Mar 5, 2007, 7:58 PM
Post #56 of 213
I basically understood it that a workshop is by no means mandatory but it's probably more helpful than not, if you can afford the time and cost. If you're confident in your writing, then you certainly don't need to workshop your submission. I imagine there are significant numbers of MFA students who never workshopped their admission stories (although when you exclude the number who sought comments from boyfriends, wives, parents, teachers, or writing peers, this number is probably much smaller).
Re: [piratelizzy] Preparing for MFA apps 2007-2008?
[In reply to]
Given the competitive nature of admissions and funding, it may be worthwhile to do every little bit you can to increase your potential of getting into the school you prefer or winning a more generous fellowship. In that sense, workshops can help you see your stories from eyes other than your own, and unlike sharing your stories with friends and family, workshops give you the opportunity to see the work of other student writers and give you a better sense of how your writing compares to others in your peer group (which can give you a better idea of whether you're ready for the MFA, or whether you stand a chace at the more competitive schools). If you haven't done a lot of workshops in the past, doing a pre-MFA workshop can also give you a better idea of what to expect in the MFA program, and can help you find a few teachers to write letters of reference.
But do you need to workshop your application stories? That's a good question, and I'm not an MFA student so I can't say for sure. I think 95% of people can probably improve their stories by workshopping them. But if the cost is prohibitive, you lack the time to attend the workshop, or if the course is geared to more of an introductory level, I don't think it's necessarily worth the time. Unless your writing skills are still fairly undeveloped, I don't think a workshop would make the difference between MFA admission and no MFA admission, but it might make the difference between admission to a top 20 versus a "they offer an MFA degree?" program.