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Low Residency MFAs (2)
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eriksmetana


Mar 4, 2005, 2:28 PM

Post #1 of 184 (9030 views)
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Low Residency MFAs (2) Can't Post

I know of a few of the LR-MFA programs, what are the others (ALL 15)?

1) Goddard College
2) Antioch College
3) Warren Wilson College
4) Bennington College
5) Farleigh Dickinson University
6) Vermont College

7-15?


(This post was edited by motet on Apr 7, 2006, 8:45 AM)


maaza

e-mail user

Jul 2, 2004, 10:28 PM

Post #2 of 184 (8656 views)
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Re: [tnu] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

hi all,
i'm registered for NYU and getting ready to go. excited and nervous as time gets closer. are any of you reading some of the professors' works before workshops/classes start?

hope all is well!

maaza

(This post was edited by maaza on Jul 2, 2004, 10:29 PM)


nomojo
A.D.T.

Jul 12, 2004, 11:24 PM

Post #3 of 184 (8594 views)
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Low Res - Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there an MFA alumnus out there with any words of wisdom for those us of gearing up to enter programs this fall? Any general advice, dos or don'ts would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps even an MFA horror story or two...

(This post was edited by motet on Mar 24, 2006, 11:33 AM)


tnu
Tanya Underwood

Jul 13, 2004, 9:38 AM

Post #4 of 184 (8588 views)
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Re: [nomojo] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Ooh, yes, I would love some advice from MFA veterans.


pongo
Buy this book!

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Jul 13, 2004, 11:41 AM

Post #5 of 184 (8582 views)
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Re: [nomojo] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, my program was a low-res one, but here's one bit of advice: don't look on the critical work as an unpleasant but necessary chore. You can learn an awful lot about your own writing by honing your critical skills and knowledge. Even the teaching skills -- if your program tries to give you any, and a lot don't -- are writing skills, or at least thinking about writing skills.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


freeverses
James Hall
e-mail user

Jul 13, 2004, 12:18 PM

Post #6 of 184 (8578 views)
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Re: [pongo] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

I did a low-res MFA too, and am completing now a conventional-residency PhD.

I'd really second David's idea of making all your reading, even your lit.crit stuff, aid your writing.

If you're teaching 2 classes of comp (often 30 students in each section) and taking 3 classes, the hardest thing on earth is to find some time to write. It can be done; it takes time to find how to manage it, to prioritize.

I have a friend here at Houston (a PhD student) who took 4 classes each semester, wrote 3 critical papers every semester as well as the requisite 2-3 stories. She taught 2 sections each semester, and took up additional classes at a community college, and volunteered her time as a slush reader for both fiction and nonfiction submissions for a literary magazine. She's my personal hero. Clearly, I can do more work if I had to, I think when I bemoan the lack of time I have....

I liked most the professors who pushed me to try new things, to read widely, to re-read things that I really hated. I liked having to articulate ideas about the stuff I was reading. Learn whatever you can from whomever teaches you. What doesn't prove useful, discard later. Be open to change, to possibility.

Maybe it goes without saying, but if you're in a place where you feel unsafe because your colleagues or professors are saying hateful things, you don't have to stay in that environment. There are other classes, other workshops. I've had this experience, and stayed because I didn't want to offend the community. My writing suffered. I learned little, especially since the useful stuff the community provided me with was tainted with my emotional response to the discriminatory stuff that came earlier.

Oh, yeah, and have fun. A lot of it.


RFlumignan
Rob

Jul 15, 2004, 9:16 AM

Post #7 of 184 (8543 views)
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Re: [pongo] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Well, my program was a low-res one, but here's one bit of advice: don't look on the critical work as an unpleasant but necessary chore. You can learn an awful lot about your own writing by honing your critical skills and knowledge. Even the teaching skills -- if your program tries to give you any, and a lot don't -- are writing skills, or at least thinking about writing skills.

dmh


Which low-res program did you attend?




Rob

"Writing is exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." -- E.L. Doctorow


tnu
Tanya Underwood

Jul 15, 2004, 10:09 AM

Post #8 of 184 (8539 views)
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Re: Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much for the advice, you guys! I loved reading it. Anyone else have any bits of wisdom?


nomojo
A.D.T.

Jul 15, 2004, 11:26 AM

Post #9 of 184 (8536 views)
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Re: [tnu] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, thanks every one for the information.


pongo
Buy this book!

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Jul 15, 2004, 12:19 PM

Post #10 of 184 (8531 views)
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Re: [RFlumignan] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Well, my program was a low-res one, but here's one bit of advice: don't look on the critical work as an unpleasant but necessary chore. You can learn an awful lot about your own writing by honing your critical skills and knowledge. Even the teaching skills -- if your program tries to give you any, and a lot don't -- are writing skills, or at least thinking about writing skills.

dmh


Which low-res program did you attend?


I did Goddard.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


ngottuso
Nicole Gottuso

Aug 19, 2004, 2:28 AM

Post #11 of 184 (8470 views)
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Re: [pongo] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone starting at Vermont College this Dec.?


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Aug 19, 2004, 7:28 AM

Post #12 of 184 (8466 views)
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Re: [ngottuso] Registered and ready to go [In reply to] Can't Post

God willing, Nicole.

(I've applied for December. Also Bennington, Warren Wilson. Holding off on a couple that have different schedules and later deadlines. And possibly applying to the children's-YA program at VC as well; it's a long story. Stay tuned.)


Jacobbarnez
Alexis Enrico Santi
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Sep 13, 2004, 3:15 PM

Post #13 of 184 (8403 views)
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They hath begun [In reply to] Can't Post

I had no idea I started this thread, but I guess the webmaster saw fit that we move some of our conversation over here, though I made an old addition to the other thread checking in.

So - just wanted to say I've started, surprised that we haven't had a workshop yet, with time, with time I hear a MFA program can actually get you sick of your own work.

How is everyone else doing out there - how do you like the programs, how is your writing?

-Alexis


Erica Lea
Erica Brooks
e-mail user

Sep 16, 2004, 5:15 PM

Post #14 of 184 (8514 views)
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Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a low-res program with an emphasis on diversity and social involvement, which I like. It seems like few of their students have actually published books, but maybe that's the self-guided low-res thing. Any thoughts? Anyone heard of it or know anything about it? I still can't decide about the low-res thing...


pongo
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e-mail user

Sep 16, 2004, 6:28 PM

Post #15 of 184 (8505 views)
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Re: [Erica Lea] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

I've heard people say good things about it, but one of the worst novels that was ever submitted to me when I was an editor came from someone who claimed to have an MFA from Antioch.

dmh


Erica Lea
Erica Brooks
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Sep 16, 2004, 7:11 PM

Post #16 of 184 (8500 views)
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Re: [pongo] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Yikes. Worse how? And what have you heard people say about it?


arielblue
Library Anne

Sep 16, 2004, 8:19 PM

Post #17 of 184 (8495 views)
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Re: [Erica Lea] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

I once spoke with someone who was just finishing up her MFA there (I don't recall whether in poetry or in fiction), and she had nothing but praise for the program. I don't know how good a writer she was or anything, only that she was very happy with her experience at Antioch -- for whatever that's worth.


hapworth


Sep 17, 2004, 3:05 AM

Post #18 of 184 (8485 views)
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Re: [arielblue] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Keep in mind that Antioch's low-res program is relatively new, so they haven't had time probably to build up a list of grad books--grad publications, maybe, but grad books take time I think. If you read through the six-year "Searching for graduates of MFA low-residency," you'll see some people who liked Antioch quite a lot. Sounds like the program is reputable but hasn't had the time to build up street cred like Vermont, Bennington, and WW.

Hapworth


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
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Sep 17, 2004, 1:13 PM

Post #19 of 184 (8467 views)
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Re: [Erica Lea] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Erica,
I spent a lot of time typing out a low-res. vs. traditional MFA thing on my blog--I can't remember where it is, but I think I posted it in August. You might find it useful:

http://victoriachang.blogspot.com/


hapworth


Sep 17, 2004, 3:46 PM

Post #20 of 184 (8456 views)
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Re: [fattery] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Victoria,

Nice blog! It's so difficult to find good low-res information, and your blog satisfied my desire to read just a bit more about WW, a program I'll apply to and pray to A) be accepted and B) receive non-loan help. I thought that more WW folk did get published--in lit mags, mind you--but you're up on this stuff more than I. Again, nice blog!

Hapworth


fattery
Victoria M. Chang
e-mail user

Sep 17, 2004, 3:55 PM

Post #21 of 184 (8453 views)
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Re: [hapworth] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks. Also on funding, a friend received the Jacob Javits fellowship--look into that. Granted, you have to have no income essentially, but it seems to work for her and helped her pay for the program.


freeverses
James Hall
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Sep 17, 2004, 7:31 PM

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Re: [Erica Lea] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Erica,

I went to school with Tara Ison, who has directed the Antioch program and is now serving as a full-time faculty member in fiction there. She has a well-received book, A Child Out of Alcatraz, which was a finalist for the 1997 LA Times Book Award. I only had a few conversations with Tara, but she seemed like a genuine person, a really well-read, smart conversant in writing. I can't speak about her writing or her teaching, really, but she seemed like a really intelligent, affable human being -- the kind of person who seems dedicated to a life of the mind. I hope this little tidbit of information can be of some help. -- James


casc


Sep 25, 2004, 2:25 PM

Post #23 of 184 (8399 views)
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Re: [freeverses] Antioch University in Los Angeles [In reply to] Can't Post

New here!

I found I got accepted into Antioch this week. I"m stoked! It's the only place I applied to being that I"m local and have a toddler. However, after reading all the threads on low res MFAs I'm regretting that I didn't apply to more. But oh well! LA sunshine in December tends to evaporate such regrets!

I'd love to hear from others entering Antioch in Dec. Post here or email me.
Hi Skye if you're reading this!


kimsrogers


Nov 1, 2004, 2:54 PM

Post #24 of 184 (8310 views)
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Any recommendations for low-res, non-fiction program? [In reply to] Can't Post

I am interested in a low-residency, creative non-fiction MFA. Anyone out there recommend a specific program and why? Personalities on the program would be greatly appreciated.


pongo
Buy this book!

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Nov 1, 2004, 3:11 PM

Post #25 of 184 (8304 views)
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Re: [kimsrogers] Any recommendations for low-res, non-fiction program? [In reply to] Can't Post

There's a whole thread on low-res programs, and I believe they all offer non-fiction as an option. I'm beginning to think that the main reasons to choose one low-res program over another (they all have competent or better fculties) are location and culture. Find a program in a place you wouldn't mind visiting five times in two years, and with a culture that seems congenial, and you should be all right.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


edwriter



Nov 1, 2004, 10:18 PM

Post #26 of 184 (15198 views)
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Re: [kimsrogers] Any recommendations for low-res, non-fiction program? [In reply to] Can't Post

There are now more than 20 low-res programs (I've developed a directory that I seem to need to update pretty frequently for my resource guide, "The Practicing Writer's Primer on Low-Residency MFA Programs") but not all of them offer creative non-fiction. On the other hand, there is one program, at Goucher College, that is exclusively focused on creative non-fiction.

As for program "personalities," I think this is something very hard to gauge, and often something that varies depending on the eyes (or experience) of the individual who is reporting on the program--who may of course perceive things very differently than you would. It can also change quite easily depending on the program population at any given time.

It may be more useful to consider, as has already been suggested, some other things: location, for one, or other features (some programs may offer more attractive financial aid packages and possibilities than others, some may offer publishing or other professional development opportunities, etc.).

Hope this helps! Good luck!


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



ceb


Dec 31, 2004, 3:34 PM

Post #27 of 184 (15299 views)
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What's the deal with Goddard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone else out there struggling with the Goddard application? They want a 3-6 pp single spaced (!) essay that covers the waterfront and then some in terms of subject matter. Plus four other pieces, including a proposed study plan (I don't even get what that is) , a statement of my focus and goals, blah dee blah, a bibliography, on and on. I mean -- good lord, I feel like they should give me the degree just for completing this application.

Can't they decide based on a story and an essay, like everybody else?

I am thinking of not applying there because I can't deal. Has anyone else struggled with this? Anyone go there and love love love it? Is the program worth the hassle of getting in? Or is the application a harbinger of things to come if I go there?

thanks for any feedback.
--Cary


pongo
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Dec 31, 2004, 3:48 PM

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Re: [ceb] What's the deal with Goddard? [In reply to] Can't Post

I graduated from Goddard, and the stuff they ask for makes sense. The study plan, for example: you have to design your own course of study, and if you can't do that you don't belong there. They will also use the study plan to assign you to an advisor for your first term, trying to match you up with someone who will be good for you.

(A study plan is just what it sounds like: a plan of what you want and need to study during your MFA. You have to look over your writing and see what it needs, and look at your career and see what that needs, and figure out what you want to do to fill those needs. Eventually you'll have some guidance in revising the plan, but it's a good idea to have some basic ideas when you start.)

The program has a number of requirements (teaching practicum and essay, two short critical papers and one long one, lots of reading), but is not bureaucratic. I suspect Paul (the lead faculty) wants to filter out some of those folks who come for one semester (or one residency, or part of one) and realize that a self-disciplined course isn't for them.

And, for what it's worth, I did love it and I did learn a tremendous amount about writing and teaching writing.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


ceb


Jan 1, 2005, 2:36 PM

Post #29 of 184 (15276 views)
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Re: [pongo] What's the deal with Goddard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey thanks -- that helps. Glad you ha a good experience there.
--Cary


willbell
Will

Mar 4, 2005, 2:38 PM

Post #30 of 184 (15919 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are a few more:
Stonecoast (University of Southern Maine)
Spalding
Lesley (Cambridge/Boston)
University of British Columbia (Vancouver)
Univerity of New Orleans
Pacific
Queens University of Charlotte

Take a look at the ads in Poets & Writers...


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:19 AM)


pongo
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Mar 4, 2005, 2:39 PM

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Re: [eriksmetana] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Stonecoast and Suffolk. (I think I've got both names right.)

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:19 AM)


eriksmetana


Mar 4, 2005, 2:59 PM

Post #32 of 184 (15841 views)
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Re: [pongo] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, here is what I have so far:

1) Farleigh Dickinson University
2) Warren Wilson College (N. Carolina)
3) Goddard College (Vermont, Ranked in US News)
4) Antioch University (Los Angeles)
5) Queens University of Charlotte (N. Carolina)
6) Bennington College (Vermont, Ranked in US News)
7) Vermont College (Vermont)
8) University of New Orleans
9) Lesley University (Boston/Cambridge)
10) Murray State University (Kentucky)
11) University of Southern Maine at Stonecoast
12) Seattle Pacific University
13) Pacific Lutheran University
14) Western Connecticut State University
15) University of Nebraska - Omaha
16) Spalding University
17) University of British Columbia

There may be more...


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:20 AM)


willbell
Will

Mar 4, 2005, 3:06 PM

Post #33 of 184 (15838 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

One note: Warren Wilson was also ranked in US News (#20). The last US News Creative Writing ranking that I saw was a couple years old. I would say that Warren Wilson is top 5 these days.

Vermont was ranked too...sorry.


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:20 AM)


eriksmetana


Mar 4, 2005, 3:29 PM

Post #34 of 184 (15833 views)
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Re: [willbell] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

You are correct...here are the most recent rankings (2003, same rankings as 1997) along with some other "In Res" programs as well as a running tally of all the "Low Res" programs that come to mind. The list follows this format:

School, US News Score, Residency Type


University of Iowa 4.5 In Res
Johns Hopkins University (MD) 4.2 In Res
University of Houston 4.2 In Res
Columbia University (NY) 4.1 In Res
University of Virginia 4.1 In Res
New York University 4 In Res
University of California-Irvine 4 In Res
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 4 In Res
University of Arizona 3.9 In Res
Boston University 3.8 In Res
Cornell University (NY) 3.8 In Res
University of Massachusetts-Amherst 3.8 In Res
University of Montana 3.8 In Res
University of Washington 3.8 In Res
Washington University (MO) 3.8 In Res
Brown University (RI) 3.7 In Res
Indiana University-Bloomington 3.7 In Res
University of Arkansas 3.7 In Res
University of Utah 3.7 In Res
Arizona State University 3.6 In Res
Emerson College (MA) 3.6 In Res
George Mason University (VA) 3.6 In Res
Hollins College (VA) 3.6 In Res
Sarah Lawrence College (NY) 3.6 In Res
Syracuse University (NY) 3.6 In Res
University of Florida 3.6 In Res
University of Maryland-College Park 3.6 In Res
University of Pittsburgh 3.6 In Res
Warren Wilson College (NC) 3.6 Low Res
University of California-Davis 3.5 In Res
University of Southern Mississippi 3.5 In Res
University of Texas-Austin 3.5 In Res
Iowa State University 3.4 In Res
University of Missouri-Columbia 3.4 In Res
University of Oregon 3.4 In Res
University of Southern California 3.4 In Res
Bennington College (VT) 3.3 Low Res
CUNY-City College of New York 3.3 In Res
Florida State University 3.3 In Res
Ohio State University 3.3 In Res
Ohio University 3.3 In Res
Penn State University-University Park 3.3 In Res
University of Alabama 3.3 In Res
University of Denver 3.3 In Res
University of North Carolina-Greensboro 3.3 In Res
San Francisco State University 3.2 In Res
University of Cincinnati 3.2 In Res
University of New Hampshire 3.2 In Res
Western Michigan University 3.2 In Res
American University (DC) 3.1 In Res
Colorado State University 3.1 In Res
Eastern Washington University 3.1 In Res
Georgia State University 3.1 In Res
New Mexico State University 3.1 In Res
Saint Mary's College of California 3.1 In Res
San Diego State University 3.1 In Res
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 3.1 In Res
Temple University (PA) 3.1 In Res
University of Colorado-Boulder 3.1 In Res
Virginia Commonwealth University 3.1 In Res
Wichita State University (KS) 3.1 In Res
Brooklyn College (NY) 3 In Res
California State University-Fresno 3 In Res
Mills College (CA) 3 In Res
Purdue University-West Lafayette (IN) 3 In Res
SUNY-Albany 3 In Res
University of Georgia 3 In Res
University of Hawaii-Mano 3 In Res
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 3 In Res
University of Minnesota 3 In Res
Vermont College of Norwich University 3 Low Res
Binghamton University (NY) 2.9 In Res
Bowling Green State University (OH) 2.9 In Res
Cleveland State University 2.9 In Res
Kansas State University 2.9 In Res
Michigan State University 2.9 In Res
Old Dominion University (VA) 2.9 In Res
University of Alaska-Fairbanks 2.9 In Res
University of Illinois-Chicago 2.9 In Res
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2.9 In Res
University of New Mexico 2.9 In Res
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2.9 In Res
Goddard College (VT) 2.8 Low Res
Miami University (OH) 2.8 In Res
New College of California 2.8 In Res
Oklahoma State University 2.8 In Res
Rutgers (NJ) 2.8 In Res S
chool of the Art Institute of Chicago 2.8 In Res
University of Kansas 2.8 In Res
University of Miami 2.8 In Res
University of Missouri-Kansas City 2.8 In Res
University of Notre Dame (IN) 2.8 In Res
University of San Francisco 2.8 In Res
University of South Carolina-Columbia 2.8 In Res
Lindenwood University (MO) N/A In Res
University of Missouri-St. Louis N/A In Res
Queens University of Charlotte (NC) N/A Low Res
Antioch University (Los Angeles) N/A Low Res
Farleigh Dickinson University N/A Low Res
University of New Orleans N/A Low Res
Lesley University (Boston/Cambridge) N/A Low Res
Murray State University (Kentucky) N/A Low Res
University of Southern Maine (Stonecoast) N/A Low Res
Seattle Pacific University N/A Low Res
Pacific Lutheran University N/A Low Res
Western Connecticut State University N/A Low Res University of Nebraska-Omaha N/A Low Res
Spalding University N/A Low Res



(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:20 AM)


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Mar 4, 2005, 3:58 PM

Post #35 of 184 (15823 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] LR-MFA programs [In reply to] Can't Post

U. of Nebraska has a new one. Same with Wilkes in Pennsylvania. Then there's Pacific U. in Oregon, which isn't Pacific Lutheran or Seattle Pacific. The Whidbey Island Writers Workshop near Seattle is doing a low-res MFA not affiliated with a university but authorized by a state educational board. A bunch of colleges in Ohio are collaborating on one - Akron and Cleveland State and a couple of others.

That US News ranking is so old we may all get moths in our computers from accessing it. And a lot of people would say it was wacko when it was new. But it's OK as sort of a general list of some decent programs. There were only three low-res programs in existence when that list was done, and Bennington's was only two years old. Warren Wilson at 20 and Vermont College in the 60s are both laughable.


(This post was edited by motet on Mar 5, 2005, 10:21 AM)


amarier


Sep 12, 2005, 9:28 AM

Post #36 of 184 (16054 views)
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Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

First of all, let me say that I know the posts about the low-res programs are in that other very, very long thread.
What I'm curious about is other people, like me, who are going to apply to low-res programs (or have already) because circumstances didn't allow for a full time program. I live an hour north of NYC and the thought of commuting everyday (or every other day, what have you) does not appeal to me at all. The schools closer to me that have MFA's (Sarah Lawrence, not all that much closer, and Purchase, Manhattanville, wrong train line) aren't what I'm looking for. (Brooklyn, Long Island are even further away)
I can't move anywhere else because my husband works in the city, and I'd rather, of course, live with him than away for two years!
So I'm going the low-res route. I often think that even if I had the option to chose low-res or full time, I would still probably chose a low-res program. So many things about them appeal to me, seem right for me. But I catch myself thinking sometimes that I would go to Iowa or Oregon or wherever if I knew I could move there, with my husband (which isn't going to happen, not because he isn't supportive, because he is the most supportive of me; in a nutshell, he has a very good job).
I'm going to apply to Warren Wilson, Vermont College and Bennington definitely; still thinking about others.


pongo
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Sep 12, 2005, 9:53 AM

Post #37 of 184 (16048 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I was in pretty similar circumstances -- about an hour north of NYC, wife with a job in the city, and so on. I went to Goddard for my MFA. What, exactly, is your question?

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


willbell
Will

Sep 12, 2005, 10:09 AM

Post #38 of 184 (16048 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in a similar situation. My life and family is rooted in upstate NY...I didn't really have the option to relocate and enroll in a full-res program, but I would've chosen a low-res even if given the option. Currently, I'm in my first semester at Goddard. I have nothing but praises for the program, my advisor, and the low-res structure. I just finished my third packet and I can clearly see the improvement in my writing (and in my writing process). The student/mentor design works well...I believe it works better than the studio structure and will be more beneficial to me in the long run. Anyway, good luck in your search and application process. If interested, Goddard recently began to offer a program on the West Coast too (with Centrum). Best.


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Sep 12, 2005, 10:59 AM

Post #39 of 184 (16044 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the same boat. My wife is a teacher and has been in the same school district for fifteen years. Plus our two children are in good school. The logical choice for me was a low-res program.

I will be starting my first residency at Vermont College this December. If you have any questions about the program, I'll share what I know already, and what I learn when I get there.

Darren


amarier


Sep 12, 2005, 1:29 PM

Post #40 of 184 (16034 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

David-
I guess I don't really have a question, I just wanted to hear from other people who could only go to a low-res program.

I would like to hear all about everyone else's experiences at their low-res programs. I'm also going to go through that one thread and read all about the programs there, but I think I have to set aside a good two weeks to do that.
I've only ever met one person in a low-res program; she went to Warren Wilson and loved it.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 12, 2005, 1:38 PM

Post #41 of 184 (16031 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I've written at length in the other thread about my experiences at Goddard.

For the first year I was a full-time student, and much preferred that, but for the second year I had little trouble in maintaining a part-time job (25 hours a week) and keeping up with the MFA work. The household just had to know when I could be interrupted and when I couldn't, so I had guaranteed hours of work and concentration at home.

(Where in New York are you? I was in Cold Spring.)

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


elli
Ellen Meeropol

e-mail user

Sep 12, 2005, 6:15 PM

Post #42 of 184 (16016 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose I could have applied to a regular program - there's a well-respected one close by - but I liked the idea of low-residency and really needed to keep working. I liked the idea of writing essentially on my own during the semester, but with the regular feedback of a faculty mentor. I love the residencies - not everyone does; they are incredibly intense. Low-residency was the right choice for me.

I'm in my last semester at Stonecoast, at the University of Southern Maine. It has been wonderful - the faculty, the residencies, and the other students. These programs create a community that both nurtures and challenges, and it really works. For me, anyway.

Good luck, amarier, in deciding how to move forward.


Ellen

www.ellenmeeropol.com


amarier


Sep 13, 2005, 3:35 PM

Post #43 of 184 (15994 views)
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Re: [elli] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

David- Well I'm in Tarrytown now (actually, the south of France by tonight!), but probably moving much further north in Westchester, or maybe into Connecticut, soon.

And I thought of a question- perhaps it belongs in the other low-res thread- but since there's this one, I'll ask here...

I'm sure it depends on the writer and how good the writing samples are, but when applying to low-res programs, how many have you applied to and how many have you gotten into ('you' being whoever decides to reply to this). If your writing samples are strong, and you apply to, say, six schools, is there fair reason to believe you'll get into half of them? Are they much more or less competetive than full residency programs? sorry for such broad questions.


willbell
Will

Sep 13, 2005, 3:54 PM

Post #44 of 184 (15988 views)
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I applied to 4 and got into 2.

The programs you listed in your first post (Warren Wilson, Bennington) are extremely competitive.

The low-res thread was a great help to me when I was applying....esp. in gaging my changes and estimating a response time.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 13, 2005, 5:13 PM

Post #45 of 184 (15981 views)
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I applied to one and got into one.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


darredet
Darren A. Deth


Sep 13, 2005, 5:49 PM

Post #46 of 184 (15978 views)
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I applied to two and got into both.

Darren


jdelargy


Oct 15, 2005, 10:26 PM

Post #47 of 184 (15586 views)
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Bennington - entering nonfiction writers (2006) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

I was accepted into the low residency MFA program at Bennington. I would like to get in touch with
anyone who will be starting in January, 2006, in nonfiction.

If anyone has any recent experience, that would be welcome also.

Thanks,

jeff


ElRi


Oct 18, 2005, 2:16 PM

Post #48 of 184 (15900 views)
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Re: [amarier] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone have any opinions regarding the low res program at Fairleigh Dickinson University? I haven't seen much mention of the program on the boards recently.


rooblue


Oct 18, 2005, 2:54 PM

Post #49 of 184 (15897 views)
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Re: [ElRi] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I know of someone who started there and didn't finish. But that's just one person, and a program should not be judged by just one person's experience.


sarandipidy


Oct 24, 2005, 2:24 PM

Post #50 of 184 (15861 views)
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low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

hi everyone,

i am interested in doing low-residency MFAs at goddard, bennington or warren wilson. i realize that these programs are very competitive but they are really what i'm looking for i think. i was wondering if anyone who had graduated from one of these three programs (i remember ponog had done goddard) could maybe talk with me through email about them, and possibly look at a couple poems to let me know if i should even bother (based on what their fellow graduates were writing, i mean). please respond to this post if you can.

thank you


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 24, 2005, 2:26 PM

Post #51 of 184 (3958 views)
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Re: [sarandipidy] low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure we need yet another topic on low-res programs, but sure, you can e-mail me about Goddard.

dmh/ponog


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Oct 24, 2005, 8:20 PM

Post #52 of 184 (3940 views)
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Quote
I'm not sure we need yet another topic on low-res programs



I agree and so I've grafted this topic onto an existing Low Res MFA topic.

Dana


SabraW


Oct 31, 2005, 3:52 PM

Post #53 of 184 (3883 views)
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Not to be too nosy, but how does one afford a LR MFA at Vermont, Goddard, or Warren Wilson?


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 31, 2005, 3:56 PM

Post #54 of 184 (3757 views)
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Re: [SabraW] low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

One keeps ones job and lives frugally for a couple of years, then pays off the student loans as soon as possible. My low-res MFA ('98) cost under $30K. I'll pay off the last of the loans by the end of this year.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


SabraW


Oct 31, 2005, 4:09 PM

Post #55 of 184 (3746 views)
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Re: [pongo] low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

;-) One's job is non-paying (I stay at home with my three preschool-aged children) and I don't know how to live any more frugally (I buy most of our clothes for $1.49 a pound).


willbell
Will

Oct 31, 2005, 4:15 PM

Post #56 of 184 (3745 views)
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Re: [SabraW] low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Your federal Stafford loans will cover all tuition and expenses...including books and travel depending on the amount you request. So then it's just a matter of formulating a plan to pay off those loans in the 10-year time period. There are some smaller scholarships ($500) available also.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Oct 31, 2005, 8:40 PM

Post #57 of 184 (3749 views)
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In Reply To
;-) One's job is non-paying (I stay at home with my three preschool-aged children) and I don't know how to live any more frugally (I buy most of our clothes for $1.49 a pound).


In that case, I'm sorry to say, an MFA may just be out of your reach, financially. It is a luxury, not a necessity, for most people, and so may have to be put off, or dispensed with entirely.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


maggiemessitt


Nov 7, 2005, 2:56 AM

Post #58 of 184 (3698 views)
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Re: [pongo] low-residency programs (goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, although I am in a low-res program and find it the best thing that has ever happened to me, i do feel there are alternatives to MFA programs. I suggest that you look into Media Bistro (if you are a nonfiction writer) and Gotham Writers (for all Genre's). As a nonfiction writer, i know a lot more about the alternatives for nonfiction, but they are out there and you shouldnt get discouraged.

If you want to write, then you shoudl go for it, just find something that is appropriate for you personally and financially. If you do go for the MFA and find yurself stressed about finances the whole time, you will most likely benefit less than if you put yourself in a situation that allowed you to be financially sound, or only slightly strapped.

I suggest seeking out mentors, seeking out local writing groups that you can meet with face-to-face and attend writing retreats, conferences or workshops as often as you can.


cyclical



Nov 8, 2005, 12:04 PM

Post #59 of 184 (3663 views)
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In Reply To
I'm going to apply to Warren Wilson, Vermont College and Bennington definitely; still thinking about others.



"I'm applying to Oxford and the Sorbonne. Harvard's my safety."


willbell
Will

Nov 8, 2005, 12:29 PM

Post #60 of 184 (3657 views)
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Re: [jayinmd] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Awesome.
I love Max Fisher.

"I wrote a hit play. What did you ever do?"


amarier


Nov 8, 2005, 2:52 PM

Post #61 of 184 (3647 views)
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Re: [jayinmd] Low-Residency MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

I think maybe that was meant to be a joke, though not a very funny or nice one, but it did bring a few things to mind. I think applying for an MFA is very different than applying for any other type of graduate degree, and though the schools I listed are considered to be very good doesn't mean that there aren't many others that aren't also good. (and by that I mean, I'm sure many other schools are as good!) I am applying to others, and I think I shouldn't have said to begin with where I was thinking of applying to. So I won't list the others. I also don't think MFA programs should be categorized like other programs (obviously they aren't, because the criteria are so different than those, say, for MBA's, and explains the lack of MFA program rankings). Having a 'back-up school' is fine for college, but to rank MFA programs like that sounds like a bad idea. I'm going to apply only to schools that I think would be good fits for me, and I like to think that if I got into both 'the Sorbonne' and, I don't know, 'not-famous-school', that my decision would not be based on the name of the school.


willbell
Will

Nov 8, 2005, 3:54 PM

Post #62 of 184 (3616 views)
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Well, I think jayinmd should've let people know that his post is a line from "Rushmore." It is an absolutely absurd line, and I'm sure it was meant as a little light-hearted humor. If not, God help us all.


cyclical



Nov 8, 2005, 4:34 PM

Post #63 of 184 (3612 views)
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In Reply To
I am applying to others, and I think I shouldn't have said to begin with where I was thinking of applying to. So I won't list the others.




Well then it's good to see you're applying to other programs instead of simply putting all your limited eggs into an even more limited basket. After all, it would be terribly unfortunate to see someone take the narrowminded position that no education is better than an education they didn't want at, say, East Podunk Teacher's College, simply because they couldn't get into a select handful of The Greatest MFAs Evah! programs.



Quote
I'm going to apply only to schools that I think would be good fits for me, and I like to think that if I got into both 'the Sorbonne' and, I don't know, 'not-famous-school', that my decision would not be based on the name of the school.




Then by all means, shoot for the stars. Aim high. Go for the gusto, and whatnot.

(This post was edited by jayinmd on Nov 8, 2005, 4:35 PM)


willbell
Will

Nov 8, 2005, 5:18 PM

Post #64 of 184 (3602 views)
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Apparently I was mistaken...


desertmolly
Molly Thomas-Hicks
e-mail user

Dec 11, 2005, 7:02 AM

Post #65 of 184 (3543 views)
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Re: [jdelargy] Bennington - entering nonfiction writers (2006) [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations. I'm a fiction writer graduating in January but would be happy to answer any questions you have about the Bennington experience.

--Molly


outsidetena


Feb 14, 2006, 7:44 PM

Post #66 of 184 (3518 views)
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Warren Wilson MFA? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

Is there anyone here that's been in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College, or who knows a lot about it? I've been to the website, but it doesn't really give me a feel for what the program's really like?

Specifically, how are the classes, are they focused on theory? better writing in general? publishing? Also, how closely do the professors work with their students?

Thanks,

outsidetena


edwriter



Feb 14, 2006, 8:14 PM

Post #67 of 184 (3508 views)
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Hi, outsidetena:

I did not attend the Warren Wilson program, but I did interview its director (and two other program directors) for an article published last year in Poets & Writers. I hope you can learn a little bit about the program from that article: http://www.pw.org/mag/0503/dreifus.htm.

I'm pretty sure Warren Wilson students/alums have shared some experiences in other threads. You might want to do a search of posts in this section.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



rooblue


Feb 15, 2006, 8:09 AM

Post #68 of 184 (3483 views)
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Re: [outsidetena] Warren Wilson MFA? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,
I'm a current Warren WIlson student. Erika is right -- in the PW archives there is a long thread that deals with WW and other low-res programs. But to answer your questions succinctly: Classes at WWC tend to focus on craft issues, not theory. Some classes are quite specific how-to sessions; some are more general, like a class this past residency about how to get inside Hemingway's longer works. No classes are lit crit or theory, though. It's not that kind of program. In terms of advisors -- WWC, like all the low-res programs, asks that students and their advisors work very closely together over the term. It's the heart of the program. I hope this helps.


Windiciti



Feb 15, 2006, 9:17 AM

Post #69 of 184 (3481 views)
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MFA programs especially Low Res [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, Aubrie, Roblu, and everyone else who responded!
Today is my B'day, and at 12 p.m. I will find out about Northwestern. Not sure about their program, not an MFA but an MA.
Nevertheless, I hope they accept me!

Roblu, what a coincidence! Is there any way we can talk more about WW?
I can e-mail you or ask my questions in the forum. Not yet quite sure how this is all done.

To Texasgurl about ERIN Mcgraw, and anyone else who wrote about her...she will be doing a workshop, besides the first LR at Sewanee this summer. It's a Writer's Conference with some impressive names. Starts tight after the LOW REs program.
Thank you all !


Windiciti



Feb 15, 2006, 9:29 AM

Post #70 of 184 (3496 views)
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Warren Wilson MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, Rooblu!
Sorry I spelled your name incorrectly Windy City pal... Thank you for kind words.
Do any of the MFA schools discriminate on the basis of age? If they do, do you think it has to do with the $$$ you might get in a regualr program.... a person in their thities, say, applying now will teach or write longer than I will.
Or is this immaterial, especially for LOw Res programs where the student is footing the bill?
I am applying for the minority Holden Scholarship at WW, I am Latina, BUT FIRST I HAVE TO GET IN!
Amy Grimes, was really nice on the phone yesterday. Spent a lot of time answering my questions.
Where else did you apply besides WW? What made you choose it, ?


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Feb 15, 2006, 11:28 AM

Post #71 of 184 (3482 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Warren Wilson MFA [In reply to] Can't Post

Go to the topic on low-res programs and you'll see that they, at any rate, are geared for older students.

And you might look for existing topics for your messages before opening a bunch of new topics.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


ssd


Mar 15, 2006, 5:52 PM

Post #72 of 184 (3403 views)
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Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi folks,

I'm having a lot of trouble deciding whether to take a leap of faith and enroll in the inaugural class of a new program or go with one with a long-established reputation. I feel lucky to have options, but I am getting a little bit stressed out. I mentioned this on another thread, but I thought maybe it deserved a thread of its own, as there seem to be MFA programs popping up everywhere these days. Here is my specific scenario, that I think probably raises more general questions for others, too.

So, I was accepted into 5 low-res programs, and through a lot of struggle, whittled it down to two (I'll spare you that long story): Vermont College and Pine Manor. Ok, yes, the name of the latter really gets to me (sounds like a retirement home), but I have been really impressed with the program director and response from one of their faculty members, not to mention the fact that it's the most affordable low-res program out there and it offers a unique third semester "applied track" if you choose (though the more common critical essay semester is also an option). I think the benefits of being part of a new program is the extra attention you get, the possibility to help shape the program--I feel like student recruitment and making sure those students are happy becomes their highest priority (confirmed by all my interaction with the program director). The downfall, obviously, is that there just simply isn't anyone whose tested it out. Most any model requires a testing period to get the kinks out, no matter how good it looks on paper. So, I feel like the rewards could be infinite--it could also be disappointing.

On the other hand...well, I don't think I have to say much about Vermont College. It's a great program! I basically don't have anything listed in the "con" section on my paper!

Now that I am writing this, I'm seeing that maybe this decision has more to do with personality--are you a gambler or not? Going with the new program could yield greater results, but also could fail you. The proven one, well, you know it's a good bet.

I'm going to stop rambling now and invite discussion if anyone is interested. A friend reminded me not to be so concerned with names. The most selective (ok, yes, very alternative, too) undergraduate institutions in the country, for example, is named "deep springs." can "pine manor" be far behind?

thanks!
ssd


elli
Ellen Meeropol

e-mail user

Mar 16, 2006, 10:10 PM

Post #73 of 184 (3370 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

ssd,
I can't tell you what pine manor will be like of course, since it's new, but I studied with some of the faculty who used to be part of the low-res program I did attend - Roland Merullo and Dennis Lehane are both wonderful teachers - smart and generous. I also worked with Manette Ansay, who is visiting faculty at the pine manor (I prefer the Solstice name, personally) and she is also great. Two of the poets were also part of my program - Terrance Hayes and Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and although i didn't study with them, their readings were terrific. So, I suspect the new program will be excellent.

good luck.

Elli


Ellen

www.ellenmeeropol.com


ssd


Mar 17, 2006, 10:49 AM

Post #74 of 184 (3344 views)
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Thanks, Elli. Good to hear, as I haven't known anyone who studied with any of those writers.

I think my larger question is more general, too--new programs versus established. I imagine for a teacher, leading a weekly workshop and responding via "packet" in a low-residency model might be a little different. Just wondering if it takes a semester or two to get their stride. But yes, I think it is a fine faculty. Today (how many more can I let this drag on), I am leaning towards Vermont, though, because most of their faculty have been teaching in this format for well over a decade and from what I hear, it really works! (Any Vermont Collegers want to back me up?)

Best,
ssd


elli
Ellen Meeropol

e-mail user

Mar 17, 2006, 10:53 AM

Post #75 of 184 (3342 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

perhaps I wasn't clear. My point was that the Solstice faculty HAVE been teaching in other low-res programs, so even though this one is new, the faculty are familiar with the low-res teaching format. For what it's worth...

Good luck with your choice!


Ellen

www.ellenmeeropol.com


ssd


Mar 17, 2006, 11:07 AM

Post #76 of 184 (3023 views)
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Oh, OK! Yes, I didn't know that. Thanks!

Best,
ssd


rooblue


Mar 17, 2006, 1:15 PM

Post #77 of 184 (3003 views)
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ssd,
I've met many people who've done the Vermont program, and every single one of them has raved about it. I'm sure it has its detractors but I don't know who they are. It's a larger program as low-res go, meaning I think 100+ students, which is why I went with Warren Wilson instead. As a new program. Pine Manor is likely to be smaller, yes? so you might get more individual attention. Might, who knows? I agree with Elli that the faculty are what matters most. And, as has been said a million times on this board, just because someone is a terrific writer doesn't mean s/he is a good teacher. Dennis Lehane is a wonderful (detective) writer -- he's who I read when I want to take a break from literary fiction. Elli says he's a good teacher, and he's going to be at Pine Manor -- that's pretty neat. Good luck -- let the board know what you decide!


ssd


Mar 17, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #78 of 184 (2996 views)
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Thanks for the encouragement, Rooblue. And yes, the new program is guaranteed to mean more individualized attention--I've had a lot of conversation with the program director about this. Will let the board know.

Best,
ssd


ElRi


Mar 17, 2006, 2:06 PM

Post #79 of 184 (3388 views)
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Stonecoast timing? [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone heard from Stonecoast for fiction? Anyone from previous years have a sense of when they make final decisions?


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Mar 19, 2006, 5:44 PM

Post #80 of 184 (3347 views)
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It's an advantage to have teachers with experience in the mentor-and-packet format. There seems to be a trap newer low-res teachers fall into of writing a mere review of a student's work rather than teaching the student. It's a dialogue, not a monologue, and there's a knack veteran teachers seem to pick up with it.

Also you want to make sure the program has established clear guidelines about what's expected not just of students but of faculty. As a student you'll get pages and pages of requirements - are there requirements or standards on the other end? Some teachers come to low-residency programs unaware of how much work it is; it sounds cushier than it turns out to be. The short-cutters are exposed quickly and ruthlessly provided others have set the bar at the right level. The good teachers spend no less than an entire workday with each student's packet (I'm sure my mentor this term is spending more with mine). So for faculty it's basically one full work week a month at minimum for the teachers, plus the residencies. I'd be concerned that a brand new program hasn't established that culture or track record for faculty. It's something I'd be inquiring about if I were thinking about enrolling in the inaugural class at a low-residency program.


ssd


Mar 19, 2006, 7:08 PM

Post #81 of 184 (3328 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much, wiswriter. I think you're right, which is why I decided on Vermont this weekend! They have such a great reputation, faculty who have been there a long time and know how to teach students in the low-residency format. Every student I've talked to from there has nothing but high praise for it. Sometimes I don't mind taking a chance--but I don't think taking a chance with a new program makes that much sense for me at this time. Thanks for confirming my decision!

Where are you, by the way?

Best,
ssd


coolshoes


Mar 22, 2006, 11:44 AM

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Low Res Acceptances vs. The New School [In reply to] Can't Post

Got accepted by The New School (nonfiction) and now I am confused. I live in commuting distance of the city. But I figured I would not get into TNS, so all my other apps were to low res programs (acceptances from Lesley, Southern Maine (Stonecoast), and West.Ct.SU; waiting to hear from Goucher).

Now -- do I low res or not? In one sense, I'm thinking TNS will provide more of a community of writers, give me more structure and help me make more connections within literary circles and publishing in Manhattan. However, the scheduling (2-3 nights a week) presents a challeng -- train timetables, snow delays, outrageous parking rates if I have to drive in. You also need to attend 5-7 other evening events (reading, panels, etc.) each semester -- a good thing, I know, but more commuting.

Does one ever turn down a "normal" program in favor of low res? Are "normal" programs inherently better?
As a mom, low res makes somewhat more sense -- easier for my family to cope w/me being gone twice a year for 10 days rather than running in and out of the city at rush hour several times a week for 2 years.

But how to compare the two experiences? It's not as if you can compare the programs exactly; it's a whole other dimension. Or am I making too much of this? Any input anyone?


ssd


Mar 22, 2006, 12:00 PM

Post #83 of 184 (3318 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Low Res Acceptances vs. The New School [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi coolshoes,

First, congratulations on your acceptances! I'm someone who is turning down a "normal" school for low-res. I sat in on an NYU craft class last night (fiction), and I have to say, I'm still convinced that the low-res model is right for me. It's not for everyone, but I think in some ways, the low-res structure will ensure I am learning how to be a working writer. To me, it IS structure, knowing my advisor is expecting a packet of new work from me every 3-4 weeks. I've heard great things from low-res students; there is a misconception that there is no community just because you are not all in the same place. I know people who are still in contact with people from their low-res program years afterwards. The "community" I saw last night seemed to involve going out to drink after class. In the actual class, no one really spoke. To me, I don't really need to go to class to listen to a teacher speak; the mentor relationship seems like a much more intimate experience and one in which I will grow more as a writer. One student last night said you were basically left to your own devices at NYU. Most people were happy there--to them it was time to just write for 2 years. I need more of a guiding hand, though. In a normal program, your work might be "up" 2 or 3 times a semester, whereas in a low-res program, your material is being commented on consistently. I don't think you can ever say one program is inherently better than another--this is about finding what educational model works best for you. It sounds like as a mother, and someone who might have trouble coming into the city 2-3 times a week, a "normal" program might not suit your needs. I don't have those obligations, and I still know the "normal" program doesn't suit my needs. I think people need to ask themselves what they need out of a program and not get caught up in what some sort of mainstream route might look like. I am always so happy when people are matched well. I am happy for happy students in residential programs; equally, low-res programs are a great option for many others. They are not inferior. Good luck! (Doesn't Lesley need your answer by Friday? That's what they told me. I'm going with Vermont College, though).

ssd


coolshoes


Mar 22, 2006, 1:34 PM

Post #84 of 184 (3298 views)
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Re: [ssd] Low Res Acceptances vs. The New School [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi ssd
Thanks for your very good points.

Interesting that you sat in on an NYU class; first thing I did when I got my acceptance today was to inquire about that; but they do not allow that at The New School -- something about "the personal nature of nonfiction" and all that. Anyway. I am going to attend one of their nonfiction forums next week and try to meet & mingle w/some students and faculty.

Yes, it's true that the low res programs all have earlier deadlines for notifying them -- end of next week for Stonecoast, early April for Lesley (I'm nonfiction, maybe that's why my date is later than yours), etc. So the crunch is on.

I do see what you mean about the structure, deadline and mentor relationships of the low res programs and the discipline they will engender. I've always worked just fine independently, earning a living as a PR person/freelance writer for 10 years, so I know I could easily slide right into that model. On the other hand, I wondered if it was time to come out of the home office!
But when I think about all the time, energy and gas/toll/parking/commuting costs and stress involved in getting into and out of the city, the "normal" model gets less and less appealing.

Wishing you all the very best at Vermont College. And thanks again for your thoughts.


ssd


Mar 22, 2006, 3:40 PM

Post #85 of 184 (3265 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Low Res Acceptances vs. The New School [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Coolshoes,

Let me know where you end up! I can see why after working freelance for so long that getting out of the house/into the community would be an incentive to go to a residential program. I'm actually the opposite. I feel like I am ready to really focus in on my work--I'm tired of workshops and the normal lit. discourse. If you haven't been involved in them for awhile, though, it could be good. Still, I think your writing will improve as much, if not more, at a low-res program, so it's just a matter of prioritizing what's important to you. Good luck with the decision and let the board know!

Cheers,
ssd


trumped


Mar 22, 2006, 10:41 PM

Post #86 of 184 (3232 views)
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Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been accepted to Lesley, Bennington and Goddard so far and am still waiting to hear from Warren Wilson and Antioch. Looking at the residency syllabus/agenda for Bennington from January 2006, I was dismayed to see an enormous amount of the curriculum being taught by graduating students (every morning for 3 hours). With all due respect, I would like to spend my residency time listening to the faculty speak rather than hear several 40-minute synopses of graduate students' critical essays. The topics were very specific and, I'm sure, interesting to the author. Has anyone explored this with Bennington or do any current/former students have an opnion on this? The Lesley agenda spent much more time on true craft sessions taught by faculty. I would also like to know what Warren Wlson and Goddard's formats are if anyone is familiar.


rooblue


Mar 23, 2006, 1:11 AM

Post #87 of 184 (3209 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Warren Wilson poster here, to answer your question. All graduating students teach a class; it's a requirement. But they're given in classrooms, as opposed to the lecture halls where the faculty give their lectures, and (generally) they're attended mostly by students in the same genre (fiction or poetry) although there are some crossovers. Faculty always attend as well. When the faculty lecture students are supposed to go -- they don't count attendance but you're really supposed to show up. When the students lecture we WANT to go, because the student lectures, in general, are tremendous. They spend months preparing them, and they're a big part of passing the program, and they're almost always focused on a very narrow craft issue. I mean they're really really good -- I take pages of notes.

I went to some of those Bennington lectures that you describe, because I was visiting a friend there. They were good, but they weren't about craft. But they were well-prepared and interesting and I did learn; don't discount who these students or are how hard they've worked to get where they are.


pongo
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Mar 23, 2006, 9:58 AM

Post #88 of 184 (3184 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of the Goddard residency has a bunch of graduating students' presentations, because that presentation is one of the graduation requirements. You have to lead a workshop or give a talk of some sort, as well as doing a final reading and turning in your thesis. But students are not required to attend those (I went to one where it was just me and the presenter; we had a fine time discussing the theory of hyperfiction).

The Goddard residency is aimed at two or three goals. First, you need to set up your study plan for the next semester. You do this in conferences with your advisor for that term. Second, you need to address various issues of craft. You do this in workshops with your advising group and in other workshops run by various faculty. A small number of those are required, but you can do them at any residency before your graduation. and third, you need to form bonds with the other students. You do this in parties, at readings, over meals, and in impromptu workshops that spring up in people's rooms and in lounges.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 10:46 AM

Post #89 of 184 (3173 views)
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Re: [pongo; rooblue] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to rooblue and pongo for your insights on Warren Wilson and Goddard, respectively.

Another question: Bennington said that the graduate lectures didn't focus on craft issues because that's covered in workshop. Did you feel that the workshop time was enough to review everyone's stories AND work on craft issues or were you looking for more faculty lectures on craft? What ultimately made you choose your programs?


pongo
Buy this book!

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Mar 23, 2006, 12:16 PM

Post #90 of 184 (3138 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I chose Goddard because I didn't do enough research and didn't know of any other low-res programs. (I did find that it was the right place for me, and I loved it, but that was blind luck.) Goddard is very process-oriented. They work in the Dewey tradition, where if you can understand the preocess (or your own process, since for something like writing everyone's process is idiosyncratic) yo can then teach yourself to do it better.

The amount of workshopping will vary from teacher to teacher. With Michael Klein, for example, most of the advising group meetings were workshops. With Sarah Schulman, we did a lot of imagination and craft exercises and some critical work. There are not a lot of lectures of any sort.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


coolshoes


Mar 23, 2006, 12:56 PM

Post #91 of 184 (3120 views)
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Any Goucher responses ? [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone heard anything from Goucher?


rooblue


Mar 23, 2006, 1:30 PM

Post #92 of 184 (3112 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

At Warren Wilson workshop is pretty much focused on student work. When a larger craft issue emerges from that discussion, the craft issue might be briefly discussed in general terms, but always with an eye toward the specific work that is under review. Faculty really are not supposed to "lecture" in workshop; it's supposed to be a discussion. This is nicely balanced with the faculty lectures, which don't always focus on craft but often do. Faculty lectures from the January 06 residency included such topics as : "Meteorlogical Elements of Language/Climate in Stories" (Susan Neville) , "How Meaning Works in Stories", (Justin Cronin) and "The Death Plot" (Jane Hamilton). Those aren't the exact titles but you get the idea. Hope this helps.


willbell
Will

Mar 23, 2006, 1:40 PM

Post #93 of 184 (3102 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I will also add that there are 1-2 visiting writers per residency. During the Jan. 06 residency at Goddard, Walter Mosley read from a new work, met with students, and gave a lecture on the writing process.

Goddard's residencies offer a great balance of readings (faculty, students, visting writers) and craft-based workshops. I went to 12 workshops, 5 advisor group sessions, and a lot of readings during the last residency. In my advising group (Sarah Schulman), we workshopped each other work allowing approx. 40-45 mins. per piece. The faculty workshops are 1 1/2 or 3 hours long and other writing exercises and discussion of craft. A few are designed more as lectures...

Will


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Mar 23, 2006, 2:30 PM

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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi trumped...I'm in my third semester at Bennington. Congratulations on getting in.

First of all, some of the graduating student lectures ARE about craft - they just aren't required to be. Personally I think some of them are a bit light and I've said this in my residency evaluations. But, as people have said above, from the standpoint of being interesting, as a whole they're usually on a par or maybe even better than the faculty lectures because so much goes into them. As Liam says, you spend a year on one 40-minute lecture, it better be good.

As for craft, you get so much of it in a low-res program between the packet responses and the workshops. I mean, I'm getting 40-50 pages of single-spaced instruction from my teacher this term, much of it talking about craft issues specific to my work and the issues I'm raising with her in my correspondence - not to mention phone calls and e-mails and the workshop I had with her at the last residency and the conference I'll have with her next residency. If I had any more craft instruction I think it would be coming out my ears. In my experience it's a lot more crafty, so to speak, than what you typically get in a traditional university workshop where your work is up once in a while for an hour and then you go away for weeks on end.


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 2:35 PM

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Re: [rooblue] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Very helpful. Thanks again. It seems as if you feel you got a good dose of faculty lecture and experience during your residency which is encouraging. How has your semester experience with advisors been? Did you get adequate feedback and guidance on your submissions? Any advisors stick out as being particularly helpful?

What made you choose Warren Wilson over some other programs?


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 2:38 PM

Post #96 of 184 (3089 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Good information. Why did you choose Goddard over other programs? Anything in particular? Any advisors stick out as being particularly helpful with you work?


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 2:45 PM

Post #97 of 184 (3086 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

No doubt about the benefits over a traditional program. And I'm glad to hear your point of view on the issue of craft instruction. It's very important and a large part of why we undertake the financial burden of getting the degree. Are you in fiction? If so, who have your advisors been and which ones stand out as being the most instructive. I noticed that Bennington's fiction faculty is 75% female of a similar demographic (age, race). Has that ever been discussed?


willbell
Will

Mar 23, 2006, 3:27 PM

Post #98 of 184 (3073 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Quick answer: I didn't get into Bennington. My writing sample for Goddard was better--it contained shorter, polished pieces in two genres rather than one 20-page story that needed a lot of work. I chose Goddard over Fairleigh Dickinson because positive feedback from students and alumni, the faculty, and I had a better sense of how Goddard's packet process would work with my writing.

That said, Goddard has been great.

But, in all honesty, I'd probably choose Bennington if I had the choice.


AAuchter



Mar 23, 2006, 3:51 PM

Post #99 of 184 (3062 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Wiswriter! I just accepted Bennington's offer, so I will be there in June. How do you like it there? Who are you currently working with? Any tips/advice? Pros/cons?

Thanks!


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 4:09 PM

Post #100 of 184 (3055 views)
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Re: [AAuchter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Just curious AAuchter, where else were you considering? I've been accepted to Bennington as well and am trying to make my final decision.


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Mar 23, 2006, 4:22 PM

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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I'm in fiction. Bennington's fiction faculty is probably no less diverse than today's pool of literary fiction writers. It is becoming an overwhelmingly female profession. Our student body is something like 70 percent women. My advisors so far have been Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Virgil Suarez and Alice Mattison. If you want specifics about individual teachers feel free to hit my e-mail button. I don't want to take up a lot of public space with stuff that's so specific to Bennington.

I was thinking a little more about the question on craft instruction. Students get plenty of it at Bennington and in lots of other places. But I think prospective students have to be careful about what they expect as far as writing instruction in an MFA program. I've come to believe that the teaching is only about 10 percent of what you get out of an MFA.

You've heard the saying that writing can't be taught. That's probably an overstatement. But I do think it's really difficult. The writing process is so inner and esoteric and so different for every writer. Sometimes instructors can only guess at what's going on between your head and your pen, and they can be dead wrong. A craft lecture or class is even dodgier. Giving a group of writers a lesson about craft is like rounding up a bunch of sick people and prescribing the same treatment without asking anyone what's wrong. What works for one writer might be poison for another. Writing isn't tennis or knitting. There's no right way and wrong way. No teacher is going to advise you to move your pen in a certain motion and magically cure your ills.

That being said, a good MFA program - and my biased view is that this is especially true for a good low-residency MFA program - seems to improve writers almost by magic. The magic isn't exactly what you'd call teaching. It's knowledgeable, experienced, spectacularly well-read writers telling you, read this fantastic book and tell me what you learned, read that fantastic book and tell me what you learned - now write me a story (or a chapter, or 10 poems) by the end of the month. Now read again. Now write again. You could almost have a robot instead of a teacher. Except the teacher has some specific idea of what you personally should read next, and a learned opinion about how you did with the writing, and if you're very lucky, some vague idea about why you succeeded or failed and an ability to communicate it. And if you're unbelievably lucky, it comes with some career advice and connections to boot.

That's called mentorship. It's way more important than "craft." And I happen to think it's the best reason to choose a good low-residency program. It's designed for individual mentorship. Whereas the level of mentorship you get in a traditional MFA program will vary widely according to the program and the people involved. I can tell you from my brief time at Iowa a few years back that it didn't sound to me like those students were getting much mentorship from the faculty. In fact it sounded like the teachers were more or less refereeing a competition between the students. It's the last thing I wanted from an MFA. Writing is hard enough as it is.

That's my personal, completely unobjective take. For what it's worth.


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Mar 23, 2006, 4:36 PM

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Re: [AAuchter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi, Wiswriter! I just accepted Bennington's offer, so I will be there in June. How do you like it there? Who are you currently working with? Any tips/advice? Pros/cons?

Thanks!


Hi AA - congrats and I'll see you this summer! I was posting my last message when yours came through. Feel free to hit my e-mail button if you like.

Pros: scenery, Donald Hall, bargain-priced alcohol. Cons: isolation, lecture fatigue, bargain-priced alcohol. Tips: Pace yourself in the pub. Be careful of the End of the World after midnight. Read "The Secret History" before you come. Make friends with someone who can drive you into town. For example, me. The rest should fall into place.


trumped


Mar 23, 2006, 4:39 PM

Post #103 of 184 (3775 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

That's very sound advice and tells me I probably need to stop thinking so hard about it. A program is only going to be as good as what you put into it to some extent and if a program has really sound advisors (with the qualities you mention) then a dedicated writer should do fine. I like your "sick people in a room" analogy. It's right on. Thanks for helping me get my head out of my butt.


AAuchter



Mar 24, 2006, 6:20 PM

Post #104 of 184 (3699 views)
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Re: [trumped] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Just curious AAuchter, where else were you considering? I've been accepted to Bennington as well and am trying to make my final decision.

I got accepted by New England College, Bennington, Pacific University (Oregon), Houston, and have not heard anything from Warren Wilson.


AAuchter



Mar 24, 2006, 6:26 PM

Post #105 of 184 (3695 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Hi AA - congrats and I'll see you this summer! I was posting my last message when yours came through. Feel free to hit my e-mail button if you like.

Pros: scenery, Donald Hall, bargain-priced alcohol. Cons: isolation, lecture fatigue, bargain-priced alcohol. Tips: Pace yourself in the pub. Be careful of the End of the World after midnight. Read "The Secret History" before you come. Make friends with someone who can drive you into town. For example, me. The rest should fall into place.

"The Secret History" by Donna Tartt? Ha! My husband's favorite book. Why read it? And, I am the Pub Pacer. We should exchange emails.


writerle


Mar 24, 2006, 6:39 PM

Post #106 of 184 (3687 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

I'm kind of new to this, but here goes. I've been accepted at Vermont and Antioch, and I'm having a terrible time trying to decide between the two. I've been told that both have very good reputations, though I haven't seen any postings about Antioch and I know that Vermont is older and probably more well-established. I live in California, so Antioch would be close, but not close enough to commute, so I'd still have to get a hotel since they don't have on-campus housing. Vermont is 3000 miles away, but at least I'd be able to stay in the dorm.

Besides location, the two programs are running neck-and-neck. Both seem to have a fairly prestigious list of faculty and student accomplishments. Anyone out there know anything about either of these programs that might be able to sway me one way or the other?


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Mar 24, 2006, 6:52 PM

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In Reply To

"The Secret History" by Donna Tartt? Ha! My husband's favorite book. Why read it? And, I am the Pub Pacer. We should exchange emails.


The book is set at Bennington - the name is changed but everything else is the same. It's like a campus tour. Donna Tartt is an alum of the college and started the book as a student.


ssd


Mar 24, 2006, 7:44 PM

Post #108 of 184 (4022 views)
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Re: [writerle] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I heard that Antioch has kind of an outrageous mentor:student ratio, like 10:1. Is that true? That would kind of scare me. I was warned off from Antioch, but again, that's hearsay.

I've decided on Vermont....though, board, actually I am having a last minute attack about Lesley. I had two great conversations with faculty members at Lesley and I think that should be the central criterion for choosing a program. I haven't seen any students talk about Lesley on here--anyone, anyone? Or happy VC people, please remind me again about how great the program is so I know I've made the right decision!

ssd


coolshoes


Mar 25, 2006, 12:02 AM

Post #109 of 184 (3994 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

ssd
I too am considering Lesley....and also had great conversations w/the director/faculty....I'm a little put off by the interdisciplinary part and especially having to begin on it in the first semester. The other thing that concerns me is that they do the faculty/student match-ups before you arrive at your fist residency, while many (I think most) other low res programs do the match-ups on-site at the residencies. Lesley says it makes more sense this way, doesn't waste time during the residency, etc. But then again, folks at Stonecoast have equally compelling reasons why they do it on-site -- getting to know each other first, the decisions are arrived at somewhat mutually, getting feedback from other students who may have worked with various mentors in past semesters, etc.
Ugh....is anything about this decision process simple??? Geez, having a few nice acceptances to choose from is supposed to be fun, right? Right?


wiswriter
Bob S.
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Mar 25, 2006, 8:34 AM

Post #110 of 184 (3988 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

At Bennington you're matched up with your instructor before the residency as well. You make your teacher requests in e-mail about two months before the residency, and you receive your teacher assignment in the mail with all the stories for your workshop about three weeks before you arrive in Vermont. Each workshop at the residency consists of two instructors and their students. It works pretty well - I think it must be difficult to cope with everything going on at a residency AND matching everyone up with a teacher. Plus I'm not sure how you structure the workshops if you don't know who everyone's instructor is beforehand.

By the time you arrive at your second term, it's pretty much immaterial whether you choose your teacher in advance or not. You know all the teachers by then and you've compared notes with other students. At Bennington some classes pool their teacher evaluations and share them by e-mail. The instructors in your genre are comparing notes as well and have some say in the process.

Antioch has the reputation of being more multicultural and experimental than some of the other established low-res programs, which have more of a tilt toward realist style and the so-called canon of literature - though with low-res such things are looser all around because of the large, diverse faculties. Traditional programs tend to have stronger, less fluid identities because there are usually only 2-3 teachers in each genre and they are often tenured.


rooblue


Mar 25, 2006, 9:31 AM

Post #111 of 184 (3983 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

At Warren WIlson you don't choose your advisor in advance. Once you get there, you prepare a semester project form, and you can list who you'd like to work with, but you're not guaranteed to get any one of the people you list. The program's strong preference is that you not put down faculty names -- that you let the faculty select you, based on your work and also on what you've put down as your focus for the term. You find out on the evening of the second day who your advisor will be.

Also, it's important to know that at WW, the workshop leaders float. You get two different faculty in your workshop each time it meets. So the student group stays together but the teachers float.

Some people would hate this system -- they want to know before they get there who they're going to work with -- and they don't like the idea of different faculty in the workshop every time it meets. Other people, like me, don't mind it. I have never put down names for faculty and it's always worked out for me. I have no idea how many people actually put down names and how many people leave it to fate to decide.


ssd


Mar 25, 2006, 10:53 AM

Post #112 of 184 (3974 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

hi there,

yeah, i kind of like leaving it up to fate, though i see compelling arguments for having the opportunity to choose who you work with (which I will be doing at VC). i don't think that should be the major deterrant to lesley. in fact, that's the reason i've had this nagging feeling that maybe lesley would be better for me--i absolutely loved the two faculty members who i talked to and they were the ones who had read and commented on my application. steven (cramer--the director) said i would most likely work with one of them since they had enjoyed my work so much.

i think the interdisc. component would be something to consider more, though everyone i talked to seems to like it and that it feeds their writing. one of the faculty members said it really didn't have to be a big deal if we wanted it to be, but it could be--lots of people have found new opportunities to publish/network/etc through their projects.

basically, i think there are advantages and disadvantages to every program/structure/etc you can think of, and we just have to pick one and go wholewheartedly for it. (i should listen to myself). the two mantras i am repeating "every decision is a good decision because it is a step forward" and "make a decision, then make it right."

good luck! let me know where you finally decide on! (and if you do ever make it into the city, let me know!)

ssd


writerle


Mar 25, 2006, 1:36 PM

Post #113 of 184 (3950 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Am looking into this. Emailed the graduating student I've been in contact with from Antioch and am waiting for a reply. Is the faculty to student ratio the only reason you were warned away from Antioch, or were there other factors?

Antioch does seem a bit more nontraditional and experimental than Vermont. Not sure if that's good or bad (maybe bad for me, as I tend toward the more conventional and traditional in my writing and my general outlook on life). Any Antioch students out there who could shed some light on this?


coolshoes


Mar 25, 2006, 8:13 PM

Post #114 of 184 (3917 views)
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Re: [ssd] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been waitlisted at Goucher; and by the time anything there might change, it would be past my deadline for notifying Stonecoast (3/31)....I'm thinking all signs point to Stonecoast or Lesley for me...
I had the same experience as you, ssd: - talking to a great faculty member who liked my work, both for Lesley and Stonecoast.....Still I'm doing all the investigating and hard thinking I can about my New School acceptance as well....have been in touch with a few students and asst. director, and going to some events next week in the evenings where I can hopefully meet/mingle/question.
The thing that keeps sticking in my mind (although the low res model is definitely a better fit for my family life circumstances) are these 3things:

1. faculty/students and at least 2 writers I know said, kind of bluntly, that while Stonecoast and Lesley are "fine" programs, the faculty you will interact with there and the students there are in a different league than those you will find at The New School -- that those you work w/at TNS, both faculty and fellow students, will, I'm paraphrasing: "get you published again and again over the years, hook you up with agents and imporant literary folks, introduce you to the right people in NYC publishing, etc. for years and years." This may be partly true, but I tend to think this is a bunch of NYC snobbery I'm hearing. Thoughts anyone?
2. I have the idea in my head that my writing is too conventional for The New School, but one student said something I can't get out of my head: You think you know your writing going in, but you have no idea where the program will take your writing. And so I'm thinking I may be selling myself short and should allow that my writing could grow into something even I can't foresee now. Still, can't that happen with any good faculty/mentor; whether traditional or low res.
3. Finally, is The New School really as highly regarded as some think? I mean, I know it has a lot of cachet in Manhatten, but what about in the wider writing/publishing community? I keep thinking I shouldn't turn it down, since it's so top notch, but maybe it's not really all that.

Any thoughts welcome.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Mar 25, 2006, 8:58 PM

Post #115 of 184 (3912 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

When I was working in publishing in NYC (as a book editor) I was not aware that the New School had an MFA program.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


ssd


Mar 26, 2006, 12:48 AM

Post #116 of 184 (3899 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah, coolshoes, i don't think the new school is actually a highly rated program. nyu and columbia are the "name" nyc schools, not tns (and city college is #37 on that tired, old list of schools, which is pretty darn good). but, obviously, being located in new york, there might be opportunity for networking in the nyc publishing world. i do think what you say about your writing taking off in new directions is not an experience limited to the new school. that's probably just as likely, if not more likely, to happen at a good low-res program. but, at some point, after all of the investigation and analysis, you do have to go with your gut, too. if you are having such nagging feelings about the tns, maybe there's a reason. if you won't be able to stop yourself from thinking "what if" if you choose another program, then that is something to consider. because you've been on your own freelancing for so many years, maybe a residential experience is important to you--listen to that. once the decision is made, though, i do hope you can just commit yourself to where you are--you will grow immensely wherever you go if you are present with the experience.

ssd


willbell
Will

Mar 26, 2006, 10:27 AM

Post #117 of 184 (3886 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, you might want to look into crossover...some of the faculty at Goddard, for example, are also faculty at TNS, NYU, City College, etc...hence the reason that most low-res residencies take place in January and July. Actually, I think this is another great benefit to low-res programs--the fact that they bring in a diverse pool of faculty. Instead of the 3-4 members of a traditional program, the student meets 18-20 faculty members at different stages of their career and different academic/teaching experience etc...


trumped


Mar 26, 2006, 10:47 AM

Post #118 of 184 (3884 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

coolshoes:

this is just my experience with The New School but I would say that given what you've said on speakeasy (life demands and writing style), the low-res programs may work better for you.

I live in NYC and had the wonderful opportunity to take three weeks off work and take a summer intensive program in fiction at The New School. The program was taught by TNS faculty and we spent everyday for three weeks (M-F, 9am-9pm) in a combination of workshop, readings, literature seminars and lectures. It was intense, extremely exhausting and a lot of fun. I learned a lot from my teacher, Sharon Mesmer, and enjoyed the experience as a whole.

What it did, however, was solidify in my mind that I did NOT want to apply to TNS for my MFA. The reasons are varied. First, I considered who my fellow students would be. Most of the people in the program, 90% of whom were taking the course as a precursor to get into the MFA program (as I was admittedly), were just out of undergrad and quite a bit younger than me. Not 22 necessarily because many were getting their BAs at TNS which is a program that caters to those who work while studying and therefore may take longer to get their degrees, but no older than 26 or 27 years old. The work, while fascinating in some respects, was what I thought of as experimental at the time. I now call it more of the "fiction slam" variety. I didn't know you could do that with work other than poetry but the work discussed and read by students were pretty much very long rants turned into stories. I chalked it up to the fact that perhaps the students were younger and still angry, very angry, with their parents for some childhood slights or something.

Next, my turn came up twice during the workshop (and although it was a 3-week program, we spent 2-3 hours everyday in workshop so the total number of hours would be the same as - actually slightly more than - it would be in a semester.) When I inquired, Sharon told me that that was about right for a semester workshop.

What blew me away though was that she said that she has to fight with the administration to keep her workshop to 10 or so students. They were looking to increase workshop size (and some teachers do it already) to 14. She thought that would be way too much to handle. And I agree. She said the program just keeps getting bigger and it gets harder to give students the attention they need. She said workshops used to be 8 but with the popularity in MFAs growing, the program was getting huge. Even at the open house I went to to learn more abput the program, two of the teachers who spoke said their workshop sizes were 12 and 14.

Hope that helps instead of clouding the issue even more. Again, wherever you go you will do well but the low-res format may allow you the time and attention you need at this point in your studies.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.


coolshoes


Mar 26, 2006, 10:40 PM

Post #119 of 184 (3831 views)
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Re: [trumped] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, all of you, who responded with your insights. The thought you all put into your responses and your time, are so appreciated. I'm inching closer to a decision.

Does anyone have any thoughts of Univ. of So. Maine (Stonecoast) vs. Lesley? It's basically down to these two; I was waitlisted at Goucher and by the time I hear back, it may be past the deadlines for these other two, and Maine and Boston appeal more location-wise. Also, Goucher is only nonfiction, which I at first thought was an advantage, but now I like the idea of being exposed to the fiction and poetry faculty and students as well. So I'm heading to New England, I think, but where.......


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Mar 27, 2006, 11:27 AM

Post #120 of 184 (3797 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I think the opportunity to go to Maine for winter residencies would be deeply cool, but not everyone agrees with me.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


Tweedy


Mar 27, 2006, 2:13 PM

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Re: [writerle] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

So far, I've been accepted to Antioch and Queens. Waiting to hear from WWC, VC and Spalding. Queens wants my decision by tomorrow, but I haven't heard anything from my other schools. What should I do? Should I gamble, decline Queens and hope I get into the other schools? Or do I take the safe bet and just go with Queens?

I like Queens. I like the director and their syllabus had topics that I wanted to explore/study. It centered more on craft and hands on type of stuff than literary theory and the more esoteric stuff that I've seen at other schools. The faculty is solid, and really, the only drawback is the online workshops...Not a big fan of the blind leading the blind. During the residency it would be ok, but all year long? I dunno.

Antioch seems like a great school. I want to study under a few teachers there, and since i live close to LA, i think the network i'd establish would be, I'd hate to say it, better for my writing career (Eeek, that sounds sort of creepy, I know). Only drawback is the translation paper.

Arr! So torn. Should I wait or should I accept? Thanks guys for your input. Your posts have been really helpful and smart.


rooblue


Mar 27, 2006, 2:42 PM

Post #122 of 184 (3757 views)
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Re: [Tweedy] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

You might try calling the schools you're waiting to hear from to see if they'll give you any indication of thumbs up or down. They'll understand your predicament with Queens. FWIW, I agree about the online workshops being a drawback. The work I do one-on-one with my advisor during the term is more valuable than the face-to-face workshops. I've done one online workshop and the feedback was very mixed. Not everyone is a good reader, and not everyone takes the time to struggle with the author's intention for the work. The question for workshop members should not be, do I like or not like this piece? but rather, what is the author's intention for this story, and where does the story meet or not meet that intention? Good workshopping is really hard. I personally would be leery of a low-res program that focused on it to the detriment of the advisor/advisee relationship.


edwriter



Mar 27, 2006, 3:36 PM

Post #123 of 184 (3738 views)
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Re: [Tweedy] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Tweedy:

A few thoughts:

1) Online workshops don't have to be a drawback. When I was at Queens (2001-03), they really didn't work very well at all. My major frustration was with the apparent unwillingness to improve them, but I understand there have been a few changes more recently, and I hope they've helped.

2) Remember that many low-res programs have very large faculties (Queens fits this description). And like the students, each member of the faculty is an individual. Some are better teachers than others. Some are much more helpful than others. Some--whether because of temperament or style or subject matter or other teaching/writing commitments and priorities or any of a number of other highly unpredictable factors--are better teachers and more helpful for some students than for others. And different low-res programs have different policies (as we've previously learned on this board) regarding how those matches are made.

Side note: if you have a "bad match" one semester you'll be very happy to have the possible sustenance of at least one or two members of your online workshop.

3) I'm not sure what you meant by the Queens "syllabus." Do you mean the list of books you're supposed to read for the craft seminars during the residencies? In my experience, this changed every semester, depending on which faculty were giving the seminars. That may be the case elsewhere, too. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be a system in place for feedback on the short papers we wrote for those seminars at Queens. None of my workshop faculty assigned other reading, so the list of readings for seminars was really the only "syllabus" each semester.

By the way, I noticed a few months ago (before the January residency, I think) that the Web site was going to post the "current syllabus," but as of now that page seems to be still "under construction." Ditto the Residency Schedule page. (For a program that employs online workshopping, Queens has never seemed adequately tech-savvy to me.)

It's true that the reading (reading in general, not just "theory" assignments) and critical writing components of the Queens program are much lighter than what's found elsewhere. The problem is that (when I was there, at least) many people came to the program with fairly weak preparation in these areas. This did not help the workshop situation. Of course there was resistance to acknowledging this problem, too.

I found it very frustrating, but as I was repeatedly told by the administration, I was in a minority in this respect. But I also came to the program with a pretty strong academic background and was accustomed to rigorous coursework. Looking back, it's pretty obvious that in many respects, this was not a good program match for me. Which doesn't mean it isn't a good match for others. And which doesn't mean that I could have predicted all the "mismatch" elements beforehand, with the possible no-brainer (as I see it now) that I missed: a program that doesn't emphasize "outside" reading/critical writing is not likely to attract a community that believes those things matter very much for a writer's development.

4) Which leads (sort of) to a more general comment for the thread. I'm a little concerned for people who ask the board for ideas about Program A vs. Program B. First, no one can possibly know the intricacies of two programs without having some direct experience with both of them. And second (this is a big, general point with me), each of us approaches the MFA with our own academic background, writerly strengths, writerly weaknesses, work habits, and so on down the line of variables. There's a lot of good advice in these threads--I hope I've offered some, at times, myself--but remember that it's also often very anonymous commentary, in both directions, and everyone really needs to consider his/her own case in its own context.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



(This post was edited by edwriter on Mar 27, 2006, 5:31 PM)


elli
Ellen Meeropol

e-mail user

Mar 27, 2006, 7:11 PM

Post #124 of 184 (3699 views)
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Re: [pongo] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

You're right, Pongo. Winter residencies in Maine were magical. Stonecoast meets at the Stone House, an old mansion on the rocky coast outside of Freeport. During the winter residencies, there's lots of snow, fires in the fireplaces in most rooms, and people snowshoe or ski in their (very rare) free time.

Elli


Ellen

www.ellenmeeropol.com


Aubrie


Mar 27, 2006, 7:26 PM

Post #125 of 184 (3691 views)
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Re: [elli] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

That sounds absolutely gorgeous....


gymnick


Mar 27, 2006, 7:28 PM

Post #126 of 184 (3529 views)
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Re: [elli] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been accepted to Emerson, Sarah Lawrence, Art Institute of Chicago (which I'm no longer interested in) and Goucher for nonfiction and I'm trying to decide between Emerson, SL and Goucher. I'm not sure if I want to go the low residency route. Part of my reasons for going that route is cost. But I'm still pretty young (finished undergrad in 2004) and I think I could still benefit from the more structured, weekly class sort of thing. Any thoughts on those programs?


Windiciti



Mar 27, 2006, 9:27 PM

Post #127 of 184 (3504 views)
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Re: [rooblue] [Edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, Rooblue and Edwriter!
Thanks for your input of how Low Res programs work: advisor v. internet board.
Frankly, I despise the latter. And it is true that some people are not good readers, and in my opinion, make comments just for the effect it has on their professor. I took a graduate education course which met once a week, but also required participation on an Internet forum, and as I said, it was hateful to me.
Glad to hear, Rooblue, that WWC is different.

BTW, I spoke to Amy G at WWC, and she told me to call back "every day if I needed to." I will call back on Friday.
They haven't made any decisions yet. They will call the people who are in. I'm scared! But it won't be the end of the world!
Thank you all for your info.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 1:14 AM

Post #128 of 184 (3443 views)
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Re: [gymnick] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Gymnick -
I was waitlisted at Goucher. Congrats on your acceptance there at at Emerson and Sarah Lawrence. I spoke with Richard Hoffman recently, who is at Emerson (because he also teaches at one of the low res programs I'm considering) and was very impressed.
At your age, I would probably opt for a traditional program; althought what I really want to say is maybe I would do neither and work, travel and write for a couple of years before heading back. Maybe by then a low res would work better because you may have a job you really like or at least need, or have other situations where you cannot pick up and move for a traditional program. That's the allure of doing it right away, you are unencumbered (usually). But I've read many accounts of writers who said they wish they'd waited until they were older & more experienced so they'd know better what they wanted out of the MFA experience. THen again folks like me, at age 46, still don't know precisely what I want out of it, so there you go.


gymnick


Mar 29, 2006, 1:19 AM

Post #129 of 184 (3439 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been leaning to the traditional program cause like you said, i'm probably at the age and point in my writing where i'd benefit the most from that sort of structure.
I've spent the last two years out of college which has felt like the longest time, esp. when i decided about a year ago that i want to go to grad school. other than applications and my job, i've spent the better part of this year thinking about what i want to write and work on while i'm in grad school. i want to try stuff out but i also am pretty focused on a book project.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 1:36 AM

Post #130 of 184 (3437 views)
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Re: [gymnick] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Gymnick, you sound ready. Good luck.


gymnick


Mar 29, 2006, 1:41 AM

Post #131 of 184 (3436 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!
I'll probably turn down Goucher in a couple of days so I'll root for you!


blackwalnut


Mar 29, 2006, 11:59 AM

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Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I'm applying to Bennington and Stonecoast in nonfiction for January '07. I'm way ahead of schedule, which is great: recommendations are out, Stonecoast statement is done, and Bennington's is coming along.

I figured I'd jump in here early as well; find out what I can from people who just finished the application process.

coolshoes, are you still waiting to hear from Stonecoast? How long was your writing sample? Was your essay double-spaced? I wrote a killer two-page essay but it's single-spaced. In addition to their residencies in Ireland, they'll soon be offering ones in Greece! This is particular appealing to me because I transferred to Emerson as a junior and my degree requirements prevented me from studying abroad. I've also never lived on campus so I'm hoping to make up for all this in an MFA program.

Gymnick, I think the faculty at Emerson is great, especially Lise Haines and Richard Hoffman (both writers-in-res.) As I'm sure we all know, the quality of a workshop relies heavily on the students. I was amazed at the authority some of the students assumed at Emerson. They were blind to the flaws in their own work but saw 20/20 down their noses, trashing the work of fellow students. None of us were established writers; we were college kids developing a base talent. But this snobby attitude exists everywhere so my advice to anyone interested in Emerson is make sure you find one or two professors you admire and whom like your work and stalk them in a healthy way. Boston is great a place to live too.

another reason the low-res format is good for me: more one on one time with a mentor rather than daily workshops. I want the most for my money and for me, that's constant professional attention. I like the idea of a low-res, a community without the overbearing monotony of daily interaction for months and months.

Anywho, so this is my introduction to the Speakeasy. hello. nice to see you.
little more background: 24, out of undergrad for 2 years, and considering applying to Vermont's program as well. I have to do some more research, that 3-4 page critical essay, ugh.


mirandabenjamin


Mar 29, 2006, 9:16 PM

Post #133 of 184 (3346 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

On the subject of Queens and online workshops: I'm a new CNF grad out of Queens, and found that the online workshops worked well, especially after the residency periods. You've just spent a week with your workshop mates and your teacher,so you can "hear" their comments as you read the notes and kind of know their perspective on things. (Take it or leave it, as with any workshop.) I was concerned that I would feel a little bit "out in space" during the non-resident periods, but found that the work and the feedback was constant rather than cyclical.The requirements for workshop feedback have changed a bit since the program started, I think - they require a certain word count and focus in the written feedback, which goes to classmates a/w/a instructor, so you're not getting (or giving) a "yes, this is fine," kind of comment. Line edits are usually very useful, too.

Every instructor I had was involved and thorough, but everyone has their own personality and approach. Which is good. So do editors, so do publishers, so we might as well get used to that.


coolshoes


Mar 29, 2006, 11:59 PM

Post #134 of 184 (3322 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

"coolshoes, are you still waiting to hear from Stonecoast? How long was your writing sample? Was your essay double-spaced?"
--------------
I have an acceptance to Stonecoast, and owe them a decision in a few days. I submitted my app on Jan 30 and got word back on Feb. 17. My portfolio was 21 pages, double spaced. By essay, if you mean the statement of purpose, it was 2 pages, spaced 1-1/2. Kind of a cheat, but what the heck. I don't think it would have mattered if it was single spaced. For The New School, it was a one page limit, so I just made it single spaced and I was accepted there as well.

You mentioned liking the faculty at Emerson and mentioned Richard Hoffman. He is on faculty at Stonecoast, as well.


edwriter



Mar 30, 2006, 8:35 AM

Post #135 of 184 (3300 views)
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Re: [mirandabenjamin] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad your experience was better than mine. They waited to launch the CNF section (the program began with only fiction/poetry offerings), and I think that worked to the CNF students' benefit. I was a fiction student--much larger component, much larger pool of faculty--and I'm very impressed by the work (and publishing credits) of the CNF students/grads in the program. One of them has a book coming out with FSG next month, in fact. Thanks for giving me the chance to point that out.

Yes, I heard about the new word count requirement (finally!) for critiques. The Web site stipulates they must run 300-500 words? In some cases that's about what my faculty gave me, too. Definitely not what some of the people in the mentor-based programs have reported. (I require a minimum of 500 words when I run a workshop, myself).

And in my MFA workshops, the fact that the instructor was seeing the comments didn't seem to raise the bar very much (though I imagined it would, too). Some of the faculty also seemed to have pretty minimal expectations for and engagement with the students' comments, which I thought was very unfortunate. Again, these were fiction faculty.

I'm interested in the "constant" instead of "cyclical" pattern you're reporting. My experience was very cyclical--in fact, we were frequently reminded at the residencies "not to bother" the faculty between submissions. I'm glad if that's changed.

Just goes to show everyone's experiences--especially in large programs, and in different genres, and in different semesters--can be very different, and that relying on "talking to students" doesn't always give you a clear view for your own purposes.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



blackwalnut


Mar 30, 2006, 9:04 AM

Post #136 of 184 (3296 views)
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Re: [coolshoes] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info and congrats on Stonecoast and New School.

I spoke with someone at Stonecoast last week. She said they admitted a student in nonfiction based on her FOUR page writing sample. Hmm...

Is anyone here receiving tutition assistance from their employer? I know there are several threads dealing with funding but I think, given the nature of the low-res, this question is better suited here.

one more question coolshoes. Since I have the time, I'm considering gathering and mailing all of my application materials together. Did you send in your stuff piece by piece? Would anyone else like to share how they went about it?

Thanks!


trumped


Mar 30, 2006, 10:33 AM

Post #137 of 184 (3284 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
one more question coolshoes. Since I have the time, I'm considering gathering and mailing all of my application materials together. Did you send in your stuff piece by piece? Would anyone else like to share how they went about it?

Thanks!


To answer the application part, I think it's better to send all of the info together rather than piece by piece or having it mailed in from other sources (school transcripts, recommendations). I emailed all of the schools I was applying to and asked if I could gather the material and send it in myself, even if their app said it had to come straight from the source. I assured them that transcripts would be official and sealed and recommendations would be sealed in an envelope with the recommender's name signed across the seal. All nine of the schools I applied to, except one - Goddard, said it was okay. Goddard requested that recommendations be sent directly to them.

I think it makes for a much cleaner, cohesive package and you get your response sooner that your application is complete.


kmala


Mar 30, 2006, 11:24 AM

Post #138 of 184 (3270 views)
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Naropa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello All,

This is my first time on this forum - I just got my rejection letter from NYU a few days ago. It was the only program I applied to, though I'm not 100% sure why. Originally I was interested only in a low-res program and was going to apply to FDU, but for some odd reason decided to completely put all of my eggs in one basket and apply to NYU, though I knew, I mean absolutely knew, I would not get in.

Anywho, now I am re-researching low-res programs and am wondering about Naropa - has anyone had any experience with them... heard anything, applied there, etc? I would be going for poetry.

All of the posts I have read so far have been very informative - and though none of them were directly for me.. thanks!
-kara


mdseay
Martin Seay

Mar 30, 2006, 1:04 PM

Post #139 of 184 (3253 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a 2005 grad of the Queens low-res program (in fiction), and I'm honestly a pretty big fan of their online workshop format.

The broadly-held but unspoken assumption about online workshops seems to be that you will learn craft by reading the comments of other workshop participants. In almost every case, you will not; you'll learn how your stuff is being read. You will learn craft by WRITING comments about OTHER people's submissions.

We learn to write by reading closely. We can, of course, learn a lot by reading a wide range of published work by established writers, but I would submit to you that we can actually learn more of immediate value by closely examining the workshop disasters of our peers. The artists of the Renaissance (to make a grandiose analogy) perfected their craft not primarily by observing the exertions of athletes, but rather by dissecting corpses.

I don't have enough hard data to confirm or disprove the contention that Queens' reading and critical requirements are lighter than those of other programs, low-res and otherwise; I suspect that the reading load -- typically 12-15 books per residency from three genres, plus the odd lit-crit book -- is about average. When I was at Queens, a student who wanted to skimp on these requirements could get away with doing so . . . and I could not begin to wish we had been policed more aggressively. I appreciated the freedom to ignore assignments that failed to resonate with my own interests and struggles. (I also found more than one faculty member willing to recommend reading tailored specifically to my concerns, and then to discuss that reading at length at a later date.) Queens' requirements in this department evidently have become more systematized since Erika -- and even since I -- graduated, but as far as I can tell, their emphasis on writing has remained consistent and sound.

So far as the availability of Queens' faculty goes . . . I never found any of them to be less than generous with their time and their assistance, and at least a couple of them went so far above-and-beyond as to court disbelief. (This generosity extends to faculty with whom I never formally studied.) While I was at Queens, I was always cautious about asking for extra attention or assistance . . . but I often found it offered anyway.

(I too remember injunctions from the program chairs to keep our interactions with faculty within reasonable limits, but this is just logistical and pedagogical common sense: nobody wants their instructors monopolized by a few high-maintenance students, and everybody learns more by applying their instructors' wisdom than by simply demanding more and more of it.)

True, the Queens program might not be ideal for everyone -- but it is sufficiently large and flexible to meet the needs of a remarkable range of students, and it does deliver what it purports to deliver. My expectations of it were high, and they were exceeded by a wide margin.


edwriter



Mar 30, 2006, 1:47 PM

Post #140 of 184 (3239 views)
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Re: [mdseay] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm a 2005 grad of the Queens low-res program (in fiction), and I'm honestly a pretty big fan of their online workshop format.

The broadly-held but unspoken assumption about online workshops seems to be that you will learn craft by reading the comments of other workshop participants. In almost every case, you will not; you'll learn how your stuff is being read. You will learn craft by WRITING comments about OTHER people's submissions.






Absolutely. I agree, completely, Martin. Which is why I spend a lot of time teaching my own students "how to critique" and which was also why I was so very frustrated with the program's unwillingness, at the time, to focus on the craft of critiquing. Ultimately, I even tried to offer a service in the form of my own craft seminar on the craft of critiquing. (Let's not even get into the uneven quality of craft seminar preparation/performance, although there, too, I understand they've finally toughened up the requirement a bit.) As I say, mine was definitely a minority voice on the subject of critiquing (or any other "standards") throughout the time I was there.

Still, an argument could be made that since one's tuition dollars are going to support the online workshop, it would be nice to receive quality responses on one's work. At the time I was in the program, the student handbook stated that faculty would "assess" the student responses. This never once happened. I never once received any "assessment" of my own critiques, and I certainly never saw instructors comment on others' critiques in their responses, except to say, from time to time, "I agree with X and Y about this point." Not quite individual evaluation/assessment. And not very helpful if one goal is, indeed, to strengthen individual critique abilities so that one will, indeed, learn from the process of writing rather than reading critiques.

Similarly, I never received an evaluation/assessment of any of the response papers for those 12-15 books (not that we needed to write about all 12-15) which, as you point out, frequently fell to the wayside for many of my classmates. Maybe I had an unspoken assumption that my papers would be read and commented on. That was just one more way I found the program did not deliver: I have a number of years behind me as a student
and as an instructor, and nowhere else, in either context, have I ever encountered the phenomenon of papers being submitted but never returned/responded to. A number of us wondered if anyone ever read them. Even the paper submission/collection process was disorganized. So the lack of faculty engagement there seemed very off to me.

I'm glad if the program has matured somewhat. It does point to possible perils of new programs for inaugural students (a point of this discussion), especially if the programs turn out to be very resistant/slow to change. Four or five years is awhile, in my view, to get "features" like an online workshop in order (I don't think we inaugural students got any tuition "discounts" in the meantime!). But if such program components are working now, that's all to the good for the newer students.

Again, I think people enter programs with different expectations so even if they were to work with the same set of faculty at the same time in the same workshops, they're likely to emerge with different evaluations. When they work with different people at different times in different workshops, different viewpoints are practically guaranteed.


Best,
Erika D.


blackwalnut


Mar 30, 2006, 4:05 PM

Post #141 of 184 (3196 views)
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Re: [trumped] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, trumped. You got into Bennington right? If so, what genre? I think they mentioned on their application that recs. and transcripts must be sent directly but if you gathered the materials yourself, I'll do the same.

Anyone have experience with residencies abroad? Stonecoast offers them in Greece and Ireland. Very tempting...


trumped


Mar 30, 2006, 11:52 PM

Post #142 of 184 (3166 views)
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Re: [blackwalnut] Bennington, Stonecoast, and Emerson [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks, trumped. You got into Bennington right? If so, what genre? I think they mentioned on their application that recs. and transcripts must be sent directly but if you gathered the materials yourself, I'll do the same.


I was accepted into Bennington for fiction. Even the programs that said on their application that things must be sent directly told me I could gather all of the materials and send them in in one packet. Email all of the schools though and get their answers before doing it.


coolshoes


Mar 31, 2006, 12:01 AM

Post #143 of 184 (3166 views)
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All done ! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to Stonecoast (Univ. So. Maine)....whew...glad the agonizing decision-making process is over! To recap:
Accepted to --
The New School (way too expensive, logistical difficulties re: family/commuting into city)
Western CT St. Univ (very new program, hard to evaluate, didn't click for me)
Lesley (it was very hard to choose betw. Lesley & Maine; I just got a better gut feeling)

Waitlisted - Goucher
Rejected - Queens

I wish everyone well in making their final decisions. The posts and support have been so very much appreciated. Thanks to all and good luck.

Anyone else out there going to Stonecoast?


clarabow


Mar 31, 2006, 2:15 AM

Post #144 of 184 (3155 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] Low Residency MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Can anyone tell me about the MFA Writing Program at Provincetown's FAWC?


edwriter



Mar 31, 2006, 8:05 AM

Post #145 of 184 (3140 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow:

I thought the MFA program there was primarily for visual artists. Check the Web site (www.fawc.org).

There is a fellowship program there for writers, and a series of writing workshops.

Best,
Erika D.


clarabow


Mar 31, 2006, 9:20 AM

Post #146 of 184 (3126 views)
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Re: [edwriter] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

I see. Does FAWC offer writing courses (not just the winter fellowship) during the fall, winter and spring? I don't see anything about this on the website, but maybe I am just not looking in the right place?


rooblue


Mar 31, 2006, 4:30 PM

Post #147 of 184 (3094 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

clarabow,
FAWC is workshops in the summer and the very prestigious fellowship in the winter -- that's it -- nothing even remotely resembling an MFA program.


mirandabenjamin


Apr 1, 2006, 9:55 AM

Post #148 of 184 (3051 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

"constant" as in instructors were available to me by e-mail if I needed to follow up on a comment or ask a question - which doesn't mean emailing someone to ask how their day was or did they just read this new piece in the New Yorker and what did they think of it? One thing I liked about low-rez is the tacit professionalism implied in the on-line relationship.

Also, generating new work for the submission deadline plus revising work that had just come back plus reading and writing papers kept me pretty busy, especially when combined with my "regular" job, (a writing job). Having to keep my job is why I went to a low-rez program, so there you go!


edwriter



Apr 1, 2006, 1:29 PM

Post #149 of 184 (3029 views)
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Re: [clarabow] FAWC [In reply to] Can't Post

Clarabow:

There's an extensive roster of summer workshops, plus fall programming. Page links are on the home page for "summer" and "fall" programs.

Hope that helps.

Best,
Erika D.


edwriter



Apr 1, 2006, 1:48 PM

Post #150 of 184 (3026 views)
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Re: [mirandabenjamin] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"constant" as in instructors were available to me by e-mail if I needed to follow up on a comment or ask a question - which doesn't mean emailing someone to ask how their day was or did they just read this new piece in the New Yorker and what did they think of it? One thing I liked about low-rez is the tacit professionalism implied in the on-line relationship.


Yes, I expected "tacit professionalism" from both faculty and students, too. It was amazing how often such professionalism was breached.

I don't think I was expecting to check in daily with faculty for their ideas about magazine pieces or their daily lives (though I have, and still do, congratulate some of the nicer ones I've come to know on their awards and publications, and inquire when I know they're going through rough times. There I can be found guilty.)

I did, however, expect full, thoughtful, and considered responses on all my submissions. And some kind of response on my response papers. And dialogue with my initial craft advisor on my craft seminar topic. Just for starters. Simple "hellos" in passing from some others would have been nice, too.

Like Martin (above) I did encounter a few unexpected and much appreciated instances of generosity from a few faculty with whom I was not assigned to work (and with whom I'm still in touch). They seemed open to me and my work and, frankly, they also tended to be among the more experienced teachers, usually with full-time appointments in addition to their low-res positions.


In Reply To
Also, generating new work for the submission deadline plus revising work that had just come back plus reading and writing papers kept me pretty busy, especially when combined with my "regular" job, (a writing job). Having to keep my job is why I went to a low-rez program, so there you go!


Yes, I was working, too. In fact, I was teaching, and doing plenty of concurrent reading and responding to my own student writing ("academic" and "creative"). Plus I'd had some really great independent study/advising situations in my previous life (or lives--this wasn't my first round in graduate school) as a student, as well. Which may be other reasons I found certain attitudes of some of the faculty unsettling and disappointing.

I thought it was great to revise and generate new work so frequently (another reason to opt for low-res), though I remember in one of my workshops a classmate repeatedly submitted the same material (and further, seemed unhappy that the rest of us weren't submitting revisions instead of new work, too). As I said before, I didn't find the "outside" reading/writing requirements terribly onerous.

Glad that you (and Martin) have now joined the Speakeasy. Glad, too, that your experiences were so much more agreeable than mine. Hope you'll stick around and participate in some of the other discussions.

Best,
Erika D.

(This post was edited by edwriter on Apr 1, 2006, 1:51 PM)


rooblue


Apr 5, 2006, 9:40 AM

Post #151 of 184 (4130 views)
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message to kalalamayan [In reply to] Can't Post

Kal,
You PM'd me, and I tried to reply, but you've set up your user preferences so that you can't receive private messages. If you want answers to your questions I suggest you change that setting, otherwise I can't respond.

Dana (motet) suggested that I post this here in the hopes that you'll see it.

thanks
Rooblue


GreenBeat


Apr 6, 2006, 4:01 PM

Post #152 of 184 (4067 views)
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Re: [mdseay] Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs [In reply to] Can't Post

"I'm a 2005 grad of the Queens low-res program (in fiction), and I'm honestly a pretty big fan of their online workshop format. "

mdseay:

Hi. I was recently accepted at Queens and would love to hear any more of your impressions about the program. Especially, do you feel your writing improved significantly? And, do you know anyone who completed a novel while going there? How did that work? And just general impressions of the residency experience, instructor styles, student interaction, etc.

It sounds like there is a good deal of freedom to move and breath at Queens. ?


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 11:51 AM

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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am new to this message board and have been searching for feedback on Fairleigh Dickinson's low residency MFA program. I wondered if you could share with me some of the things you have heard about the program. I know that it is relatively new so I guess I am just wondering what students had to say about their experiences there.

Thanks!

Dawn


rooblue


Apr 12, 2006, 1:11 PM

Post #154 of 184 (3956 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I know two people who've been through the program. One liked it, one dropped out because he didn't think it was rigorous enough. Isn't this the program that meets in London once a year? that sounds cool to me.


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 1:16 PM

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Re: [rooblue] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, this is the program that has their January residency outside of London. I just emailed the director to find out how they coordinate travel to England. I don't want to have to find my own way to this way once I arrive in England. It also seems strange to me that they do not require any letters of recommendation with the application process. I double-checked with the director to make sure before I proceeded with applying. I am also looking in to the University of New Orleans program as well. I like having the opportunity to go abroad with the residency requirements.

If you don't mind me asking, what made FDU's program non-rigorous?


willbell
Will

Apr 12, 2006, 1:52 PM

Post #156 of 184 (3948 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

When I applied, I was excited about the international component and the director was very helpful--he answered my questions quickly and thoroughly. I didn't like the module format when compared to the mentor/student packet process at Bennington or Goddard. I liked the connection to The Literary Review, but was indifferent about the faculty....once again, this is in comparison to Bennington and Goddard. It was also new and untested...for the most part...and I wanted to know more...get more info from former/current students.


dawns


Apr 12, 2006, 2:31 PM

Post #157 of 184 (3936 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I can agree with wanting to acquire more information about the FDU program. The information packets I received from Bennington, Goddard, and Vermont College were a wealth of information but the FDU packet literally contained a double sided sheet of information, an application, and a copy of the Literary Review. I know that Fairleigh Dickinson as a whole is good school but I am curious about their success so far with the relatively new low-res program.

Have you heard any good/bad comments about the low-res program through UNO? I have applied to the traditional MFA program and am still waiting to hear if I got accepted. The only problem is that my husband is unwilling to uproot and move to New Orleans and I admit, it is scary for me as well. So I was thinking I could maybe do the low-res option instead.

My other choice to apply is Bennington and from reading the long thread on low-res programs, I would say it gets good reviews from students who attended/are attending.


willbell
Will

Apr 12, 2006, 2:43 PM

Post #158 of 184 (3926 views)
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Re: [dawns] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know much about UNO. Sorry.

Everyone I know or have talked to about Bennington loved it. It is a great program...


greenrose


Apr 13, 2006, 12:36 AM

Post #159 of 184 (3885 views)
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Re: [willbell] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

For what it's worth, to anyone considering the FDU program...I believe my former teacher David Daniel works there. I had him for undergrad at Emerson, before he decided to leave (as so many do, sadly but understandably) due to financial issues, and others, with the administration...anyway, he's the poetry editor of Ploughshares, a wonderful poet and a great teacher. I don't know anything else about FDU, but I can definitely vouch for David as a lovely person to work with...


burnssh


Apr 16, 2006, 7:17 PM

Post #160 of 184 (3811 views)
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Re: [greenrose] Low-Residency Programs (bennington, lesley, goddard, ww) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I just got an acceptance from FDU. Has anyone else been accepted to the program recently. I would love to chat about where it falls in your decision process and why. Thanks, Sharon


Taliesin2


May 10, 2006, 11:07 AM

Post #161 of 184 (3679 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Speaking of Low-Res MFA's, does anybody know of any good ones in either Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C.? Thanks.


wonder01
Miriam Terron-Elder

May 10, 2006, 3:49 PM

Post #162 of 184 (3658 views)
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Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been reading as much as I can about LR-MFA and it seems that attending residencies both in the fall and spring semesters is standard. I only get two weeks of vacation a year from my corporate job, how do other full-time workers swing this? My head is still spinning from all the information on this board and other web sites, so I might be confusing things.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

May 10, 2006, 4:25 PM

Post #163 of 184 (3653 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Each residency is generally only a week. They may be described as eight-day or so, but that includes the weekends at both ends of the week. And most programs will allow you to come a day late if you have trouble taking the time off.

I met one guy at Goddard who came only to his graduation residency because the Army wouldn't give him leave for all the others. The residency is important, but in general the people running these programs aren't crazy. They understand that their students have lives.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


edwriter



May 11, 2006, 8:34 AM

Post #164 of 184 (3628 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the residencies vary. Some are the one-week-plus-weekend(s) variety, some are a little longer. Some run during spring and fall; some during winter/summer. You'll really need to look at all the programs and see how they're organized.

The UBC program in Vancouver is actually an "optional-residency" program, with a single residency in the summer that is not required. But it's encouraged. There may be a very few other programs with a single-residency component. I think the program at Pacific Lutheran University/Rainier Writing Workshop is one (10 days). The UNO program also relies on a summer-only residency structure, I think, but I don't know how long that lasts.

Hope this helps.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 13, 2006, 2:13 PM

Post #165 of 184 (3572 views)
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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I think a lot of people take some unpaid leave for the residencies if they can swing it, so they have vacation to preserve. You need vacation more than ever.

If you're working an inflexible corporate job, getting to the residency is the least of your challenges. Once the residency is over you're stacking 25-30 hours a week of hard reading and writing on top of a 50-hour work week, not to mention family responsibilities, social responsibilities, etc. Students lose their jobs every term. It can be hard on marriages, too. Although a faculty member once told me that the lost jobs and marriages are almost always the ones that weren't working out in the first place. A friend of mine at Bennington got fired from her job a couple of months ago and it's already turning out to be one of the best things that ever happened to her. On the other hand, we've had MDs with boundless energy cruise through the program without missing a beat. If you're a superhero it's not a problem.

All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


Taliesin2


May 14, 2006, 12:18 AM

Post #166 of 184 (3551 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


In your opinion, is a low-res MFA program more demanding than afull time MFA program? Thanks. :-)


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 14, 2006, 8:24 AM

Post #167 of 184 (3539 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
All in all, a low-res MFA program is pretty demanding. But only as demanding as being a writer.


In your opinion, is a low-res MFA program more demanding than afull time MFA program? Thanks. :-)


No. A low-res MFA is lots of work, but it's still part-time. It doesn't require you to move away. And it squeezes all the extras like readings and workshops and lectures and drinking heavily with your classmates into 22 days a year. The low-res MFA simulates the writer's life. The residential MFA *is* your life.

You can work a full-time job around a low-res MFA. Just not a real demanding or inflexible one. If you're working more than 40 hours a week and getting only two weeks of vacation with no ability to fudge with unpaid leave or comp time or something like that, it's going to be tough. The point is, if you're working that kind of job, being a writer is going to be tough. Once you're getting an MFA, it's not a hobby anymore.

That being said, we have very few dropouts. People find a way. A fair number of people, I'd say maybe 20 percent, take a term off at some point to catch up with work. Others are working reduced hours - I work for myself and I've cut my billing down to about 30 hours a week while I'm in the program. Some people have employers who value the MFA and are allowing some of the program time to count as work time; a few employers are even picking up part of the tuition. Some people are blatantly cheating, doing their classwork on the job and hiding it. Some people are leaning on their extremely generous spouses to pick up some slack for a couple of years. Then there are the people who are simply tireless - the people who are able to do it the way the writing magazines tell you, setting aside several hours each day, waking early, going to bed late, doing it all. That's not many people.

People talk about finding time to write, but I think time isn't really the problem. You need only three free hours a day to be a writer, and slightly more for a low-res MFA to accommodate the academic work. Most Americans devote more time than that to watching television. The problem is energy. Americans hate to admit it, but a brain needs rest. That goes double for a writing brain. It's not like pushing a broom where you force yourself and try not to fall asleep. Essentially, you're a performer. There's no such thing as sliding by. So the writing somehow has to come first, and the day job is where you slide by, until you die or you reach that beautiful day when the writing is your day job.


wonder01
Miriam Terron-Elder

May 16, 2006, 9:43 AM

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Re: [wiswriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for all the info you posted. My corporate job isn't super demanding, but they have hard rules about vacation time, etc. They would only pay for an MBA degree, so getting a free corporate-sponsored ride is out of the question. The time juggle will be a hurdle, but where there's a will...


blackwalnut


May 17, 2006, 4:09 PM

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Re: [wonder01] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, good advice Bob.

Are people really receiving tutition assistance from their corporate job? I work in publishing and got shot down. I'm curious where these lucky individuals work. I thought I was safe in assuming a publishing house would offer at least some reimbursement, but we all know what happens when you assume.

Can anyone say anything bad about Bennington? So far it seems flawless.

Thanks.


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

May 18, 2006, 2:20 PM

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Re: [blackwalnut] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Can anyone say anything bad about Bennington? So far it seems flawless.


Of course it's far from flawless. There are rough semesters with teachers, people go on leave at bad times, lectures bomb, tears are shed in workshop, etc. etc., just like any other MFA program. All in all, though, it's a good program and probably deserves to be up there in the rankings on the basis of faculty and student achievement and overall stability. From the way every class exceeds the last it's obviously rising. I think it's destined at some point to be the top low-residency program because of the institution it's tied to; Bennington is a hot school, especially for the arts, and students and teachers are attracted there by the literary tradition.


writerle


Jun 5, 2006, 7:17 PM

Post #171 of 184 (3309 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a sort of general question about first residencies, for anyone out there who has already went through (or is currently enrolled in) a low res program. I'm about three weeks away from my first residency, but I still feel pretty much in the dark about what's going to happen when I get there. I was told that a lecture list would be out about a month ago, but so far nothing. I did receive a roommate request form and sent in a piece for the workshop I will be in, but that's about it. Is this pretty typical, or are the lecture offerings and residency schedules normally available before this point? I don't want to name the school I'll be going to, but it is well-established. Just curious how well-informed everyone else felt going into their low res programs. Thanks.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 5, 2006, 9:18 PM

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Re: [writerle] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

When I got to my first residency I had the title of a book that would be discussed in one of the seminars and a list of supplies I was likely to need. I may have also had a faculty list. I had no idea what to expect, and not a clue as to what workshops would be offered, other than the one where you needed to have read the book.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


rooblue


Jun 5, 2006, 10:49 PM

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Re: [writerle] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, writerle, Warren Wilson students got the faculty class descriptions (which include required and suggested reading lists) right after Memorial Day. We also got the big thick binder that has all the stories to be workshopped. We don't get the actual schedule, that says what class will be offered on what day at what time, until we get there, but that really doesn't matter. They really expect us to read the required reading in advance, so they're always pretty timely with the faculty class descriptions. The faculty for this coming term has been posted on the website for months. I don't know how other low-res programs handle preparation for residencies; sorry I can't be of more help.


writerle


Jun 6, 2006, 11:31 PM

Post #174 of 184 (3252 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you rooblue and Pongo for sharing your experiences. I guess I'm just getting a little anxious. Another student starting the same program I will be in informed me that he just received some of the things I've been waiting for today, so I should be getting them soon. And I just got my bill for the first semester, and that certainly made things seem a little more real and immediate.


LMcDole


Jun 7, 2006, 2:14 PM

Post #175 of 184 (3219 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Erika,

I read your newsletter and have been following the low-res posts here as well as the posts over at Tom Kealey's blog. Your input has been very detailed and helpful and I'm wondering if you can give me any insight into the programs at PLU (Rainier) and Pacific U in Oregon. I like that PLU requires only a summer residency, is near my home in Seattle, and structured over 3 years (I have two young children); I also got warm fuzzies from their website (it's so easy to navigate, unlike many of the other schools, and seems welcoming; yes, we've come to this: computer sites with human attributes!) Pacific U has 2 res. a year but still not too far from my home, and some of the faculty seemed interesting to me.

Also, I know I need to cast a wider net. Some of my criteria are: once a year residency if possible (I know most are two); good nonfiction program; mentor vs. online workshop model; lower cost. I've taken Gotham classes online and the workshop model helped me feel connected to other writers but didn't necessarily help my writing much. Plus I spent a lot of time critiquing others' pieces, which took away from my writing time (although I know there is merit there as well.)

So, any input on the above mentioned programs as well as other programs to look at would be great.

I'd appreciate anyone else who'd like to weigh in as well.

Thank you,
Lorri M.


edwriter



Jun 7, 2006, 4:51 PM

Post #176 of 184 (4718 views)
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Re: [LMcDole] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, Lorri:

Thanks for your kind note (and the newsletter plug!).

I don't have any direct information about either of the programs you've mentioned. But given the rest of your message, I have a few other suggestions/comments:

1) Don't discount your impressions from a Web site. If a program takes the time to develop and devotes energy to maintaining a good Web site--with solid, current, easy-to-navigate information--that's a sign that it's a program attentive to detail (and at least somewhat tech-savvy, which is important for distance learning programs overall).

2) You can find a list of all the programs I'm aware of to date, plus Web sites, in my primer on low-residency MFA programs. Between updates I post information about new discoveries at my blog. One example: I believe Ashland University in Ohio will be launching a new program soon (poetry and nonfiction only).

3) At some point you may have to decide which of the criteria you've listed take(s) priority. When I think offhand of one-residency-a-year programs that offer creative nonfiction I come up with Goucher, UBC, and UNO (in addition to PLU). But not all of them rely on the "mentor" model. Also, consider how the sometimes longer single residencies compare, for you/your family's purposes, with two shorter residencies.

4) Keep informed. Sometimes newer programs, especially, add instruction in a new genre as they go along. The low-res program I was in, for instance, started with poetry and fiction only, and expanded to nonfiction after a year, if I'm remembering right.

5) My impression is that many programs will let you take at least an extra semester if you need it. So even if you don't find too many three-year programs you may not necessarily have to finish in two.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



LMcDole


Jun 7, 2006, 7:58 PM

Post #177 of 184 (4695 views)
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Re: [edwriter] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Erika,

Thanks for the quick input. It's funny, at the very time you were posting I was checking out Goucher, UBC, and UNO. Relating to your comment about not discounting websites, I agree. They all have a different feel, and some seem unfriendly at best and purposefully confusing at worst. I've come up with a list I'm interested in based on my criteria (which admittedly I haven't applied evenly across the board): PLU, Pacific U, Stonecoast, Goucher, Vermont College, Pine Manor. Also maybe Goddard, which has a satellite in Washington (my state). I think Goddard has a good rep; I'm wondering if its Vermont and WA site are both highly considered.

Do you (does anyone) have any feedback about the new Whidbey Island program, which reportedly is the only MFA program not affiliated (although it's accredited) with a major university?

Thanks,
Lorri


edwriter



Jun 7, 2006, 8:16 PM

Post #178 of 184 (4693 views)
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Re: [LMcDole] low-res programs/Whidbey [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Do you (does anyone) have any feedback about the new Whidbey Island program, which reportedly is the only MFA program not affiliated (although it's accredited) with a major university?

Thanks,
Lorri


Hi, Lorri:

I haven't yet heard much from students, but my communications (both via e-mail and during a brief conversation at an AWP conference) with the program director have been excellent. The program has a very comprehensive Web site, too. I hope Whidbey students will chime in.

Best,
Erika D.


willbell
Will

Jun 8, 2006, 9:50 AM

Post #179 of 184 (4665 views)
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Re: [LMcDole] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post

Goddard will allow you to take semesters off and complete the program over a longer period of time...if needed. They have a great creative NF program. The Port Townsend program has a smaller faculty; it has only been around for a year. It's located at the Hugo House one semester and Centrum the other (I think).


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 8, 2006, 12:44 PM

Post #180 of 184 (4652 views)
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Re: [LMcDole] Full-time job and residency [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Also maybe Goddard, which has a satellite in Washington (my state). I think Goddard has a good rep; I'm wondering if its Vermont and WA site are both highly considered.


The Washington campus of the Goddard MFA program is run by the same people (person, really: Paul Selig) with some of the same faculty as the Vermont program. Only some of the same faculty because the program isn't as big yet, so it doesn't justify bringing everyone.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


jasonwdonnelly


Jun 16, 2006, 6:43 AM

Post #181 of 184 (4580 views)
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Wilkes University and Warnborough College? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have two questions. I'm trying to decide which track to take in my Master's and PhD program and can't find enough information from others on the subject. Has anyone here been to Wilkes University for their low-residency MA in Creative Writing? Also, Has anyone heard anything about Warnborough College in Ireland. They have a two year PhD program? Thanks all! Jay


(This post was edited by jasonwdonnelly on Jun 16, 2006, 7:14 AM)


Martin Amis



Jan 28, 2007, 1:03 PM

Post #182 of 184 (4519 views)
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Acceptance rate at Goddard? [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone have any information about the acceptance rate for fiction writers at Goddard?

Thanks much.



"Oh . . . hell."


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 29, 2007, 1:21 PM

Post #183 of 184 (4402 views)
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Re: [Martin Amis] Acceptance rate at Goddard? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know anything, but I bet that if you wrote to Paul Selig and asked, he would tell you. He is not a bullshitter.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


claudiaz


Apr 7, 2008, 2:42 PM

Post #184 of 184 (4195 views)
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Re: [eriksmetana] Low Residency MFAs (2) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I don't know about the others, but I went to Vermont College (which will soon be called Vermont College of Fine Arts) and loved it! It was the most amazing, life-altering experience. It was all I had hoped it would be, and even more. The faculty is incredibly dedicated and provided comprehensive feedback on my work. Plus, it has a great atmosphere, very friendly.

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