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mpagan


Aug 7, 2008, 12:28 AM

Post #176 of 344 (8712 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post

This all seems too complicated.

If the school your applying to accepts 1 to 4 percent of the applicants it receives - then you should adjust your expectations accordingly (or bitch and moan about the possibilities until you get accepted or rejected)
When they say they admit that percentage - then that is your forecast - you have a 1 to 4 percent chance of getting in - no matter how good you think you are or your friends and teachers say you are - you have a 1-to-4 percent chance, or whatever percentage. Who cares who gets culled at what stage? You don't know how you're going to fare in that process. No one does. Your applying to Iowa or Michigan? Then you have a 1 percent or 4 percent chance - end of story.

Your work might get trashed in the first round at Brooklyn, or you might rocket to the top at Michigan -your feelings about your work and about other peoples work (i.e. the whole most applicants writing sucks attitude) won't change that.

I applied to 11 schools last year - rejected at all save one - Michigan.

I would have been grateful to get into any one of the programs I applied to because I want to better my work. Thats just me.

To those applying, don't psych yourselves out with percentages, just apply with a hope and prayer - and put all that energy into the sample - it's the only thing you have in the end. Sounds harsh maybe, but I think it's the best way to approach this - unless you like crawling through little mental rat mazes that get you no closer to any real cheese.


(This post was edited by mpagan on Aug 7, 2008, 12:32 AM)


__________



Aug 7, 2008, 1:37 AM

Post #177 of 344 (8695 views)
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Re: [mpagan] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, I'll decide what mental mazes entertain me!

Sorry, but you're giving us lottery odds...which bear no resemblance to reality. Iowa is not a lottery. Lan Samantha Chang doesn't scribble your name on a ping-pong ball and and dump it in a big round bubble gum machine; there are several factors that affect your odds.

...even if it does seem random.


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Clench Million
Charles

Aug 7, 2008, 1:42 AM

Post #178 of 344 (8692 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey, I'll decide what mental mazes entertain me!

Sorry, but you're giving us lottery odds...which bear no resemblance to reality. Iowa is not a lottery. Lan Samantha Chang doesn't scribble your name on a ping-pong ball and and dump it in a big round bubble gum machine; there are several factors that affect your odds.

...even if it does seem random.


Agreed. Saying anyone who applies has the same 1-4% chance is like saying if we are playing pick-up basketball and there are five dudes left for the last spot they all have 20% chance. Sure, on a math level they might... but the 6'3" athletic dude probably has a better shot than the fat 5'5" dude.


dorchester


Aug 7, 2008, 1:44 AM

Post #179 of 344 (8690 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Things seems more disturbing when you consider that most who do make it in appear to be rich white Ivy Leaguers...or folks born into heartwarming semi-poverty in another country who went to Ivy League schools on scholarship. One Iowa blogger even reports that (on the poetry side at least) they tend to admit the bored daughters of uber-rich, Rockefeller-type families -- because those daughters will one day marry, become even more bored, and bestow endowments.

I mean...Ack! 80%!? This makes the whittling down process look even worse... !




Once again, I feel the need to respond to some of the things being said about Iowa on this messageboard. First of all, the notion that Iowa only accepts Ivy Leaguers is absurd. I can remember a few students from Ivy League schools when I was there, but the vast majority were from state universities, small liberals arts colleges, and even a few community colleges. For years, in fact, Iowa was known for accepting students who hadnít even graduated from college (I donít think they can get away with that now). But the point is, all they care about there is how good a writer you are, regardless of where you went to school. In fact theyíre probably the program that places the least weight on GPAs and GRE scores. As for the diversity issue, thatís equally absurd, and all you have to do is look at some of the important writers who have come out of there over the years: James Alan McPherson, Rita Dove, Sandra Cisneros, Bharti Mukherjee, Susan Power, Gish Jen, Abraham Verghese, Lan Samanthat Chang, or more recently, Yiyun Le, Sue Kwok Kim, Nam Le, ZZ Packer, etc. I could go on and on. The point is, if youíd actually ever spent a day there, youíd realize how ridiculous this type of statement was.

Anyway, every now and then I feel the need to respond to these types of statements, and Iíve been wondering recently why it is the Iowa seems to incur so much wrath. In Edward Delaneyís interview about his rankings in the Atlantic, he makes the point that ďIowa is everyoneís favorite piŮata,Ē and this is of course the price you pay for being perceived by the general public as the best program in the country. In other words, people rarely take shots at other strong programs, like UVA or Cornell or Michigan, because they donít feel that they need to degrade those programs in order to establish their own (or their programís) superiority. And, of course, a part of me understands this. But whatís troubling to me is the way the program, and the students in the program, are so vilified and misrepresented. When I was there, the students were warm, generous supportive and kind. They also happened to be incredibly talented writers, but that was beside the point. They were, first and foremost, good people. Moreover, what people need to understand is that the students there, at least when I was there, care far less about Iowaís famous reputation than it seems students at every other MFA program do. In fact, I would be hard pressed to remember one conversation in which anyone even talked about Iowaís ranking at all, except to say that they were surprised they got in. I was even there when the famous 1997 US News rankings came out, and I donít think anyone said more than two words about it, whereas I remember my friends at other programs getting extremely worked up about where their particular program fell on that list.

All of which is to say that while students from various other programs feel the need to degrade Iowa, the students at Iowa donít feel the need to degrade them. In fact, I donít think Iíve ever seen one negative post on these messageboards from an Iowa grad belittling another program. Mostly, you have good people like Seth, who, if anything, are championing other programs. And Iím sure if you asked the typical Iowa student what they thought of a program like, say, Michigan, theyíd probably say ďThatís a great program!Ē Not ďThatís a great program, but not as good as ours.Ē Because, quite frankly, they donít care. Theyíre not thinking about that or talking about that, in part, because thereís an understanding there (perhaps because of the famous legacy) that one has to be humble, that one canít believe too much in the external significance of things, and that all that really matters is trying to do the best work you can do every day. And if thereís one reason why so many Iowa grads have actually had success itís probably because this belief is so ingrained in them.

So why is it then that this incredibly cool, supportive environment, filled with nice, humble, hard-working writers, who are just as insecure and unsure of themselves as writers at any other program in the country, why is it then that this place incurs so much wrath? I think part of it is the top dog issue, but I think, more specifically, it relates to a kind of frustration, which is perfectly understandable. The students from other programs see their program getting better, increasing their financial aid, improving their faculty, etc., and yet, no matter how much their programs improve, they canít seem to shake the public opinion that Iowa is still the most prestigious program in the country. And the problem is, itís kind of a futile battle to fight. The fame and legacy of The Writersí Workshop is just too ingrained in the public consciousness at this point. And Iím not talking about MFA students, or even writers, here. Iím talking about the general public. The Iowa program is simply a part of popular culture. Itís the one program that people who donít know anything about MFA Programs know about. Itís the one program thatís written about the most, talked about the most, referenced the most, etc, and thatís just not something that people can control or reverse. Once something is part of the public consciousness, once a certain opinion is formed and reinforced by the media, it becomes extremely hard to compete with, and so I think thatís where some of this frustration comes from. Iowa begins to represent some sort of giant machine that canít be stopped, and so the only thing people can do is take pot shots at it. And of course the fact that so many of its graduates continue to have success only fuels this resentment

But what I want to express to people here is that neither the students, nor the Iowa Writers Workshop itself, are doing anything to perpetuate this public opinion. Just look at the Iowa website compared to other programsí websites. Considering all of the famous alumni and past faculty and honors they could list, itís pretty amazing how humble and understated their website is. But thatís the attitude there. Thatís Iowa. Theyíre not interested in posting flashy advertisements in Poets & Writers or The Writerís Chronicle or others trade magazines, like so many other programs do. Theyíre not even interested in attracting more applicants. In fact, when I was there, they actually sent out a list of all the other MFA programs out there as a way of discouraging applicants from only applying to Iowa and also as a way of helping those other programs grow.

So, what Iím saying to the people who feel the need to attack Iowa is ďlet it go.Ē What youíre attacking is an idea, a public opinion, and one that canít be easily reversed. And the thing is, the students at Iowa arenít even invested in this public opinion, at least they werenít when I was there, so why should you be? They arenít walking around feeling superior to you, so why should feel the need to cast dispersions on them or their program? The only thing you should be focusing on is your own work and the quality of it, because, in the long run, that all that really matters. Thatís the main thingóprobably the most important thingóI actually learned at Iowa.


__________



Aug 7, 2008, 2:23 AM

Post #180 of 344 (8675 views)
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Re: [dorchester] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure, but if this is directed at me in particular...

I assure you, I have no Iowa wrath. And I've never heard anything snotty about Iowa students, how they do or do not look down on other students or feel superior to other writers. That, too, strikes me as absurd.

My only concerns (and my ambivalence about applying) just have to do with things I've heard or read from Iowa students, as well as the work of students selected or not selected for their program. It was an Iowa student (Matt Miller) who (along with a few others) suggested that because of Iowa's funding (or lack of funding) they throw in a few Rockefeller debutantes each year. This would of course be along with the other cheerful, earnest, and super-talented and deserving folks. That does concern me a wee bit...though I'm the first to admit I have no Gallup poll in hand.

The Ivy League thing is more of a personal kind of fear. Meaning I don't object to Ivy League schools, or friends who've attended those schools, etc. I simply see, over and over, in contributors notes and so forth (and especially Best New American Voices, which tells you the two writers Iowa values most in a given year) a preponderance of pedigreed overachievers. Again, nothing wrong with that. But when I relate this data to the bland eerie sameness of the output -- what Iowa teachers considers its best product, I admit, it worries me. We're all familiar with the MFA cookie-cutter argument, and I do wonder if the professionalization, the overachieve-ifying correctness of the short story, in all its same-itude, is currently underway.

The 'diversity' issue relates to this as well. It at least appears that for all Iowa's commitment to diversity (a goal I support) -- it might be a bit misguided. Sure, the names might look PC or exotic, but the actual fiction is (or at times can appear to be) the same bland, by the numbers affair, a difference in name only. To read something like Midnight's Children, where the author's background or experience does factor -- mightily! -- into the work, then to move on to someone like Jhumpa Lahiri, who's been through the American creative writing mill, well, that's quite a difference! And one that does not give me big amounts of hope for grad school.

These are old arguments, but ones relative to my life at the moment. And they center more on the selection process than the selectees. I hope no one's offended by my sort of thinking out loud, here.


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 7, 2008, 2:27 AM)


dorchester


Aug 7, 2008, 3:01 AM

Post #181 of 344 (8662 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm not sure, but if this is directed at me in particular...


Junior Maas,

Thanks for your response. I used a quote from your post, but my comments were not directed at you in particular. Your comment was just one of many I've noticed on this messageboard and on the MFA Blog over time. Typically, these types of comments begin "I heard from a friend who knew someone who went to Iowa . . . etc," and often times they're two or three people removed from the source. In other words, these are things that people state as fact, even though they're not based on any hard evidence, data, or firsthand experience. They're speculations, rumors, heresay. And since I actually spent two years of my life there I feel the need, from time to time, to dispel some of these rumors, since the vast majority of them are completely untrue.

And, of course, one of the most common, and untrue rumors that tends to circulate is the one you just mentioned: that Iowa produces a cookie-cuuter type of writer, a New Yorker type of writer, that there's no stylistic diversity there, and so on. And again, this couldn't be farther from the truth. When I was there, there were plenty of experimental writers, writers who were playing around with different genres, writers who were writing magical realsim, etc. The only thing that these people had in common was that they were all good at what they did.

Anyway, my post was more of a personal reflection on why Iowa seems to be the target of so many rumors and speculations, and, like I said, I think it's rooted in a lot of things: jealousy, resentment, bitterness about being rejected, fear of not getting in, etc. These are all natural emotions, things all writers experience, but what I want to express is that the people who are casting these dispersions are casting them at a place that is completely unpretentious, laid back and supportive and at a group of writers who are probably among the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. It would be one thing if the program, or the writers there, were constantly rubbing it in people's faces, but they're not. In fact, they're doing the opposite of that. They're holed up in their apartments writing stories and poems. They're basically keeping a very low profile. That their work gets recognized in BNAV and other anthologies, or that they win certain awards, or get published in certain places, is not their fault. There's no conspiracy there. They're simply producing good work and that work's being recognized.

That's all I wanted to say.


aiyamei

e-mail user

Aug 7, 2008, 10:20 AM

Post #182 of 344 (8619 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post

Best New American Voices here or there, I would like to point out, as far as elitism, that the great post-War American writers have all emerged from the working and middle classes. It's a bit weird, isn't it? Before WWII, there were a lot of Fitzgerald, Faulkner, T.S. Eliot types -- rich kids from the South and Midwest who were sent East for school and became huge. I feel like, Mr. Amory Blaine (no less! -- your moniker suggests you have a particular sensitivity to this issue, perhaps?), that when you refer to "rockefeller debutantes" you are anachronistically focused on this bygone era. If you consider the writers who have risen to prominence since that time, you'll notice they are all from working-class or lower-middle-class backgrounds -- Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, E.L. Doctorow, etc.

But I'm not going to keep listing people. There's been enough written about this trend in American letters. The point is that if you want to attack elitism in America, there are other, much more worrisome situations than fiction. Within fiction you'd be hard-pressed to find someone from a really rich family who's had any big success. The children of the rich simply aren't hungry enough these days, I suppose.


mpagan


Aug 7, 2008, 10:55 AM

Post #183 of 344 (8604 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post

uh...ok

the top schools still let in only 1-4 percent. That really doesn't change anything for you - right?

One way or another those are the odds

and by all means apply despite those odds - I'm not saying one shouldn't, its just misleading to think there is a way to predict your chances in this system - that sadly does resemble a lottery but is not - just a highly selective and SUBJECTIVE process.

good luck!


mpagan


Aug 7, 2008, 11:10 AM

Post #184 of 344 (8602 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post

there are many factors that determine your chances - but the applicant is not privy to the inner workings of the committee - maybe that year they don't want more experimental writers - maybe more realist - who knows? Maybe the selection committee and the readers just value something different in someones work who is less polished or are looking for star power-- who knows? You don't. I don't. So maybe it's not like picking dudes for a pick-up basketball game- maybe it's somethiing a lot more complex than that. I'm not saying it's random. I'm just saying that if you apply to say Cornell - that you can't assume your application zooms to the top 20 percent under consideration - simply because you think, or your teachers think - you're a great writer. ( or your an ethnic minority - or from an Ivy, or had someone famous write you a rec.) I see how it makes people feel better, but that kind of logic really doesn't do anything more for you.

What does work in your favor? Apply to a good mix (low-high acceptance rates) Or a whole lot of top programs.

Either way - it is what it is.


(This post was edited by mpagan on Aug 7, 2008, 11:12 AM)


Raysen


Aug 7, 2008, 11:25 AM

Post #185 of 344 (8593 views)
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Re: basketball analogy [In reply to] Can't Post

I just want to say that I was the first one in this thread to use the basketball analogy. Now that it has also been picked up by other learned folks, I'm very proud of this accomplishment.


daleth


Aug 7, 2008, 12:30 PM

Post #186 of 344 (8573 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Iowa Maybes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
80% just sounds awfully high; especially when Iowa's the only program everyone knows about. I wonder, How they could they not get loads of manuscripts from every crazy out there? I'd expect a full 20% to arrive in feces-smeared envelopes from Unibomber types, people in cabins with hooded sweatshirts -- and not the cool hipster kind!

Heeheeheeheehee :-)


Daleth Demented (Blog)


daleth


Aug 7, 2008, 12:38 PM

Post #187 of 344 (8571 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Before WWII, there were a lot of Fitzgerald, Faulkner, T.S. Eliot types -- rich kids from the South and Midwest who were sent East for school and became huge.

I'm a little puzzled by that statement. T.S. Eliot was pretty much Brahmin, okay, but Fitzgerald?! "His father, Edward Fitzgerald, was a salesman, a Southern gentleman, whose furniture business had failed. Mary McQuillan, his mother, was the daughter of a successful wholesale grocer..." http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/fsfitzg.htm
That certainly doesn't sound like the background of a "rich kid" to me. And Faulkner, who dropped out of college after about a year, worked as a bookstore clerk, postmaster, scoutmaster... He did come from "an old southern family," as they say, but whether that meant the family had any money, I don't know.


Daleth Demented (Blog)


aiyamei

e-mail user

Aug 7, 2008, 1:02 PM

Post #188 of 344 (8563 views)
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Re: [daleth] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah! Point well-taken. I just assumed that if the families had the money to send the kids to Princeton/Harvard, in those days before financial aid, they were sort of Brahmin types. But indeed, perhaps not. Then, we are still left with rich poets and impoverished novelists. And wasn't it Edmund White who said that all great American novelists come from declining families?

All I'm trying to get at, in general, is that the American literary scene, at least as far as fiction, is in no way dominated by the children of the elite. Generally, we are a scrappy bunch. And this is true in many other countries as well. My best attempt at an explanation is: writing long works of fiction is a discipline that offers very little gratification, and what gratification it does offer is very slow in coming, something that only those who grew up with a certain amount of deprivation are inured to. But who knows, really, why it is.


__________



Aug 7, 2008, 8:16 PM

Post #189 of 344 (8506 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] Fiction Acceptance Rates? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmmm...that's an interesting point, but I don't think it contradicts my own (or my worry, not really a point) about a certain amount of rich-folk padding in one particular grad school. These wouldn't be the kidz to go on and blow-up on the lit scene anyway; just a band of trustafundians hoping to extend their youth on into their thirties...

As fiction goes, I have no political theories. I think it would make an interesting study. But poetry...what a sad state of affairs! Half of it can only appeal to an educated elite. It takes long, long hours with Mrs. Deleuze and Guattari to justify this work, these nonsense, word salad poems that are essentially mad libs, Oulipo with pretension. Now that kind of poetry, the kind children can write, you just have to buy your way into. And that's kinda sad.

But fiction, who knows.


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whyGA77


Aug 7, 2008, 10:17 PM

Post #190 of 344 (8480 views)
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GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to 7 schools last year and, regrettably, didn't get into any of them. I've gone over again and again in my head why I was rejected, but I know it's no use. I'm going to try again this year and hope my luck changes.

So, to get to my question: I know some programs state that they require the GRE and some don't, but do the actual MFA programs require it, or do you have to get into the graduate school first and then your application is passed onto the MFA program? I took the GRE last year and didn't do very well, so should I take it again? Could my low scores have prevented me from getting into the graduate school itself and the MFA board never saw my portfolio?

I'm just a little confused as to how this works, because I know that everyone always says, "GRE scores mean nothing, it's all about your writing sample," so what weight DO the GREs actually have?

Thanks everyone!


Raysen


Aug 7, 2008, 10:32 PM

Post #191 of 344 (8474 views)
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Re: [whyGA77] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm just a little confused as to how this works, because I know that everyone always says, "GRE scores mean nothing, it's all about your writing sample," so what weight DO the GREs actually have?

Thanks everyone!


I haven't even applied to MFA programs yet. However, I have read this forum thoroughly in order to gain all the info I can gather to gain an advantage over all you other future applicants. Heheheh. Anyway, from what I've read, GREs don't mean anything. If the writing program wants you, it'll take you unless the strong arm of the graduate school comes down hard against you. That's all anyone can really say unless someone here posts a real life story.

The low GREs probably didn't hurt you, but who am I say? It's your writing sample. That's not to say your writing sample was bad or anything like that. It's just that they can only take 1-4% of all applicants so the schools are collectively turning down thousands of otherwise qualified students (and in many cases, very well-qualified).

I've read posts here that say that they got GREs in the 700s with 3.7+ GPAs and they still did NOT get into many schools. So, in sum, it's not your GREs or GPAs. That's what I learned from reading the hundreds and hundreds of posts here. It's all about the WRITING SAMPLE!

With that said, I know some schools (e.g., Ohio State) publicize minimum GREs and GPAs. Whether they strictly follow this rule, I don't know for certain.


(This post was edited by Raysen on Aug 7, 2008, 10:37 PM)


__________



Aug 8, 2008, 12:34 AM

Post #192 of 344 (8451 views)
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Re: [Raysen] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

I think at most schools that's true. Studio programs just want you to meet the minimum academic requirements; more 'academic' programs (like Texas State) place greater emphasis on your GRE, but it won't trump your writing sample.

BUT: if your GRE doesn't meet a school's requirements, you are in trouble. Some places (like Irvine) won't even consider you. (In fact, there's an interview where Geoffrey Wofle urges these folks not to apply). At other schools, like Syracuse, it'll mean a battle between departments -- and the writing side doesn't always come out on top.

So if your GRE doesn't meet requirements, you should probably retake it.


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(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Aug 8, 2008, 12:35 AM)


DylanTaiNguyen


Sep 18, 2008, 1:18 PM

Post #193 of 344 (8274 views)
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Getting both an MA and MFA in Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello everyone,
In the 90s, I received an M.A. in Fiction from Boston University, a degree that's now been changed to an M.F.A. The thing is: I want to go back to school, specifically to get another M.F.A--also in Fiction. Am I crazy? Probably. But I feel that I still have so much MORE to learn, and I've been craving a literary community, and time to write, and more advanced craft classes....

My question: will admissions committees think that I'm out of my mind? Will they somehow discriminate against me because I already have an M.A.? (For the record, I did fine at B.U. My professors and I got along, they gave me good grades--and part of my thesis got published as a short story and helped get me into art colonies.) The program was simply too short for me. One-year: four workshops. It seemed that I blinked, and it was over. Like a summer love affair. Also, I went to B.U. straight out of college. I think I'd get so much more out of the degree now that I'm in my mid-thirties.

Actually, I've done some research, and I've discovered that Z.Z. Packer ("Drinking Coffee Elsewhere") has both an M.A. from Johns Hopkins and an M.F.A. from Iowa--both in fiction, I presume. And one of the Columbia professors, Lucy Brock-Boido has two Masters degrees as well. So I think my situation is not unheard of.

But I'd appreciate any feedback anyone can give. Would admissions committees give my candidacy serious consideration? Might they disqualify me somehow? Or is my situation a lot more common than I realize?

I hope that the committees will see my decision to get another degree as evidence of my passion and my willingness to continue learning. The (sort of) problem is that I'm a very very slow writer. I don't want them to think that I'm semi-retarded. ;-) In the past 12 years, I've published only 3 short stories. I'm not ashamed of this fact, though, because I've also been working as an entrepreneur, a job that allows me only about 1 hour of writing time a day. Now I just want to write full time... Do I bring all this up in my application? Basically, it all boils down to the fact that I want to keep learning, but I don't want the committees to feel that I'm washed up, or that I don't have a burning drive to write.

Thanks in advance for any help

Dylan


Tabby


e-mail user

Sep 18, 2008, 7:57 PM

Post #194 of 344 (8223 views)
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Re: [DylanTaiNguyen] Getting both an MA and MFA in Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey,

That you have ANY pubs is a leg up on most applicants. At my MFA program, the profs all said that they were most interested in potential. I wouldn't dwell on your speed or output for the past ten years, but focus in your letter on your desire to have another chance to focus, if that makes sense. That's what the MFA is all about in my mind. Again, it's going to come down to your current writing sample (I would submit something new), and if profs feel like they'd like to work with you.

I would think that your program was an MA at the time is all that matters. I have also heard (unofficially), that while people have second MFAs (at least from Iowa) that these people are pretty much all stars.

I don't know, my instinct is that you apply to the schools you want, and not worry about it.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


Baggott


Sep 26, 2008, 10:41 PM

Post #195 of 344 (8085 views)
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Re: [DylanTaiNguyen] Getting both an MA and MFA in Fiction [In reply to] Can't Post

It's common, and at Florida State we'd look very kindly on the MA from Boston U. Very kindly. Remember, too, that this gives you the possibility of applying for a PhD in Creative Writing, as well. FSU has both the PhD and MFA; and sometimes that's the tougher choice -- you're qualified for both, which one do you really want?

Julianna Baggott, Assoc. Prof., FSU
www.juliannabaggott.com


moomoocow42


Sep 29, 2008, 2:04 PM

Post #196 of 344 (7971 views)
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Re: [whyGA77] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

A little late to this conversation, but to flip the question -- does anyone know how much weight a GPA is given to an application? I know that some schools have really strict requirements (and I'm not applying to those schools), but I wonder how important it is to the schools that consider a whole application "holistically." I'm in the strange situation where I scored decently on my GREs but have an atrocious undergrad GPA. Anyone have experiences or knowledge they'd like to share?


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.


bighark


Sep 29, 2008, 9:34 PM

Post #197 of 344 (7920 views)
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Re: [moomoocow42] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

Every school handles admissions differently, but I think it's safe to say that admissions committees won't even look at your GPA unless they're going to recommend you for acceptance into their program.

For example, let's say you apply to Notre Dame.

Your Notre Dame application includes the application form, your statement of purpose, your letters of recommendation, and your writing sample. The adcom won't go through your whole application at the start of the application season. Why would they? They'll read your writing sample first and make a decision based on it. If your writing is weak, the whole application is tossed. It doesn't matter if you had a 4.0, perfect GREs, and an LOR from Alice Munroe. If the writing isn't there, you're not going anywhere. If the committee likes your writing, though, they'll look at the rest of your application. At this point, they'll consider things like LORs, purpose statements, etc.

Notice I didn't say grades. Even at this stage, grades aren't part of the admissions decision.

For the sake of argument, let's say that your writing sample blows them away. They don't even care about your purpose statement or LORs. They're in love and want you to come to their school. What happens next in the admissions process is the program needs to recommend you for acceptance to the graduate college. This is where the whole GPA and GRE thing comes into play. The creative writing program didn't even look at your grades. They don't care. The only people who care are the administrators behind the graduate school.

If your grades and scores are decent, this step is no big deal. If your grades or scores are really, weak, though, then the program will have to make a case for why you should be admitted to the school.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, I don't think it's anything to really worry about. Yes, there are the schools like Ohio State or Irvine that state right up front that they have a GPA requirement, but you know which schools those are and won't be applying to them.

If your writing is special enough to get through the screening processes, then the admissions committe will look at your transcript and decent GREs and figure you weren't that engaged as an undergrad but could probably handle graduate level work just fine now that you're a little more mature.

Good luck to you.


moomoocow42


Sep 30, 2008, 12:01 AM

Post #198 of 344 (7893 views)
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Re: [bighark] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the very detailed, very kind advice, bighark. It's very helpful. At this point, I think I'm just trying to psych myself out -- if I'd only stop for a moment to breath and think every now and then, I wouldn't have this trouble. And it's only October! My girlfriend's gonna have a tough winter...


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.

(This post was edited by moomoocow42 on Sep 30, 2008, 12:04 AM)


Tabby


e-mail user

Sep 30, 2008, 4:34 PM

Post #199 of 344 (7823 views)
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Re: [moomoocow42] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey moomoo,

Don't be afraid to eat a chocolate bar and take a walk. Seriously!


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


moomoocow42


Oct 1, 2008, 7:31 PM

Post #200 of 344 (7749 views)
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Re: [Tabby] GRE and admissions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the advice, Tabby. Consider it taken!


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.

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