Jan 29, 2008, 7:21 PM
Post #144 of 213
Hi, idreamincursive --
Re: [idreamincursive] Preparing for an MFA
[In reply to]
The common wisdom is no, having publishing credits will not give you a bump. What the program committee cares about first and nearly last is your writing; does it show promise, and can the program nurture it and help it develop? So, your writing sample is by far the most critical part of your application. (They also want to know that you're a relatively "normal" person in the social sense; that you won't bring big weirdness and cause disruption and/or dysfunction to the program...but those concerns come after they're sold on the writing sample.)
Publication is no testament to quality, of course, and it's hard to think of something more subjective than taste. There are plenty of pieces in lit and glossy mags that are pretty mundane, after all. Present company excepted! Congratulations on the pubs.
Actually, if I were on an admissions committee and I saw a applicant with a slew of (respectable) credits, I'd wonder why s/he were applying -- to pick up a teaching credential/terminal degree? It's a legitimate reason, and I'd expect to see it explained in the personal statement, but the writing sample still would have to win me over.
Anyway, publication won't hurt you and may advance your credibility with the graduate school if there are other areas of your app that are not strong, like undergrad GPA or GRE scores. The Creative Writing committee, though, doesn't give a rip about those things as I understand it.
It's a goofy process, but really pretty straightforward considering the subjectivity involved.