Mar 15, 2006, 5:52 PM
Post #72 of 184
Perils/Positives of New (Low-Res) Programs
[In reply to]
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?