i've been thinking about that, whether iowa is my top choice.
maybe i'm just preempting rejection, but at the moment, i would have to say no. i applied to iowa, cornell, hopkins, brown, michigan, and michener. got accepted to cornell last week... (end of reply)
Cornell is so much more selective, percentage wise, than Iowa, so hey, you have a chance anywhere, Demerith. Pretty amazing that you got in, and you have reason to be proud even if other schools don't work out.
As far as Iowa-- it's not my first choice by far. But then I was born and raised in Iowa City (live in Portland now). I got my undergrad degree at Iowa. Both of my parents were in the workshop, one in poetry, the other in translation-- and neither of them have ever "made it" as far as their writing goes (spot publications here and there but no big publications). They've both ended up successful in their jobs due to the phDs they went on to get, but those MFAs... you get the idea. I'll definitely be taking my dream of publishing and teaching positions with a grain of salt.
I'm applying to lots of schools in fiction, and probably because of my background, I have very mixed feelings about the possibility of going to Iowa. I'm actually amazed how much everyone here mythologizes the program. Yeah, it's a great program, and really, I love it that so many people find it my hometown so endearing because of the Workshop (it makes up for all the putdowns the state of Iowa gets overall). At the same time, it isn't as selective as a place like Cornell, for example.
So, all I'm saying is the road to Iowa is not the ultimate path, nor is it paved with gold, unless you really love corn. Some make it, most don't. The faculty is great and there are a lot of big names, but ultimately, it's in a wooden house in a small town in a cornfield in Iowa... it's not the Pantheon. This is really just to put everything in perspective. Most of us aren't going to get into Iowa-- that's what the statistics say-- and it's not a knock on our abilities as writers, nor is it a death knell to our dreams to publish.
Once again, good luck to everyone-- things are going to get fast and furious in the next couple of weeks, I expect...
Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels