b/c faculty were so unhelpful, funding was pathetic in comparison as to what it takes to actually live in tallahassee where rent is mucho expensive! those so called big guys (and gals) are never around for office hours and everyone ends up stroking their ego in workshop anyway. i applied to PItt, INdiana, and Michigan and notre dame and picked Michigan and i couldn't have been happier. students AND faculty work fabulous together and compared to FSU's TOTAL LACK OF ORGANIZATION, Michigan rocked!"


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 6:26 PM

Post #99 of 2090 (17504 views)
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Fuzen, that was a blog comment. I don’t know, but it sounded more authentic than the carefully prepared comments I saw in that blog.


In Reply To
I'd think a little harder about listening to someone incapable of writing with correct capitalizations, spelling and grammar.

On the other hand, maybe this does prove something, that FSU requires their students to know how to write...


In Reply To
I did more research and found this comment from a former FSU student at the MFA blog. I don't know whether she was in the Ph.D. program or not, but it says something about the program, I guess.

"STAY AWAY from the florida State program. I was there for one yr and left b/c faculty were so unhelpful, funding was pathetic in comparison as to what it takes to actually live in tallahassee where rent is mucho expensive! those so called big guys (and gals) are never around for office hours and everyone ends up stroking their ego in workshop anyway. i applied to PItt, INdiana, and Michigan and notre dame and picked Michigan and i couldn't have been happier. students AND faculty work fabulous together and compared to FSU's TOTAL LACK OF ORGANIZATION, Michigan rocked!"



fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 6:26 PM

Post #100 of 2090 (17504 views)
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Stephanie, what are you looking for in your SOP you didn't already use for your MFA application? The PhD SOP isn't any longer than the ones for MFA, and you more or less talk about the same stuff - namely, how you came to love writing and pursue writing and what you want to do with your writing and why XXX University is the perfect place for you to continue your pursuit of great writing and what you bring to XXX University etc. etc. etc. while sounding unique and original and interesting.

If it's not so much of a drain, I'd also suggest applying to more schools, unless you're absolutley sure you'll get in somewhere, or if you don't mind waiting another year.



In Reply To
Hello,

I know it is a bit early, but I am starting to research PhD programs (for poetry...) and figure out where I want to apply next year. So far, FSU is at the top of my list, as is Utah and Goldsmiths College at the University of London. I'm thinking about applying to GSU and U Missourri Columbia and have heard that Texas Tech has a pretty good small program and am wondering if any of you know much about any of these programs?

(I am debating Houston--I have heard so many mixed things about the program. One of my mates from my MFA program just defended his dissertation there, but another friend of mine attended for a year and then high-tailed her way out of that place as fast as she could...all of the other experiences I have heard on their program are equally mixed--and I am unusre whether or not I want to make that a possibility for me. But I might...just to apply and see what happens...)

ALSO I am wondering from those of you who have applied and are, well, more experienced with this stuff than I am, some of the things that you thought about when writing your personal statements? Those are, for me, the hardest things to write. I know that with CRW PhD programs they're secondary to the poetry manuscript, but I also know that on the PhD level they tend to matter more than on the master's level (when I applied to my MFA programs, it seemed that people didn't look at my personal statements that much, if at all).

Does anyone here have a program other than what I have listed that, on the poetry side, you think is SO good and worthwhile that I should consider that as well?



fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 6:36 PM

Post #101 of 2090 (17931 views)
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True, I'll agree and say that it sounds authentic, maybe even earnest. But I have a hard time taking seriously anyone when they go out of their way A) to bash something and B) to be overly emphatic about it. The speaker just doesn't sound like someone I'd want to spend any time with, much less trust with decisions pertaining to my future.

How about this: I'll report back from FSU and you can believe everything I say once I'm there. Oh, but watch, I'll come back with these glowing stories that contradict everything else you've heard, just like how my personal experience contradicts everything you've heard about USM.



In Reply To
Fuzen, that was a blog comment. I don’t know, but it sounded more authentic than the carefully prepared comments I saw in that blog.


(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 12, 2007, 6:39 PM)


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 6:54 PM

Post #102 of 2090 (17920 views)
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Fuzen, you sound like a great contradictor with Chinese wisdom. Go for it, man.


In Reply To
True, I'll agree and say that it sounds authentic, maybe even earnest. But I have a hard time taking seriously anyone when they go out of their way A) to bash something and B) to be overly emphatic about it. The speaker just doesn't sound like someone I'd want to spend any time with, much less trust with decisions pertaining to my future.

How about this: I'll report back from FSU and you can believe everything I say once I'm there. Oh, but watch, I'll come back with these glowing stories that contradict everything else you've heard, just like how my personal experience contradicts everything you've heard about USM.



In Reply To
Fuzen, that was a blog comment. I don’t know, but it sounded more authentic than the carefully prepared comments I saw in that blog.



gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 8:24 PM

Post #103 of 2090 (17895 views)
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In Reply To
Uh uh, gcsumfa is pissed off at my comments. I’m in no hurry because I have a cushy fellowship right now. FYI I am planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in literature and am considering adding a few CW Ph.D. programs to my list.


Then you should probably just apply to PhD Lit programs, because all of the other PhD CW programs (minus USC) aren’t housed at “prestigious” institutions, even though you would probably be rejected from a place like Tennessee that accepts one fiction writer per year.


In Reply To
I graduated from one of the top MFA programs you seem to have a lot of hostility towards.


That’s funny that you graduated from “one of the top MFA programs” I “seem to have hostility towards,” as the only MFA program I have spoken ill of on this forum is Columbia, and that was because of their lack of funding, not their faculty or students.

So I take it you graduated from Columbia and didn’t have a problem paying the 100K tuition bill? If so, kudos to you.

I have an MFA myself, and I loved every minute of it; many of my friends with MFA’s from places like Iowa and UVA also pursued PhD’s in CW. Are Iowa and UVA good enough for you?


In Reply To
Maybe I am just looking at the MFA programs you wouldn’t even consider, where most of CW teachers are writers with a MFA or no writing degrees.


You forgot to add the part about most of those teachers being hired when the MFA was still considered terminal, but nice try.


In Reply To
may look at different directions, you look for a job at an “out-of-the-way” university and I at other jobs at schools where I’d feel more comfortable.


Well good luck finding that job teaching Creative Writing in the Hamptons. Maybe you’ll run into Joan Didion and the two of you will drive into the city and shop along 5th avenue.


gogogirl


Mar 12, 2007, 9:34 PM

Post #104 of 2090 (17881 views)
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I don’t know why gcsumfa is so angry. Everywhere she goes in this forum, she tries to pick a fight. No, I’m not a Columbia graduate. I won’t even place it in the top 10 because of its funding. I know you’re frustrated. I hope you get off the Texas Tech waiting list and finally hear good news. Or So Mississippi might take you if you applied there as you said you’d. You’re still confused. I wasn’t talking about the “prestigious universities” but highly ranked Ph.D. programs in literature. That’s why I was particularly interested in USC, and I wonder if there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll include a couple CW Ph.D. programs as a backup plan. Chill out, gcsumfa. Don’t froth at the mouth. Peace, gogogirl.


In Reply To

In Reply To
Uh uh, gcsumfa is pissed off at my comments. I’m in no hurry because I have a cushy fellowship right now. FYI I am planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in literature and am considering adding a few CW Ph.D. programs to my list.


Then you should probably just apply to PhD Lit programs, because all of the other PhD CW programs (minus USC) aren’t housed at “prestigious” institutions, even though you would probably be rejected from a place like Tennessee that accepts one fiction writer per year.


In Reply To
I graduated from one of the top MFA programs you seem to have a lot of hostility towards.


That’s funny that you graduated from “one of the top MFA programs” I “seem to have hostility towards,” as the only MFA program I have spoken ill of on this forum is Columbia, and that was because of their lack of funding, not their faculty or students.

So I take it you graduated from Columbia and didn’t have a problem paying the 100K tuition bill? If so, kudos to you.

I have an MFA myself, and I loved every minute of it; many of my friends with MFA’s from places like Iowa and UVA also pursued PhD’s in CW. Are Iowa and UVA good enough for you?


In Reply To
Maybe I am just looking at the MFA programs you wouldn’t even consider, where most of CW teachers are writers with a MFA or no writing degrees.


You forgot to add the part about most of those teachers being hired when the MFA was still considered terminal, but nice try.


In Reply To
may look at different directions, you look for a job at an “out-of-the-way” university and I at other jobs at schools where I’d feel more comfortable.


Well good luck finding that job teaching Creative Writing in the Hamptons. Maybe you’ll run into Joan Didion and the two of you will drive into the city and shop along 5th avenue.



gcsumfa


Mar 12, 2007, 9:59 PM

Post #105 of 2090 (17876 views)
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In Reply To
I don’t know why gcsumfa is so angry. Everywhere she goes in this forum, she tries to pick a fight. No, I’m not a Columbia graduate. I won’t even place it in the top 10 because of its funding. I know you’re frustrated. I hope you get off the Texas Tech waiting list and finally hear good news. Or So Mississippi might take you if you applied there as you said you’d. You’re still confused. I wasn’t talking about the “prestigious universities” but highly ranked Ph.D. programs in literature. That’s why I was particularly interested in USC, and I wonder if there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll include a couple CW Ph.D. programs as a backup plan. Chill out, gcsumfa. Don’t froth at the mouth. Peace, gogogirl.


Peace, dude.


fuzen


Mar 12, 2007, 11:44 PM

Post #106 of 2090 (17853 views)
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Oh, another program to throw out there - UNLV. Over three years, you get a $50,000 stipend, $25,000 in graduate teaching support, and full tuition waiver. Good luck though, they accept one person in each genre. I didn't apply. I guess I never will.


gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 12:16 AM

Post #107 of 2090 (17839 views)
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UNLV's Lit program doesn't have enough prestige. I'd have to turn down their offer of 75K + a tuition waiver.

But seriously, I didn't even waste my time applying there, though I do think they accept more than the Schaeffer Fellow. For instance, you can get accepted into their program with the regular TA'ship, which is a tuition waiver plus a (relatively) modest stipend. At least I think that’s right. Maybe I’m wrong.

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are PhD programs that seem more like “oh, we’ll allow you to write your cute little creative dissertation,” and then there are PhD programs where the creative writing at the PhD level is an integral component of the department. I made the mistake of applying to some schools that fit the former. The schools that have responded favorably to my application fit the latter. If I had to do it all over again, I’d replace UGA with Western Michigan.

I'm just going to sit tight with Ohio and Texas Tech for now, and if I don't get into either one, I'm going to try again next year, including applying to USM. Right now I'm just too burnt out on the process to apply anywhere else.


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 12:33 AM

Post #108 of 2090 (17833 views)
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In Reply To
UNLV's Lit program doesn't have enough prestige. I'd have to turn down their offer of 75K + a tuition waiver.


Hahahahaha...

But seriously, good luck with Ohio and TTU. I am well familiar with the burnt out thing. By the end of my application process I was ready to throw myself in front of a truck just so everything would be over. My writing sample suffered. Soon after mailing off my last application I put together two stories that were much stronger than what I'd already sent out. I wanted to mail those to everyone anyway, and say, "Please read these instead." I probably should've.


(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 13, 2007, 12:38 AM)


gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 12:38 AM

Post #109 of 2090 (17827 views)
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From the Grad Cafe, about OU:


In Reply To
called and was informed I was 11 on a waitlist of 35; apparently the 2 people they extended offers to already accepted. :(


http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?PL=C

Well damn. Please tell me that those "2" offers were in Poetry or CNF.

Fuzen, let me ask you something about USM. You said that the PhD was completed in three years. How does one complete a PhD in three years without dying, ha. I just can't imagine finishing a PhD in three years, but USM definitely intrigues me. I've heard great things about the Barthelme Bros.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 12:41 AM)


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 1:46 AM

Post #110 of 2090 (17814 views)
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My friends are typically done with primary coursework after the first two. They pretty much just take workshop and maybe readings classes in the last year. Comps are taken in the second semester of the third year. It's common for people to stick around here during summer and take classes then, squeeze in a lit class to satisfy a requirement, and take a workshop as well.

A short answer to your question is probably the fact that this program is more focused on CW than it is on lit. The lit students take longer than three years, but the CW people all finish within three because their dissertations might consist only of creative work (it is for MA theses here), stuff that they had been writing -during- their studies, and not -on top of-.

The coursework for MA students breaks down to one workshop, one readings class, and one lit class per semester (for PhD it may differ slightly - perhaps more lit and less readings required?). In workshop you only have to turn in two or three stories a semester (Rick asks for two, Steve three), though of course you're encouraged to be writing more. I don't know if readings classes are common and are the same elsewhere - here you have a list of books to read, and you pretty much just go through them, writing up a little two-pager on each one and you discuss them in class. It's kind of like workshopping published work. You talk about what you think works and doesn't, from a writer's perspective. Lit classes are your typical seminars, culminating in 20-page papers.

It's a busy life - teaching two classes and taking three per semester, but it's the only grad life I've known and I've been fine with it. I do like the Barthelme brothers a lot as teachers. Steve is extremely thorough - he sits down with you and goes over every word. He'll show you exactly what he thinks is wrong, and most of the time he's right on - you can't really argue with him because he's done this for so long and he sees right away what the problem is. He also cares about the language and will point out every last textual mistake - the idea being, these little mistakes, however pissy it may seem to point them out, accumulate and create confusion in the reader's head. For example, something I'd written once went, "...he straddled his legs over it..." and Steve pointed it out to me that you don't straddle your legs, you straddle something else with your legs. Stuff like that, on top of the typical critiques about the functionings of the story.

Rick is more of a guidance kind of teacher. He talks about your story from a thematic perspective, jots down comments at the end of the story but doesn't annotate much in the actual text. I like switching back and forth between the two - one semester of Rick followed by one semester of Steve. It's a good balance. Some people may decide they like working with one over the other, and just sign up for that person's workshop over and over.

They've been looking to hire someone to replace Mary Robison for the past couple of years, but they just haven't found someone they've liked enough, yet. They were interviewing candidates at AWP - maybe there'll be someone new come fall.

The department is very, very relaxed. I think it's sometimes a problem for people who aren't naturally all that motivated, because you can get away with a lot, and then find yourself in trouble. On the other hand, if you're a hard worker, and you care about your writing, the teachers will sit down and work with you through as many drafts as you want to throw at them. They may not seem that way at first - they're both a little weird or intimidating in their idiosyncratic ways - but if you make the effort (i.e., stop by their office) they'll do what they can to help you.

Oh, one thing I loved here was being able to take poetry classes. I'm a fiction guy, always been deathly afraid of poetry, and so wanted to take a poetry class to get over that resistance. I ended up taking two poetry classes and included some poetry in my thesis. Julia Johnson is a never-ending fount of encouragement. Steve also teaches non-fiction during the spring semesters, which I hear is a popular class.

This program has its drawbacks too, of course. Coming from living in big cities, getting comfortable in Hattiesburg was quite an adjustment for me. I didn't get settled into a groove until my second year here. A lot of it was brought on by my own stress about things. I worried I wasn't good enough a writer, I was trying to save money so I didn't go out much (didn't visit New Orleans until my second year), stuff like that. And because it's a small program, while on the plus side you get really close with the people here and feel like you're part of a family, on the minus side you get close with the same small group of people and don't really have other people to fall back on. Maybe that's how it is with grad programs in general? I don't know.

Anyway, I've probably blabbed too much for casual forum readers. If you have specific questions, write me at jwang@juked.com. I'll be happy to tell you more.




In Reply To
From the Grad Cafe, about OU:


In Reply To
called and was informed I was 11 on a waitlist of 35; apparently the 2 people they extended offers to already accepted. :(


http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?PL=C

Well damn. Please tell me that those "2" offers were in Poetry or CNF.

Fuzen, let me ask you something about USM. You said that the PhD was completed in three years. How does one complete a PhD in three years without dying, ha. I just can't imagine finishing a PhD in three years, but USM definitely intrigues me. I've heard great things about the Barthelme Bros.



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 11:48 AM

Post #111 of 2090 (17777 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, thanks for that great reply!

I just went ahead and emailed Rie about applying for fall 2007. Hopefully it's still not too late.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 1:25 PM

Post #112 of 2090 (17752 views)
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Good luck with the waiting and, if you need to re-apply, with the applications next year! I made a big mistake last year in applying to PhD programs in an academic area that I thought might be interesting to me--but without any PhD acceptances (though I did get an MA program acceptance, which was enough for me to attend 1 semester and decide that there is nothing that can top creative writing for me, and I dropped out...). I'll be sending out my applications next year.

I know so little about Western Michigan. Maybe in my research it will wind up being a school I apply to. Maybe not. Who knows?!? Though there are so few programs out there for CRW PhD, I feel like I am focusing my research so much on programs that will really work with my own writing aesthetic and sensibilities. WMU might be a viable option for me. But somehow my gut instinct, right now, is rooting first and foremost for FSU. But ultimately it's rooting for whichever school accepts me with funding...whichever school has faculty that strongly believes in my writing and in my potential as both a writer and a uni professor.

I hope that as we all research and then apply in the fall we can just cheer each other on. We're a smaller crowd than the MFA applicants. ANd those of you who applied this past year, I am sure, have a sense of how nerve-wracking this whole process can be!


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 1:58 PM

Post #113 of 2090 (17738 views)
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Just want to make sure: Stephanie, you already have an MA/MFA or you will by the time you enroll in a PhD program, right? Unlike, say, Econ or Anthro, I don't know of CW PhD programs that skip the MA/MFA step.





(This post was edited by fuzen on Mar 13, 2007, 2:14 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 2:01 PM

Post #114 of 2090 (17736 views)
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Yeah, I got my MFA for poetry in 2003...


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 2:12 PM

Post #115 of 2090 (17730 views)
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Ah. A grizzled veteran.

Good luck with the process!


In Reply To
Yeah, I got my MFA for poetry in 2003...



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Mar 13, 2007, 2:19 PM

Post #116 of 2090 (17723 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

grizzled or grizzly--up for debate (though both can be accurate depending on the time of the academic year OR where I am in the process of a new poem).

Thanks.

You mentioned something in response to my first post yesterday about personal statements. I wrote my applications for MFA so long ago (and so many computers ago) that I don't remember what I wrote, nor do I have access to what I wrote. It makes me just slightly nervous to think about! At some point, only if you feel cool with this, would you be able to backchannel me with a copy of the personal statement you write to accompany your FSU application? I'm so bad at writing these and get so stressed out even thinking about them (it was hell for me to come up with something for my failed applications last year...) that I think I could use something to hold up to whatever I write as a reality check (ie what I really need to convey as opposed to what my competitive-with-myself brain would try to think of...).


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 3:08 PM

Post #117 of 2090 (17709 views)
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I wouldn't mind sharing my SOP with you some time down the road, when you're putting your apps together. But keep in mind that each one is supposed to be individually tailored so as to distinguish you apart from the other applicants. I came to the whole writing thing after many detours, so that's what I talked about - my immigrant background, how I'd started in corporate America but ended up where I am, how reading and writing were always there for me, so on and so forth. I think your SOP should also reflect your writing philosophy (however pompous that sounds). My introduction to my thesis came out sounding like a longer, expanded version of the SOPs I was writing for my PhD apps - both were personal commentaries on writing, on how I came to be the writer I am today, etc. etc. etc.

I realize a lot of it sounds formulaic and boring, but I think this is where the differences come in: if you can talk about that stuff and come across as being genuine and interesting and unique, then you've done your job. I think the SOP should not be torturous - in fact, it should come naturally to you because you are talking about things you believe in, and you should also have a little fun with it. That's not to say it should be easy or casual - you'll want to revise it again and again - but it shouldn't be something artificial or forced, disingenuous or bogus. If you read your SOP and it doesn't sound like you, or if it sounds generic and watered down, then something's wrong.

Looking at other people's introductions when I wrote mine, I found I tend to write very directly. I don't start with an elaborate overarching frame or metaphor or anecdote (or maybe I do but I don't see it as one), and I avoid complex language. I more or less say things straight on, and try to drive momentum through the tone and sequence of thoughts/ideas. But that's just my style, and it's indicative of much of what I read/write. (E.g. I love George Saunders, but I can't stand Toni Morrison.) Your own SOP would probably be very different.

That's how I see it, anyway. Oh, and, keep in mind, also, that though I got into FSU and Hawaii, the same SOP is the one I got rejected by USC with. No way to tell if it was a strong or weak link in my application.



In Reply To
grizzled or grizzly--up for debate (though both can be accurate depending on the time of the academic year OR where I am in the process of a new poem).

Thanks.

You mentioned something in response to my first post yesterday about personal statements. I wrote my applications for MFA so long ago (and so many computers ago) that I don't remember what I wrote, nor do I have access to what I wrote. It makes me just slightly nervous to think about! At some point, only if you feel cool with this, would you be able to backchannel me with a copy of the personal statement you write to accompany your FSU application? I'm so bad at writing these and get so stressed out even thinking about them (it was hell for me to come up with something for my failed applications last year...) that I think I could use something to hold up to whatever I write as a reality check (ie what I really need to convey as opposed to what my competitive-with-myself brain would try to think of...).



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 3:23 PM

Post #118 of 2090 (17703 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, this is for those who have been waitlisted at OU in fiction: [through the grapevine], don't get your hopes up.

Apparently, the Grade Cafe posting I posted earlier in this thread about OU's two fiction acceptances accepting on the spot is in fact true. OU accepted two per genre, and fiction alone had 60+ applicants competing for two spots, and those two spots are now gone, unless someone backs out…which will probably happen the day before classes when it’s too late for anyone new to commit anyway. Ugh! To make matters worse, I was ranked "very high." So close, yet so far away. Why do I put myself through this? Anyway.

Fuzen,

I emailed Rie this morning about applying late. Do you know if she’s in today? Do you think it’s too late for me to apply? Do you think they would let me email my writing samples to expedite the process? Thanks again for all of your great posts about USM’s program.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 3:25 PM)


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 3:52 PM

Post #119 of 2090 (17692 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

gcsumfa, USM is on Spring Break right now. I know they're going over applications at this moment - Steve was talking to me about it on Thursday. Something like, "going through all that mud, looking for something that sticks." I went ahead and e-mailed Rick and asked him about it. Though I specifically asked if it is too late to be considered for a tuition waiver/stipend, Rick's one-line response was "we're still accepting applications--".

I take this to mean, if you FedEx your application in, fill out the online form, fill out FAFSA online, and if they like your application, you'll be given equal weight in consideration for TAs. Good luck!



In Reply To
Well, this is for those who have been waitlisted at OU in fiction: [through the grapevine], don't get your hopes up.

Apparently, the Grade Cafe posting I posted earlier in this thread about OU's two fiction acceptances accepting on the spot is in fact true. OC accepted two per genre, and fiction alone had 60+ applicants competing for two spots, and those two spots are now gone, unless someone backs out…which will probably happen the day before classes when it’s too late for anyone new to commit anyway. Ugh! To make matters worse, I was ranked "very high." So close, yet so faraway. Why do I put myself through this? Anyway.

Fuzen,

I emailed Rie this morning about applying late. Do you know if she’s in today? Do you think it’s too late for me to apply? Do you think they would let me email my writing samples to expedite the process? Thanks again for all of your great posts about USM’s program.



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 5:11 PM

Post #120 of 2090 (17669 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?


fuzen


Mar 13, 2007, 6:15 PM

Post #121 of 2090 (17643 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...

I think three fiction PhD people graduated over December, and they weren't replaced this semester (but I don't know if they were on stipends or just straight instructorships). There's at least one fiction PhD person graduating in May, though I think it's just one. Also, another fiction PhD person decided not to do the PhD thing shortly after she got here last fall - a nice middle-aged lady with a family, who returned to New York because that's really where she belonged.

A lot of MA people are graduating, though, and the MA people compete for the same stipends. I can count at least four MA fiction students (including me) with the $10k TA who are graduating. I don't think they're competing for a PhD spot here, either - I'm going to FSU, one had a baby recently and I hear is going to take some time off, one is moving to wherever her husband gets a teaching job, and one is going to work for a newspaper. I don't know how many $15k TAs are available - those are pretty hard to get.

It looks like there will be quite a turnover in fiction this year, what with all the graduations. Poetry, on the other hand, I count two people graduating - one MA, one PhD. The MA student might stay for the PhD, which would leave just one spot open.

Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.

Well, hope that helps.



In Reply To
Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?



gcsumfa


Mar 13, 2007, 6:49 PM

Post #122 of 2090 (17635 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

  



In Reply To
Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...


Oh definitely. I always do that!



In Reply To
Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.


Haha. Well, actually, I can't stand Dave Eggers and that McSweeney's NYC Hipster bullshit, so they'll get along fine with me;-) My SOP actually references Tim O'Brien's influence on my own work.

I definitely hear you on the ass kissing. I never pull that stuff, and if a writing program is looking for me to flatter its faculty than that's probably not the place for me anyway.

Thanks again for the help!


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Mar 13, 2007, 6:50 PM)


green sneakers

e-mail user

Mar 14, 2007, 8:29 AM

Post #123 of 2090 (17584 views)
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Houston [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry for the false start -- I'm not a PhD applicant, but was wondering if anyone here is a current/past MFA or PhD student at Houston? I'd love to speak with you.

Congrats to everyone who's gotten good news, and best of luck to those still waiting!


David Poissant


Mar 15, 2007, 2:41 AM

Post #124 of 2090 (17535 views)
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Hey all,
Just discovered this forum and thought I'd join the PhD fun. I've been accepted to Florida State and Cincinnati, been rejected by UGA and Knoxville, and I'm still waiting to hear back from So. Miss and GA State. What do you guys think of Cincinnati? I know they don't have the "prestige" of Florida State, but they've offered me almost twice the $ FSU has for half the teaching load, and they seem like great people.
Fuzen, you seem totally jazzed about FSU (congrats, by the way, and hello, we might be classmates!). However, are you at all worried about the funding situation? It's 2/2 teaching for only about 10K a year. And, I was shocked to hear that that does not include health insurance. That's 1.5K a year out of pocket.
I spoke with Mark Winegardner at AWP, and it seems like a fantastic program with a great reputation. I'm just wondering how it got such a great rep with that kind of poor funding situation. It's kind of shocking. What's your take? I want to be convinced that I should go there, because everybody's acting like I'd be crazy to turn FSU down, but I can't imagine, even if I could survive on 8.5K a year, how'd I'd find time to write teaching 2/2 and carrying a full PhD teaching load...
Best,
D.J.P.


In Reply To
Yeah, the application here is pretty straightforward. Be sure to include a CV, whether the application asks for it or not. In terms of how many people are leaving...

I think three fiction PhD people graduated over December, and they weren't replaced this semester (but I don't know if they were on stipends or just straight instructorships). There's at least one fiction PhD person graduating in May, though I think it's just one. Also, another fiction PhD person decided not to do the PhD thing shortly after she got here last fall - a nice middle-aged lady with a family, who returned to New York because that's really where she belonged.

A lot of MA people are graduating, though, and the MA people compete for the same stipends. I can count at least four MA fiction students (including me) with the $10k TA who are graduating. I don't think they're competing for a PhD spot here, either - I'm going to FSU, one had a baby recently and I hear is going to take some time off, one is moving to wherever her husband gets a teaching job, and one is going to work for a newspaper. I don't know how many $15k TAs are available - those are pretty hard to get.

It looks like there will be quite a turnover in fiction this year, what with all the graduations. Poetry, on the other hand, I count two people graduating - one MA, one PhD. The MA student might stay for the PhD, which would leave just one spot open.

Oh, by the way, when I applied here I didn't mention anything in my SOP about reading Rick's or Steve's work. I also didn't mention that I think Donald is awesome. I think either one of those remarks would probably not work so well (unless you really do love Rick's or Steve's writing and can talk about it without sounding phony). Rick is also not a fan of: Dave Eggers, D.F. Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, (anyone who tries very hard to be clever in their writing). Both of them like Taniguchi and Kawabata for some reason. Steve also loves the Russian masters. Not to say that you should lie about your interests and influential figures, or that you should mention any of this, but, well, it's there for your reference, just in case you find it useful for whatever reason. When I first got here Rick asked me who my influences were and I mentioned Thomas Pynchon and he changed the subject and asked me what restaurants I'd already been to in this town. Haha.

Well, hope that helps.



In Reply To
Fuzen,

Rie got back to me. She also said I could still apply. I'm going to have it all done by tomorrow. USM doesn't require too much in terms of materials (in other words, I've noticed that they don’t waste your time with a bunch of superfluous garbage), which is great; I have a dossier service so I can send all of my letters and transcripts in one easy package.

I did ask her if I could email my writing samples but I might just overnight it anyway.

Do you have an idea of how many fiction PhD’s are graduating?




fleurdelis44


Mar 15, 2007, 3:16 AM

Post #125 of 2090 (17529 views)
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Re: [David Poissant] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

David, if it's any consolation, Tallahassee isn't expensive in terms of housing and food. Also: FSU pretty much guarantees you a summer teaching gig if you ask, so that's more money. Also, Tallahassee is the state's capital, so there's plenty of administrative work for those looking for more income. Having been a student all my life, and having had different sized budgets at different times due to scholarships, financial aid, etc, I have to say that somehow, my expenditures have always expanded or shrunk to fit what I could afford. When I had it plush, I had Starbucks every day and went on trips; when times were lean, I shopped at Big Lots and rode my bike to campus. I don't mean to sound glib, but I believe that being mindful about unnecessary vs. necessary expenditures can make a lot of difference. I'm in the same boat as you--I have offers from programs that pay much more than FSU and ask much less of me in terms of teaching, but I know that ten years down the road, I'd regret turning down my first choice school for a better apartment or posher dining choices. Financial practicality is a means to an end here--we're all trying to make the choice that would make us the most happy and that we'd be least likely to regret. So, if you truly think FSU will help your future--whether it's in terms of developing your skills as a writer or giving you a more prestigious degree--then I'd say roughing it for five years is a small price to pay. And yes, I believe it can be done without going into debt.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Mar 15, 2007, 7:47 AM

Post #126 of 2090 (17736 views)
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Re: [fleurdelis44] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't say anything about the programs, but I can say that Tallahassee is a much nicer place to live than Cinci. My husband got his phd in history from FSU and we loved Tallahassee. I grew up in Dayton, and I have to say that Cincinnati is an ugly city that smells like distilleries and has a really torqued evangelical tone to its government. I'd say cost-of-living is similar, so more money is more money.


fuzen


Mar 15, 2007, 12:36 PM

Post #127 of 2090 (17683 views)
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Re: [fleurdelis44] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I second fleurdelis here. I've lived on a $10k stipend in Hattiesburg for two years - I probably cook more and don't dine out as much as I used to, and cut my hair less, or buy less junk food, drink at somebody's house instead of at a bar (pbr instead of imports), but it all pretty much just fits in with whatever budget I've got. I'm less worried about the money situation than I am about fitting in with the faculty and students. The way I see it is, even if you do go into debt, over the course your PhD, with this stipend and a carefully managed budget, I don't see how you'd accumulate, say, more than $10k in debt. That's peanuts once you start working.


piratelizzy


Mar 15, 2007, 12:59 PM

Post #128 of 2090 (17677 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd beg to differ with your "that's peanuts" qualification, fuzen. I've been working 15 years and I can tell you that middle class salaries do not leave a lot of economic wiggling room in the real world. (I drive a 12-year-old car, for instance.) While $10K of debt certainly is not insurmountable, on my real-world editor's salary now an extra loan payment every month would have to mean cutbacks and reshuffling in my already strict budget.


'sup?!


fuzen


Mar 15, 2007, 1:10 PM

Post #129 of 2090 (17666 views)
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I guess I'm speaking relatively. $10k is not peanuts. Hell, $5 isn't peanuts to me these days. But I had about $13k in debt coming out of college, and I paid it off in some years (with a middle class salary). I did have a tight budget with lots of cutbacks and such, but you know, for the education, it was well worth it. Compared to $60k coming out of some MFA programs, or $100k coming out of Columbia, $10k (if that) over five years for a PhD, to me, is not something I'd worry about.

Again, I too believe you can get by on a $10k stipend and avoid debt, if that's your primary goal. I'm just saying, even if you do pick up a little debt, I don't think it'll prevent you from taking over the world. That's what we're here for, right? Taking over the world?


In Reply To
I'd beg to differ with your "that's peanuts" qualification, fuzen. I've been working 15 years and I can tell you that middle class salaries do not leave a lot of economic wiggling room in the real world. (I drive a 12-year-old car, for instance.) While $10K of debt certainly is not insurmountable, on my real-world editor's salary now an extra loan payment every month would have to mean cutbacks and reshuffling in my already strict budget.



piratelizzy


Mar 15, 2007, 2:32 PM

Post #130 of 2090 (17635 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Taking over the world on $5/day. Oh, yeah.


'sup?!


gcsumfa


Mar 15, 2007, 2:35 PM

Post #131 of 2090 (17632 views)
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Re: [fleurdelis44] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

David,

What's your take on UGA? I was rejected from their so-called CW PhD program too, and--not saying this because I'm bitter--but I get a bad vibe about that place.


gcsumfa


Mar 15, 2007, 2:42 PM

Post #132 of 2090 (17624 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, about Cincinnati, that's where Brad Vice did his PhD. He was a rising star before the whole plagiarism debacle with that story in "The Bear Bryant Funeral Train" (won FOC Award).


bktv


Mar 17, 2007, 3:37 PM

Post #133 of 2090 (17540 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

In case anyone was waiting/wondering—Houston has sent out rejection letters. I got one today (fiction). Congrats to everyone who got in at any school for the PhD. They all seem very competitive. I think I'm done this year. All that remains is the FSU rejection letter. I'm guessing early next week.


fuzen


Mar 17, 2007, 6:01 PM

Post #134 of 2090 (17521 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

It ain't over till it's over, bktv. You never know.


In Reply To
In case anyone was waiting/wondering—Houston has sent out rejection letters. I got one today (fiction). Congrats to everyone who got in at any school for the PhD. They all seem very competitive. I think I'm done this year. All that remains is the FSU rejection letter. I'm guessing early next week.



fuzen


Mar 22, 2007, 12:36 PM

Post #135 of 2090 (17460 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Waitlisted at Houston's PhD for fiction - letter arrived today, dated 3/19.

There is a glaring error in the letter:

"Also we would appreciate knowing if you accept a spot at another school, so that we cannot contact the next applicant on our wait-list."

I thought it was funny.


ehiggg


Mar 24, 2007, 9:22 PM

Post #136 of 2090 (17389 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, did you go to USM? I just got in there for the Ph.D. (poetry), but it seems like a brutal pace--3 yrs for coursework & dissertation plus teaching two courses per semester. Nice to know you made it $-wise, though. Did all the Ph.D.s seem viciously harried?


fuzen


Mar 25, 2007, 1:27 AM

Post #137 of 2090 (17360 views)
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I'm about to finish my MA here, yeah. We're all pretty busy, but nobody's fazed by it. (And to be honest, I still get to waste more time than I should be doing.) I have no idea what grad school life is like outside of this program. The poets here are a great bunch. My roommate is one of them, if you want someone to e-mail with. Write me at jwang@juked.com.


fuzen


Mar 26, 2007, 12:32 AM

Post #138 of 2090 (17309 views)
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Re: [ehiggg] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh and just to be clear, nobody here seems "viciously hurried." We all write, and we go to class, and we teach, and we send out work and try to get published. Though we have to take literature classes, and though they're clearly important, this program is all about creative writing, about working to become published/established poets and writers. For what it's worth, the poets here all seem to me very happy with the program. My roommate only applied to a few PhD programs outside of USM, all dream list schools, because she'd rather stay here otherwise.


fuzen


Mar 26, 2007, 5:24 PM

Post #139 of 2090 (17257 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Just in case this means something to someone: I'm taking myself off of Houston's wait list (fiction PhD). It's FSU for me. Good luck!


bktv


Mar 31, 2007, 3:43 PM

Post #140 of 2090 (17194 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rejected from FSU 3/31 by mail.

1) Name misspelled.

2) No signature, not even a stamped one! Still, there was a sincerely. (Somewhat undercut by the lack of signature.)

3) Two different fonts used in the body of the letter! It's the two-tone approach!

4) Letter folded into three nearly equal parts, and then a little sliver at the top! Classy!

5) Outside of envelope had no logo, but a "Return Service Requested" stamp on it. What?! (At first, this led me to believe that it might be a wait list notification.)

6) Back of envelope was taped shut! Sweet!

On the plus side, it was a decently-written letter without any glaring errors. Mostly, I am just reacting to the fact that I won't be in school for the first time since kindergarten. That, and the long, needless wait.

Congrats again to the PhD bound.


(This post was edited by bktv on Mar 31, 2007, 3:54 PM)


fuzen


Mar 31, 2007, 7:43 PM

Post #141 of 2090 (17159 views)
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Re: [bktv] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry to hear that, bktv. Hopefully the year off will provide you with life experiences you'll find helpful and enriching for your writing. For the next round of apps you'll have a stronger writing sample and experience/wisdom gained from this year under your belt. My money says you'll have some acceptances to choose from this time next year. Good luck with it.


bktv


Apr 1, 2007, 5:23 PM

Post #142 of 2090 (17109 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Fuzen, I hope so.

Best of luck to you at FSU. And maybe when next year rolls around I'll hit you up for some of that money...


gcsumfa


Apr 1, 2007, 8:46 PM

Post #143 of 2090 (17084 views)
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In Reply To
Rejected from FSU 3/31 by mail.

1) Name misspelled.

2) No signature, not even a stamped one! Still, there was a sincerely. (Somewhat undercut by the lack of signature.)

3) Two different fonts used in the body of the letter! It's the two-tone approach!

4) Letter folded into three nearly equal parts, and then a little sliver at the top! Classy!

5) Outside of envelope had no logo, but a "Return Service Requested" stamp on it. What?! (At first, this led me to believe that it might be a wait list notification.)

6) Back of envelope was taped shut! Sweet!

On the plus side, it was a decently-written letter without any glaring errors. Mostly, I am just reacting to the fact that I won't be in school for the first time since kindergarten. That, and the long, needless wait.

Congrats again to the PhD bound.


HAHAHAHA, I received the same letter—in the same “condition” you described! You forgot to mention the paper quality, which was of the quality one might expect from paper purchased at Dollar General.

I really don't care, though, because I couldn’t afford to live off FSU's funding anyway. I don't have a problem with the program or the people, but I have a car payment to make and would still want to make my student loan payment each month.

I also didn't put as much effort into my applications as I should have, though that might've been a blessing-in-disguise. My writing sample was my most promising piece, but probably not the most "finished," and it would've been "safer" had I sent a more "crafted" story, if that makes sense.

I'm very lucky to have a FT comp lectureship right now, (3/3 load), plus benefits (i.e. as opposed to having to adjunct). I just can't see myself leaving that to make 10K a year while teaching just one less section of freshman comp (FSU’s load is 2/2).

Right now I'm sitting high on two waitlists, but I’m pretty much resigned to re-upping my lectureship contract for next year and re-considering this whole PhD thing. I already have an MA and an MFA and might just go with that and worry about finishing a book within the next few years. I’ve been thinking more and more about getting into community college teaching for long-term job stability (i.e. tenure) in case the publications + just an MFA aren’t enough to land me a tenure track job at a four year college or university.

I think I might apply for one of those Wisconsin Institute Fellowship spots next year.

Anyway, congrats to everyone on being accepted to PhD programs. It's a lot more competitive than I org. thought it would be.

BTW, has anyone heard anything from Denver for fiction? I'm assuming I was rejected from there as well, but who knows.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Apr 1, 2007, 9:45 PM)


fuzen


Apr 2, 2007, 6:45 PM

Post #144 of 2090 (17015 views)
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You can call Denver to find out - they've made their decisions. My roommate called and was told she didn't get in. She's a poet, but I figure by now they've wrapped up both.

Good luck with your plans, gcsumfa. So long as we keep writing, we'll come out okay. My only fear is if I ever give it up.


gcsumfa


Apr 2, 2007, 6:57 PM

Post #145 of 2090 (17010 views)
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In Reply To
You can call Denver to find out - they've made their decisions. My roommate called and was told she didn't get in. She's a poet, but I figure by now they've wrapped up both.

Good luck with your plans, gcsumfa. So long as we keep writing, we'll come out okay. My only fear is if I ever give it up.


Yeah, funny that you mentioned your friend calling DU, because I just now emailed the director before reading your post!

I’ve never really been able to get a good read on DU; they have a strange website that’s hard to navigate. Also, their website mentions full funding for the first three years, and then “adjunct work” for the 4th year. Because DU is a private school, does this mean people have to pay private school tuition rates after the third year?!

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, fuzen! You're right that what matters most is that we all keep writing; I might try again next year, might not, but I'm still going to write that page-a-day!


bktv


Apr 2, 2007, 9:05 PM

Post #146 of 2090 (16989 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Starting this up again, seeking your thoughts.. [In reply to] Can't Post

That's good advice. I just sent in my MFA thesis, so I didn't write today. I think I will apply next year—my writing should be much better by then...

Good luck to both of you in this crazy business...

Brent


gcsumfa


Apr 2, 2007, 9:23 PM

Post #147 of 2090 (16983 views)
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In Reply To
That's good advice. I just sent in my MFA thesis, so I didn't write today. I think I will apply next year—my writing should be much better by then...

Good luck to both of you in this crazy business...

Brent


Congrats on sending off your MFA thesis, Brent.

In regards to the MFA thesis, I think the fact that I sent one of my thesis stories as my writing sample hurt me. Like a lot of MFA’ers, I wasn’t able to see my “growth” as a writer until I left my MFA program. The stories I'm writing now as a result of writing my MFA thesis, which will never leave my desk drawer, are much, much better.

What the MFA taught me was to write longer stories. Before the MFA, a ten page story seemed like a long story. Anyway.

I feel down now because I really don't think these programs saw work that represents where I'm at now, but I really had no choice because my “post-MFA” stuff wasn’t ready before the application deadlines. Ughhhhh.


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Apr 6, 2007, 12:11 PM

Post #148 of 2090 (16919 views)
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2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe a bit too soon, but is anyone out there thinking about 2008 apps for PhDs?

And any advice from those who got in....?


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Apr 6, 2007, 1:06 PM

Post #149 of 2090 (16897 views)
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Re: [LesK] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be applying for 2008 matriculation also. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


gcsumfa


Apr 6, 2007, 5:26 PM

Post #150 of 2090 (16861 views)
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Assuming I’m not admitted off Ohio’s or Texas Tech’s waiting list, I will be applying for 2008. Forgive my temporary rants posted on this thread a few days ago;-)

I learned a lot of lessons the first time around, and after consulting with my MFA thesis advisor (who did his PhD at Houston), have renewed confidence for next year. My advice is to perform more careful research than you might've performed for MFA programs. I’ve learned that PhD programs are much more competitive (i.e. Ohio only accepted two fiction writers this year...out of 60+ applicants) and seem to vary insofar as their approach, so fit is even more important to consider when applying. For instance, I realized—albeit too late—that some PhD “creative writing” programs lean heavier on lit than others, so if you have more of a studio background like I do your chances might be less than one with more of a litcrit background.

Also, look for programs that put themselves out there in terms of advertising the creative writing option. You’ll notice that some programs, like Western Michigan and Houston, go out of their way to promote their programs in PW and AWP Writer’s Chronicle, while others, like Nebraska and Tennessee, are never heard from insofar as putting their programs out there. This year, I’m only applying to the programs that clearly take creative writing seriously; in other words, programs that don’t send the “oh-you-can-write-your-cute-little-creative-dissertation” vibe.

Finally, the types of courses you’ll be allowed to teach is a very important consideration. Look for programs that allow you to teach more than just comp. Western Michigan—you can tell that I’m kicking myself for not applying there—allows PhD’s to teach CW and lit fairly soon. Others, like UGA, allow you to "assist" a professor's lit survey section. Um, no. Bad vibe there. Having complete control over your own sections of lit and CW is obviously huge for your CV.

These are the programs that I’m really interested in right now:

Ohio
Texas Tech
Missouri
Western Michigan
Utah

(I would list Houston, but I'm looking to avoid big cities. re: cost of living).

(I really like USM, but I want more than 3 years to complete a PhD).


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Apr 6, 2007, 5:36 PM)


fuzen


Apr 6, 2007, 6:55 PM

Post #151 of 2090 (19547 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

This is just going off of general vibes/understanding, but Nebraska strikes me as a school that takes creative writing quite seriously. They have Prairie Schooner and a sizeable creative writing faculty that includes Ted Kooser, one of the biggest names in contemporary poetry.

Some schools do put more emphasis on literature - you can tell which just by whether they require the GRE Lit test or not - but to be honest, if you're going to be doing a PhD, you'll have to show you can do literature regardless. Otherwise it wouldn't be a PhD, right?

There aren't so many PhD CW programs that you can't at least look up each of their web sites and read what they have to say. Giving a call on the phone also wouldn't hurt. Hawaii offers tremendous flexibility with your creative writing dissertation, but it'd be hard to figure out just from looking at the site. (You can even do genre fiction there, if you want to, which you almost never find anywhere.) But yeah, look up all the programs. There aren't that many. We can probably compile a list right here if we need to.

If you do decide early on that you will be applying to schools that require the GRE Lit, you need to start studying for that pretty much now, if not two years ago. Ultimately it comes down to your writing sample, but if you're like me, you take pride in all aspects of the application and you'll want to show them something decent. Many people decide early on they will apply only to schools that don't require the GRE Lit.

By the way, advertisements in Writer's Chronicle and P&W aren't necessarily a good indicator, either. For instance, Iowa doesn't advertise its program. USC doesn't advertise its program. I don't recall seeing one for Houston either. Some schools just don't feel like they need to advertise.

gcsumfa, FSU is a school that doesn't even require a scholarly writing sample. I think it's entirely focused on creative writing, and they have wonderful faculty - please don't let poor stationery deter you from applying. For what it's worth, the acceptance letter was also in multiple fonts, folded into three sections plus an extra sliver at the top, without a signature and on very thin paper. With tape across the back, and a stamp on the return address corner. Blame the administrators, not the creative process that goes on there.


(edited to correct glaring errors no self-respecting writer could stand to look at)


(This post was edited by fuzen on Apr 6, 2007, 8:10 PM)


gcsumfa


Apr 6, 2007, 7:31 PM

Post #152 of 2090 (19539 views)
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Re: [fuzen] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, great post…hopefully this thread stays at the top of the board for awhile;)


In Reply To
This is just going off of general vibes/understanding, but Nebraska strikes me as a school that takes creative writing quite seriously. They have Prairie Schooner and a sizeable creative writing faculty that includes Ted Kooser, one of the biggest names in contemporary poetry.


True, good points. But has anyone heard of anyone being accepted by NU this year? I know of several people who applied, and they were all rejected. Just wondering.


In Reply To
Some schools do put more emphasis on literature - you can tell which just by whether they require the GRE Lit test or not - but to be honest, if you're going to be doing a PhD, you'll have to show you can do literature regardless. Otherwise it wouldn't be a PhD, right?


I really don’t think the GRE LIT measures one’s background in LIT more than it measures how well one might function at a cocktail party. For instance, ETS states that many of the questions are “critical reading” questions, when in fact 99% of the questions are like answering Trivia Pursuit questions, not “critical reading” questions.


In Reply To
By the way, advertisements in Writer's Chronicle and P&W aren't necessarily a good indicator, either. For instance, Iowa doesn't advertise its program. USC doesn't advertise its program. I don't recall seeing one for Houston either. Some schools just don't feel like they need to advertise.


Yeah, great points. I thought the same thing soon after clicking "post." I stand corrected on that point. Maybe what I’m really going for here is that “gut” feeling you get when considering a program. For whatever reason--and I’m being dead serious when I say this--I never really felt good about several of the programs I applied to, even before I heard back from them.

I guess this is proof of why you shouldn't begin your research in August:(


In Reply To
gcsumfa, FSU is a school that doesn't even require a scholarly writing sample. I think it's entirely focused on creative writing, and they have wonderful faculty - please don't let poor stationary deter you from applying. For what it's worth, the acceptance letter was also in multiple fonts, folded into three sections plus an extra sliver at the top, without a signature and on very thin paper. With tape across the back, and a stamp on the return address corner. Blame the administrators, not the creative process that goes on there.


Well, that’s good to hear. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with them at all, but I don’t think I’m a good fit for that program for one major reason--I simply can’t afford to live off their stipend, which is smaller than most, if not all, of the programs I’ve researched.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Apr 6, 2007, 7:38 PM)


hamlet3145


Apr 6, 2007, 7:45 PM

Post #153 of 2090 (19534 views)
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Quote
But has anyone heard of anyone being accepted by NU this year?


Not this year, but three folks from Montana got in last year. One went for fiction. I'll see if I can do a little digging.

And, yes, my participation in this thread means I'm looking into Ph.d's too. =)





fuzen


Apr 6, 2007, 8:44 PM

Post #154 of 2090 (19524 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

More about the GRE Lit:

When I started my research, I took all the schools and lumped them into two camps: ones that required GRE Lit, and ones that didn't. Then I looked at the ones that required it and I asked myself if the ones that did was worth the trouble. It was - I absolutely had to apply to USC and Houston. So I invested time and energy into the preparation.

But still, I believe that you don't have to have a stellar GRE Lit score for a creative writing PhD, or even that you should have one. A lot of places just want to know that you've taken it, that you've put yourself through a rite of passage. In the end, if you don't have a good enough GRE Lit score and a program didn't admit you because of that, then it's a good thing you didn't go there anyway because they would've had you spend more time than you would've liked on your literature classes.

I made exceptions for USC and Houston, but I didn't apply to anywhere else (including Missouri and Tennessee, both of which I'd considered) that required the GRE Lit because I thought that meant they cared too much about that sort of thing. FSU was the only PhD program I applied to that didn't even ask for a scholarly sample. I could've waited to see if I'd get into Houston off the waitlist, but the idea of going somewhere where creative writing - not literature - is key appealed to me and I made up my mind soon after they called. They are expensive, though. After adjusting for fees and cost of living differences, I'll be well short of what I had here at USM.


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Apr 6, 2007, 10:03 PM

Post #155 of 2090 (19514 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the tips....

For the record, my list, at the moment, is:

University of Cincinnati
University of Utah
University of Western Michigan
Florida State University
University of Denver


If I can afford it, I'll likely apply to more (poetry)....and next week, the GRE Lit!!


gcsumfa


Apr 6, 2007, 11:11 PM

Post #156 of 2090 (19503 views)
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Re: [LesK] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Texas Tech is another school that doesn’t require the GRE Lit. Also, for anyone interested, they ask you to email your application materials, which is convenient. Good funding, too: 14,600 stipend plus health insurance. The only catch here is that they do charge a “reduced” tuition rate of 1,100 per semester. Still, when you subtract 2,200 from 14,600 you’re still left with a stipend larger or comparable to many other programs. They have a nice website, too:

http://www.depts.ttu.edu/communications/english/

Fuzen,

I definitely don’t think you have to have a stellar GRE Lit score; in fact there is a post earlier on this thread from a Houston student who scored a 480, or something like that. In another post he mentioned that his friend was Western’s top choice one year, and she had something like a 450.

Myself, I bombed it…scored a 440. Didn’t really study though..until, literally, the night before in my hotel room.

I did get 610 on the regular GRE verbal, and I know most places ask for 550 or above, so I felt good in that area.

Anyway, I just looked at Utah’s website and they only require the regular GRE. I really like Utah's set-up; very flexible program, it appears. If anyone knows more about Utah’s program and is willing to alleviate any concerns I might have of stereotypical Mormons, do let me know;)

Finally--and sorry for the rambling post--Denver only provides three years of full funding, according to their website. Just thought I'd mention that to folks looking to apply there; they also seem to favor "experimental" writing, from what folks have told me.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Apr 6, 2007, 11:12 PM)


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Apr 7, 2007, 8:21 AM

Post #157 of 2090 (19479 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I definitely don’t think you have to have a stellar GRE Lit score; in fact there is a post earlier on this thread from a Houston student who scored a 480, or something like that. In another post he mentioned that his friend was Western’s top choice one year, and she had something like a 450.

I have heard, however, that a good GRE Lit score is a) a good way to distinguish yourself from other candidates [one way or the other] b) that it comes up in funding discussions..... Of course, the writing sample is still paramount. I'm sure if any school really wants you, they'll figure out a way to make it happen.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 7, 2007, 9:15 AM

Post #158 of 2090 (19473 views)
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I'm wondering if people here might share what it is they hope to get out of a PhD program in creative writing. Just more time to write? Or is there a sense it might help you get a job?

I'm a little tempted by PhD programs in as much as I really enjoyed the time I was afforded to write as an MFA student. But I worry that my time would be more stretched, since I'd have to take various critical courses and research methods and all manner of other "real" academic stuff that, frankly, I don't have much interest in.

Also, my boss (I work as an adjunct) said getting a creative PhD, in his view, would be redundant, since I already have the terminal degree for my field (he did say that getting a PhD in something else -- rhetoric or lit or whatever -- would help me land a full-time job, but that's not a route I'm interested in). He said I should just finish my book, which of course is my priority anyway -- though it's a priority not so much because I want a full-time job, but because I'm a writer and I want to finish my book.

So, yeah, I guess I'm just wondering what the end-game is. More time to be a student, and to write? A particular kind of instruction that's different than what's available in an MFA program?


gcsumfa


Apr 7, 2007, 9:57 AM

Post #159 of 2090 (19467 views)
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In Reply To
I'm wondering if people here might share what it is they hope to get out of a PhD program in creative writing. Just more time to write? Or is there a sense it might help you get a job?

I'm a little tempted by PhD programs in as much as I really enjoyed the time I was afforded to write as an MFA student. But I worry that my time would be more stretched, since I'd have to take various critical courses and research methods and all manner of other "real" academic stuff that, frankly, I don't have much interest in.

Also, my boss (I work as an adjunct) said getting a creative PhD, in his view, would be redundant, since I already have the terminal degree for my field (he did say that getting a PhD in something else -- rhetoric or lit or whatever -- would help me land a full-time job, but that's not a route I'm interested in). He said I should just finish my book, which of course is my priority anyway -- though it's a priority not so much because I want a full-time job, but because I'm a writer and I want to finish my book.

So, yeah, I guess I'm just wondering what the end-game is. More time to be a student, and to write? A particular kind of instruction that's different than what's available in an MFA program?


Like you I struggle with this issue: to get a PhD or not to get a PhD, though I know that I’ll most likely apply for next year. I do feel like the actual “writing” aspect gets lost sometimes in this mad shuffle to qualify oneself for a “job” that won’t really ever become a reality unless one publishes (though there are a few PhD’s who have managed to land creative writing jobs without a book).

I’d have to disagree with your boss in terms of chances of landing a full-time academic (tenured) job though. A lot of colleges and universities can’t afford to hire someone with an MFA just to teach creative writing and comp, so they like to hire people with PhD’s to teach comp, creative writing, and lit. So unless you’re first book is a huge hit and you land a job in a big time MFA program teaching just creative writing grad students, your first job will most likely be at a small college or university teaching something like a 3/3 or 4/4, with the load being a mixture of comp, creative writing, and lit. So basically, the PhD allows you teach lit in addition to creative writing and comp. Also, you still have to take exams for a PhD in CW and the same number of lit course hours,, so the degree isn’t as “creative” as your boss may think.

Still, there are many ways to skin a cat, and I don’t buy this hype that someone HAS to have a PhD. I know of a few recent hires at CW programs who only have MFA’s. None of them are big names, either.

For myself, I’m 28, and it’s going to take me 4-6 to write my first book anyway, so I figured I might as well buy more time with the PhD while also covering all of my basses.

Finally, a lot of these PhD programs allow you to teach lit and creative writing, classes that can be hard to come by as an adjunct or lecturer, so that’s another consideration as well.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Apr 7, 2007, 10:02 AM)


libbyagain


Apr 7, 2007, 12:42 PM

Post #160 of 2090 (19442 views)
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Not that anyone here is interested in this particular route, but a Ph.D. can certainly be handy for having a good shot at a community college position, when it doesn't do much to distinguish one from 300+ other similarly-degree'ed candidates applying to university positions.

The up-side of the cc route: jobs are generally more plentiful that are (relatively) easier to get than at four-years; the transition to a four-year, after one has a strong publishing record in creative writing, is still quite possible to do from a cc (when, for lit. types, the type-casting of the cc experience f-t is not conducive); summers free and the strong possibility of a three-day teaching week, leaving two days available for writing (this is what I do).

The down-side of the cc route: the teaching load is tough (usually 5-5, when 4-years opt more for much less, sometimes even 2-2--though of course "research" is expected at 4-years, but that's what creative writers DO, with their writing, anyway. . .); an atmosphere that's definitely not as stimulating as at 4-years (though the down-and-dirty side of a cc can inspire good creative writing, for sure); the students are. .. needy.

These days, facts are in higher education that "even" cc's can, and usually do, opt to hire Ph.D.'ed candidates. The way things work is, histories of hiring at the M.A. level mean that this is the minimal degree for application (plus, usually, some kind of teaching experience). However, job notices will mention "preferences" of Ph.D.s, and the points system for ranking candidates for interviewing often award 3-5 extra ones for the Ph.D., a difference that has meant, in my experience of 5 hiring committees, that we've interviewed ONLY Ph.D.s. Thus, the difference the degree makes is huge. That said, any single job search has garnered at most 50 or so applicants. Numbers vary for jobs posted in high-density areas, where the pool is larger.

Overall, though: the doctorate is, still, a very large advantage in the cc context, when it isn't in the 4-year context. Degree inflation is sort of like global warming: overall, a very unfortunate thing, but it has its quirky advantages for some "climates," . .. such as the cc climate.

I hope the above isn't too confusing.

Elizabeth


fuzen


Apr 8, 2007, 2:02 AM

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I see it as five more years of trying to get published while working closely with other writers and getting paid (even if nominally). The degree is important, obviously, but I appreciate what happens during these five years just as much, if not more, than the privileges that come with those three letters.

It's like, I can write and write and try to get published and work with other writers and also do some work to get paid and get by, and after a while I'll have a doctorate to show for it, or I can write and write and try to get published and take on a day job to get by - but I wouldn't have a community of serious writers around me or the degree to show for my efforts.

I can also see how some people just don't want to do the school thing anymore. I totally sympathize. It's not for everyone. Maybe you can teach kindergarten and publish a worldwide best-selling book like Zadie Smith. Or you could live off of an inheritance and write about the death of your parents and launch your career with that, like Dave Eggers. Oh, the infinite ways you can take to literary stardom. It's all there for you. Me, I've always taken the hard route. I'll forever take the hard route.


(This post was edited by fuzen on Apr 9, 2007, 11:56 AM)


gcsumfa


Apr 8, 2007, 11:03 AM

Post #162 of 2090 (19372 views)
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libby,

Thanks for the info about CC teaching. What about someone with an MA and an MFA? Does that change anything?


In Reply To
Or you could live off of an inheritance and write about the death of your parents and launch you career with that, like Dave Eggers.


HAHA.


libbyagain


Apr 10, 2007, 10:30 AM

Post #163 of 2090 (19278 views)
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Good question. I've not run into any double-m.a.-types in hiring processes, so I can't speak to it well. I think, though, that it wouldn't (unfortunately) make a difference except in the case of the school giving extra weight to candidates filling two roles--in this case, lit./comp and creative writing. Unfortunately, most cc's are not picky about fine-tuning pedigrees of their comp.lit versus creative writing instructors. They SHOULD be, but they're not.

One big caveat to what I've writ, of cc's. Some of them, usually in well-endowed, progressive areas, conduct themselves almost like 4-years: meaning, with a high degree of professionalism and discrimination. In the LA metropolitan region where I used to live, one such was Pasadena City College. Another was (this by reputation, since I had no direct experience with them) Santa Monica College. Several more were in the Bay area and northerly. Were I a newly-degree'ed person in either region, or their analogues nation-wide, I would make an effort to target these types of schools energetically, as they hire often, have all the perks I described above for Ph.D.'s, and are helpfully motivated by their high self-regard to provide well-supported opps for their faculty--including even funded leaves of absence for creative work.

I suspect I sound boring, nickle-and-dimey, hair-splitting, etc. re. this-all. It can be a HUGE "downer" to get nose-to-grindstone about hiring opps, and I think many fabulous creative types understandably don't want to sacrifice creative hopes to pragmatic considerations. I totally support the notion of maintaining one's idealism, not sacrificing it to mundane considerations of food on tables, etc., and personally I'd vote for enormous amounts of public money to be dedicated to the arts and humanities so that the aspirations of creative types could be kept where they should be--which is high-high-high.

But, the facts are still that hiring at many/most 4-years is just deplorable, as they, too, rely upon slave-wage adjuncts and continue to fund god-know-what instead of faculty lines. When I lived in LA, during 7 years not one single 4-year opened a position in my field of American literature. Not one. Needing health insurance, and some stability and security, I finally turned to the two-years. And found that there's an art to positioning for such hiring, to conducting the process well and effectively, and to being happy enough teaching there. It CAN be done! It just takes some smarts. And, a Ph.D., imo.

Over and out.

Elizabeth


libbyagain


Apr 10, 2007, 10:43 AM

Post #164 of 2090 (19272 views)
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Double-posting. Ugh! I promise to shut up after this.

As a hint about locating really good cc's in regions with which one is unfamiliar: look for cc's that house NPR affiliates. KCRW, for instance, is housed at Santa Monica College--a very good station, and a good indicator. Also, high-profile cultural involvement by the school in the community. Good art galleries, etc. In Northern CA, some cc's even house a winery, or at least grow grapes! Pittsfield cc (near Northampton) maintains a strong devotion to the American Romantic movement's writers, including good holdings in their library. ALWAYS check out their libraries!!

TRULY over and out, this time.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Apr 12, 2007, 1:11 PM

Post #165 of 2090 (19179 views)
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It's so nice to see some "life" in this thread again!

I've spent a lot of time over the last month and a half researching programs. FSU was SO great about answering my e-mails, and David Kirby was awesome enough to forward my questions to students who are: 2nd year, 3rd year, and 4th year so that I could get different perspectives. Missouri was a bit weirder with the response. Utah was quick and short but did ask me to e-mail questions again over the summer when there was more time to answer. I've also just been talking to people (former thesis advisor and former professors, alums from BFA, MFA, and PhD programs, professor friends of mine who write poetry, alums from my MFA program, etc.) to get perspectives on programs (and on the degree itself) to really start to think about my applications.

Right now, my application list is:

FSU
Missouri
Utah
Houston
GSU
Nebraska

All of these programs are fairly similar in that, of course, the primary focus is creative writing but students must also have a "minor" focus that is more literature-based (well that proportion is more equal than major/minor at Utah, which is fine with me). There seems to be a pretty standard 2/2 teaching load that has some flexibilityto allow students to maybe have a 1/1 teaching load while working in administrative capacities or in editorial capacities at whatever literary journal is associated with the program.

(I *might* also apply to the PhD program at Goldsmiths College at the University of London--I would very seriously welcome the chance to study with Lavinia Greenlaw, and my Greek citizenship might make it easier for me to find part-time jobs to make living in London a possibility--but right now I am highly unsure)

I felt so clueless a couple of months ago because of how much I didn't know and because of how much I had to muster up the guts to ask other people (not the easiest thing for me to do). But I feel pretty good right now. I've gotten a lot of opinions from people on programs and on what really matters in a program, I've thought a lot on my own about what matters to me and why I am applying to each of these programs, and I have started reading the work of faculty members and searching online and in the library for articles that poetry faculty members may have published on the craft of poetry (which, I think, will do more for me to figure out how I will jive with them as their student than just straight-up reading their poetry will). I've started looking at the cost of life in each of the towns that programs are situated so that I can make sure I can afford to be a graduate student in each of these towns should I wind up there, and I have altered my budget to really amp up my savings--applications themselves are expensive, and I think it would be a wise thing to have some financial cushion if I find myself in the "poor grad student" situation.

And this: as silly as it may sound, I've sort of created "Team Stephanie." Getting a PhD and taking that time to consider my work seriously as something publishable AND dcontinuing to develop as a teaching professional really, really matters to me. I have a small network of people who I trust quite significantly with my writing and teaching career who want to help me out in any way possible and who have committed to help me with arranging my poetry manuscript, giving me feedback on my statement of purpose, and helping me make sure, as I am getting applications out the door, that all of my t's are crossed and my i's are dotted. If I am REALLY lucky I will get into one of my top 2 choice programs when I send my applications next year. If I am lucky I will get into a program next year. If not, then I can only keep on applying (watch--in about 10 months I will be a nervous wreck and this shot of perspective will be thrown out the window). Nonetheless--acceptances in hand a year from now or no--I really want to feel confident that I put forth the BEST applications that I could and that I let the people who want to be there for me--and who have enough understanding of these programs--help me. Because I know that as much as I have researched and will continue to research, I don't know everything, I don't have every great idea, and I could definitely use all the help that comes my way.

I'm sort of psyched. Nervous as hell, but psyched as hell. And I am REALLY happy that all of you are coming out of the woodworks to talk about your applications for next year. When I applied for my MFA (gosh, that was 6 1/2 years ago now...), I had the other threads on this board to turn to and to get advice from and to support and be supported by. With the PhD applications, it's sort of different. There aren't as many programs, aren't as many applicants (collectively...), isn't as much of a presence on these boards. But y'all are a great presence! I hope that we can all just really support each other in this kickass sort of way next year. :)


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Apr 12, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #166 of 2090 (19173 views)
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Stephanie, I enjoyed reading your post. Everything you said is the kind of thoughts I had when I went through finally deciding to apply to an MFA program.

SO best of luck to you. I think that is really exciting. I am early in my career of writing and teaching (hope to teach!) but I'd love to see where you end up because I have a feeling a PHD might be in my future some day too.

**best wishes**
Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


gcsumfa


Apr 14, 2007, 11:31 PM

Post #167 of 2090 (19106 views)
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Re: [jacarty] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone familiar with Salt Lake City? I am interested in applying to Utah, but would like to know more about the city...the straight dope.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Apr 16, 2007, 10:04 AM

Post #168 of 2090 (19065 views)
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All I know about SLC is that there are weird things about drinking--you can freely get alcohol at sit-down restaurants. There are no regular old bars or pubs like there are in other cities--there are, instead, 'private clubs' if you will to which you must obtain a membership where you can go and drink as if you were in a bar in Anyothertown, USA. And some searching on Craig's List tells me that there are some pretty affordable apartments around the city. Friends have told me that it's beautiful, a great place if you're into outdoors stuff, and I know (just because it is of interest to me...) that Utah has a bicycla coalition and has some maps and roadways that seem to be (at least somewhat, as I have no experience...) bicycle-friendly...


libbyagain


Apr 16, 2007, 11:42 AM

Post #169 of 2090 (19046 views)
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The university is fabulous. The library's first-rate. The u. community is a bastion of progressivism in Utah, since everyone in the region hard-core Mormon would prefer Brigham Young down the road in Provo, instead. If you live in the East Bench area, you will be surrounded by many u. types. For myself, there is absolutely no way on god's green earth I'd have lived ANYWHERE else than the East Bench.

Imo, SLC is a VERY creepy town. The sense of repression is, again imo, pervasive. The tabernacle compound is visible everywhere, and, for me, was a good symbol of the quality of life in SLC: beautiful in a way, and inescapably creepy.

Skiing is amazing, close by. Cottonwood Canyon is a truly gorgeous area, easy to access from the East Bench too, where you can take great walks etc. Microbreweries are everywhere, and their brew is great. The (Something) Owl bookstore in the University area, was wonderful--a great contact point for the many others like yourself trying to remain sane in Utah.


gcsumfa


Apr 29, 2007, 1:59 AM

Post #170 of 2090 (18949 views)
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Re: [libbyagain] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ahhhhhhhh. part of me really wants to apply to Utah, but I can't get the whole "creepy Utah" thing out of my head.

Anyway, thanks for the posts on SLC.


hapworth


May 14, 2007, 1:28 AM

Post #171 of 2090 (18860 views)
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Just thought I'd post and say that I finished my first year in the University of Missouri-Columbia's PhD program (fiction emphasis). Great place. Good funding (for me, $14,000 plus the $3500 I'll earn teaching a summer class). Great cost of living. Great college football. Great teaching opps: I taught comp my first semester, but then I taught creative writing in the spring, I'll teach creative writing again this summer, and I'll be teaching Intro to American Lit this fall.


gcsumfa


May 14, 2007, 11:49 AM

Post #172 of 2090 (18830 views)
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In Reply To
Just thought I'd post and say that I finished my first year in the University of Missouri-Columbia's PhD program (fiction emphasis). Great place. Good funding (for me, $14,000 plus the $3500 I'll earn teaching a summer class). Great cost of living. Great college football. Great teaching opps: I taught comp my first semester, but then I taught creative writing in the spring, I'll teach creative writing again this summer, and I'll be teaching Intro to American Lit this fall.


Thanks for the post, Hapworth!

How important is the GRE Lit for admission at Mizzou?


hapworth


May 19, 2007, 12:06 AM

Post #173 of 2090 (18757 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's difficult to say. I've never really asked anyone with admissions inside info about the importance of the GRE Subject Test in Lit. My guess is that the lit exam is semi-important, but not ultra-important. It wouldn't do well to bomb the exam (but if your writing is outstanding, even then the exam might not matter), so I'm guessing that the admissions committee just wants to see a score of 500+ to make sure that you can handle doctoral work. I think that the subject test can be a factor when it comes time for weeding out or deciding who receives a fellowship. For instance, I'm on fellowship, which means I teach one class per semester for the four years that I'll be here. My GRE Subject Test score was far from outstanding (610), but it probably fit certain criteria so that I was awarded the fellowship. I hope this feedback helps somehow.

In Reply To

In Reply To
Just thought I'd post and say that I finished my first year in the University of Missouri-Columbia's PhD program (fiction emphasis). Great place. Good funding (for me, $14,000 plus the $3500 I'll earn teaching a summer class). Great cost of living. Great college football. Great teaching opps: I taught comp my first semester, but then I taught creative writing in the spring, I'll teach creative writing again this summer, and I'll be teaching Intro to American Lit this fall.


Thanks for the post, Hapworth!

How important is the GRE Lit for admission at Mizzou?



gcsumfa


May 22, 2007, 1:46 AM

Post #174 of 2090 (18681 views)
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Re: [hapworth] 2008? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info, Hapworth. So Mizzou's program can be completed in 4 years, I take it?






In Reply To
It's difficult to say. I've never really asked anyone with admissions inside info about the importance of the GRE Subject Test in Lit. My guess is that the lit exam is semi-important, but not ultra-important. It wouldn't do well to bomb the exam (but if your writing is outstanding, even then the exam might not matter), so I'm guessing that the admissions committee just wants to see a score of 500+ to make sure that you can handle doctoral work. I think that the subject test can be a factor when it comes time for weeding out or deciding who receives a fellowship. For instance, I'm on fellowship, which means I teach one class per semester for the four years that I'll be here. My GRE Subject Test score was far from outstanding (610), but it probably fit certain criteria so that I was awarded the fellowship. I hope this feedback helps somehow.

In Reply To

In Reply To
Just thought I'd post and say that I finished my first year in the University of Missouri-Columbia's PhD program (fiction emphasis). Great place. Good funding (for me, $14,000 plus the $3500 I'll earn teaching a summer class). Great cost of living. Great college football. Great teaching opps: I taught comp my first semester, but then I taught creative writing in the spring, I'll teach creative writing again this summer, and I'll be teaching Intro to American Lit this fall.


Thanks for the post, Hapworth!

How important is the GRE Lit for admission at Mizzou?




(This post was edited by gcsumfa on May 22, 2007, 1:48 AM)


__________



May 22, 2007, 10:22 AM

Post #175 of 2090 (18654 views)
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Wait--how does the four year thing shake out when you're entering with a two or three year MFA?

How much time off for good behavior?


six five four three two one 0 ->


gcsumfa


May 22, 2007, 12:33 PM

Post #176 of 2090 (18407 views)
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In Reply To
Wait--how does the four year thing shake out when you're entering with a two or three year MFA?

How much time off for good behavior?


I think four-five years would by typical of a PhD Lit student entering a PhD Lit program with an MA as well. Most people who go straight from BA to PhD tend to take 6-8 years for a PhD in Lit, while most entering with an MA from another place tend to take 4-5 years.

I guess I answered my own question, really;-)


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on May 22, 2007, 12:34 PM)


hapworth


May 24, 2007, 1:00 AM

Post #177 of 2090 (18369 views)
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Yes, standard completion time for the PhD is four years, and I'd say that this is standard for creative writing programs since we are, in essence, writing our dissertation from the moment we enter, unlike our colleagues in lit or even comp who mus "find" their topic. Regarding the other poster's question about previous MFA work. You need to check each program's requirements. Every department will let you transfer in a certain number of hours. Most often, though, your MA or MFA work counts for two years of the six-year PhD program (there are people who are accepted into a doctoral program (typically in competitive lit programs) right out of undergrad, and they spend their first two years completing the equivalent of an MA (and if they quit at that point, they'll be awarded the MA even if the program doesn't have a master's program per se)). You might be able to cut corners if you sweet talk your adviser or the director of graduate studies: i.e. get out of your language requirement, make a great argument for why such-and-such class from your MA work should transfer over as a requirement. Some stuff doesn't take much haggling. For instance, I probably won't take an intro to theory type course because I already had one as an MA. But I'll be taking a history of the English language course, even though I took an Old English course that could qualify, but I took that course ten years ago, so, to be honest, I'd prefer to take the course, get a bit smarter, instead of trying to smooth talk my way into having the course transfer. Some stuff, like creative writing workshops, cannot be transferred obviously.

So, four years is standard, and if you are a sly dog, and you feel like breaking your back, you could possibly complete a PhD in three years, though I'm not sure why.


jrumford


Jun 16, 2007, 7:07 AM

Post #178 of 2090 (18265 views)
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I think the University of Nevada at Las Vegas also has a PhD in creative writing, and University of Houston has one of the best writing programs around (with a PhD).

If you are considering a low-residency MFA (I recently completed a low-residency MFA at Goddard College in Vermont), I think they are a terrific way for non-traditional students to work. Meaning, you can keep your job and family and not uproot your life. I feel one of the benefits of a low-residency is that you write the way you will write until you make your living from writing (whenever that may be!). You have to learn to write in the morning, or in the evening, or between going to the grocery store and picking up the kids. And this is how most of us have to write - until Oprah picks up our first book...

If you can find a program with a writer you admire, that may be the place to go, although I will warn you that a good writer is not always a good teacher of writing. You should also look to see if there are specific elements you are interested in - does the program include a literary journal experience, does the program require a semester or more of teaching, etc.?

A residency program with a great reputation can be found at Texas State University in San Marcos - for an MFA. And, oh, my, what a beautiful campus!

Good luck!

Jennifer


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jun 18, 2007, 10:45 AM

Post #179 of 2090 (18203 views)
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Just wanted to check in with people and see if anyone's still getting ready to apply for next year. I have more down-time now than I know I will have come September, so I am trying to get done as much as I can ahead of time. I think so far I've been pretty organized about this--have talked to some students and program directors, talked to some of my former profs from my MFA progam, am getting my recommendations lined up, am figuring out what I need to get done by when in order to meet deadlines, and I've started a budget that has me saving money more aggressively than I think I ever have before. I also have a couple of friends who are helping me consider which poems to put together as application manuscripts. I'm a bit nervous with all of these applications, though. I know that once i send things off I will just be a bundle of nerves. And I know that once I start studying and prepping for the GREs (and unfortunately the GRE subject tests, as 2 of my schools require the GRE lit. test), I will worry. I suck at standardized tests in a pretty big way.

The other thing I am nervous about is writing my statement of purpose. I tend to suck at writing things that are somewhat self-promoting like that. But, at the very least, I have the comfort of knowing that if I write one VERY good one it can become the foundation for the statement of purpose for each of the schools I apply to.

For anyone who has applied before--I know that some schools make you submit writing samples that are academic in nature as well. Do you know (ie has anyone told you...) how closely those are regarded? And do they need to be in literature, or can they be, say, history-based?

I'm nervous about that, too. Different schools require different page amounts (I could kiss the feet of Utah for requiring only about 6 pages of academic writing sample--especially for a school that promotes its program as being literature and creative writing focused and that seems SO academic from looking at its website). For Utah I am fine. For the schools that do not require the academic writing sample--I am totally fine. For the schools that require the 10-20 page academic writing sample, well, I have some work to do. And I am afraid of how nerve-wracking it will all be, because aside from something that shows my ability to think, analyze, and explore my own ideas, I don't know what "work" that writing sample will do for the overall application.

But anyway. I am giving myself this entire summer to think about it and to prepare for these applications. I know that if I wait until September my stress-level will be horrible (because my schedule will explode--40 hour per week office job, plus my ongoing freelance writing work, which is already in my schedule, but I am picking up again with my adjunct teaching at a local university on top of everything else...). If I add PhD applications to that mix, then I will be set up for complete disaster, I think...


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jun 18, 2007, 10:55 AM

Post #180 of 2090 (18200 views)
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Re: [jrumford] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm pretty sure it doesn't exist but are there any low-res phd programs?

given that i am only half way through my low-res mfa don't even know why i am asking but just curious.

--jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


Rambler


Jun 18, 2007, 12:54 PM

Post #181 of 2090 (18191 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

What programs are you applying to, if I might ask?


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jun 18, 2007, 1:00 PM

Post #182 of 2090 (18188 views)
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Re: [Rambler] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

At this point:

Florida State University
University of Houston
U. Missourri at Columbia
Georgia State University
University of Utah
University of Nebraska at Lincoln

I decided against USC because, even though I love the program (David St. John! He is one EXCELLENT teacher! And there are a lot of lit classes that interest me for non-workshop requirements...), I do not like the location (safety is a really big issue with me, and USC is in a pretty not-good part of LA). I also can't fathom living in LA on a small grad student salary.

I also decided against University of Southern Mississippi. Even though there's a LOT of great stuff about the program, and even though people here have written some very awesome things about it, I just don't have that gut instinct pulling me in that direction (gut instinct is really important to me. It pulls me in a lot of great directions). Also I know that if it's the only program I get into, while it's a GREAT program, it's not one that I would feel psyched to accept an admissions offer from. That's one of my guiding principles--if I only get into ONE program, and it is (insert school here), would I feel happy and excited to accept this admissions offer?

I thought seriously, for a while, about Goldsmiths College at the University of London, but even with my Greek citizenship and the relative ease it might give me in finding part-time employment outside of my studies, and EVEN with the chance to study with Lavinia Greenlaw (whose poetry I am quite enamored with), living in London and being that poor for 5 years there really isn't feasible for me.

So 6 programs. I'm also going to apply for the Stegner and for the fellowship at Wisconsin (unless by mid-February I have an admissions offer...), and I am going to apply for some teaching jobs, some of those full-year/contract/non-tenure jobs teaching freshman comp. I'm covering a lot of bases. I feel like I sort of need to...


ellen362


Jun 18, 2007, 2:54 PM

Post #183 of 2090 (18176 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, has one too.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jun 18, 2007, 3:02 PM

Post #184 of 2090 (18174 views)
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Re: [ellen362] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I hear it's especially great for fiction--some of my friends and former classmates from my MFA program are all there...for fiction.

I just have no specific desire to live in Ohio (too many personal reasons), so I didn't spend much time researching the program. But my friends who are there all seem happy with the program!!


gcsumfa


Jul 1, 2007, 3:33 PM

Post #185 of 2090 (18069 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hapworth,

You're familiar with OU's program, so let me ask you a question. OU seems to go out of its way to state that its program is a "five year program," so I'm wondering if admitted,would I be discouraged from completing the degree in 4 years? I already have an MA AND an MFA, so I don't feel like I should have to spend more than 4 years to complete a PhD in CW.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Jul 1, 2007, 3:35 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 24, 2007, 10:24 AM

Post #186 of 2090 (17988 views)
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Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey there...

So the reality of "application season" dawned upon me in a REALLY BIG WAY last weekend. It's no longer just some concept. It's no longer some thing for me to research. It's no longer something for me to make pretty little folders for and find nice applications to print out and get ready. It's almost here. As in--holy moly, where did all of that time go? It feels like February, when I sent e-mails to people basically saying, "ack, I don't know anything about your program except that it has a stellar reputaiton, can you tell me more?", was really just yesterday. The time is coming up for me to budget my money to allow for application fees. And the time is coming up for me to write a statement of purpose. And the time is coming up for me to register for, and take, the mother-frakking GREs (which scare me to death, because all standardized tests scare me to death).

Holy moly, hot mama! Application time is here! One of my best friends is appling to PhD programs in music composition, so on the one hand it's a comfort--I have a friend in my real life and pretty much in my neighborhood who is going through the same shit that I am with all of this--and on the other hand it feels like a healthy little competition or race. Me with all of the passion that I throw into everything I do and show to the world and her with all of her perspective that she emanates and all of her quiet, internal perfectionism. We both want to get into programs in academic fields that are HIGHLY subjective, and we both want to get good funding.

Is anyone else starting to feel the onset of application time? Has anyone else started to get organized? Please, I hope so!! If it's just me, then I will be, like, Queen Neurotic. I feel like I have gotten a lot of leg work done (I have some friends who are Way Smarter Than Me helping me figure out my poetry manuscripts, and I have chosen 2 different academic papers--one short, for schools like Utah that are cool with short papers, and one longer, for schools like Missouri that want the long stuff--for critical writing samples, and I have secured 4 people to write my recommendations even though each school requests just 3 letters). But I am scared shitless for writing the statement of purpose, for taking those damn GREs, and for just that whole psychological thing of sending out the applications, releasing them from me, and then that really hard thing of waiting and waiting and waiting.

One thing I can say that I am really quite grateful for is that Creative Writing PhD application fees seem to be less expensive than the American Studies PhD applications I sent out (with thankfully unsuccessful results) in 2005. I think the most expensive school fee is like $50 or $60. That's sort of nice. And I do like that FSU has a very inexpensive fee of $30 (makes sense that FSU has the lowest application fee, since it gives its admitted students the least amount of money of all the schools to which I am applying and is in a town with one of the highest apartment rental costs of my desired programs...).

One more question--is anyone else sort of biting their nails over the fact that Missouri accepts, well, 2 people a year per genre? I know it shouldn't mean much to me, but it's sort of a mental block. Egads. As imperfect as the program is, it's one that, for some reason, has become one of the ones that I would be entirely over the moon about getting an acceptance letter from.


gcsumfa


Jul 24, 2007, 10:45 AM

Post #187 of 2090 (17985 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


One more question--is anyone else sort of biting their nails over the fact that Missouri accepts, well, 2 people a year per genre? I know it shouldn't mean much to me, but it's sort of a mental block. Egads. As imperfect as the program is, it's one that, for some reason, has become one of the ones that I would be entirely over the moon about getting an acceptance letter from.


Doesn't surprise me. Ohio U only accepts two per genre. Last year I made the top 5 but the first two fiction writers accepted.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 24, 2007, 1:16 PM

Post #188 of 2090 (17964 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's funny to me how the 'big' programs acceot 4-5 per year and the rest accept, oh, 2 per year. I mean I appreciate it from a funding standpoint--better to have a small funding where everyone is guaranteed their money than to have something big and let the funding be a shaky thing--but, well, from an APPLICATION standpoint, it just makes it seem a bit frustrating. There is a voice that says, "why bother," and there is this feeling in my gut that tells me I will regret it if I do not apply, that an acceptance from that super-selective program would just be awesome.

Thankfully I know much better than to give in to the "why bother" voice. If I were to give in, well, I don't think I would do anything in my life unless it seemed "safe." I most certainly would not be writing and seeking publication the way that I do. And that sort of a life absolutely does not appeal to me.


gcsumfa


Jul 24, 2007, 1:53 PM

Post #189 of 2090 (17960 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


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It's funny to me how the 'big' programs acceot 4-5 per year and the rest accept, oh, 2 per year. I mean I appreciate it from a funding standpoint--better to have a small funding where everyone is guaranteed their money than to have something big and let the funding be a shaky thing--but, well, from an APPLICATION standpoint, it just makes it seem a bit frustrating. There is a voice that says, "why bother," and there is this feeling in my gut that tells me I will regret it if I do not apply, that an acceptance from that super-selective program would just be awesome.

Thankfully I know much better than to give in to the "why bother" voice. If I were to give in, well, I don't think I would do anything in my life unless it seemed "safe." I most certainly would not be writing and seeking publication the way that I do. And that sort of a life absolutely does not appeal to me.


In your contacts with programs, do you have a ballpark figure of how many students each program accepts? If so, could you post? That would be helpful. Thanks!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 24, 2007, 2:01 PM

Post #190 of 2090 (17955 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know about Utah or Georgia State (because I have yet to contact GSU and I spoke very briefly with Utah and mentioned that I would follow up with more stuff in August through e-mail), but:

Missouri--2
Houston--about 5 (plus I think 5 for the MFA programs)
FSU--about 4-5 (plus I think the same amount for MFA program)
Nebraska--around 3-5

...that's all I know. I mean there are schools I have left out. I didn't look too closely at Cincinnati, Ohio U, USM, USC (even though I know they only accept 2 per year), or Texas Tech, because I don't think those programs are really right for me (it would be a different matter if I were fiction--then Cincinnati and Ohio might be good fits for me).

GCSUMFA--how goes your prep for applications? Have you heard anything in your research that you would like to share?


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Jul 24, 2007, 4:39 PM

Post #191 of 2090 (17937 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Stephanie,

Do you mind sharing what your research has turned up on the financial situation at Missouri? Their website lists general numbers for taships and mentions a couple other stipend/scholarship sources as well, but I'm unclear how it all adds up for the doctoral students.

Thanks


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 24, 2007, 11:22 PM

Post #192 of 2090 (17902 views)
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Re: [GDClark] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

GD Clark--you could always e-mail Mizzou yourself and ask that and whatever questions you have of the program director! We are all responsible for doing our own research...

BUT, that said, I will say that I was told that the stipend is in the mid-teens. It's certainly more than FSU, which is around $10 K/year. It seems like all the other schools I have been researching hover between 12-14K for stipend.

What have you heard? Do you have any research you have done on any PhD programs that you are willing to share?


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Jul 25, 2007, 6:07 PM

Post #193 of 2090 (17875 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, of course we're all responsible for our own research, but hopefully some of that research can be done informally on boards like this one where we're likely to find others going through the same application process. If you have specific questions that I or anyone else might be able to help with please don't hesitate to ask them.

I appreciate the Missouri figures. That's about what I'd gathered from their website, but I'd hoped I was missing something and thought you might be able to clear it up for me.

As my own research on the topic of funding, I'll mention here that there are a few programs out there that might not be on most people's radar but have very competitive packages. UGA, for example, pays year round without requiring you to teach a summer course. A lot of schools are beginning to offer these creative PhDs now and simple rankings like a "top 5" from The Atlantic are certain to miss many fine programs.

On another topic, how interested are you guys in faculty at this point. When I was looking for an MFA a strong faculty topped my list of priorities, but as I think about the PhD I'm less concerned with who will be leading the workshops and more interested in things like location, funding, and teaching load (3 units of written comp a semester for the first two years?) and the like. Anyone want to weigh in on how your priorities have changed since selecting an MFA?


gcsumfa


Jul 25, 2007, 7:29 PM

Post #194 of 2090 (17868 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

GD,

I have a general observation that I've noticed during my research over the last year or so: some PhD programs seem to send the "we-will-let-you-write-your-cute-little-creative-dissertation" vibe whereas other programs seem to emphasize creative writing as an integral component of the English department.

This fact was somewhat implied in the Poets & Writers article, "Is The PhD The New MFA," a few months ago. Of course, I certainly have no illusions of the Phd in CW being a studio degree, nor do I desire it to be such, but some programs seem to care more about CW than others. My concern would not be taking more literature classes, but being a “PhD” creative writing student in a department that isn’t very CW friendly.

I have a feeling that some programs "offer" the creative dissertation option more to attract students (i.e. cheap labor) to their departments more than out of a commitment to the discipline.

Just my two cents on that matter; others might disagree.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Jul 25, 2007, 7:45 PM)


gcsumfa


Jul 25, 2007, 7:47 PM

Post #195 of 2090 (17863 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Steph,

I know this sounds crazy, but I'm probably only applying to OU. I don't have the time to devote to studying for the GRE LIT and I have some contacts at OU. I came really close to getting in last year and like my chances this year with a better writing sample and SOP. According to their grad director, last year was the first time in a long time that their top two choices in fiction accepted right off the bat…just my luck…sigh. So I feel that if I can make top 5 again, my chances will be decent.

If I don't make it into OU this year, I'll go all out next year and apply to a bunch of places. I have a decent teaching gig right now so I don't mind waiting another year if OU doesn’t pan out.

My genre is fiction. I like OU for their fiction faculty, 1/1 teaching load, decent funding, the opportunity to teach a variety of courses, the opportunity to work for a decent journal, and a fairly easy move to Southern Ohio from NC (where I currently live).

I’d love to attend Houston and have some contacts there but at the end of the day I don’t want to live in a major city on 12-14K a year.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 26, 2007, 4:26 PM

Post #196 of 2090 (17823 views)
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Re: [GDClark] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't necessarily consider research asking people who have gone to schools to do research questions that you could ask the school yourself. *shrug* But I do think that when it comes to information you CAN NOT find from conducting your own independent research or bouncing questions about applications and the whole process off each other, then heck year--this is a great forum for it. This is one of the things that I get very stickler-ish about, more because I think that contacting program directors and spending as much time talking to people in the program and scouring a website are really awkward--and to go through all of that awkwardness and to then have other people consider conducting their OWN research a means of benefitting off of the awkwardness you endured--not fun. Not fair. Sorry. It's not that I'm competitive or secretive or anything, it's really just that I think stuff that can be found out from contacting programs should be found out that way. Program directors don't keep this stuff secret, and they don't go out of their way to NOT respond to your questions. They're there to be a resource and to attract new and quality applicants.

*shrug*

But onto your question about how strongly we are considering the faculty members of programs--I don't know. In early March I had a phone call with one of my former MFA program professors who has advice that I tend to listen not because I agree with it but because I know that he will never bullshit me. Our opinions are different on many things, but his perspective has been known to challenge mine in quite healthy ways. Anyhow, with PhD programs, he steered me strongly towards considering what faculty members at programs are poets that I can *really* get excited about. I didn't talk about it with him in that phone call--he was giving me a lot of his time in the middle of informing applicants to HIS program that they had been accepted, and he was beginning thesis defense season--but one of the primary beliefs I have is that a good poet does not a good teacher make.

But that said, I think, now, that it is an important consideration as to whether or not you can respect the faculty members as writers. I think perhaps moreso than applying for an MFA because of the fact that in the PhD you will spend far more time with these people. If I were at a PhD program that had 3 poets--and if one of them was the woman who really made my last poetry workshop in my MFA program the most miserable workshop experience ever--and I knew I had to spend 4 years learning from and with these people--would I choose that program? I don't know. Funding, location, and the interest I have in the other faculty members would play a huge role in my decision, but the fact that I can not respect one of these poets (as a poet and as a mentor) would be a HUGE detriment.

One of the things that's really tough to know is who's coming and going. I noticed on Mizzou's website that Aliki Barnstone is now a professor there (I think Lynn McMahon retired?). It's hard to know who will be sticking around and who will be retiring when (or who will be on sabbatical when). So I think it's hard to place TOO much weight on faculty until you get accepted to a program and can start asking questions in the realistic sense of what your life would be like at that program over the next 5 years. I think program directors would be more forthcoming with you over what they really know than they would at application time.

(On that note--I have heard rumors that Sherod Santos is going to be retiring from Mizzou somewhere in the next few years, but I don't know how verifiable that is.)

And I have to say, um, that knowing that Aliki Barnstone is at Missouri now--HOLY SHIT. OK. Her book WILD WITH IT has meant a lot to me, and her translation work is *really* important to me (I translate from modern Greek as well as write my own poems). My interest in Mizzou--which has already grown to ridiculous proportions over the last few months--has doubled. Which scares me significantly, since they only accept 2 poets per year.

Oh my goodness...


fuzen


Aug 5, 2007, 9:26 PM

Post #197 of 2090 (17752 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
In Reply To
I know this sounds crazy, but I'm probably only applying to OU. I don't have the time to devote to studying for the GRE LIT and I have some contacts at OU. I came really close to getting in last year and like my chances this year with a better writing sample and SOP. According to their grad director, last year was the first time in a long time that their top two choices in fiction accepted right off the bat…just my luck…sigh. So I feel that if I can make top 5 again, my chances will be decent.


gcsumfa, are you sure you really want to apply to just one school? FSU doesn't look at GRE Lit scores, neither does TTU, and though people here seem to dismiss USM (it must be the old stereotypes re: Mississippi, but man, I'm from California and lived there for two years just fine, and Hattiesburg is only about 100 miles away from New Orleans), they don't require them either. I guess if OU really is -your- school, and if you don't mind sitting out a year if you don't get in, then sure, yeah. I don't know, I just tell everyone to apply to a bunch of places because you never know what might happen. Anyway, good luck to you.

Steph, some schools don't require an academic sample. I don't think FSU asked for one. As for the others, I'd say just put in your best work and not fret about it too much. If they care that much about the literature side, and if you can't put together something as heavily academic as they'd like, then you wouldn't have been happy there anyway, right?


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Aug 13, 2007, 9:29 AM

Post #198 of 2090 (17678 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen, thanks for the words (and sorry for how long it has taken me to respond! I have been away...). I wish you luck with OU--I hear that it really is a good school. If I may ask a question, though, what will change in your SOP this year from what you wrote last year? I'm just now starting to sit down and figure out what I want to write, and it is giving me more anxiety than, I think, any other part of this application process. I know that there are some parts of my statement--the parts that really focus on what i want to get out of a program--that are more or less "template"-able, especially since I feel like I have spent enough time really considering why I want to go to a program and choosing programs that seem to be similar ENOUGH when it comes to fulfilling my hopes for a PhD, and I am pretty thankful for that. It will save me some work, I think, in the end. And then I will need to just personalize my statements for each school, which will not, I think, be TOO hard since I've done a good bit of research.

FSU doesn't require an academic sample, that's right. I think it's the only school of the ones I am applying to that does not require one. What is interesting, to me, is that Utah--which makes a fairly strong statement on their program's website about being a PhD program that is as much about literature as it is about creative writing and should be considered as such--only requires a 6-10 page academic writing sample (which is so much smaller than the usual 10-20 page requirement). Interestingly enough, Nebraska at Lincoln seems to have the highest page requirement for academic samples with 15-20 pages required.

Hmm.

Is anyone in a situation like me where I flip-flop a bit over where I want to go? I mean there is an undeniable attraction to Missouri, and my gut instinct tells me that if I happen to be one of the lucky TWO people to get in there it would take something pretty damn insane to get me to not accept that offer, but my thinking of PhD programs is more or less "besides" Missouri. Because--well--they accept TWO people a year for poetry. Some days I think Utah. Other days I think FSU. And other days I think Houston. Interestingly, though, I never think GSU or Nebraska. That might have something to do with the fact that I have not researched those programs as much as the others.


fuzen


Aug 13, 2007, 10:39 AM

Post #199 of 2090 (17670 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe it's just harder for you to get excited about Lincoln? Haha.

Actually, I was responding to gcsumfa re: applying to one school. I applied last year and was lucky to get into a few places, and ended up choosing FSU. So I'm now in Tallahassee, waiting for the school year to start. It's kind of mind-boggling sometimes, how long it'll take and how I'll be by the time I'm done with my Ph.D., but, it'll all be worth it.

I wouldn't think too much about where you're going right now. Just research all the schools and apply. Honestly, apply to as many as your patience and perseverance will allow. You really don't know what might happen - you can get rejected by a school that is generally held to be not as prestigious as the school that ends up accepting you. This happens to pretty much everyone. Don't apply blindly, of course, but do apply to as many as you can, would be my suggestion.

Another thing about professors - it's very, very hard, nearly impossible, to find out who would be the best match for you, unless you attend a workshop in person. It's not just about the writing style or how many books they've published. At Southern Miss I got to workshop with visiting writers, some very famous ones (Amy Hempel, Ann Beattie), but I learned the most from the faculty. Steve Barthelme has published exactly one book of his own, is very much unknown to most people, even literary people, but I found him to be a marvelous teacher who genuinely cares about making his students as good writers as he can make them. (Which is why he publishes so little - he spends much of his energy on classwork.) In fact, a lot of the sexy names are baits to get people to go to a program, and you might not actually get to work with that person. For example, I hear Ted Kooser teaches one class a year at Nebraska. Also, there are writers I love but who I hear are not so great as teachers. If you can, get in touch with grad students at the programs you're interested in and find out about what the teachers are really like. Or, if you do it my way, just fly by the seat of your pants and make the best of whatever situation you end up in. Haha.

In any case, good luck...


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Aug 13, 2007, 4:15 PM

Post #200 of 2090 (17646 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned a lot about that--the whole thing about great writers being shitty teachers and not-so-interesting writers being good teachers, about not "equating" writing with teaching, about being careful about the expectations you have from faculty--from my MFA program. I really, really know how that goes, and that's something that's been a huge consideration for me as I have been researching programs.

But I think there's another side of it. At least, it seems that way to me. I have a sense of what personality types I tend to get along with and I tend to just relax around and open myself up to. I think it's so hard to know that right off the bat, but some things, such as sending e-mails back and forth with professors and program chairs, can give me even the smallest glimpse into personalities and can give me even the slightest sense of how comfortable I may be with any one program.

I'm applying to 6 programs this year. I know there are more than just the 6 that I am applying to, but these are programs that excite me (at least, in case of 2 of the programs, excite me "enough") to apply to. I think that there's a lot of validity to what you are saying--apply big and wide across the field, because with these programs accepting so few people you really don't know where you will get accepted or even IF you will get accepted--but I think it's also important to think about whether you feel like you could possibly commit to that program for the next 5 years of your life if it is the ONLY place that accepts you. And to me, it's important to feel like wherever I am applying I could feel good, happy, excited about uprooting my life, giving up my job and my part-time teaching job, and say goodbye to all the people I love who are very much in the northeast should it be the only place to get in.

*shrug* It's what works for me. And I know that there are so many different ideas out there about how to apply, how to choose where to apply, and how to deal with it all. For better or worse, this is my plan of attack.

I hope that you're enjoying Tallahassee before your classes begin. My closest friend from my MFA program, Sharla, is part of a bluegrass/folk/alt country/americana trio in town called The Mayhaws. They play around a good deal. If you have a chance to hear some music and if that type of music fits your tastes, check them out!


fuzen


Aug 13, 2007, 6:04 PM

Post #201 of 2090 (17685 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly. I only applied to five Ph.D. programs myself. I wouldn't have been excited about any of the other programs, so I didn't bother.

Anyway, you're an old hand at this Steph, I feel silly now for having even tried to offer advice. Good luck with everything. I'm sure you'll do fine.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Aug 14, 2007, 10:04 AM

Post #202 of 2090 (17656 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck with FSU. I know your classes start soon. And I know, from having lived in Florida, that fall is going to be crazy up in 'Noles land (I had the (mis?)fortune of being in Gainesville and being a Gator, I guess--it was my first introduction to college football. And it was intense and crazy and weird to be around). And I hope that the humidity dies down by mid-October and that you enjoy the downtown farmer's market that I hear is absolutely awesome.

I think I'm just really nervous and a bit self-conscious about this whole process. I think I may have posted a bit about this earlier--it's one thing to get organized. These applications still feel like concepts, like these things you are planning to do. But when you reach that time where you need to write personal statements, where you buy GRE books and need to study, where you have asked your recommenders if they'd be so kind as to write letters for you, well, then the *reality* of it all just hits you. Or, at least, the reality of it all hit me over the head in a very big sort of way. I have my first "deadline" of sorts--one of my recommenders needs materials by next Monday so that she can write letters before all of her fall stuff begins (and for her fall stuff means her time writing, as she is on sabbatical for the term. And when she writes, she can't do other things like write letters). I'm fine in the sense that I have envelopes already addressed and stamped and forms printed out, filled in. But I have to write the personal statements (at least I need to have ONE statement that is in a decent enough "draft" to give to her so she can follow along with my priorities for a program and my interests). I guess for me it's sort of, like, "let the mindfuck begin." And I need to just try as much as possible to not let the anxieties over the fact that I am applying to PhD programs that can accept me or not accept me and this means absolutely nothing at all interfere with anything else I have going on.

(taking some deep breaths)


kliq


Sep 17, 2007, 10:23 PM

Post #203 of 2090 (17580 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen: I've applied to USM for poetry for the spring semester and I'm wondering how long it takes from when the application is processed until they make a decision.

This thread has been very helpful!


fuzen


Sep 17, 2007, 10:36 PM

Post #204 of 2090 (17579 views)
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Re: [kliq] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, I have no idea what the timeline is for Spring admissions. You can always call and ask - they're very nice about that sort of thing. Good luck with the application!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 10, 2007, 9:12 AM

Post #205 of 2090 (17497 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Fuzen--how is your first term at FSU treating you? Are you happy that you accepted admission there? How is the adjustment to Tallahassee and to that program?

Everyone else--how are the applications coming? Just want to check in with people and see how y'all are doing, how your SOPs are coming, how manuscript selection is coming, etc. We're a much smaller crowd than those MFA-hopefuls, and we are in a process that, I feel, is a bit more bizarre. And I just wanted to see how people are doing, how stuff is coming, how you're getting yourself closer and closer to those deadlines.

As for me: yesterday I finished my SOP for Missouri. I decided to start with that school for SOP, since it has a small word limit (the website said something to the tune of "approximately 500 words"--what do y'all think is "approximate"? I, um, interpreted it to "within 1 typed page"...for better or for worse...). Every other school's SOP will follow the same sort of formula as Mizzou, and I know it's easier for me to expand than it is to condense. I take the GRE generals on Saturday, and I take the GRE Lit tests on November 3. I am woefully unprepared for the lit tests, but I will get there. I'm nervous in general about the GREs, because I suck at standardized tests, but I am more nervous about waking up so damn early on a Saturday and dealing with the Saturday bus schedule in my city to make it to the test centers on time and to be AWAKE enough to really take these tests. Yesterday afternoon I sent out my recommendations packets. I'm working on edits to my academic writing sample, and I have finished preparing my poetry manuscripts.

Is anyone finding that the more and more they get closer to finishing and sending applications they are feeling like you don't necessarily WANT to apply to certain schools--like if an admissions offer were, somehow, extended, you might not necessarily accept--but you're curious enough about the program to apply and feel like you "should" apply anyway, because you never know? That feeling's risen in me over the last couple of months about 2 of my programs, and I don't entirely know how to reconcile it. I feel sort of shitty about it, actually, because I know that if either of those programs is the only place that offers me a spot I should be ecstatic just to GET an admissions offer. But at the same time, there is this extreme uncertainty for these 2 schools that I absolutely don't have for Houston, FSU, Utah, or Missouri.

Has any of you told your bosses or coworkers that you're applying to programs? I haven't, just because I think the odds are so ridiculous of actually getting in anywhere, and I am scared of shooting myself in the foot come April. But keeping this to myself is so hard. It's such a huge thing--at least now, when I am finishing applications stuff--that it seems kind of strange to keep it so much to myself.

Back to work for me...
(grumble grumble)


fuzen


Oct 10, 2007, 10:31 AM

Post #206 of 2090 (17490 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Stephanie,

FSU is great. I am super happy here. It's a big program, so it was a little overwhelming at first (coming from a tiny program where everyone knew each other), and I was a little unsettled by what I perceived to be a lack of warmth at the beginning, but soon figured out how things go and met plenty of people and hung out with the Director and am now feeling good overall. Very satisfied and glad I decided to come here.

I know this all sounds very general - if you have specific questions about the program feel free to message me and I'll talk more about it. Got to go work on a story due tomorrow. Good luck with your apps!


hamlet3145


Oct 11, 2007, 11:55 AM

Post #207 of 2090 (17435 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've decided not to apply this year.

Doing the math, I would be in a profoundly better spot if I wait a bit longer and payed off a few things. Also, I have to admit that I've been looking into the option of getting an Ed.D. here at Montana (where I have in-state tution now) instead. I've taken some graduate coursework in the Education department as electives for my MFA and have really enoyed the experience. (One can tailor the degree to higher ed rather than the more common K-12, and even more specifically, toward the application of technology to the arts/hummanities which is a huge interest of mine). I guess I'm just wondering how much more I am going to get out of workshops/lit classes at this point. We'll see; I've lots of time to ponder.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 11, 2007, 4:32 PM

Post #208 of 2090 (17415 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a really interesting idea actually. I wondered about some of the Master's programs that are offered in education like the MAT and such. Of course if I decided to get another Master's after my MFA (which is still in progress) my husband might kill me :)

Does the Master's in Education help you job wise in anything in particular?


http://jessiecarty.com


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 12, 2007, 10:03 AM

Post #209 of 2090 (17375 views)
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Re: [jacarty] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I know people with a master's in ed. who have gotten jobs rather easily in higher ed administration, in the administrative offices of high school districts, and in educational and cultural nonprofits. Also, a M.Ed. might help in getting jobs in private and charter high schools that don't necessarily carry the same licensure requirements that a public school requires of its teachers.

It IS an interesting idea, and I think that people with a background in english education or arts in education wind up opening doors that people with a more traditional PhD in literature can't quite open...at least from seeing some of the "not required but preferred" types of background requirements on some of the chronicle.com faculty positions listed.

Good luck to you as you pursue this! Really--good, good luck to you!!!


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 12, 2007, 10:23 AM

Post #210 of 2090 (17373 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info. I was really interested in the Educational Theories classes during my undergrad days so I definitely want to keep this as a possiblity!

--Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


gcsumfa


Oct 16, 2007, 1:57 PM

Post #211 of 2090 (17318 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Stephanie,

FSU is great. I am super happy here. It's a big program, so it was a little overwhelming at first (coming from a tiny program where everyone knew each other), and I was a little unsettled by what I perceived to be a lack of warmth at the beginning, but soon figured out how things go and met plenty of people and hung out with the Director and am now feeling good overall. Very satisfied and glad I decided to come here.

I know this all sounds very general - if you have specific questions about the program feel free to message me and I'll talk more about it. Got to go work on a story due tomorrow. Good luck with your apps!



Fuzen,

Would you mind sharing your current funding situation at FSU, as well as cost of living? What is your teaching load?

Thanks!


fuzen


Oct 16, 2007, 2:17 PM

Post #212 of 2090 (17316 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Funding - a little over $11k a year, but it's more like slightly less than $10k because you -have- to have health insurance (about $1k a year), and as an out of state student you have to pay about $1.2k a year in fees. After a year you become in-state and pay 1/2 or 1/3 of that.

It's not easy to live on, but I'm fine with it (and the education is worth it). I pay about $500 a month for rent and utilities (obviously you can pay more or less, depending on your living standards - I've seen rent as low as $570 for a two-bedroom, but in a not so good neighborhood).

I teach two classes a semester - 25 students in each class. That may change. As an advanced Ph.D. student you'll have other options, such as editorship at the Southeast Review or being an assistant for a professor. Right now I'm just focused on doing a good job with what I have.

It can be grueling, and certainly other programs can offer more funding (Cincinnati, Texas Tech, etc.), but again, there are great teachers here, it's an established program, love the other students, and I'm very happy with what I have.

By the way, the teachers actually teach here. I know some other programs you may see a big name on the faculty list but never actually get to work with that person. Not so here.

Anyway, got to run. Message me if you have more specific questions. Good luck!


gcsumfa


Oct 17, 2007, 9:42 AM

Post #213 of 2090 (17286 views)
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Re: [fuzen] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Funding - a little over $11k a year, but it's more like slightly less than $10k because you -have- to have health insurance (about $1k a year), and as an out of state student you have to pay about $1.2k a year in fees. After a year you become in-state and pay 1/2 or 1/3 of that.

It's not easy to live on, but I'm fine with it (and the education is worth it). I pay about $500 a month for rent and utilities (obviously you can pay more or less, depending on your living standards - I've seen rent as low as $570 for a two-bedroom, but in a not so good neighborhood).

I teach two classes a semester - 25 students in each class. That may change. As an advanced Ph.D. student you'll have other options, such as editorship at the Southeast Review or being an assistant for a professor. Right now I'm just focused on doing a good job with what I have.

It can be grueling, and certainly other programs can offer more funding (Cincinnati, Texas Tech, etc.), but again, there are great teachers here, it's an established program, love the other students, and I'm very happy with what I have.

By the way, the teachers actually teach here. I know some other programs you may see a big name on the faculty list but never actually get to work with that person. Not so here.

Anyway, got to run. Message me if you have more specific questions. Good luck!


Thanks for that info, Fuzen!


gcsumfa


Oct 17, 2007, 9:47 AM

Post #214 of 2090 (17285 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Is anyone finding that the more and more they get closer to finishing and sending applications they are feeling like you don't necessarily WANT to apply to certain schools--like if an admissions offer were, somehow, extended, you might not necessarily accept--but you're curious enough about the program to apply and feel like you "should" apply anyway, because you never know? That feeling's risen in me over the last couple of months about 2 of my programs, and I don't entirely know how to reconcile it. I feel sort of shitty about it, actually, because I know that if either of those programs is the only place that offers me a spot I should be ecstatic just to GET an admissions offer. But at the same time, there is this extreme uncertainty for these 2 schools that I absolutely don't have for Houston, FSU, Utah, or Missouri.


Yes, I definitely have the same feeling about a few schools. I think this is due to the fact that our options are so limited to begin with, that almost all of us have a few such schools on our list. MFA applicants have so many options that they can easily generate a list of 8-10 schools that they feel strongly about.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 24, 2007, 9:25 AM

Post #215 of 2090 (17213 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I decided to not apply to the 2 schools that I really don't want to go to and would be more likely to not accept an admissions offer from, were I to be (admittedly lucky enough to be...) offered a spot. It just doesn't seem right to spend the money and the time to prepare and submit applications to schools that I am not excited about when there are likely so many people excited and hoping so much to get a spot.

Which leaves me down to 4 schools. And I really might only apply to 3 of them. One of them--which has one of those "not ever to be messed with" reputations and which is such an amazing school in its own right--I'm sort of ambivalent about. I'd be happy to get an admisisons offer (and really lucky), but I think that if I were to find myself at that school, and in that city, I'd have a bit of a hard time for entirely too long to feel good about going there.

Aye.
So frustrating!

I still have to take the Lit GREs in a week and a half, though. That's sort of frustrating. I really hate these exams.

And I still need to write some of my SOPs, submit my transcript request forms, address envelopes, etc. I decided that 2 applications will go out in the mail on November 15 (I had originally wanted all applications out on Nov. 15) and the other two (or one) will leave my mail on November 30. I'm busy, and while I can sort of brace myself and plow on through and just work work work--and add on these applications and get them off of my plate--I'd rather pace myself a bit more, give myself a few opportunities to rest a bit, and make sure that I am careful about how I put together each of these applications.

And then there's that damn Stegner application. Luckily not too many pieces, but there is that SOP thing that needs to be written. And the whole thing needs to be sent by the end of November.

And it scares me big-time that next week is 1 November. That sort of blows in a pretty major way.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 24, 2007, 12:27 PM

Post #216 of 2090 (17198 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck! I know in a few years I may be considering the whole PHD process but whew--what a lot of work.

Can't wait to hear when you get into all of the schools and they have to choose which one to go to :)

--Jessie


http://jessiecarty.com


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 24, 2007, 12:40 PM

Post #217 of 2090 (17194 views)
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Re: [jacarty] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, thanks. But I am not expecting to get in anywhere! It's got nothing to do with my writing. It's got everything to do with how subjective, competitive, and outright WEIRD this whole process is. And ultimately, when as little as 2 or as many as 4 (ish) people get an admissions offer, it's really a crapshoot. You can't depend on your talent serving you well or making it likely that you'll get an offer. You can hope that your talent and your letters of recommendation will get you strong consideration, and maybe even into the final rounds of consideration (imagine being on an admissions committee and having maybe 25-30 REALLY STRONg applications, any combination of which would make an awesome incoming class and then having to narrow it down to, oh, 4...). I expect to make it that far. But I don't expect more than that.

if I get into ONE program, I am incredibly lucky. And I just know that for me, if that ONE program is a school I don't entirely want to go to (and that I still can't get too excited about), it's really not worth the money and time to apply. Right now there is only one program that I *absolutely* want to go to. There are 3 others that I very much want to go to. It's pretty insane. And I am hoping, more than anything, to not get sucked into the complete mindfuck that the waiting process will be for me from the middle of January until the beginning of April when it is obvious that if I have not gotten a lovely envelope or a lovely phone call that I am not getting any acceptance offers.

We'll see what happens. But thank you, so so much, for the support.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 24, 2007, 1:21 PM

Post #218 of 2090 (17186 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

That is so completely nuts! I guess for any really good thing it has to be like that. Reminds me of applying for undergrad scholarships. So glad I'm not doing that right now!

Course, I have a feeling next year when I get really into submitting my two chapbooks I want published, I'll feel the same way. I'd love to at least get a notice of being a finalist.


http://jessiecarty.com


gcsumfa


Oct 27, 2007, 11:28 AM

Post #219 of 2090 (17129 views)
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Re: [jacarty] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, the PhD application process is a different animal from the MFA application process. Both are of course difficult, but I think the PhD application process is more difficult for a few reasons: 1) there are far less overall options and more and more applicants every year, due to the lessening "terminal-ity" of the MFA 2) many of these programs only accept a few per genre; for instance, last year I made the top 5 at Ohio...too bad the first two offers in fiction accepted on the spot 3) unlike the MFA process, your writing talent isn't always enough...one program in particular actually requires one to be admitted to the lit program FIRST, then the CW program 4) Pretty much everyone applying to PhD/CW programs is good. Who the hell applies to a PhD/CW program if he or she isn’t serious?

I'm with Steph. I just hope to get past the first round and land on some waiting lists and ride it out.

Oh, btw, does anyone know anything about Binghamton's program? I'm considering applying there.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 29, 2007, 1:45 PM

Post #220 of 2090 (17076 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Which program requires admission to Lit and then admission to CRW? Oh I hope it's not one of the schools I'm applying to! That would actually suck in a rather monumental sort of way. Hmm.

All I know about Binghampton is that I have heard the poery faculty steers its students in a rather narrative direction with their writing. Not quite right for me, but I know it is for some people.

How many schools are you applying to? How are your apps coming?

This past weekend I finalized my academic writing sample. I have to finish SOPs, and I am taking the Lit GREs on Saturday (re-taking the regular GREs on 8 December--when I took them a couple of weeks ago I was sick from some vicodin my dentist put me on to ease the pain I've been feeling in my jaw for a little while b/c of some not-fun infection. Not the best circumstances for taking a standardized test!!!). Otherwise, though, I think I'm in good shape.

But still having SOPs to finish is a pretty huge amount of work to have in front of me. Oogie. At least the school I most want to go to is all set. I guess that's something??


gcsumfa


Oct 29, 2007, 2:39 PM

Post #221 of 2090 (17066 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Which program requires admission to Lit and then admission to CRW? Oh I hope it's not one of the schools I'm applying to! That would actually suck in a rather monumental sort of way. Hmm.

All I know about Binghampton is that I have heard the poery faculty steers its students in a rather narrative direction with their writing. Not quite right for me, but I know it is for some people.

How many schools are you applying to? How are your apps coming?

This past weekend I finalized my academic writing sample. I have to finish SOPs, and I am taking the Lit GREs on Saturday (re-taking the regular GREs on 8 December--when I took them a couple of weeks ago I was sick from some vicodin my dentist put me on to ease the pain I've been feeling in my jaw for a little while b/c of some not-fun infection. Not the best circumstances for taking a standardized test!!!). Otherwise, though, I think I'm in good shape.

But still having SOPs to finish is a pretty huge amount of work to have in front of me. Oogie. At least the school I most want to go to is all set. I guess that's something??


Hey Steph, I'll send you a private message about that particular school; it's not a school that you're applying to.

As of now--and I know this sounds crazy--I'm only applying to OU. It's my clear number one choice and I just decided that since I do have a decent job right now, I would focus all of my energy on getting into OU, and if it doesn't work out again this year I'll go all out next year.

Though, I still might decide to apply to another school this year.

Thanks for the info on BU!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 29, 2007, 2:55 PM

Post #222 of 2090 (17060 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, I really don't blame you on only applying to OU. I've definitely crossed 2 schools off of my original list of 6, because I know that if I got into either of them, though it would be an honor, I really don't want to give up my good job, my life in Boston, and my teaching and freelance writing gigs in this city to go to either of those schools.

There is another school--my thesis advisor's alma mater and one of the best in the country (some may argue 'the best', for what it's worth, I don't know, but certainly amongst the most recognizable programs)--that I might not apply to in the end because I know that I would have more than enough reservations about accepting that admissions offer.

It's so different, isn't it, than the MFA applications? Even if you had your top choice for the MFA, it was easier, it seemed, to apply to many other schools; there was so much variety in programs that it seemed easy to find a handful of alternatives, should That Desired Program not work out. But like you said above, PhD is very different. There is less variety in programs. It's still too new a degree. And it's a really huge decision, I think, to take on creative writing--and the relationship between writing and literature--at the doctoral level. It makes it seem so much harder to cast a wide net and stay in good conscience and so much easier to stay so incredlbly picky.

Anyhow, I wish you so much luck with OU. If it's really where you want to go, then I hope so much that you get in. My fingers are crossed for you!


gcsumfa


Oct 29, 2007, 11:24 PM

Post #223 of 2090 (17031 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You know, I really don't blame you on only applying to OU. I've definitely crossed 2 schools off of my original list of 6, because I know that if I got into either of them, though it would be an honor, I really don't want to give up my good job, my life in Boston, and my teaching and freelance writing gigs in this city to go to either of those schools.

There is another school--my thesis advisor's alma mater and one of the best in the country (some may argue 'the best', for what it's worth, I don't know, but certainly amongst the most recognizable programs)--that I might not apply to in the end because I know that I would have more than enough reservations about accepting that admissions offer.

It's so different, isn't it, than the MFA applications? Even if you had your top choice for the MFA, it was easier, it seemed, to apply to many other schools; there was so much variety in programs that it seemed easy to find a handful of alternatives, should That Desired Program not work out. But like you said above, PhD is very different. There is less variety in programs. It's still too new a degree. And it's a really huge decision, I think, to take on creative writing--and the relationship between writing and literature--at the doctoral level. It makes it seem so much harder to cast a wide net and stay in good conscience and so much easier to stay so incredlbly picky.

Anyhow, I wish you so much luck with OU. If it's really where you want to go, then I hope so much that you get in. My fingers are crossed for you!


Thanks, good luck to you as well!

This thread has been a great resource.

I totally agree with you about the "reservations" one might have about applying to some of these programs, compared to MFA programs.

It'll be interesting to see how many new Phd/CW programs pop up in the coming years. I'm actually surprised that a few new programs haven't been developed within the last year or so. I wonder if anyone knows of plans or discussions at certain schools to launch a new PhD/CW program?


bktv


Nov 8, 2007, 3:24 PM

Post #224 of 2090 (16954 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, so I am back for round two!

My list of PhD programs:

Missouri
Texas Tech
Utah
Nebraska
Georgia State
Georgia
University of Illinois, Chicago
Tennessee

Decided against:
FSU
USC
Houston
Ohio
Cinci
North Dakota
Denver
UW-Milwaukee

It begins again!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Nov 9, 2007, 1:37 PM

Post #225 of 2090 (16903 views)
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Re: [bktv] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

BKTV--what genre are you? What made you decide against the programs you decided against (or, another way of asking--what were you looking for in programs that those schools didn't have)?

Everyone--I sent out my first 2 applications! For better or for worse, Utah and Missouri are out in the mail. I took the Lit GREs last weekend, and they were hellacious to say the least. I hate exams, I never test well, and the experience itself is always supremely frustrating. but they are taken. I re-take the GRE Generals on December 8 (when I first took them, I was hopped up on vicodin and antibiotics and in major pain and royally f*&ked up beyond even my ability, when totally normal and prepared, to f-- up such exams).

But my first two apps are out. The two that, for me, seem to matter the most (and are likely the most impossible). Especially Missouri. I know it's the stupidest little dream to want to get into that program and to think that I will, but I can't even imagine a place that's a better fit for my sensibilities as a writer or my interests as a literary translator. And of the poets who are teaching at PhD granting universities, I can't think of a combo of better poets to guide me than Scott Cairns and Aliki Barnstone. I'm sure I will not get in. I'm sure I will be so far away from even being considered, that my exam scores will shoot me so horribly in the foot, etc. But still--I like the stuff I put together for my writing sample. I believe in what I wrote for my SOP. I know that my recommendations are pretty damn stellar.

Fingers crossed! Who knows, right? More likely, my life will continue as it is now. But it could change. I could find myself moving from expensive-but-fun Boston to Salt Lake City, where I would be buying 'memberships' to drinking clubs or to Columbia, where I have friends living within a couple of hours' drive. Or I could find myself in Houston or Tallahassee, for all I know.


traveler474


Nov 12, 2007, 12:03 PM

Post #226 of 2090 (17478 views)
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Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

I just thought I'd mention the PhD program at VCU, which is a new program with an interdisciplinary focus in Media, Art, & Text. The program is across three departments (art, English, and Mass Communications) and is a little unusual in that regard. They encourage a creative component to the dissertation.


jensens


Nov 12, 2007, 2:02 PM

Post #227 of 2090 (17464 views)
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Warnborough College for Ph.D. Creative Writing? [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate this discussion! I am a working creaive writing instructor with a MA English, Poetry focus Cal State/Fullerton 1985. I have taught part-time for three colleges for 15 years. I compete for full-time jobs and always lose to Ph.D.s in English, who are humiliated to be working at a community college instead of at a research university as they had dreamed. Most of my part-time colleagues have Ph.D.s and do the same work I do. My general impression is that a Ph.D. will give you a few extra points when competing for full-time community college jobs. Publications aren't valued at all, and most schools in Oregon don't give points for pubs. to applicants.
English and Creative Writing majors and degrees create pink-collar offshore workers.

That said, sometimes we do these degrees for the pure joy of it or because it might give us that tiny three point edge when applying for the bid job at Rogue Community College.


I have also looked online for Ph.D.s in Creative Writing--only I want no residency, 100% online and at a price I can afford. Only one college pops up on my screen: Warnborough College out of Ireland providing online degrees all over the world in different countries and languages. It has a Ph.D. online that you can do for $16,000 and even one class at a time will take only three years (by which time I will be 61...). It is also fully accredited in the U.S. according to their web site.

Has anybody heard anything about this school? I don't need the conservative knee-jerk reaction to online as I have been providing perfectly good online classes for a decade. I need to know if anybody has any RECENT (not old) data on Warnborough?
Sandy Jensen
Linfield College
Oregon


__________



Nov 12, 2007, 2:51 PM

Post #228 of 2090 (17455 views)
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Re: [jensens] Warnborough College for Ph.D. Creative Writing? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh geez...

Why are pubs not valued by community colleges?


six five four three two one 0 ->


mingram
Mike Ingram

Nov 12, 2007, 8:51 PM

Post #229 of 2090 (17416 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Warnborough College for Ph.D. Creative Writing? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I'd be wary of an online PhD program.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Nov 12, 2007, 8:56 PM

Post #230 of 2090 (17412 views)
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Re: [mingram] Warnborough College for Ph.D. Creative Writing? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, it's important to remember that an MA and an MFA are very different animals when you go job hunting. An MFA is still a terminal degree, despite the fact that some people are now getting creative writing PhD. I have several friends with MFAs who have full-time (2 of them tenure-track) positions at community colleges. Also, if you work part-time, you'll get the PhD pay scale rather than the MA pay scale.

In terms of competing with PhD, I think it matters what jobs you're applying for. For a creative writing position, if you've got an MFA from a decent school and teaching experience (preferably some of which is in a field other than CW, like rhet/comp or business writing or journalism) you'll be able to compete just fine, though publication is also a big deal. For rhet/comp jobs (and maybe lit jobs?) my understanding is that your creative output might not be that big of a help, as it's not counted the same as scholarly writing.

So, yeah, if you want to be an English Lit scholar, you should probably get a PhD in English lit.


WittyName32


Nov 12, 2007, 10:50 PM

Post #231 of 2090 (17399 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] creative writing ph.d. ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some thoughts on USC from a fiction writer currently attending:

It seems the program favors poets. The administrators are and have been poets, while the fiction writers are more hands-off. In the spring, there are three classes offered for the poets: a form and theory class, a poetry workshop, and a course that brings together poets and composers to work on a musical piece together. The fiction writers have a form and theory class, no workshop. It was the same last year. One workshop in the fall, none in the spring. It really is baffling. USC has got a great line-up of writers on staff: TC Boyle, Percival Everett, Aimee Bender, Marianne Wiggins, Dana Johnson. But just one fiction workshop per year. More than one fiction writer here imagines the program actually gets slighted in favor of the undergraduate creative writing program, which admittedly is up there with Princeton as among the nation's best. In the spring, Boyle and Wiggins are teaching undergraduate workshops (as are several other writers) and there's even a pedagogy course for undergraduates already thinking about how to prepare for teaching fiction workshops in a community or academic setting. There is no such course on the graduate level; nor do PhD students get experience teaching creative writing (that undergraduate class does offer teaching experience, albeit on a minor scale, as part of a tandem-teaching or community workshop setting). Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of great things about the program. The financial support is wonderful: one of four incoming students gets at least 2 years of fellowship support, meaning no required teaching; another often gets the same deal, through another fellowship; the rest can teach. And the writers are of a high quality. But from the writers brought in to read on campus to the variety and number of classes offered, the poets have certainly had a better run of things. I hope that changes.


bktv


Nov 16, 2007, 10:18 PM

Post #232 of 2090 (17326 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Steph,

I write fiction, but I met Scott Cairns at a writing workshop. He is amazing, and I've been meaning to pick up his memoir. Have you read it? Mizzou is definitely near the top of my list.

I had a complicated set of criteria that I employed this year, which included not re-applying to programs that rejected me last year. (Ha?) I value bigger schools that have lots of resources and funds to draw from. My primary motivation for getting a PhD isn't really improved job prospects, although I know that is an added benefit. I really want more time to develop my writing in an academic setting, as well as improve my literature background. For me, a creative PhD is perfect.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Nov 16, 2007, 10:34 PM

Post #233 of 2090 (17321 views)
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Re: [bktv] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

REALLY worthwhile thoughts, though when it comes to not applying to programs that already rejected you--well, I won't go down that rabbit hole. I have my own thoughts, and I know that I can be too impassioned and outspoken for such casual conversation. I just wish you so much luck.

As for SC's memoir, I haven't read it. I just know his poems, which I really, truly appreciate and respect and love. And I know the conversation he and I have had over e-mail since last spring about the program, poetry, my writing, literary translation, Greece, religion, and Greek culture. And it's hard, because I really feel a kinship with him that makes me feel deep in my gut that he would be such an awesome mentor for me, my writing, my interests (as would Aliki Barnstone, with whom I have emailed to a far lesser degree...). But--well--they accept 2 poets. They care about test scores, and I do not test well at all. (But at the same time--I have a lot to offer, especially by way of my interest in growing as a translator of Greek literature as well as a poet--so maybe that can override? Who knows?!?!?)

I want to get in so badly. But I am already convincing myself that i won't. I don't want to be disappointed and heartbroken when I am not one of the lucky two. And I don't ever want to forget that I pretty much won the lottery if I happen to be one of the lucky two...


Amethyst


Nov 19, 2007, 1:43 PM

Post #234 of 2090 (17254 views)
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Re: Some Advice about References [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi All--

I would like a bit of advice about letters of recommendation. Specifically, I am having trouble getting a hold of one of the profs I want to ask for a letter. Since some of the deadlines are coming up fast, I am not sure what to do. I have not yet received a reply to my email message requesting a letter of recommendation. I checked to make sure I was using the correct email. Because I am attending a low-res MFA program, I have fewer profs from which to choose for writing recommendations to PhD programs. I also have an M.A., but I got that ages ago (like, about 20 years ago), so I really can't ask any of those teachers--if any of them are even still at the school.

I do have one friend who is an English professor, who also has some familiarity with my work and academic abilities. I just sent her a message asking if she could write a letter in case I can't a hold of this one prof I am having trouble trackng down. However, even though my friend is qualified to write a letter, I don't feel that type of letter would go over as well as one from one of my MFA teachers (plus, my friend has not yet agreed to write the letter).

So, what to do? It's crossed my mind to just send the forms off to my MFA prof, with a nice cover letter asking her to fill them out. However, since my email requests don't seem to be working, perhaps that would be a bad idea. On the other hand, it's certainly possible that she's just been too busy to answer the message, as I know she has a heavy teaching load. So, instead of wasting time sitting on an official email reply, it might be better to just get the forms to her.

What would other folks on the forum do?

Thanks!

All the best--Amethyst


bktv


Nov 21, 2007, 5:22 PM

Post #235 of 2090 (17197 views)
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Re: [Amethyst] Some Advice about References [In reply to] Can't Post

Amethyst,

I would try another means of contacting the low-res. MFA prof. Do you have a phone number or could the department call the prof. for you? If that doesn't work, I would go with the back-up plan. You also don't always have to state the exact relationship of a recommender. I might use the word "colleague," if pressed in this situation.

Hope it works out.


Amethyst


Nov 23, 2007, 10:20 AM

Post #236 of 2090 (17153 views)
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Re: [bktv] Some Advice about References [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for your reply.

I did finally get ahold of my MFA prof and she is going to write me a letter. Ironically, I heard from her right after my English professor friend also agreed to write me a letter.

Anyway, it did work out. All my recommenders have their forms to fill out and I now have to get my SOP together.

Thanks!

Amethyst


sovietsleepover


Nov 23, 2007, 6:13 PM

Post #237 of 2090 (17128 views)
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Re: [traveler474] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the heads-up about the VCU interdisciplinary PhD! The current students all have very interesting backgrounds--writing and studio arts are pretty strongly represented, but there's also, interestingly, a small handful of students who've done their undergrad or masters work in Latin America. I may apply for this in a couple years, especially if their funding situation improves--it seems like an almost perfect fit for me (I'm also seriously considering an interdisciplinary performance MFA or PhD focusing on creating audience immersive environments/installations/adventures, which is a sort of sub-field that is sometimes classed under theater, but as often falls under new media, arts, communications...).

Anyone have any other interdisciplinary/hybrid/creative PhD programs on their radar?


gcsumfa


Dec 4, 2007, 5:14 PM

Post #238 of 2090 (17062 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying to Cincinnati, Nebraska, Ohio, and Western Michigan.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Dec 5, 2007, 9:02 AM

Post #239 of 2090 (17019 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck!

Amazingly, even for me having pared down my applications to 4 schools, once I total in all of the costs associated with these applications, I am somewhere in the $700-800 range. It's really (expletive-in-gerund-form) ridiculous.

If I do not get in anywhere, then next year I am only applying to I think 1 school--which is the school that I want to get into more than any other, really (though I have actually been v. good about not focusing on it since I sent my application out). This whole process just costs too much money.


bktv


Dec 5, 2007, 7:10 PM

Post #240 of 2090 (16973 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I think I am in for over $1000. Sigh. I don't really have that kind of money. I am doing the online apps. every two weeks, right after I get a paycheck.


BLUECHEESE


Dec 5, 2007, 8:52 PM

Post #241 of 2090 (16957 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

4 schools? for real? I mean, there are a lot of amazing poets around... and I thought I was being kinda sparse applying to 6-7ish... 4! wow


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Dec 5, 2007, 9:02 PM

Post #242 of 2090 (16953 views)
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Re: [BLUECHEESE] Just to add to the list.. VCU MATX [In reply to] Can't Post

Yup. Only 4 programs. They're the only 4 that interest me and that I could see myself seriously consider giving up Boston, my life, my teaching, my poetry community up here, etc. for. And they're the only 4 that have poet/professors with whom I want to study. If I don't get in anywhere, I know which of those 4 programs interest me enough to re-apply next year (and likely the year after). There are numerous PhD programs out there now. Many of them just don't seem to be a match for me. *shrug* My decision, right?

Back in the day when I applied to MFA programs I only applied to 6. There was really only ONE program I wanted to get into; I was lucky enough to get in (and then to one more program, but it was really a "no contest" sort of situation for me).


gcsumfa


Dec 6, 2007, 5:06 PM

Post #243 of 2090 (16902 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

There just aren't many PhD/Creative Writing Programs in the first place. Even if one just applies to 4 programs, he or she is still probably applying to 20-25% of all creative writing PhD Programs.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Dec 7, 2007, 12:25 AM

Post #244 of 2090 (16872 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just out of curiosity -- and I realize this might have been covered before, but I'm fundamentally lazy when it comes to paging through the archives -- what's the goal of attending a PhD program in creative writing? Is it just getting more (hopefully funded) time to write? A sense that it will be easier to get a teaching job? Something else?

Just curious.


gcsumfa


Dec 8, 2007, 9:50 PM

Post #245 of 2090 (16816 views)
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Re: [mingram] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the answer to your question varies according to each writer's situation, but I'll take a stab at this.

I've noticed that more and more creative writing jobs now require a PhD. Many colleges and universities can't afford to hire someone who just has an MFA to teach two sections of graduate creative writing, and because more and more creative writing jobs are at out-of-the-way places than at places like Columbia and Brown, one has to be realistic about his or her chances to teach creative writing on the tenure track. This means teaching a 4/4 at Middle of Nowhere State Univ, with two of those classes being lit classes. Such colleges and universities need a more versatile candidate (i.e. a creative writer-generalist).

Also, there are just way too many MFA programs today; it seems like each state now has 3-4 programs, and the degree has been diluted a bit because of such over-saturation; having an MFA+PhD can give one a leg up on the job market over people who just have MFA's.

Of course, no matter what, at the end of the day publication is and always will be a creative writer's ticket. I'm hoping to use a PhD in English w/ a Creative Dissertation to buy more time, gain more diverse teaching experience (right now the only classes I can land are comp classes, and most PhD programs allow candidates to teach lit and creative writing), and to pursue critical interests that dovetail my fiction. That said, I wouldn't recommend a PhD in English/CW for someone who has no aspirations to pursue an academic career. If, say, I were working as a tech writer or in the publishing industry, I wouldn't think twice about a PhD in English/CW, even if I wanted to pursue creative writing at the graduate level post-MFA. The PhD, even if it allows for a creative dissertation, isn't a studio-artistic degree like the MFA. One still has to fulfill all of the req's that a literature candidate has to fulfill, and the degree takes 4-5 years to complete; the only difference is that that dissertation is a novel, story collection, or poetry collection and that one is allowed to take CW workshops.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Dec 8, 2007, 9:57 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Dec 10, 2007, 9:36 AM

Post #246 of 2090 (16761 views)
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Re: [mingram] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

GCSUMFA was write in mentioning that people's reasons are pretty individualized (as they should be...). For me, though, my interest in a PhD comes from two specific desires:

1. time dedicated to my writing. In the 4.5 years that I have been out of my MFA program, I have really had to struggle to balance working to pay my bills with the sort of work that will feed my chosen career path (teaching) with my writing. Most often, the writing has been on the losing end. I've written some really amazing poems since finishing school--seriously, some of the most powerful, I think, that I have ever written--and my writing has taken a really interesting path. Being paid (though nominally) to spend the next few years of my life just focusing on my writing--on the directions it's taken and on amassing enough work that I can get that all-important first book manuscript eeked together--is incredibly meaningful to me. Also having that time to write and having the resources of a large university (libraries, especially, but also research funds, access to scholars and artists in other departments, the events and guest presentations that universities tend to make available, etc.) AND having mentors who have a specific dedication to my development as a writer is absolutely important to me. I know that I'm great when I am self guided and I feel like I know what I am doing (which is hard to do when there is TOO MUCH to balance). I know that I am absolutely successful (and perhaps beyond-great) when I have the encouragement and challenges that a mentor will provide.

2. professional development, so to speak. I adjunct in the undergraduate writing program at BU. Even for the full-time, non-tenure jobs in the program--and this is basic academic writing, the sort of stuff that students in their MFA programs tend to teach--I am a far less appealing candidate than my colleagues who have the PhD. Eventually, because I am a good teacher and because I have a pretty solid relationship with my program's associate director and the "unofficial and other" associate director, I could be primed for one of the full-time jobs. But I know that I can't depend on what one school is likely to offer me by way of employment. And I know that while my MFA degree is a phenomenal thing for me to have--the program I went to exceeded any expectations I ever had for my MFA experience, and I had some pretty phenomenal thing happen in being assigned creative writing, expository writing, AND business & technical writing classes for my teaching--GCSUMFA is right; with the rapid rise of MFA programs and the ease that has come about for people to get an MFA and to have similar teaching experience, the fact that I do have my MFA and the fact that I do have some pretty awesome teaching experience is worth less than it would have been worth 6 or 7 years ago. I know that getting a PhD is no guarantee that I will get a good teaching job. I know that I, with a PhD in creative writing, will be competing with people who have PhD in American Studies, English, History, etc. for even the same non-tenure teaching jobs. I might be significantly on the losing end. But I will at least be a much more attractive candidate. And the time that I spend in a PhD program is time that I also spend teaching and adding to my CV. If I get into a PhD program, I can guarantee that I will have 5 years of teaching on top of my already 6.5 years.

3. I am ready to move. I love Boston. This city is great. But there is a huge part of me that is ready to live elsewhere, to experience the world from a different setting, etc. While I know that getting into a PhD program is not the only force that could entice me out of this city, it is a force that I am less likely to question. And it is something that will get me into towns & cities that I never before imagined myself living (my parents look at me cross-eyed when I tell them that I think I would actually really *like* living in Columbia, MO). I learned that from living in Gainesville; it's good to move to unexpected places. It's good to have the stressful stuff of moving (where your rent will come from, how you will spend your days, what opportunities you will have for a social network...) taken care of by the basic premise of getting into a PhD program, getting a stipend, and being introduced to your community of writers and scholars who will help you out and provide you with space to figure out your way around the university and around town. If I do not get into a PhD program, I might still move away. It will be a lot more stressful and a lot more question-filled, and while I recognize that my desire to move away from here is not my PRIMARY reason for applying to PhD programs, I know that it counts and it's valid.

Those are my reasons. I took the GRE Generals on Saturday and with my scores I will likely not get in anywhere (if the programs seriously consider the scores and seriously consider a hard-and-fast cut off minimum score). I really just suck at standardized tests; no matter how much I read or know my words or run through the preparatory CD that ETS sends out, there is something inside me that freezes up and that does not think straight when it comes to that basic thing of choosing the right answer on the computer screen. It's a mystery, though, that I got a ridiculously awesome score on the math and a ridiculously sad score on the verbal. Is the universe trying to tell me that I should perhaps shift from poems to numbers? I don't know. I'm banking, though, that my schools will really consider my writing sample, my academic writing sample, and my recommendations--all of which are from professors who know me and who know my writing, intelligence, capabilities, opportunities for growth, response to challenges, and ability to handle new situations--first and foremost. And then if they see the worth in having me around, they might be willing to forgive my scores (really my one Achilles heel). And if not, well, then I guess I am in the shitter as far as applications are concerned.

Ahh well. All the applications are in, the transcripts are requested, the GREs have been taken (TWICE now). At this point, I have spent entirely too much money on just 4 applications and I am through with trying any more. I think if I were to take the GREs again (like in the very start of January) that I would only add to the stress of this process and would be primed for a breakdown of sorts when I get my rejection letters in April. I've reached the point where enough is enough. I really can't do more. I hope schools find something valuable in the idea of admitting me into their programs. I know I would be a great fit at any of the places I have applied. And I know that I have some pretty clear, solid reasons for applying to programs--and to those particular programs.

For what it's worth.


hamlet3145


Dec 17, 2007, 10:29 AM

Post #247 of 2090 (16689 views)
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Re: [mingram] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've not been tracking statistics or anything, but job openings with requirements like this:

http://www.higheredjobs.com/...fm?JobCode=175284984

have become more and more common. 10 years ago there was no way that position would requrie a Ph.d.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Dec 17, 2007, 11:12 AM

Post #248 of 2090 (16680 views)
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Re: [Hamlet3145] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, that's a good point.

Though the job I have now advertised as requiring a PhD, as did another job I interviewed for (but didn't get).

I've actually considered a PhD, but not in creative writing. I'd consider doing rhet/comp, which is more interesting than it sounds, and would be helpful in job hunts, except I don't necessarily want to pursue a life of rhet/comp scholarship (keeping up with journals, publishing articles, etc.).

For creative writing jobs, I still think the main thing is publishing. Though i can't speak about the poetry teaching world, which seems more insidery (is that a word?) and tough to navigate than the fiction world.


gcsumfa


Dec 17, 2007, 10:28 PM

Post #249 of 2090 (16620 views)
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Re: [mingram] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yeah, that's a good point.

Though the job I have now advertised as requiring a PhD, as did another job I interviewed for (but didn't get).

I've actually considered a PhD, but not in creative writing. I'd consider doing rhet/comp, which is more interesting than it sounds, and would be helpful in job hunts, except I don't necessarily want to pursue a life of rhet/comp scholarship (keeping up with journals, publishing articles, etc.).

For creative writing jobs, I still think the main thing is publishing. Though i can't speak about the poetry teaching world, which seems more insidery (is that a word?) and tough to navigate than the fiction world.


The main thing is publishing, but more and more places can't afford to hire someone to just teach creative writing, esp. departments that only offer creative writing at the undergrad level. These places need someone who can teach creative writing, lit, and comp. There are more of these types of jobs available than jobs at hot shot MFA programs.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Dec 17, 2007, 10:30 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Dec 28, 2007, 10:12 AM

Post #250 of 2090 (16543 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

In yesterday's e-mail, a note from the program assistant at Missourri informing me that my application is complete and that I should hear the creative writing program's admissions decision by March 1.

(deep breath)

Somehow, reading that notice made my knees incredibly wobbly. I am already expecting a rejection note (even though it's where I would most like to get accepted). I'm expecting a complete washout of rejection notes. My GRE scores stink, and the odds are ridiculous even without considering stupid test scores. I don't know why I should be nervous, then, but somehow I am. I think there is a part of me that--no matter what it is that I am throwing myself into--maintains a small shred of hope that I might be surprised, that another outcome entirely will come no matter what it is that I am expecting.

But I am still expecting rejection letters. Even if I dream of acceptance letters.

March 1. BY March 1.

Egads.

So the waiting and waiting and waiting officially begins...


gcsumfa


Dec 28, 2007, 3:14 PM

Post #251 of 2090 (16821 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In yesterday's e-mail, a note from the program assistant at Missourri informing me that my application is complete and that I should hear the creative writing program's admissions decision by March 1.

(deep breath)

Somehow, reading that notice made my knees incredibly wobbly. I am already expecting a rejection note (even though it's where I would most like to get accepted). I'm expecting a complete washout of rejection notes. My GRE scores stink, and the odds are ridiculous even without considering stupid test scores. I don't know why I should be nervous, then, but somehow I am. I think there is a part of me that--no matter what it is that I am throwing myself into--maintains a small shred of hope that I might be surprised, that another outcome entirely will come no matter what it is that I am expecting.

But I am still expecting rejection letters. Even if I dream of acceptance letters.

March 1. BY March 1.

Egads.

So the waiting and waiting and waiting officially begins...


Steph,

Have you re-considered Nebraska? Because they now have a statement on their wesbite about the GRE, stating that they don't require it as of this year--general and subject--because they believe it isn't a good indicator of a graduate student's potential. I applied there and after studying the program more carefully, really like the progressive vibe. The grad director seems like a nice guy.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Dec 28, 2007, 3:22 PM

Post #252 of 2090 (16819 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

GCSUMFA--

I think the program is pretty solid--community-oriented, dedicated to its students, etc.--but for some reason, the more and more I investigated, my gut instinct just told me that it was maybe not a great fit for me. And I don't think that if it's the only school that accepts me that I would be totally psyched to uproot my whole life to go there. (Even though I do have a friend in Lincoln who I wouldn't mind having regular access to and who's well connected in the community and even though I do have a friend in Omaha who's a cool guy...)

When I decided ot nix Nebraska and GSU from my applications, I ultimately asked myself if I would be excited to move there if I don't get accepted anywhere else. My thoughts were so luke-warm that--even with this awesome attitude towards GRE scores at UNL--it doesn't seem, in the end, like the place for me to submit an application.

I wish YOU luck, though, with your application there!!!

: )
Steph.


gcsumfa


Dec 28, 2007, 3:25 PM

Post #253 of 2090 (16816 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks! My concentration is fiction, so I don't know much about the poetry side of the program; I do have a connection to one of the fiction faculty members. I do like the fact that Omaha is only 30-40 miles a way.

Best of luck with your apps as well.





In Reply To
GCSUMFA--

I think the program is pretty solid--community-oriented, dedicated to its students, etc.--but for some reason, the more and more I investigated, my gut instinct just told me that it was maybe not a great fit for me. And I don't think that if it's the only school that accepts me that I would be totally psyched to uproot my whole life to go there. (Even though I do have a friend in Lincoln who I wouldn't mind having regular access to and who's well connected in the community and even though I do have a friend in Omaha who's a cool guy...)

When I decided ot nix Nebraska and GSU from my applications, I ultimately asked myself if I would be excited to move there if I don't get accepted anywhere else. My thoughts were so luke-warm that--even with this awesome attitude towards GRE scores at UNL--it doesn't seem, in the end, like the place for me to submit an application.

I wish YOU luck, though, with your application there!!!

: )
Steph.



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jan 25, 2008, 10:00 AM

Post #254 of 2090 (16717 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess in about another month or so we (comparatively few) PhD applicants will start to hear the results of our hard work, sincere effort, and thoughtful consideration of which programs interest us, where we can consider spending the next 4-5 years of our lives, who we can consider mentors over the course of this time!

I wish everyone luck. I hope that the results that come forth are ones that you can sincerely feel good about and consider to be (whether out of a need for perspective or not) the best results for you at this time.

And I hope that this means acceptances all around. (smile) And that I get to see some of you (those who post and those who lurk) next year in a program that chooses to admit me!!!! I fear that somewhere around mid-February the anxieties and "will they or won't they?" thoughts and the obsessive checking of phone and e-mail (since my MFA acceptance from choice #1 program came in e-mail rather than phone or letter...) will come.

Good luck to all. I can not wait to see everyone's results!


bktv


Jan 25, 2008, 5:57 PM

Post #255 of 2090 (16673 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Application time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck to you as well Steph!


(This post was edited by bktv on Jan 25, 2008, 6:00 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 5, 2008, 12:50 PM

Post #256 of 2090 (16575 views)
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NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

What's eating away at me is not whether or not I will get into a program (though, let's face it--I really, really, really would like an acceptance) but the fact that the programs to which I have applied most likely already know whether I get accepted or not. Missouri promises to let people know by March 1, and FSU has, over the last couple of years, let acceptees know around that time (Utah let people know around February 20, and Houston, if I am correct, tends to let people know somewhere around March 10...). Now for these programs to let people know of their decisions, I think the decisions are most likely made, simply because of the following steps that must be taken:

1. program decides
2. program notifies English department and gets the final OK
3. information is updated in the application systems and in department files
4. notification letters are prepared, or e-mails written, or decisions made of who on faculty will call who has been accepted
5. notification letters are prepared for those who will not get acceptances

...this takes time. And when it is early in the semester and in the shortest month of the year (and during the semester of the year when those on the other end of the program begin to prepare to defend theses and dissertations), as much time as is possible is needed to prepare materials and finalize the admissions process. And with program faculty having just returned from AWP, which brings its own set of processes that should be finished, or student work that must now be graded, or other department-work to be made up, I can only imagine...

So these programs likely know my status, and I will not know for a few weeks. I am trying to keep myself reasonably busy this month (Cat Power concert Thursday night! Magnetic Fields and Citizen Cope concerts next week! Throwing a party in my apartment over Pres Day Weekend! New fitness programs at my gym with increased times per week I must visit! And then there is that thing called My Job Which Pays My Rent...), but I wonder if it will be enough for me to keep a minimal focus on what Scott Cairns, and Katherine Coles, and Nick Flynn, and David Kirby know about me that I do not know.

Is anyone else going through the waiting-jitters like I am?


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Feb 5, 2008, 2:08 PM

Post #257 of 2090 (16545 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Stephanie,

I've been lurking here as a somewhat twisted form of therapy myself and had planned to continue that trend until I saw your post. You're not alone in your suffering through the waiting-jitters.

The application process is a peculiar beast. Personally, when I started this process, I thought I was a sure in. I had a fellowship with my MFA and taught creative writing and comp, recently had some minor success with a couple of decent pubs, worked professionally for years as copy editor and Instructional Designer in the eLearning industry, started a web magazine, wrote a new paper on John Ashbery specifically to demonstrate mad critical skills (yes! John Ashbery!), wrote a bang-up SOP, did ok on my GREs (I thought) and should have at least two (maybe three?) lights out recs. So I applied to five programs, thinking I'd likely be turning offers down....

And yet as the waiting continues, I've managed to convince myself I've got no shot:
"My poems aren't good enough"
"My sop wasn't specific enough"
"My recommendations might not be good enough"
"My paper could have used another revision"

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

Like you, I've been busying myself as much as possible to avoid dwelling on the circumstances, but still find myself, well checking acceptances to MFAs and English programs and trying to figure out, when precisely I'll know for sure.

One notion, though, that's struck me is that, regardless of the results (and expense), it's a win-win. The simple process of applying taught me a lot about myself and gave me the opportunity to improve my writing, my poems, etc. More, the experience of a PhD could prove a fantastic way to improve my writing, my scholarship skills, my teaching and join a community of emerging writers.

But it's not the only way.....not getting in, though certainly likely to be a bit painful, means the opportunity to do significantly better financially over the next five to six years and does not, in any way, suggest that my writing won't continue to grow, etcetera.

So, yeah....I'm on pins and needles too, ready to stop waiting.


(This post was edited by LesK on Feb 5, 2008, 2:23 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 5, 2008, 2:30 PM

Post #258 of 2090 (16535 views)
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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Les,

One thing that I know is that there is no such a thing as a "likelihood" of acceptance or lack thereof with PhD programs. I say this for a few reasons:

1. You have no idea who else is in the applicant pool
2. You have no idea if the CRW faculty at the schools to which you are applying will sincerely consider your work as having room for growth and development under their guidance--or if they will just sit there and say "shit, man, those are some good poems...or stories...or whatever" and determine that you're great and accomplished but not right for what they can teach.
3. You have no idea what "open spots" might come up in the program with graduating doctoral students that the faculty might be looking to fill, or what might be determined as a direction for the program to head in, or what mandates might be coming from the English department heads or university administration higher-ups.
4. Creative Writing is *incredibly* subjective. A poem (or story...) might be "good" from a craft-based consideration, but someone reading the piece might not be "reached" by it.
5. Programs accept so few people compared to how many apply. On numerous programs, less PhD applicants are accepted than MFA applicants. With the percentages being what they are, once a program whittles down applicants to the 15 or so "serious contenders" it really could be any random mix of those who get accepted.

One of my dear friends, who directs one of the MFA programs that is considered one of the "absolute best" and one of the programs that everyone wants admission to, has told me how former students of hers who she considered to be amongst the most brilliant emerging writers who are also published, worthy of doctoral-level scholarship, and who have "all the trimmings," so to speak, would get rejected when writers who she considered to be more mediocre, less promising, etc. would get accepted to the same schools in the same years. She told me this not to discourage me (she really believes in me and my writing and that I have a lot of qualities that many applicants don't, that I should get accepted everywhere, etc., and she wrote a sort of "walks on water" rec letter for me, for which I am ETERNALLY grateful) but to help me, from the onset, keep my expectations so low that I will still be OK should I get rejections across the board.

It's so unpredictable. It's very uncomfortable, because I'm not too great at living in uncertainty, but I do know that either way I will be OK. I have a job that pays well, and I have other things that I can do next year should a PhD program not be in the works for me. Of course there would be nothing as gratifying as leaving my 9-5 job and my cubicle and the cold Boston winter behind me to focus on my writing for the next few years--and to have a guaranteed stipend, and teaching (even if the stipend is relatively meager and the teaching relatively heavy)--but I know that I will be OK. I will keep on writing and reading and sending my work out to literary journals and contests. I will keep on living in this world. And in a couple of years, I might apply again to programs.

But I do hope that I get an acceptance this time around (and to any of the 4 programs to which I have applied, even if I do have an absolute first choice...). How nice that would be!!!


LesK
Les
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Feb 5, 2008, 2:51 PM

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It's so unpredictable. It's very uncomfortable, because I'm not too great at living in uncertainty, but I do know that either way I will be OK. I have a job that pays well, and I have other things that I can do next year should a PhD program not be in the works for me. Of course there would be nothing as gratifying as leaving my 9-5 job and my cubicle and the cold Boston winter behind me to focus on my writing for the next few years--and to have a guaranteed stipend, and teaching (even if the stipend is relatively meager and the teaching relatively heavy)--but I know that I will be OK. I will keep on writing and reading and sending my work out to literary journals and contests. I will keep on living in this world. And in a couple of years, I might apply again to programs.

But I do hope that I get an acceptance this time around (and to any of the 4 programs to which I have applied, even if I do have an absolute first choice...). How nice that would be!!!


Exactly!

I know that the process is deeply subjective and was trying to point out the extremes to which one's thinking can sway. (I imagine the truth regarding my apps is actually somewhere in between "sure in" and "no shot").

Doesn't mean I'll get in & doesn't mean admissions committees will think I'm as good a fit at a certain school as I think I am...or that someone else in the very large applicant pool isn't an even better fit.

I think the discomfort in uncertainty you point out is a big reason for much of my anxiety. It's a major life change, after all. Regardless, I do wish you luck with your four applications. All are great schools and very competitive.


(This post was edited by LesK on Feb 5, 2008, 3:03 PM)


gcsumfa


Feb 5, 2008, 3:10 PM

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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

This period absolutely sucks because it's too late to apply but a bit too early to hear back from most PhD programs.

I was so busy working on my applications the last few months that I didn't have time to become nervous.

Now, Les, I'm like you...wondering how this part of my application could be improved, that part, yada yada yada.

Where did you apply?


LesK
Les
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Feb 5, 2008, 3:24 PM

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Re: [gcsumfa] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

gcsumfa,

You're totally right; it's the not being able to do anything other than think that makes these couple of months so difficult.

As for where I applied, because of overlap with other users on the board, I'd rather hold my tongue (unless popular demand requires otherwise). I most assuredly do not want to be a potential source of anxiety or false hope for anyone. (That's my real name over there....you can google and find out lots about me, even read poems, etc.) I simply suspect such comparisons, like that, might be hard to resist, but wouldn't prove fruitful for anyone.

But like I said, I mainly just don't want to cause any consternation.


gcsumfa


Feb 5, 2008, 3:56 PM

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gcsumfa,

You're totally right; it's the not being able to do anything other than think that makes these couple of months so difficult.

As for where I applied, because of overlap with other users on the board, I'd rather hold my tongue (unless popular demand requires otherwise). I most assuredly do not want to be a potential source of anxiety or false hope for anyone. (That's my real name over there....you can google and find out lots about me, even read poems, etc.) I simply suspect such comparisons, like that, might be hard to resist, but wouldn't prove fruitful for anyone.

But like I said, I mainly just don't want to cause any consternation.



Les, no big deal!:) Best of luck.


LesK
Les
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Feb 5, 2008, 4:00 PM

Post #263 of 2090 (16478 views)
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Les, no big deal!:) Best of luck.


Thanks much, gcsumfa. And of course I wish you the best of luck as well.

Are you applying for poetry or fiction?


gcsumfa


Feb 5, 2008, 4:13 PM

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Les, no big deal!:) Best of luck.


Thanks much, gcsumfa. And of course I wish you the best of luck as well.

Are you applying for poetry or fiction?


Fiction.

I applied to a few programs last year and made two waiting lists, but ultimately didn't land an offer. However, my failure was a blessing-in-disguise, as I've been able to clarify my creative and scholarly interests over the last year--and how both dovetail.

Applying to PhD programs is nothing like applying to MFA programs, that’s for sure.

Reading the "graduate forum" on the Chronicle of Higher Ed boards was very helpful, as many of the posters over there are professors who serve on graduate admission committees.


LesK
Les
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Feb 5, 2008, 4:33 PM

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Applying to PhD programs is nothing like applying to MFA programs, that’s for sure.

Reading the "graduate forum" on the Chronicle of Higher Ed boards was very helpful, as many of the posters over there are professors who serve on graduate admission committees.


Aside from the competitiveness and the requisite focus on scholarship, how does it differ? I really can't remember my MFA application process that well. Only that I got a phone call from Miami (which I attended) and a rejection from Florida (that had my gender wrong!) on the same day.

Also, I wish I'd known about the Chronicle's forum...this is the first I'm learning of it...

(yet another way I could've made my app better!)


gcsumfa


Feb 5, 2008, 4:50 PM

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Applying to PhD programs is nothing like applying to MFA programs, that’s for sure.

Reading the "graduate forum" on the Chronicle of Higher Ed boards was very helpful, as many of the posters over there are professors who serve on graduate admission committees.


Aside from the competitiveness and the requisite focus on scholarship, how does it differ? I really can't remember my MFA application process that well. Only that I got a phone call from Miami (which I attended) and a rejection from Florida (that had my gender wrong!) on the same day.

Also, I wish I'd known about the Chronicle's forum...this is the first I'm learning of it...

(yet another way I could've made my app better!)



Well, I guess the process differs according to program, but from talking with various directors, the SOP should be less "personal" and more "professional and academic"; a narrative-like SOP expressing one’s love for reading and writing might be more appropriate for studio-intensive MFA programs but inappropriate for PhD programs with heavier literature requirements. One professor told me that s/he usually disqualifies such SOP’s for PhD candidates, because—according to this person—anyone applying to a humanities PhD program should already love reading and writing. Also, I think this relates to the reality that a PhD is a more “professional” degree than an MFA, even if one is concentrating on creative writing. So, in my SOP, I focused on my current book project (a novel-in-stories), but I made sure to connect my points to theoretical concerns as well as craft concerns.

I guess another difference that I’ve noticed is the critical sample requirement (which you've already alluded to above); a lot of MFA programs only require a creative sample. I wrote a new critical paper (i.e. one that wasn't written for a previous class) on a theoretical topic that dovetails my current fiction (and my submitted writing sample).


LesK
Les
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Feb 5, 2008, 6:16 PM

Post #267 of 2090 (16421 views)
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Well, I guess the process differs according to program, but from talking with various directors, the SOP should be less "personal" and more "professional and academic"; a narrative-like SOP expressing one’s love for reading and writing might be more appropriate for studio-intensive MFA programs but inappropriate for PhD programs with heavier literature requirements. One professor told me that s/he usually disqualifies such SOP’s for PhD candidates, because—according to this person—anyone applying to a humanities PhD program should already love reading and writing. Also, I think this relates to the reality that a PhD is a more “professional” degree than an MFA, even if one is concentrating on creative writing. So, in my SOP, I focused on my current book project (a novel-in-stories), but I made sure to connect my points to theoretical concerns as well as craft concerns.

I guess another difference that I’ve noticed is the critical sample requirement (which you've already alluded to above); a lot of MFA programs only require a creative sample. I wrote a new critical paper (i.e. one that wasn't written for a previous class) on a theoretical topic that dovetails my current fiction (and my submitted writing sample).


Interesting....I just re-read one of my SOPs...

It's certainly different than an MFA SOP, but still narrative-esque and focused on my own experience/work. Hopefully, the professor you mentioned isn't at a certain Midwestern school. I have trouble believing that such a decision would be made on a stylistic choice in the SOP (rather than on a candidates' experience, interests, and writing samples).

Your paper sounds really interesting though....what precisely (if I'm not prying too much) was the subject?


gcsumfa


Feb 5, 2008, 6:58 PM

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In Reply To
Well, I guess the process differs according to program, but from talking with various directors, the SOP should be less "personal" and more "professional and academic"; a narrative-like SOP expressing one’s love for reading and writing might be more appropriate for studio-intensive MFA programs but inappropriate for PhD programs with heavier literature requirements. One professor told me that s/he usually disqualifies such SOP’s for PhD candidates, because—according to this person—anyone applying to a humanities PhD program should already love reading and writing. Also, I think this relates to the reality that a PhD is a more “professional” degree than an MFA, even if one is concentrating on creative writing. So, in my SOP, I focused on my current book project (a novel-in-stories), but I made sure to connect my points to theoretical concerns as well as craft concerns.

I guess another difference that I’ve noticed is the critical sample requirement (which you've already alluded to above); a lot of MFA programs only require a creative sample. I wrote a new critical paper (i.e. one that wasn't written for a previous class) on a theoretical topic that dovetails my current fiction (and my submitted writing sample).


Interesting....I just re-read one of my SOPs...

It's certainly different than an MFA SOP, but still narrative-esque and focused on my own experience/work. Hopefully, the professor you mentioned isn't at a certain Midwestern school. I have trouble believing that such a decision would be made on a stylistic choice in the SOP (rather than on a candidates' experience, interests, and writing samples).

Your paper sounds really interesting though....what precisely (if I'm not prying too much) was the subject?



Nah, this person doesn't teach at a Midwestern university. I agree--it shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Ultimately, the writing sample will be the top factor.

I've just been led to believe that at some programs, the literature faculty has a greater say in who is admitted.

My novel-in-stories explores mental illness stigma; the stories are told through various characters who are “mentally ill” at a particular institution that is about to close (like a lot of public mental hospitals these days). I’m trying to write a “quiet,” non-cliché, non-stereotypical work on mental illness that isn’t all about folks flailing around in straight jackets, drooling, killing people, or jumping off buildings every two seconds and more about the “quiet,” internal pain of mental illness and its devastating effects, particularly as a result of stigma. So, my critical paper explores two contemporary short stories containing mental illness narratives in light of disability studies theory that relate to such narrative constructions (i.e. illness narratives from the POV of the disabled).


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 5, 2008, 7:06 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 6, 2008, 8:39 AM

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Re: [gcsumfa] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, I think that to an extent, an SOP for a CRW PhD program has to have some sense of narrative and personal-ness. Perhaps not in the way that an MFA SOP should be--not so focused on "this is what I love about reading and writing"--but more on what it means for the applicant to have the opportunity to work with the faculty members at that one program. One of the things that I am absolutely clear of is that when the acceptees number so small, faculty members need to really feel that connection between what they have to teach someone over 4-5 years time and what the applicant can learn over that time--not only when it comes to writing, but also when it comes to the other stuff (even theory of writing and theory of teaching in a creative writing curriculum). I used this--the idea of what I can learn from different professors--to guide my SOP to my top-choice school (I am also lucky in the sense that these professors who I sincerely want to work with for my writing have also done some amazing critical and theoretical work, and one of them--this woman who's like my dream-mentor--has done a lot of work in anthologizing poetry).

That said--I'm sure I will get in nowhere. And I am sure I will be immediately rejected by my top choice, which only accepts 2 people per genre per year.

GCSUMFA, your critical sample sounds interesting. One of the things with me is that I have really diverse interests when it comes to literature--they span from critical work on literary translation to immigrant narratives to comic book scholarship (and I helped start a conference series at the university of my MFA program on comics scholarship that is still alive and doing very well). All of these, in some strange way, have links to me as a poet (who comes from a Greek American and Greek immigrant background) and as a translator of Greek poetry. I happened to have a paper that just passed the lower page limit on theories of immigration as a vehicle for understanding immigrant narratives from the late 1800s, and since I have a healthy mention of how my ethnic background has shaped me and my twin loves of poetry and translation, it seemed appropriate to choose that paper (it's also, I think, my tightest academic paper from the last few years and was, come September 1, the one that needed the least amount of revision and editing).

*shrug*

It's also a paper that I think will appeal quite well to at least 1 of my other programs (which is also a dream school for me), because that program is in an English department that has a very strong American Studies doctoral track, which is an interesting area for work on immigrant narratives to come into the fold of my non-poetry studies.

But I will probably get rejected there, too. Who knows. I might get accepted. The great moogley-wooglies in the sky might have plans for me way out there, in that entirely different climate, time zone, sense of culture, and relationship to alcohol than I have here in my little life in Boston.

And then there is FSU--the school that does not even ASK FOR a critical writing sample, but seems to have such a strong theory-focused literature program in that English department and that has so much of the academic paired with the creative for its doctoral students.

No matter what--acceptances or rejections for each of us--it's amazing to me that soon we will all know.


LesK
Les
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Feb 6, 2008, 11:51 AM

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You know, I think that to an extent, an SOP for a CRW PhD program has to have some sense of narrative and personal-ness. Perhaps not in the way that an MFA SOP should be--not so focused on "this is what I love about reading and writing"--but more on what it means for the applicant to have the opportunity to work with the faculty members at that one program. One of the things that I am absolutely clear of is that when the acceptees number so small, faculty members need to really feel that connection between what they have to teach someone over 4-5 years time and what the applicant can learn over that time--not only when it comes to writing, but also when it comes to the other stuff (even theory of writing and theory of teaching in a creative writing curriculum). I used this--the idea of what I can learn from different professors--to guide my SOP to my top-choice school (I am also lucky in the sense that these professors who I sincerely want to work with for my writing have also done some amazing critical and theoretical work, and one of them--this woman who's like my dream-mentor--has done a lot of work in anthologizing poetry).


I have to agree that there is a need for some "personal-ness" in the SOP--however you manage to convey that. After all, if your SOP is dressed up in the suit and tie of professionalism but ultimately boring, wouldn't that be a strike against you?

Given gcsumfa's criteria and--to an extent--some of Stephanie's, my SOP isn't very good. Yet, I still think it will work, as it does manage to convey who I am and the sort of work that I'm doing and will likely be doing when I arrive. In short, I'm 95% sure that if I don't get in anywhere , it won't be because of my SOP. I shall blame my poems (and then attempt to make them better)!

I just wanted to add this quick note for the sake of next year's crop of worry-worts. :-)


(This post was edited by LesK on Feb 6, 2008, 11:55 AM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 6, 2008, 12:05 PM

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Given gcsumfa's criteria and--to an extent--some of Stephanie's, my SOP isn't very good. Yet, I still think it will work, as it does manage to convey who I am and the sort of work that I'm doing and will likely be doing when I arrive. In short, I'm 95% sure that if I don't get in anywhere , it won't be because of my SOP. I shall blame my poems (and then attempt to make them better)!



Hey, I think you touch upon the most important point that we all need to remember: if the poems are not enticing to the faculty when your creative manuscript is read, then you will be an absolute no-go (though the logic doesn't necessarily go the other way around; you could have the awesomest poems and, as we all know, not get in anywhere!). I seriously, seriously, seriously believe that if your poems are up to snuff, if your academic background is reasonable enough (ie MFA or MA, solid grades, etc.), and if your recommendation letters are knock-outs, then a slightly-less-focused-than-it-can-be SOP, and sub-par GRE scores, can be forgiven. I think that to an extent--should the other elements be there--it is not unreasonable to consider that an admissions committee will get that it's difficult to write a stand-out SOP that carefully addresses both the scholarly and the crative AND is personalized to address your specific fit with that specific program. Some schools, like Missouri, maintain an "approximate word limit" of 500 words for the SOP. It's nearly impossible to address everything absolutely perfectly and clearly in such a short amount of time.

When I was doing some investigation and research last spring, the most universal response I got back from program directors about the SOP is that it needs to address, to a reasonable extent, why that program and university rather than the general notion of "oh yeah, a PhD is a good thing, I could study anywhere." And this could come from the scholarly side of things, from the academic model the program has set forth, the faculty, the availability to focus on different aspects of writing (ie Houston is big on multi-genre, Utah is huge on theory-praxis and the twin importances of both, etc. ...and all programs seem to offer the ability to focus on your place within the teaching world--because of TAships--AND your place in the publishing world--because many of these TAships can be "split" with time spent on the staff of one of the university's literary journals).

There's a lot of flexibility.
There are many personalized reasons for wanting the PhD.
Granted--a good combination of the personal fulfillment (ie time for your art) and the professional (ie developing as a professor, publisher, etc.) seems to hit home with admissions committees.
That said, however, I think that a lot of these personalized reasons are so common and applicant pools are so big that if you don't focus completely on that in a SOP that you're not screwed or doomed or less likely to get an acceptance.

(just my ten cents, it seems)


bktv


Feb 6, 2008, 12:56 PM

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Wow, everyone in this thread has suddenly gotten very talkative. I have nothing to add, really, except to say that waiting has destroyed any kind of confidence that I had. As for my SOP, I changed it this year to be more academic and less personal, because I heard from two directors of programs (both in the midwest), that the PhD is "primarily a literature degree," and that the SOP should reflect that. I don't think it will hurt to have a personal SOP, but the essays that stand out might need to include more of an academic/research focus. I also tried to connect my creative work with my critical work.


gcsumfa


Feb 7, 2008, 1:05 AM

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Given gcsumfa's criteria and--to an extent--some of Stephanie's, my SOP isn't very good. Yet, I still think it will work, as it does manage to convey who I am and the sort of work that I'm doing and will likely be doing when I arrive. In short, I'm 95% sure that if I don't get in anywhere , it won't be because of my SOP. I shall blame my poems (and then attempt to make them better)!


Well, I probably made a mistake in using the word "narrative"; based upon what I've been told, it's not so much the form as it is the content...it's just that often, the kinds of "I-really-love-to-read-and-write" essays happen to be narratives.

But, I think as long as the SOP is framed around your professional goals, that's what matters most.

For instance, my SOP certainly draws on previous experiences; I just tried to relate those experiences to my professional goals, whereas the year before I assumed that it was enough to just write about the time I looked out the window at the moon one night and decided to become a writer, blah blah blah—you get the drift. ;-)

So, last year, (and this is embarrassing to admit), I just wrote a narrative about my love of reading and writing, yet I didn’t really connect those points to my professional goals…I mean, I did mention my professional goals, but not until the end, after the "when-I-decided-to-become-a-writer" part, so my goals were sorta tacked-on, ugh. Those are the kinds of “narratives” that committee members hate (from what I’ve been told).


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 7, 2008, 1:12 AM)


LesK
Les
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Feb 7, 2008, 11:51 AM

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Well, I probably made a mistake in using the word "narrative"; based upon what I've been told, it's not so much the form as it is the content...it's just that often, the kinds of "I-really-love-to-read-and-write" essays happen to be narratives.

But, I think as long as the SOP is framed around your professional goals, that's what matters most.

For instance, my SOP certainly draws on previous experiences; I just tried to relate those experiences to my professional goals, whereas the year before I assumed that it was enough to just write about the time I looked out the window at the moon one night and decided to become a writer, blah blah blah—you get the drift. ;-)

So, last year, (and this is embarrassing to admit), I just wrote a narrative about my love of reading and writing, yet I didn’t really connect those points to my professional goals…I mean, I did mention my professional goals, but not until the end, after the "when-I-decided-to-become-a-writer" part, so my goals were sorta tacked-on, ugh. Those are the kinds of “narratives” that committee members hate (from what I’ve been told).


Thanks for your honesty here, gcsumfa. I think it speaks volumes about your work that you still got waitlisted last year!

I think everyone can agree that the key for the SOP is not that you "really-love-to-read-and-write" but what you're doing about it, plan to do about it, and how the PhD in question fits in...

More, I think we've all found ways that we can improve next year's SOPs if it comes to that. I know that I found Stephanie's eloquent last post and many of gcsumfa's comments useful. Regardless, here's hoping no one here ever has to write another SOP!

On another topic, now that the MFA results have started to trickle in, has anyone else changed their relationship to their phone?

Screening calls is a thing of the past...I've started to run for the phone each time it rings, like a high school kid waiting for that phone call from that one particular boy or girl.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 7, 2008, 12:28 PM

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Gosh, Les, I will raise my glass to that--let's hope that no one here has to write another stupid SOP again. Let's hope that we all get into the programs we spent time, money, energy, and sanity on! Seriously. And then if there is overlap amongst us, I hope that we can meet up at some great bar near our new campus homes and laugh about the sheer stupidity of this whole applications process.

I mean that.

If I am lucky enough to get in to one of the programs to which I applied, and if any of you are headed to that program as well, meeting up for a drink or two is definitely in order.

And Les, to answer your questions about the phone, I keep my cell phone with its charger plugged in at my work desk and sitting to the left of my keyboard. I have a little sheet of paper taped to my desk beneath my keyboard (and one matching slipped into my wallet for when I am not here) of the area codes of the programs to which I have applied so that I can make a quick reference if a number I do not know lights up on my ringing little cell phone.

(except my cell phone is not ringing at all, but we all know that scene)

And you're right--it is like that old thing of having your first big crush and hoping that that next phone call or that next new e-mail is from the object of your affection.

And I have to make a dirty little admission here: as these MFA program acceptances are (slowly) starting to trickle on on the "I'M IN!" boards, part of me gets jealous that THOSE applicants are starting to hear and we aren't. I think back, also, to my days as an MFA applicant. I remember how, in my first week of spring term classes in my last term of undergrad (so long ago now, and I was a non-traditional student...), I left my Intro to Buddhism class and checked my e-mail at a public terminal on campus on my walk home to my apartment and received that magical acceptance e-mail from my top choice program. That was the very start of February. And now, applying to PhD programs and knowing that I likely have a couple more weeks to wait before the anxiety REALLY starts to knock up against my sanity, I find myself wishing that all programs notified people in as timely a manner as my MFA program then notified me!

That's it. I'm off to lunch. And I am bringing a novel to the cafeteria. The little brat inside me says, "take that, poetry! While Those Who Judge My Work are lingering over their decisions, I will ignore you and read fiction! Huzzah!"

Anyways...


Moonshade


Feb 7, 2008, 2:04 PM

Post #276 of 2090 (16533 views)
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I have my own dirty little admission, part of me is enjoying listening to the agony/ecstasy on the boards of who's getting into where.


spamela


Feb 8, 2008, 11:38 AM

Post #277 of 2090 (16473 views)
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Oh yeah. It's taking my mind off my own agony for the moment. I find myself thinking things like: Oh god, I hope that Atlantic article about PhD programs last summer hasn't led to an increase in applications this year. I mean, compared to MFA programs there are SO FEW PhD programs. Truck on, my friends and competitors. Truck on.


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Feb 8, 2008, 12:26 PM

Post #278 of 2090 (16458 views)
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Re: [spamela] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Indeed. Thankfully, I only applied to one of those "top 5"....although I think for my aims most of my schools are perfect (which seems to me to point to the validity of those rankings). Hopefully, if that increase occurs, it only hammers those top 5 programs and the incoming class wherever I end up is so remarkable (excepting me of course) that that class completely skews the rankings the next time a national publication decides to rank programs.

Mad pubs everywhere; everyone with a first book (and some a second) by graduation, two or three best sellers for those whose work is inclined so, and everyone in a tenure track within a year after graduation.

Yeah, I can dream.

So spamela, what's your primary genre? Poetry? Fiction? CNF? Grateful Dead studies?




In Reply To
Oh yeah. It's taking my mind off my own agony for the moment. I find myself thinking things like: Oh god, I hope that Atlantic article about PhD programs last summer hasn't led to an increase in applications this year. I mean, compared to MFA programs there are SO FEW PhD programs. Truck on, my friends and competitors. Truck on.



spamela


Feb 8, 2008, 12:29 PM

Post #279 of 2090 (16455 views)
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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I accidentally minored in GDS in college. But now i'm fiction.


LesK
Les
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Feb 8, 2008, 12:32 PM

Post #280 of 2090 (16451 views)
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Re: [spamela] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow...that is truly the best answer I could've expected. Thank you.


In Reply To
I think I accidentally minored in GDS in college. But now i'm fiction.



gcsumfa


Feb 8, 2008, 3:39 PM

Post #281 of 2090 (16418 views)
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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

FYI: I didn't apply to Mizzou, but someone is reporting an acceptance to MU's English PhD program on grad cafe, per phone; no mention of whether or not the person's concentration is creative writing, but I figured I'd still mention it.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 8, 2008, 3:40 PM)


LesK
Les
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Feb 8, 2008, 5:24 PM

Post #282 of 2090 (16394 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Hmm....do the straight PhD's tend to inform earlier?



In Reply To
FYI: I didn't apply to Mizzou, but someone is reporting an acceptance to MU's English PhD program on grad cafe, per phone; no mention of whether or not the person's concentration is creative writing, but I figured I'd still mention it.



stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 8, 2008, 6:09 PM

Post #283 of 2090 (16379 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Aye, thanks for the heads up. I so totally wish that that person were ME reporting an acceptance. I mean--my dream program!

Aye.

Happy weekend to all, I guess...


gcsumfa


Feb 8, 2008, 6:21 PM

Post #284 of 2090 (16374 views)
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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hmm....do the straight PhD's tend to inform earlier?



In Reply To
FYI: I didn't apply to Mizzou, but someone is reporting an acceptance to MU's English PhD program on grad cafe, per phone; no mention of whether or not the person's concentration is creative writing, but I figured I'd still mention it.



The person stated that h/she received a fellowship nomination, so I'm guessing that's why the offer came a bit earlier.


bktv


Feb 8, 2008, 6:32 PM

Post #285 of 2090 (16367 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Mizzou told me March 1st. I'm going to hope that the gradcafe listing wasn't for creative writing. Who knows how these admissions processes work. If I did I would already be in somewhere.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 8, 2008, 7:06 PM

Post #286 of 2090 (16354 views)
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Re: [bktv] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Mizzou told me in e-mail in December that results would all be out March 1. Acceptances tend to come before rejections, so maybe the accepted CRW folks will know a bit earlier?

ONE thing I am hoping for is that CRW admittees need to go through a final round of readings with grad program director in the English department--and maybe that means those notifications come later?

Another thing I am hoping for is that poetry and fiction are notified at different times (and different time from straight-up English Lit PhD).

But still I am sitting here with a sinking feeling. I mean, I shouldn't think much of anything other than positive thoughts sent out into the ether, but my mind all too easily goes to an assumption of rejection. Survival mechanisms and whatnot.

Anyhow, my weekend is getting off to a very different start (even if only mentally) than I had hoped for. At least tomorrow morning I can funnel all of my anxiety into 2 hours of spinning class at my gym...and that's GOT to be a good way to funnel extra worry...


LesK
Les
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Feb 9, 2008, 10:10 AM

Post #287 of 2090 (16307 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Mizzou told me in e-mail in December that results would all be out March 1. Acceptances tend to come before rejections, so maybe the accepted CRW folks will know a bit earlier?

ONE thing I am hoping for is that CRW admittees need to go through a final round of readings with grad program director in the English department--and maybe that means those notifications come later?

Another thing I am hoping for is that poetry and fiction are notified at different times (and different time from straight-up English Lit PhD).

But still I am sitting here with a sinking feeling. I mean, I shouldn't think much of anything other than positive thoughts sent out into the ether, but my mind all too easily goes to an assumption of rejection. Survival mechanisms and whatnot.

Anyhow, my weekend is getting off to a very different start (even if only mentally) than I had hoped for. At least tomorrow morning I can funnel all of my anxiety into 2 hours of spinning class at my gym...and that's GOT to be a good way to funnel extra worry...


Stephanie,

Hope the swimming class helped with the anxiety! Though it's hard, I don't think you should fret those gradcafe results. I'm saving my fretting until I see responses to my programs of choice on Seth Abramson's blog:

http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/2008/01/2008-data-bank-of-application-response.html

And thus far, his blog hasn't listed a single PhD acceptance.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 13, 2008, 8:23 PM

Post #288 of 2090 (16206 views)
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Re: [LesK] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me give you a run-down:

Monday night: transferred stress and depression to enough frustration and anger to give me the most ass-kicking intervals routine on the elliptical trainer at my gym followed by enough squats and lunges to make me weak and tired and deplete enough of energy to not be nervous over PhD notification.

Tuesday after work: 2 straight hours of spinning class, even with a shoulder sore as all hell from a nasty muscle-strain last week.

Wednesday, 7 AM: another spinning class. Sore from the night before and exhausted from a 5:30 AM wake up and grumpy from the cold, nasty rain here in Boston, but I got my ass kicked and then kicked ass in that class.

Wednesday, 1:54 PM: I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM SCOTT CAIRNS ADMITTING ME INTO MISSOURI'S PHD PROGRAM. With teaching fellowship. He heard me scream and whoop and holler and curse in excitement and he laughed. I was shaking, quite literally, for an hour.

Holy moly! Even if it is the ONLY acceptance I get, I got into my top choice PhD program! What the hell! That's insanity!!!


Glyph


Feb 13, 2008, 8:29 PM

Post #289 of 2090 (16201 views)
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Congratulations! That's awesome.


LesK
Les
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Feb 13, 2008, 8:30 PM

Post #290 of 2090 (16199 views)
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Congratulations, Stephanie!!!

Tell him to call me next.


bktv


Feb 13, 2008, 8:50 PM

Post #291 of 2090 (16181 views)
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Congratulations Stephanie!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 15, 2008, 7:23 AM

Post #292 of 2090 (16113 views)
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Re: [bktv] NOTIFICATION time is coming up!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

(I am still in shock.)

(This morning my eyes opened at, like, 3:30 and I started crying. I am so overwhelmed that there are people out there who are not my teachers, who have not nurtured my work the way my recommenders and my mentors and my friends have, who believe in me that much.)

(I have no idea when I will get over this.)

(It's almost too much to bear. I say almost, because it's so exciting, because my instinct was for Missouri since I began really looking into that program almost a year ago, because I remember, from other times in my life, what it feels like to be lucky and I have evidence that some strangely good things can happen to me.)

(It's almost like it's happening to someone else and I am watching this on a movie screen.)


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Feb 15, 2008, 8:29 AM

Post #293 of 2090 (16097 views)
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Stephanie,

I am DELIGHTED for you!! Congratulations on your acceptance to Missouri! I know how much this means to you, how hard you've worked to get this and it is soooooo well-deserved.

So....what's the next step (after you've recovered a little bit?!?!?)

Dana


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 15, 2008, 9:01 AM

Post #294 of 2090 (16087 views)
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Dana, Dana, Dana, thank you!!! I am still floating up there in the sky. Scott Cairns e-mailed me this morning to say, yes--it's real--you're really IN! (I had e-mailed him in the middle of the night with a, "really? Or is this just some sick joke?" e-mail. I was just in such a state of shock...)

It's crazy.

Well, next steps are to go to this admitted student event thing happening next month (I know about it, I mean I somehow knew that there was a sort of admitted students weekend last year, but I don't remember *just* how I learned that...and Scott mentioned it to me, along with a calendar date, so that I can plan to take time off of my job). I need to find inexpensive enough airfare out to Missouri. I might fly into St. Louis (it might be cheaper, and one of my best friends and his wife--who has become another best friend--live there--and I can stay with them and visit with them) and get a car rental, then drive to Columbia for this event, and then spend a couple of days in St. Louis with Benjamin and Shana. I need to also find an apartment.

I decided that I am not telling my boss just yet. If I can hold out so long, I will tell him after that magic April 15 notification deadline, because by then, it will be "final" I guess. I'm not giving MU the official "I am going!" until I get word from all of my programs, just because for some strange reason that feels right--sort of like letting Missouri know that I am definitely going is a way to close out this whole insane process of researching, applying, waiting, hearing, etc.

Luckily, my apartment is on a month-to-month system, so I don't have to worry about when I leave. I just need to be diligent about notifying my landlords within a reasonable (1-2 month) timeframe. I'm hoping, before I let them know that I am leaving, to drum up interest from a few of my friends and acquaintances so I can offer some possible new tenants.

My goal right now is to leave my job on July 31 and to leave for Missouri the next day.
I know I need to get a car--it's just a matter of whether I buy one here or once I arrive in Missouri (I know nothing about cars). I need an apartment, first, and I am hoping for a place close enough to campus so that I can walk or bike.

And then I need to start packing. I'm going to basically sell all of my furniture--there is no use in spending ridiculous amounts of money to have it moved to Columbia when it is so easy to sell furniture around here, especially to the Tufts students who live in my neighborhood (my apt. is on the edge of the Tufts campus) or to a friend, perhaps, who might take over my lease (smile). I think I will be sending many, many, many boxes of books and kitchenware and towels and winter clothes to my friends in St. Louis--they own a house and have a basement in which they can store stuff (and one of them drives a station wagon and can transport stuff to me in Columbia easily.). I'm REALLY lucky, because as soon as I told Benjamin (who told Shana), they both sent me a barrage of e-mails asking me what my plans were, how they could help me transition, and letting me know that St. Louis is only a couple of hours away and they can not wait to visit me often in Columbia.

Oh boy.
It's insanity all around.
I'm amazed beyond what I can even really say without sounding like a blathering fool.
Wow.

This is really happening.

(And Dana, we need to have another one of our gab sessions! It has been entirely too long!!!)


gcsumfa


Feb 15, 2008, 9:42 PM

Post #295 of 2090 (16039 views)
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In Reply To
Dana, Dana, Dana, thank you!!! I am still floating up there in the sky. Scott Cairns e-mailed me this morning to say, yes--it's real--you're really IN! (I had e-mailed him in the middle of the night with a, "really? Or is this just some sick joke?" e-mail. I was just in such a state of shock...)

It's crazy.

Well, next steps are to go to this admitted student event thing happening next month (I know about it, I mean I somehow knew that there was a sort of admitted students weekend last year, but I don't remember *just* how I learned that...and Scott mentioned it to me, along with a calendar date, so that I can plan to take time off of my job). I need to find inexpensive enough airfare out to Missouri. I might fly into St. Louis (it might be cheaper, and one of my best friends and his wife--who has become another best friend--live there--and I can stay with them and visit with them) and get a car rental, then drive to Columbia for this event, and then spend a couple of days in St. Louis with Benjamin and Shana. I need to also find an apartment.

I decided that I am not telling my boss just yet. If I can hold out so long, I will tell him after that magic April 15 notification deadline, because by then, it will be "final" I guess. I'm not giving MU the official "I am going!" until I get word from all of my programs, just because for some strange reason that feels right--sort of like letting Missouri know that I am definitely going is a way to close out this whole insane process of researching, applying, waiting, hearing, etc.

Luckily, my apartment is on a month-to-month system, so I don't have to worry about when I leave. I just need to be diligent about notifying my landlords within a reasonable (1-2 month) timeframe. I'm hoping, before I let them know that I am leaving, to drum up interest from a few of my friends and acquaintances so I can offer some possible new tenants.

My goal right now is to leave my job on July 31 and to leave for Missouri the next day.
I know I need to get a car--it's just a matter of whether I buy one here or once I arrive in Missouri (I know nothing about cars). I need an apartment, first, and I am hoping for a place close enough to campus so that I can walk or bike.

And then I need to start packing. I'm going to basically sell all of my furniture--there is no use in spending ridiculous amounts of money to have it moved to Columbia when it is so easy to sell furniture around here, especially to the Tufts students who live in my neighborhood (my apt. is on the edge of the Tufts campus) or to a friend, perhaps, who might take over my lease (smile). I think I will be sending many, many, many boxes of books and kitchenware and towels and winter clothes to my friends in St. Louis--they own a house and have a basement in which they can store stuff (and one of them drives a station wagon and can transport stuff to me in Columbia easily.). I'm REALLY lucky, because as soon as I told Benjamin (who told Shana), they both sent me a barrage of e-mails asking me what my plans were, how they could help me transition, and letting me know that St. Louis is only a couple of hours away and they can not wait to visit me often in Columbia.

Oh boy.
It's insanity all around.
I'm amazed beyond what I can even really say without sounding like a blathering fool.
Wow.

This is really happening.

(And Dana, we need to have another one of our gab sessions! It has been entirely too long!!!)


Congrats, Stephanie!!:-)


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Feb 15, 2008, 11:53 PM

Post #296 of 2090 (16005 views)
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Well, Stephanie, if these are the kinds of plans you can make when things are insane and you're floating up in the sky, it sounds to me like you've got the situation completely under control.

It's wonderful that you've got good friends so close by. A strong support system is so important to having an easier transition, especially when you're moving so far from where you are now.

I'm not sure what you meant by "letting Missouri know that I am definitely going is a way to close out this whole insane process of researching, applying, waiting, hearing, etc." I was actually happy to end the whole insane process. As soon as my top choice school accepted me, I gave them my acceptance and declined the other school when I received their offer. I still heard from the other school I had applied to yet it felt good (settled) to me to have made the commitment. My school of choice was then able to notify students who were waiting, that there were less available spots, which in turn allowed those students make some decisions as well. But that's what worked for me and you know, you're only going to do this once and you've worked so hard to get to this place, so you've got to play your hand the way that works best for you!

And yes, gab we must. Soon!

Dana



bktv


Feb 16, 2008, 3:46 PM

Post #297 of 2090 (15931 views)
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Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

Rejected 2/16 by post, Texas Tech PhD. I can only assume that Missouri will follow sometime this week. I'm not sure where that leaves me, but I'm willing to try one more year, although the thought of all the time/money disgusts me at the moment.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 16, 2008, 4:25 PM

Post #298 of 2090 (15920 views)
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Ack!!!!! I'm so sorry to hear that. Are Texas Tech and Missouri the only schools you applied to?

Vis-a-vis Missouri, Scott Cairns mentioned to me in an e-mail that my offer letter will come "sometime soon." I don't know if the plan is to send out offer letters (which is just a follow up of the phone call and a stipend amount and info on the admitted students event next month) first, or send everything out at the same time?

Oddly enough, I still have heard zilch from Utah and the admissions website still claims that my application is out to the department (also oddly enough, they forwarded some of my undergrad transcripts to the department just a few days before CRW folks who got in were notified...whether that has anything to do with my lack of word or now I don't know).

I mean it's a moot point for me, but I still would very much like to know officially that I have been rejected.

I guess in early March I will hear from FSU, if they go by last year's timelines, and then a bit closer to mid-March Houston? Who knows. This year word could come at such a different time than last year. Or not.

Last night, in the middle of the night, I bought plane tickets to Missouri for the middle of March to check out the place. I found an insanely cheap airfare online and couldn't resist. It's pretty strange, but somehow HAVING TICKETS makes this a bit more real for me. It means that I have a reason to go out there. It's so so weird...


gcsumfa


Feb 16, 2008, 4:45 PM

Post #299 of 2090 (15907 views)
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Re: [bktv] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Rejected 2/16 by post, Texas Tech PhD. I can only assume that Missouri will follow sometime this week. I'm not sure where that leaves me, but I'm willing to try one more year, although the thought of all the time/money disgusts me at the moment.


I recently applied to Oklahoma State; on their website, they state that they'll take late applications. Also, they don't require the GRE or a critical writing sample. Just throwing that out there...the secretary emailed me last week and told me to send a TA application, so I'm hoping to hear back from them this week. The funding, according to the secretary, is six hours of tuition waived per semester and the remaining hours at an in-state rate. Health insurance...no number given to the stipend, but I'm guessing 12-14K. You might want to give them a shot...good faculty.

Has anyone heard from these schools?

Ohio
Cincy
Western Michigan
Nebraska
Tenn

???

I haven't see any reports yet for any of these programs...this is driving me crazy.


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Feb 16, 2008, 5:39 PM

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Re: [gcsumfa] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

gcsumfa,

No word on Cincy that I'm aware of...

The gradcafe and Seth's blog seem to suggest sometime next week, but the email confirmation of a complete app that I got seemed to suggest that the admissions committee meeting wasn't even until March.

More nail biting, I guess.

If last year's dates on gradcafe are any indication, you've got some more waiting to do on most applications.

Thanks, by the way, for the heads up about Oklahoma State. My wife instantly nixed the idea, but it's nice to think of other opportunities out there. Maybe next year (but I hope not). :-)


(This post was edited by LesK on Feb 16, 2008, 5:49 PM)


LesK
Les
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Feb 16, 2008, 6:07 PM

Post #301 of 2090 (46406 views)
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Re: [bktv] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

bktv,

I'm so sorry to hear that, but if you still have apps out (even if it looks like phone calls have been made) there's still hope--even if it comes via a wait list, and as you said, there's always next year.


bktv


Feb 16, 2008, 7:14 PM

Post #302 of 2090 (46383 views)
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Re: [LesK] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate the sympathetic words. It's not over for me yet this year. I still have five more apps. out there:

Georgia
Georgia State
Tennessee
Illinois-Chicago
Nebraska

However, Missouri and Texas Tech were my top choices in terms of faculty and fit with the department, and where I had positive interaction/contact with faculty. I guess my pessimistic logic is kicking in and assuming rejections from the others based on no contact/less of a department fit. I think I'm going to hold tight this year with these, and perhaps next year consider schools like Oklahoma State. If anyone is still looking for more programs to add, though, both North Dakota and Southern Mississippi list deadlines of March 1st on their websites.


LesK
Les
e-mail user

Feb 16, 2008, 8:38 PM

Post #303 of 2090 (46360 views)
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Quote
I appreciate the sympathetic words. It's not over for me yet this year. I still have five more apps. out there:

Georgia
Georgia State
Tennessee
Illinois-Chicago
Nebraska


All five look like great schools (to me). I was particularly intrigued by Georgia State myself. And Nebraska, two words: Prairie Schooner!

In fact, most of those will be on my list next year if need be.


Quote
I guess my pessimistic logic is kicking in and assuming rejections from the others based on no contact/less of a department fit.


Let it kick in if you need to...

I don't know how others feel, but after this initial rush of phone calls, and not getting one, even though more than half of my programs haven't made any contact with applicants yet (other than "your application has all materials") and none have sent me a rejection letter (soon! soon!), I've actually found it easier to function (at work, in my writing, in my life) by assuming the worst. I've started to look at this like, say, a first book competition or applying for a grant, where I think, wow, that would be nice, but assume it won't happen.

Maybe that's just peculiar mental gymnastics, but it's helped me keep the last few days manageable after a week of unproductive agony. Point being, whatever you need.


(This post was edited by LesK on Feb 17, 2008, 12:23 AM)


LesK
Les
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Feb 16, 2008, 9:11 PM

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Oh I forgot to add:


Quote
I think I'm going to hold tight this year with these, and perhaps next year consider schools like Oklahoma State. If anyone is still looking for more programs to add, though, both North Dakota and Southern Mississippi list deadlines of March 1st on their websites.


Cincy has an absurdly late deadline, but that deadline is a peculiar one. If you waited for it, you'd have funding issues (probably) andthe likelihood of being admitted would probably be reduced. Maybe you could get in if you had some money stashed somewhere to pay for the program.....I don't know.

My point? Make sure you touch base at least with the program coordinator or the secretary if you apply to a program with a later deadline now--just to make sure funding (and, I guess, other financial aid opportunities) aren't restricted by applying so late.


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2008, 12:32 AM

Post #305 of 2090 (46319 views)
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In Reply To
gcsumfa,

No word on Cincy that I'm aware of...

The gradcafe and Seth's blog seem to suggest sometime next week, but the email confirmation of a complete app that I got seemed to suggest that the admissions committee meeting wasn't even until March.


Yeah, Cincy told me early March as well...same as Ohio and Western Michigan. But like you, I'm hoping to hear from someone this week.


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2008, 12:38 AM

Post #306 of 2090 (46313 views)
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I'm surprised that more people don't talk about Oklahoma State. A.I. teaches there, and Jon Billman for fiction. The Cimarron Review is housed at OSU. I love the fact that I didn't have to send GRE scores.


LesK
Les
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Feb 17, 2008, 12:54 AM

Post #307 of 2090 (46307 views)
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Quote
I'm surprised that more people don't talk about Oklahoma State. A.I. teaches there, and Jon Billman for fiction. The Cimarron Review is housed at OSU. I love the fact that I didn't have to send GRE scores.


Did you have to send a paper? Or just your fiction sample?

It looks like a really good program. I mean, Cimarron Review...and Ai? That's awesome. Also, it looks like they take Spring admissions. I'll definitely consider that (if need be).

Poking around on their website though the funding doesn't look very good. I'm horribly afraid of more debt....


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2008, 1:09 AM

Post #308 of 2090 (46302 views)
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In Reply To

Quote
I'm surprised that more people don't talk about Oklahoma State. A.I. teaches there, and Jon Billman for fiction. The Cimarron Review is housed at OSU. I love the fact that I didn't have to send GRE scores.


Did you have to send a paper? Or just your fiction sample?

It looks like a really good program. I mean, Cimarron Review...and Ai? That's awesome. Also, it looks like they take Spring admissions. I'll definitely consider that (if need be).

Poking around on their website though the funding doesn't look very good. I'm horribly afraid of more debt....


Just a fiction sample and an SOP.

The website isn't very clear about funding, but the department secretary told me in an email "waiver of in state and out of state tuition for six hours per semester, a monthly stipend, and health insurance."

It's a Big 12 school so I imagine they would at least pay 12K for PhD students.

It was worth a shot...you never know what a program might offer you...the fact that I didn't have to spend money on sending GRE scores caused me to say, "what the heck..why not?"


LesK
Les
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Feb 17, 2008, 1:15 AM

Post #309 of 2090 (46300 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

Indeed, it sounds like it.


Quote
The website isn't very clear about funding, but the department secretary told me in an email "waiver of in state and out of state tuition for six hours per semester, a monthly stipend, and health insurance."

It's a Big 12 school so I imagine they would at least pay 12K for PhD students.


Hmm....if that's the case, they should hire me to rewrite their website. That's funding. Seems ok to me for a 2/2.

If your "why the heck not" works out, you must tell us more!


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2008, 1:18 AM

Post #310 of 2090 (46298 views)
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Re: [LesK] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Indeed, it sounds like it.


Quote
The website isn't very clear about funding, but the department secretary told me in an email "waiver of in state and out of state tuition for six hours per semester, a monthly stipend, and health insurance."

It's a Big 12 school so I imagine they would at least pay 12K for PhD students.


Hmm....if that's the case, they should hire me to rewrite their website. That's funding. Seems ok to me for a 2/2.

If your "why the heck not" works out, you must tell us more!


Will do!

Though I honestly like all of the programs I applied to...it's like, some days I think I really want to attend school y, and other days it's school x, etc.


LesK
Les
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Feb 17, 2008, 11:23 AM

Post #311 of 2090 (46256 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I can relate to this:


Quote
Though I honestly like all of the programs I applied to...it's like, some days I think I really want to attend school y, and other days it's school x, etc.


..but only for a couple of schools. More and more, I seem to be convincing myself how great schools I didn't apply to like Denver, USC, and Oklahoma State would be....


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Feb 20, 2008, 10:11 AM

Post #312 of 2090 (46139 views)
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Re: [LesK] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

I know I am probably the last person on earth who should be asking this, but I will anyway: has anyone heard a definite "no" from Utah? I know I didn't get the "we want you" phone call that people started to get a week and a half or so ago, but at the same time, my profile on the "track admissions" link on the Utah website still says that my status is "out to department."

And yeah I know I got into Missouri--but I spent time and money on each of my applications, and even though I know where I am headed come August, I still want to know the results.

How are all of you holding up? There's so much activity with the schools admitting people for the MFA, but it seems like so much of that activity is from the (vastly and grossly many) schools that don't offer PhD.

My fingers are crossed for everyone.


LesK
Les
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Feb 20, 2008, 10:29 AM

Post #313 of 2090 (46117 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

Nope. The only PhD rejections I've seen reported are from Texas Tech. I've not gotten any yet and am expecting them next week or so. Along similar lines, does anyone know if Utah informs waitlist victims (err...I mean applicants) or do they simply wait and roll admissions as need be?


Stewbags


Feb 20, 2008, 10:29 AM

Post #314 of 2090 (46117 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] Let the rejections begin [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Steph,

I'm probably a bit of a different case, as I applied to the MFA/PhD combined (being that I only have a BA). They said no to the PhD, and yes to the MFA. I wouldn't put much stock into the website admissions tracking, as my profile still says "out to department" as well. Not that it matters if you're set on Missouri (congrats, by the way!), but I'd say it's very possible that you're on a waitlist of some sort. From what they told me, there is a panel of both poets and academics for all PhD applicants - and you need the consensus of both before you get th