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Aubrie


Oct 10, 2005, 12:08 AM

Post #1 of 1175 (23600 views)
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Application Time Can't Post

I'm trying to revive a lost thread! I've been looking back through all the old postings and long for the community of the past two years. I'm applying this winter. Columbia, NYU, New School, Hunter. I have to stay in NYC, it's where I live and work. I'm not interested in lo-res because I really, really want to work closely with other writers HERE in NYC. I worked with a professor from Vermont College this summer at the National Book Foundation's summer writing program and I think she is AMAZING and I encourage anyone interested in VC to go - it's just not the right program for me.
Anyone else out there struggling with personal statements? Anyone with sage advice? NYU is Dec. 15th. Time to get moving!!!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Oct 12, 2005, 6:02 PM

Post #2 of 1175 (23539 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie--

The thread usually picks up in February/March, after all the applications are in and everyone's waiting for results. I'm also applying to programs for fall 2006; I have three deadlines in December.

I've spent the last week putting together instructions and materials for my recommenders and working on my personal statement(s). Each application asks for something slightly different, but I'm trying to get down the main ideas in a concise and (hopefully) compelling essay that I can tweak for most of them. I'm finding it difficult to shift back and forth between my ever-evolving manuscript and these essays. I'm feeling a bit panicky--there's precious little time left. . .


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


amarier


Oct 13, 2005, 2:31 PM

Post #3 of 1175 (23515 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying this winter too, but I probably only to low-res programs. I prefer how the low-res programs are set up. My applications aren't due until Feb 1, March 1 and April 1. But time goes so fast and I already feel behind! I don't know which manuscript I'll send yet, or if it will be something new I'm working on. I also haven't yet started on the personal or critical essays. I think this week I'm going to decide which short story I'll write the critical essay for, for the schools that need that, and start working on it. Really though, I'm still deciding exactly which schools I'll apply to. Definitely Warren Wilson, Bennington and Vermont College. Also thinking about Lesley, Goddard, Whidbey (which I haven't heard a lot about, I guess because it's new) and Queens U (which, for some reason I can't put my finger on, I'm not terribly interested in applying there or going there even though I've heard good things about it). Maybe Stonecast or the one in Vancouver (though I don't really like that you only have a workshop there once a year, not twice. And I don't want a lot, or any, online courses).


Aubrie


Oct 15, 2005, 11:32 PM

Post #4 of 1175 (23471 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I worked very closely with a professor from VC this summer and she was fantastic. If I were interested in a low res school I would def. apply there.
Right now I'm working on the writing portfolio and my personal statement. It's a bit daunting.
I'll be applying to Columbia, NYU, New School, and Hunter. I don't think there's a single program out of the four that I'd be disappointed with. They seem to all have their strengths (though some are a bit more feasible financially!).
Take it as it comes though, right?
Speaking of financial though, is anyone applying FAFSA? I did it for undergrad...
Looks like I'm ready for another time around.


chitown


Oct 16, 2005, 8:36 PM

Post #5 of 1175 (23455 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie, if you want to stay in NY you might also want to check out Brooklyn College. Don't know if that's too far, but I've good things about their program.


amarier


Oct 23, 2005, 3:03 PM

Post #6 of 1175 (23462 views)
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the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone else working on, or thinking about starting to work on, the application annotation (aka the 'critical essay')? I don't mean the personal essay, and I'm not so worried about that one, because I have an idea already of what I'll write for that. I think most of the schools I'm applying to require this essay. I thought I was going to be on top of everything and have a rought draft, or at least a pre-rough draft by this point, but I don't. Actually, I'm still deciding what short story I'm going to focus on, and then I'll have to decide what element I'll focus on. Previously, I'd been thinking of doing 'the scheme of things' by d'ambrosio, but decided not to do it when I remembered/realized he's at Warren Wilson, one of the schools I'm applying to. I really wouldn't want to write about a short story that's written by someone associated with the school...

Then I'm thinking, besides the fact that I should chose a story I love and which interests me, should it be contemporary or should I go with something older, something O Henry, something, I don't know. Should it be well-known, like in a Best American Short Stories, or should I chose something lesser-known? The last few questions I'm mostly posing to myself, no need to reply to that part unless you want to. Just brainstorming, and would like responses from others brainstorming as well!




Aubrie


Oct 24, 2005, 12:39 AM

Post #7 of 1175 (23441 views)
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Re: [amarier] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel your pain, for Columbia you have to comment on a piece of literature written within the past ten years... and I stressed about it for a long time. I've decided on Disgrace by Coetzee. It's going to be tough, he's a literary genius (in my humble opinion) and I adore his work. How do I keep my adoration out? What can be said that hasn't already been said? I don't have any answers as I'm appying and fumbling around as well, but I do wish you best of luck! Let me know how it works out!


rooblue


Oct 24, 2005, 11:25 AM

Post #8 of 1175 (23428 views)
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Re: [amarier] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't matter that Charlie's at Warren Wilson and you want to annotate one of his stories. Without knowing that he was joining the faculty, I wrote my critical essay on his story "The Point" last year, and I got in. If you write on that story, they wouldn't give him your folder to read for admission, but that would be the only impact. We don't even know who the readers are, so I have no idea what fac members actually read the applications. If you want to write about that story you should feel free to do so.


Aubrie


Nov 15, 2005, 6:22 PM

Post #9 of 1175 (23336 views)
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Re: [rooblue] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to jump into this thread again and share my feelings of utter and complete anxiety.
I've never felt so up and down - some days I'm confident I'll get into a program, and other days I'm confident I'm wasting money on application fees.
AND I'm basically writing my writing sample from scratch - so I'm always stressing about that, too.
I've started convincing myself that it might not be the best time for me to go back to school, just so that if/when I'm not accepted anywhere it won't be so much of a blow.
Anybody else feeling crappy?


HopperFu


Nov 15, 2005, 8:34 PM

Post #10 of 1175 (23324 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I'm feeling rather anxious. I mailed my applications off and then thought rather seriously about puking on the mailbox.
A friend of mine made a rather nice point, however: going to graduate school is not what is or is not going to make me a writer. And (this is my point), I can always apply again next year, right?
Now I just have to wait for, what, five months?


hazelmotes


Nov 15, 2005, 8:46 PM

Post #11 of 1175 (23321 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Um, yeah, I'm stressed out too. And I haven't even finished yet! I don't know, my anxiety is just really really high, but if I don't get in, my life will go on, and I'll still write. So maybe I should just calm the hell down!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 15, 2005, 9:48 PM

Post #12 of 1175 (23316 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Definitely suffering from nervous energy and personal statement anxiety. Here's what a genius I am: I let my mother read my personal statement. "Is this a--a fragment, dear?" And no less than 3 phone calls and one email with suggestions on how I could rethink it. Yikes.

Drowning in online forms and constantly stressing that I'm forgetting something. I can't believe that HopperFu has mailed everything in already. Congratulations, that's huge. I'm sure I'll be down to the wire with most.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


Aubrie


Nov 15, 2005, 11:29 PM

Post #13 of 1175 (23311 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Also impressed that HopperFu has mailed everything out. I'm not so much in the same place.
Now I feel even more stressed out.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 8:00 AM

Post #14 of 1175 (23301 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I mailed my applications off and then thought rather seriously about puking on the mailbox.



Ah, you might want to reconsider that, HopperFu. After all, you don't want to risk getting the acceptance letter all stinky!

I can actually relate to everyone's anxiety. Although I'm not pursuing an MFA, I am studying for the GREs and starting to pull the grad school applications together.

It does seem like a huge mountain in front of me but I have another friend who is also applying for admission this fall and we are commiseration buddies and that really helps. Even though it would take a séance (and a sever lapse in the "What the hell was I thinking?!" department) to send my mother my personal statement, my friend and I have looked at each other's and I'm pretty happy about that. Mine was a lot better than his. ;)

So, I look at this as a finite piece of time in my life. It will be over relatively soon because there's a timeframe for applications and there are deadlines that will sooner than later be reached. And in the meanwhile, I'll still be doing what I'm doing and planning my next step....whatever that may be.


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 8:16 AM

Post #15 of 1175 (23297 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Good advice Dana. I have a feeling that a vomit-fouled application might not get a fair consideration. Interested in telling us what you are applying to grad school for?
For everybody else - don't be so impressed I got the applications out. I had a serious head start.
I have a deal with my spouse that involved me applying to only one school last year. Anyway, I had my personal statement from that done, which made things a lot easier, plus I had to take my GRE's last year and had a copy of my application from last year. That meant that this year, I pretty much just had to refill out application forms (for four schools, another part of my deal with my spouse), and then make sure the personal statement was right for each school. Oh yeah, and then I "only" had to do the writing samples.
I was lucky with the personal statement. My brother, for whatever reason, is phenomenal at those kind of essays, and helped me out quite a bit. Thank god I didn't need to use my mother!


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 8:19 AM)


curbludgeon


Nov 16, 2005, 12:00 PM

Post #16 of 1175 (23278 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Here's what a genius I am: I let my mother read my personal statement.


Yikes. Sounds like a story in itself- a mother helps her child revise a personal statement. A rumination on how family defines us! My father's actually been having me critique his statement for grad school... Personally, I intend to bring my materials to the post office, buy envelopes, and have them mailed then and there. That way, I'm compelled to smile and act casual for the person at the counter, while not vomiting on anything important.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 12:41 PM

Post #17 of 1175 (23272 views)
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Re: [curbludgeon] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I was hoping of course, that she would love it and I would have a small boost to my confidence in this whole process. That backfired, but her concerns prompted me to send it out to actual writers, and they had more helpful things to say. Now I have to cut and paste and retrofit for individual schools. Onward to December.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 1:55 PM

Post #18 of 1175 (23266 views)
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Re: [curbludgeon] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Personally, I intend to bring my materials to the post office, buy envelopes, and have them mailed then and there. That way, I'm compelled to smile and act casual for the person at the counter, while not vomiting on anything important.


I hate to admit it, but I went when the post-office was closed and just used one of the self-service machines. I couldn't deal with an actual person.


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 1:56 PM)


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 2:09 PM

Post #19 of 1175 (23259 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

All right, everyone. Take a deep breath. Go out and buy a copy of THE RELAXATION RESPONSE, turn to p. 162, and follow the instructions there. (No, really. I recently used those instructions to lower my blood pressure twenty points in ten minutes.)

Your lives and careers do not depend on getting into the right MFA program, or on getting into one at all. Yes, an MFA program can change your life -- for the better or for the worse, and just as any other experience can change your life. You can be a good writer without the degree, and some people will be better without it than with it.

The MFA can be a very interesting experience, and I'm glad I did it, but if there has to be puking involved, let it be at one of those late-night drinking-and-arguing-about-poetry sessions.

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/


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:04 PM

Post #20 of 1175 (23255 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Your lives and careers do not depend on getting into the right MFA program, or on getting into one at all. Yes, an MFA program can change your life -- for the better or for the worse, and just as any other experience can change your life. You can be a good writer without the degree, and some people will be better without it than with it.


I think Pongo / David (what is the proper etiquette for that? Do you address people by screen names or real names?) is spot on, though I think - hope, believe - that all of the people who are applying here are pretty sure that they will benefit from an MFA program.
I'm actually feeling much more relaxed now that it is actually mailed. Not sure what my blood pressure is, but I think it is lower. I guess at this point, all I can do is relax and wait.
Though being a student again would be nice just so I could have late-night drinking-and-arguing-about-poetry sessions (which I would probably enjoy more if my children did not wake up every morning at 5:50 a.m.).


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 3:06 PM)


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:08 PM

Post #21 of 1175 (23251 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yeah, I was hoping of course, that she would love it and I would have a small boost to my confidence in this whole process. That backfired, but her concerns prompted me to send it out to actual writers, and they had more helpful things to say. Now I have to cut and paste and retrofit for individual schools. Onward to December.



If you have somebody who you trust who is in business, they actually might be a great person to have read the personal statement. NOT your writing samples, but your personal statement. My brother, who does some sort of finance thing, god only knows what, said that writing a good personal statment was surprisingly similar to business writing (except without words like synergy).


Aubrie


Nov 16, 2005, 3:15 PM

Post #22 of 1175 (23250 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Late night drinking and arguing about poetry sessions?
I'm in.

Locking myself in room to commit to personal statement.
Hmm... how does one sell oneself?


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:29 PM

Post #23 of 1175 (23247 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Try not to think of it as selling yourself. This is going to sound condescending, and I don't mean it to be, but I'm not sure how else to put it: simply try to answer the questions.
All four of the places I applied had a question that was essentially, "Why do you want an MFA, why here, and what are you going to do with it?"
Sure, there is some selling - "I will do well with the University of Implosion's underground classrooms because I suffer from agrophobia; I concentrate very well in enclosed spaces." - but I think that in the course of answering those questions you will actually tell the faculty a lot about yourself (which, I'm going to give you the benifit of the doubt (insert one of those "ha ha" emoticons here) is a good thing).

Besides, I hear that they just pin all the applications on a wall, get drunk, and throw darts.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 3:56 PM

Post #24 of 1175 (20949 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

My apologies to Dana and anyone I offended. I only meant to give people an opportunity (and perhaps a technique) to reduce the stress levels.

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/


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 4:18 PM

Post #25 of 1175 (20947 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with these message boards (as opposed to actual conversation) is that tone is never properly conveyed, and unfortunately, sometimes that means that even with good intentions, messages go amiss. Thanks Pongo. Even though you and I haven't agreed on everything, I do appreciate your contributions to the boards. There are a lot of things that you have much more experience with.
And thanks to you as well, Dana. It must be an incredibly difficult and mostly thankless job to moderate the forums, and I really doubt I could do as good a job as you are doing. Plus, I'm already spending way more time checking the message boards than is healthy.
As for reducing stress levels, maybe we should skip the poetry part and just do the late night drinking. Unfortunately, my tolerance for alcohol is limited - two glasses of wine and I'm down for the count. Plus, since I've had kids, a late night is anything after 9 p.m.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 4:57 PM

Post #26 of 1175 (11625 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

For what it's worth, you'd have to say a great deal more than "try to relax," to offend me.

Yoga's my relaxation activity of choice; but making time to practice while I have so many other things to do is tough. I'm not kidding myself that I won't be hugely disappointed if I get in nowhere, but it won't be the end of the world. I read an old story of mine this morning and realized that I've come a long way in the last year. If not this year then I know I'll be better next year--maybe then.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 7:48 PM

Post #27 of 1175 (11614 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't agree more with HopperFu (although every time I type your name for some reason I chuckle...go figure...:).

David, thank you. I think you're a tremendous asset to the board and you have been for all the years I've been posting and moderating. I also know that sometimes what I hear in my head as I write it down, is not always what other people hear when they read it. Message boards are quite difficult in that regard.

What's made the Speakeasy so terrific when it began and what makes it terrific now is that we're all here to educate, support and encourage each other. There's a really great group of writers posting here these days and I hope each and every one continues to make this writing board the best around.

My thanks to all of you....

Dana


brooklynpoet


Nov 16, 2005, 8:07 PM

Post #28 of 1175 (11610 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, all you exquisitely anxious MFA applicants. (Because I agree that tone does not come through online, I should mention that I'm speaking without a trace of irony, although with some deliberate affect.) I've been lurking on this board for a few weeks and was beginning to think I was the only one who had not mailed off a dozen applications in early September and spent the last two months polishing her latest book manuscript. Procrastinator that I am, I daresay I'm significantly behind in the race toward completion, though I suppose it doesn't matter as long as all the packages sneak in before the relevant deadlines.

I have to say I'm not sleeping much lately, relaxation exercises (and hot baths, and decaffeinated tea, and psychotherapy) notwithstanding. As it happens, I already have a master's degree in literature. I've been thinking about how much more anxiety-producing I'm finding the application process this time--fifteen years later than my first experience with the process (and I'm a much less anxious person now, overall; see above comment about psychotherapy).

There are personal reasons for the difference, of course, having to do with taking creative risks and committing to school at this later stage in my life. But this is the thought that keeps revolving in my brain: when I applied to graduate schools in English literature, I had some sense of where I stood in relation to my fellow applicants; or at least I knew that my academic record was of a caliber that would meet the standards of the programs to which I applied. Of course, I wasn't guaranteed to get in to all or even most of them; but as with my college applications, I understood where I fit in, based on the acceptance criteria: grades, GRE scores (general and subject), recommendations from professors regarding critical work, the sample of critical work, and the essay. I knew which schools were stretches for me and which were likely to accept me. So although I was nervous and felt pessimistic until the letters came in, the results were not actually surprising.

Back to the present. At each MFA program to which I'm applying, where they will accept 6 people in my genre out of the approximately 200 to 600 or more applicants this year, they go to great pains to state that although of course they consider all application materials (particularly, I should think, when it comes to choosing among the finalists for the few available slots), admission to the program is based on the strength of the writing sample.

Now, how am I--how are any of us--supposed to avoid anxiety given that reality? Would someone like to tell me how to estimate my standing in comparison to a few hundred other writers whose work I've never seen? And, in fact, whose general quality, as a group, I have no way to determine. I have no hesitation in stating that I've outclassed every other student in the workshops I've taken recently, but then they were public workshops. The other students were not writers.

It's a damnable condundrum.

(I hope you will all forgive the formality of my prose. I've been reading 18th century lit. lately.)

--EM


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 8:51 PM

Post #29 of 1175 (11603 views)
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Re: [EmmaDaily] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

EmmaDaily: I alternate between two ways of thinking about my writing sample compared to everybody else - I assume I am the best (and am prepared to weep horribly if I am not accepted), and I assume that I am the worst (and am prepared to week horribly if I am not accepted). It depends on the day.

I had a moment of pure anxiety today. I got a letter in the mail from one of the schools I applied to. I saw the school name on the envelope and my first thought was, "oh god, they rejected me already!" It was, of course, just a form letter saying that my application has been forwarded to the MFA program, but still. I want no thin envelopes from any of my schools! Just lovely phone calls or big, fat folders.


thee swimmer


Nov 16, 2005, 10:03 PM

Post #30 of 1175 (11599 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Greetings all.

I'm just waiting on a final rec letter and then I'm sending out my applications. Ten schools. Fiction.

I would like to get back to work on my novel. This huge pile of applications must leave my hands.

I can think of little else at the moment. By having the applications sitting at these schools (where I can't change them), I hope to be able to get back to writing.

I had to go with hardcopy rec letters instead of the online versions. Trusting the postal service and my professors timely attention seemed much more difficult than simply tossing three envelopes in with my application.

March and April feel a long way off.

The Speakeasy has been invaluable and I look forward to getting through this application process with a bunch of like-minded writer types.


Aubrie


Nov 16, 2005, 11:56 PM

Post #31 of 1175 (11592 views)
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Re: [thee swimmer] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

HopperFu - I too, have the exact same days. The "of course I'll get in somewhere, no doubt about it" days, and the "who am I kidding, I'm screwed" days.

All my recs are out, though most recommenders are feeling "pokey" at best. But I'll wait patiently until I give them a shove (in the nicest way possible, of course).

Drinking a glass of wine in celebration of first draft of personal statement down.
Tomorrow? Studying for GREs (taking them the 23rd...gulp) and working on writing sample.

I will indeed be that last minute application, racing around like an idiot.
In true Aubrie style.

Let's all keep each other updated.

-A


gymnick


Nov 17, 2005, 2:59 AM

Post #32 of 1175 (11586 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a last minute girl myself. Taking the GRE's the morning after Thanksgiving. I registered Monday night, around the same time I opened the book to study for them. I've been following the (hopefully good) advice on this board and focusing on my writing sample(s). I'm also writing a new one (in its third draft version being read by my writer friends). Anyway, good luck with the applications. I'll be going right to the deadlines!


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Nov 17, 2005, 8:00 AM

Post #33 of 1175 (11582 views)
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Re: [EmmaDaily] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome Emma. I'm delighted that you've joined us!

I think you're absolutely right - there is no way to avoid the anxiety. The only thing you can really do is try to not let it overwhelm you and that's not an easy thing.

Fortunately, when it comes to acceptance or not, the stress doesn't last forever. Even though it certainly seems like it does.


HopperFu


Nov 17, 2005, 2:32 PM

Post #34 of 1175 (11564 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie and Gymnick: best of luck with the GRE's. Don't stress too much. I have yet to hear of any program that gives the GRE's serious weight. From everybody I have every talked to or heard from, the graduate schools are merely looking for reasurrance that they didn't make a terrible mistake when picking your writing sample. You will both do fine. And the best thing is that you actually get your scores right away now.


hapworth


Nov 18, 2005, 10:11 AM

Post #35 of 1175 (11534 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

David's advice is useful, but I think a lot of the anxiety people are feeling is connected to the application process, not just the prospect of getting into an MFA program (though, yes, this is part of the problem). I say this because I can relate to all this anxiety. I'm applying for doctoral programs in CW, and the application process is maddening. So many things to work on (statement of purpose, writing samples (critical and creative)), so many tests to study for (GRE general, GRE subject), so many schools to rsearch and choose from, so many specific rules from each department (the transcripts should go here--no, there! the writing sample should be sent there--no, here!). It's normal to want to vent a bit.

I was ahead of things for a while, but now I'm feeling behind. I secured recommenders months ago, but they've been waiting for me to send materials for the longest time because it took me forever to narrow down my school choices (I'll be applying to a mixture of creative writing and literature programs). I did well enough on the GRE General, but I haven't yet studied much for the Dec. 10 subject test, and that subject test is a real beast. I now know what I'll say in my statement of purpose, so that makes me feel good, but knowing and writing are very different acts. I also have to polish up a critical writing sample and take a final look at my creative samples. Finally, I have to get everything straight in terms of what gets sent where. Oh, and did I mention the cost! :-)

No, I don't think we should silence the anxiety discussion because the application process itself is anxiety producing, and most people seem to be talking about this. The specific "I hope I get accepted" anxiety thread will come later--as it does every year on this board--probably around March. By the way, there's a pretty cool blog for people applying to grad school in English, and it's pretty active: http://www.livejournal.com/community/applyingtograd/

Hapworth


HopperFu


Nov 18, 2005, 2:08 PM

Post #36 of 1175 (11511 views)
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Re: [hapworth] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...the application process is maddening. So many things to work on (statement of purpose, writing samples (critical and creative)), so many tests to study for (GRE general, GRE subject), so many schools to rsearch and choose from, so many specific rules from each department (the transcripts should go here--no, there! the writing sample should be sent there--no, here!)....

And is it just me, or does it seem like they make it purposefully difficult and confusing? I mean, I think I'm a pretty bright person, good at following directions (I can put Ikea furniture together!), but still, the directions are often really confusing. I had one program that I applied to that I think I sent a total of five copies of my transcript to because it was so confusing as to how many copies and where they should go. (I guess I could have just called and asked, huh? I'm hoping they'll just assume that it was my college's blunder).


libbyagain


Nov 18, 2005, 5:58 PM

Post #37 of 1175 (11495 views)
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Re: [EmmaDaily] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Amy, besdies "best of luck" (which I wish to all in this tenterhooks position, natch) I just want to remark that your post brought back such good vibes from my experience of a friend of mine, who, after going through a lit. program with me, set off into creative writing-dom. I could tell he cared EVEN more about that process, and he confessed to much the same feelings you describe, in much the same tone. Fwiw, he ended up very happily at Kalamazoo, in their cr. wr. Ph.D. program--and found his lit background to that point very, very useful, in going forward.

I myself went ahead to the lit. Ph.D route, and find myself looking sideways at him, these days, wishing I'd done what he did.

fwiw.

Elizabeth


Aubrie


Nov 23, 2005, 7:39 PM

Post #38 of 1175 (11434 views)
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Update [In reply to] Can't Post

Just got home from taking the GREs. Big, stressful waste of time. I think I did fine. Im not even sure why schools want to see them (I'm not convinced they even look at them anyway), but my verbal was a 620 (87% I think?) and 590(totally, totally average) quant. I'm really, really bad at math, so that was a shockingly good score. ;)
I have NO idea how I did on the analytical part though... can't gauge that for the life of me.


HopperFu


Nov 23, 2005, 10:29 PM

Post #39 of 1175 (11421 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Update [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrat - I think those are perfectly decent scores (don't worry about the math - I read somewhere on here (or somebody told me) of a person who got in to a good MFA program with a 300). I'm sure you did well on the analytical writing. Besides, the GRE's aren't what they really concentrate on - they are just a filter for the graduate school. Think of it as one more hurdle done and over with.


Aubrie


Nov 26, 2005, 4:56 PM

Post #40 of 1175 (11381 views)
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Personal Statements [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay. Can we all put our heads together here and figure out what we think are the most important aspects of our personal statements? I'm trudging through mine, it's like I'm telling my whole life story, and it's killing me.
Right now I'm concentrating on aspects of my life that have/will shape me as a writer, as well as what I hope to get in an MFA program. I'm stressing the importance of a writing community a lot (it's why I didn't apply to low-res programs) and my traveling experience, wanting to teach later on... workshopping. I feel like it's all self-evident though. Of course that's why I want to go.
What are you guys writing out there?
What about those of you who have applied in the past?
This is taking WAY more time then I'd like it to.


curbludgeon


Nov 27, 2005, 6:39 PM

Post #41 of 1175 (11358 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Personal Statements [In reply to] Can't Post

I've just been trying to write something that doesn't make me cringe. Doing so has been super-hard, actually.

I'm making sure to show that I've researched the programs (naming instructors whose work I especially respect). I'm explaining why an MFA program is the best environment for me as a writer, and why now is the right time for me to start in one. I'm summarizing how I view the character of my work, and the sort of writing that I plan to do in the program.

I think there's only so much blanket advice that can be given for these things, though.

My guess, as someone who's in the same boat as you are, is that emphasizing your history is best when you've been doing things that clearly prepare you for these programs. Having a job in publishing, yeah. Being involved with local literary events, yeah. Working at Target, or playing bass in a local rock band, I'm not so sure about. Maybe I'm being overcautious. My early drafts were more autobiographical than my current one: I started thinking that it was speaking well for me as a person, but enough for me as an applicant in particular.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 30, 2005, 7:40 PM

Post #42 of 1175 (11299 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I just returned from the post office where I dropped my first envelope in the mail (Stegner). Even though there's about a snowball's chance in hell that it will amount to anything, I experienced a wave of nausea when I dropped it down the mail hatch and realized there was no way for me to get it back out and check it one more time. My mind immediately went to HopperFu--I didn't expect to experience what he described quite so literally. I'm going to be a mess by the end of February.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Dec 1, 2005, 7:54 AM

Post #43 of 1175 (11281 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe this just goes to prove that the wild combination of fear, exhilaration, optimism
and utter despair has predictable physical results in most sane people!

Best of luck, Lee. :) Think good thoughts.... It couldn't hurt!


HopperFu


Dec 1, 2005, 3:11 PM

Post #44 of 1175 (11256 views)
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Re: [motet] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...the wild combination of fear, exhilaration, optimism
and utter despair...

Um, i.e., torture? Are graduate school applications sanctioned by The Geneva Convention?


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Dec 2, 2005, 7:23 AM

Post #45 of 1175 (11236 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

More like self-torture... and hey there by the way. How's your application roller coaster ride been going ?


HopperFu


Dec 2, 2005, 9:11 AM

Post #46 of 1175 (11231 views)
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Re: [motet] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

The roller coaster is, not surprisingly, up and down. Some days I actually forget about it, and then other days I'm rather anxious. I said to a friend of mine recently that I almost don't care what the results are, I just want to know if I got in or not. Which, obviously, isn't really true, since I do really care....
As another friend said to me, however, going to graduate school is not what will or will not make me a writer.


finx


Dec 4, 2005, 4:35 PM

Post #47 of 1175 (11216 views)
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I'm applying impulsively [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to Stegner for fiction and then I thought, heck, here's this nice writing sample, why don't I just send it off to a couple MFA programs?

So I am.

Naturally, the process of applying is way more involved than I had imagined, especially dealing with cover letters. I find myself worrying about my apps more than my writing practice which is a bummer but it will make sense if I get in and get some fancy scholarship. I've accepted that that's how it's gonna be over the next couple weeks.

I'm applying to Columbia because I like their faculty and I like how it's part of the Fine Arts department and because I'd like to live in New York.

I'm applying to Syracuse because I love George Saunders and want to work with him.

Where else should I apply?

I am very serious, devoted, opininiated, intellectual, prolific, hip, scholarly, urban, artsy. I want a program with good faculty, where I have a lot of independence but where I will be challenged and a lot will be expected of me. I have a BFA and a fine arts background. I don't want low-res. I currently live in SF but will move. I will consider international.


shadowboxer


Dec 4, 2005, 5:00 PM

Post #48 of 1175 (11214 views)
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Re: [finx] I'm applying impulsively [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I applied to Stegner for fiction and then I thought, heck, here's this nice writing sample, why don't I just send it off to a couple MFA programs?

So I am.

Naturally, the process of applying is way more involved than I had imagined, especially dealing with cover letters. I find myself worrying about my apps more than my writing practice which is a bummer but it will make sense if I get in and get some fancy scholarship. I've accepted that that's how it's gonna be over the next couple weeks.

Quote
What are the cover letters for?



I'm applying to Columbia because I like their faculty and I like how it's part of the Fine Arts department and because I'd like to live in New York.

Quote
And because you want to pay for the whole thing yourself? Sorry, I couldn't resist.


I'm applying to Syracuse because I love George Saunders and want to work with him.

Where else should I apply?

I am very serious, devoted, opininiated, intellectual, prolific, hip, scholarly, urban, artsy. I want a program with good faculty, where I have a lot of independence but where I will be challenged and a lot will be expected of me. I have a BFA and a fine arts background. I don't want low-res. I currently live in SF but will move. I will consider international.



Do your research! Read through the old threads in this forum and the archive. It's not a decision to be taken lightly. There are a few old copies of MFA rankings floating around. You should not choose schools based on the rankings, but it does provide a fairly comprehensive list of schools.


finx


Dec 4, 2005, 5:26 PM

Post #49 of 1175 (11747 views)
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Re: [shadowboxer] I'm applying impulsively [In reply to] Can't Post

The cover letters are to suggest that I'm not the only one who thinks I have promise.

I am doing my research, I'm just fishing for random chunks of serendipitous advice as well.

I probably won't go anywhere if I don't get full funding. I'm already 20k in debt from undergrad.


bighark


Dec 4, 2005, 6:51 PM

Post #50 of 1175 (11739 views)
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Re: [finx] I'm applying impulsively [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't say I envy you, finx. You pretty much need to get your tail in gear in order to make the application deadlines for MFA programs now.

I'm not too familiar with the Stegner application, but I've heard you don't need letters of recommendation at the start of the process. If you haven't already contacted three professors/editors/writers to recommend you, you need to do so right now. This is the first week in December--a busy time for academics--so if you don't have letters arranged already, don't be surprised if the people you ask politely decline.

Have you taken the GRE? If you haven't, you're limited to programs that don't require the GRE. If you manage to somehow take the test this week (you can sign up and attend the GRE as late of the day of the exam in some places), you might be able to apply to some programs with later deadlines (Jan 15 and beyond). Some programs are firm about having all application materials before the stated deadline, some aren't. If you're in love with a place that requires the GRE, call the department and see if you can have your application considered before your test scores arrive (test scores take about a month to tally).

Syracuse requires the GRE.

NB regarding Columbia: Applicants are required to write an essay of no more than 1,000 words, giving their response to a work of literature in their concentration published within the past ten years. Also, Tuition for the 2003-2004 year was listed as $33,000. The estimated total per year, including materials and living expenses, is $50,000. (Columbia does not offer tuition remission or stipends to all of its students).


crescentmoon


Dec 4, 2005, 9:36 PM

Post #51 of 1175 (11988 views)
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another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

hello, all, i am an experimental poet working on my applications for fall 2006, and in need of some advice. i'm applying to about ten schools now, a ridiculously time consuming and expensive process. basiclally, here are my wants and i hope someone better than me can point me in the right direction. i need it to be paid for, or receive outstanding aid; i want to be in a place that has access to arts/culture/intellectual life and nature; and i want an intellectually open and rigorous environment, where the lit courses are as good as the workshops.

specifically, here are the places i am considering applying to--no particular order:
--CSU Fresno
--SF State U
--San Diego State U
--University of Washington, Seattle
--UC Irvine
--U Virginia
--Brown
--Univ Oregon (Eugene)

Can anyone comment on these specifically? Can anyone untangle the ins and outs of the California schools, and how livable each place is? (I am a landlocked new yorker at the moment.)

Do they have a good reputation for working with students, helping them arrange logistics like housing, etc? My undergrad was an administrative nightmare and I want to focus on my education, not working with administrators.

Thanks all.


ddl


Dec 5, 2005, 9:51 AM

Post #52 of 1175 (11973 views)
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Re: [finx] I'm applying impulsively [In reply to] Can't Post

You might check out the program at Ohio State. Fiction faculty there are Lee K. Abbott, Michelle Herman, Erin McGraw, and Lee Martin. All students get full funding for three years, primarily through teaching, but there are also some fellowships. Michelle Herman is particularly interested in fostering connections with other arts and has been helping to create an interdisciplinary minor, or certificate, with fine arts emphasis. One of the current third years is doing a mixed media thesis, combining painting and fiction. And though Columbus is in the middle of nowhere, it is itself a fairly large city (12th largest in the U.S., about 750,000 people) and is an inexpensive place to live. (I shared a nice two-story, 2 bedroom duplex with a friend last year and paid only $348/month in rent.)

You can find program info here: http://english.osu.edu/..._writing/default.htm

Then, of course, there's the program at the Art Institute of Chicago--certainly urban and a place that would allow a focus on other arts. I don't know much about it, but here's a link:

http://www.artic.edu/...s/graduate/mfaw.html

Best of luck to you.

Danielle


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Dec 5, 2005, 11:24 AM

Post #53 of 1175 (11964 views)
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Re: [crescentmoon] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
specifically, here are the places i am considering applying to--no particular order:



If you read back through the threads in this forum you will find an enormous amount of information about the programs you cite. Also, in the Speakeasy Archives you'll find MFA related topics there that will also contain extremely helpful information.



Kelsie


Dec 5, 2005, 5:22 PM

Post #54 of 1175 (11944 views)
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Re: [crescentmoon] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there, crescentmoon.

I'm working on my poetry MFA at Oregon right now. It pretty much meets all of your criteria as far as funding, culture, rigorous workshops, good lit courses, access to nature (BEAUTIFUL), etc...

My only concern is that you say you're "experimental." How experimental are we talking? The faculty here (currently just Garrett Hongo and Dorianne Laux) have made pretty big names for themselves as narrative/lyric poets. This is not to say they wouldn't be open to some experimentation...but maybe I'm just being wary of the word "experimental."

If you'd like to ask me any really specific information about the program, please feel free to e-mail me: clariongoddess@yahoo.com

I really do love it here. The city of Eugene is beautiful and chock-full of wonderful stuff. The faculty is supportive, the funding is good (if you're willing to teach intro classes), and the writing time is fairly ample if you manage yourself well.

Anyway...do let me know!


-Kels


hazelmotes


Dec 5, 2005, 10:11 PM

Post #55 of 1175 (11925 views)
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Re: [Kelsie] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I just sent off the first five of my ten applications today. Why am I not relaxed? I've done: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, SF State, and UT Austin. I have to finish: North Carolina (Wilmington,) Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Brooklyn College. And then I need to take a nap! I thought I was done with my stories, but I'm doing a last-minute revision (dangerous) on my third story (some schools want two, some three)

ACK!!!!


gymnick


Dec 6, 2005, 3:02 AM

Post #56 of 1175 (11911 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm so jealous. But I'm almost done with Emerson. The next one due for me is New School. Been thinking about USC (I'm currently in LA but really want to move back to NYC or East Coast) Really struggling to write the personal statement- I don't know why it's so hard for me but I can't seem to stop cracking jokes in it and some pretty outrageous ones at that. How are you guys coping with the what can an MFA do for you, why do you want to go to our school questions?


hazelmotes


Dec 6, 2005, 4:07 AM

Post #57 of 1175 (11909 views)
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Re: [gymnick] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, the personal statement was the hardest thing for me, I spent about 2 months writing it, but finally, I had to give up. Look at Tom Kealey's creative writing weblog, he recently posted the letter that got him the Stegner fellowship. Honestly, it's nothing I would choose (too flippant and cute for me) but obviously, he knows more than I do, it worked for him. He got the Stegner, he teaches at Stanford, he's publishing books.

In my statement, I just tell a story-- it's kind of about how I stopped writing journal entries and started writing fiction, but it reads like fiction, mostly because I hate wrtiting anything about myself. It's just a dialogue. it's nothing like what got Kealey the Stegner, but most of the writers (professors included) that I've shown it to have liked it. It's, if nothing else, an entertaining story.

Mostly, your personal statement shouldn't be boring. They want to know that you're someone that will be fun to hang out with at department picnics. What they need to know about your writing, they'll find out in your writing sample. Tell a story that doesn't bore YOU!!


gymnick


Dec 6, 2005, 8:48 AM

Post #58 of 1175 (11901 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks. that helped a lot. just very simple and direct. i've driving myself crazy trying to be clever and then worrying that i didn't actually address the essay question.


catenz
CATenz

Dec 9, 2005, 1:23 PM

Post #59 of 1175 (11843 views)
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Re: [gymnick] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

Two things I thought of as I read through three months' worth of postings:
1. My acceptance letter came in a thin, business-sized envelope and an equally thin rejection letter came days after the rejecting school sent a near-100 page booklet about securing housing. So don't throw away any skinny envelopes and don't jump for joy at the manila ones. Once they begin to arrive. In February.

2. My GRE vocab score was a paltry 500 (scored in the lowest 40%!). My best friend in the same MFA program received a near-perfect score all around. Obviously, no one gave a poop about that stupid score. And my vocabulary's all the better for having to play catch-up with the other MFAers. Though you probably can't tell from this posting.


amarier


Dec 9, 2005, 9:21 PM

Post #60 of 1175 (11813 views)
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Re: [catenz] another plea fpor mfa advice [In reply to] Can't Post

Does everyone else have different application dates than the schools I'm applying to? I'm going low-res with the exception of one res, and the first applications aren't due till February 1, some not till as late as April 1. So I'm not stressed, and I hope I never will be (ha!)... I'm still working on the writing sample, the essays, but I did send reference forms out, so that made me feel productive.


mushaboom


Dec 12, 2005, 2:01 AM

Post #61 of 1175 (11766 views)
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how many stories? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it generally considered a bad idea to submit only one story for an application? With 25-pp limits, two stories of mine come in slightly over 25, but I don't want to lose points for sending only one. Anybody know?


miekekoo


Dec 12, 2005, 11:42 AM

Post #62 of 1175 (11743 views)
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Re: [perrykfp] how many stories? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you feel like the one story is very strong, I don't think it's bad to send only one. A while back, Steve Almond wrote a piece for Poets & Writers Mag about the application process from the point of view of an application reader. He said he often found people sent one really strong story and a second weaker one, and the weak one just diluted his impression of the first. So he advocates sending only one piece if you're confident it's your best work. That said, I think if you feel really confident about both stories (and especially if they are different from each other and show your range), I'd send both. If the committee likes your work, will they really care that you've sent a few extra pages? I doubt it.

It's so much easier to give advice than make decisions though! I'm having a similar dilemma and can't decide what to do. One place I'm applying to asks for two stories totaling under 40 pages. Ideally, I'd like to send them three: two longish pieces of 11 and 16 pages respectively and one 2-page short short that I think is really strong. I'd still be well under the 40 page limit, but I'd also be ignoring the two story limit. Just sending the 11-page piece and the 2-page short short seems like too few pages, though I think they are the best pieces... Anyone have any thoughts on this?


bighark


Dec 12, 2005, 12:09 PM

Post #63 of 1175 (11740 views)
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Re: [kateb] how many stories? [In reply to] Can't Post

I write long stories, so all of my applications save for one (which has a 100-page limit) will feature one short story of about 32 pages.

Obviously, my writing sample exceeds the 25-page limit stated by most programs.

I'm cool with this.

I asked one of my programs about going over the limit, and they said they were fine with going over by a few pages. Basically, they told me that the limit they place on writing samples was there to prevent people from sending multiple stories and going into the "that's just way too much to read" range.

If I were in your situation--having two strong stories that totaled more than 25 but less than 35 pages--I'd go ahead and send both. But that's me.

If you want to be safe, you should call the program to see if they're ok with that plan.

I'm not going to be safe, though.

I'm not asking any of my other programs if I can go over the 25 page limit. I'm just going to send my 32-page piece because it's the strongest story in my portfolio. If I get disqualified for going over by a few pages, I'll have to accept my fate. I'm pretty confident that won't happen, though.

Anyway, good luck with your application!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Dec 19, 2005, 5:58 PM

Post #64 of 1175 (11670 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I just put the last application in the mail--it was a crazy day to do it, with a GAZILLION people in line mailing holiday packages, but I had to get those envelopes out of my hands. The mailing got easier as the month wore on. I've sent four applications off, and I'll do the low-res applications next month, after I've taken a break.

I'm a bit panicked right now because one school has a "received by" deadline of 12/20, and my delivery confirmation won't show up on the USPS website until this evening (I mailed it Priority on Friday). If it's not confirmed I suppose I will have to fax it tomorrow (they say they will accept faxes, but it sounds crazy to me). Anyway, I'm relieved and freaked and worried and sort of hyper with anticipation. That's normal, right?


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Dec 20, 2005, 7:45 AM

Post #65 of 1175 (11645 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think anything you're feeling, Lee is just fine, perfectly acceptable. It's what you do with what you're feeling that will either be nutty or normal.

So, have a nice relaxing massage, a glass of wine and listen to some favorite music, or dive into holiday celebrations and preparations.

Stay away from Las Vegas nightlife and discount liquor stores and you'll be just fine!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Dec 20, 2005, 8:19 AM

Post #66 of 1175 (11643 views)
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Re: [motet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

    Thanks, Dana, but I have to say that a bottle of discount liquor (or two) doesn't sound half-bad right now.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Dec 20, 2005, 7:13 PM

Post #67 of 1175 (11607 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

At the risk of sounding too much like Billy C., I feel your pain, Lee. I'm in the throes of applications too and hitting the JD is sounding better and better.

I'm thinking about following it with a coffee chaser, though, so that at least I'll be a wide awake drunk if an acceptance letter arrives!


lavashlavash


Jan 4, 2006, 2:07 PM

Post #68 of 1175 (11534 views)
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Re: [motet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I just sent my last two. I'm relieved, of course, and I'm not anxious yet. My last few applications were done rather hastily, I'm afraid, but I just wanted to get rid of them!

Anyway, I just wanted to extend thanks to everyone in this forum. I knew very little about M.F.A. programs going into this process, and your posts were invaluable.

Good luck to everybody!


Aubrie


Jan 4, 2006, 9:09 PM

Post #69 of 1175 (11501 views)
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Re: [lavashlavash] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll second the thank you. This board has been integral to my application process--it's so good to vent and know that other people are going through the same crap. I have one last app. to send out, just waiting for my transcripts in the mail and then it's sealed and ready to go.
And to start the waiting process, I'll remind everyone what schools I applied to, so that we can all commiserate about repetitive mail checking.
(though I do believe we've got a good month at least before we even need to worry)
Columbia
NYU
New School
Hunter
I did get mail from NYU today saying they received my application.
That's always good news.


BB


Jan 4, 2006, 9:50 PM

Post #70 of 1175 (11498 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie, good luck with Columbia. I also applied to their program.

And to the board, thirding the thanks already extended to you, thanks from me as well. At the beginning of every application-writing session, I have skimmed the posts for encouragement and reminders that others have survived the same recommendation-gathering/GRE/writing sample experience.


HopperFu


Jan 4, 2006, 9:54 PM

Post #71 of 1175 (11497 views)
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Re: [BB] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, come on over to "Choosing an MFA program (2)." I think that's where we're all showing our MFA application angst.


amarier


Jan 5, 2006, 12:25 PM

Post #72 of 1175 (11465 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm working on my applications (for low-res programs), and i'm wondering if, in the space to write what workshops/classes i've been in, i should include a workshop i took this fall at the 92nd St Y with famous writer. here's the thing- i was really disappointed with the workshop (as was most everyone else i talked to in the class) and halfway through- about 4 classes- i decided i did not want to be in her workshop anymore. it was a case of writer being a great writer, and not so great teacher. i'm sure it doesn't matter too much either way what i write for it- if i leave it off though, it will be one less workshop i've taken. if i leave it on- well, i don't know. i just can't decide. thoughts? thank you.


BB


Jan 5, 2006, 11:18 PM

Post #73 of 1175 (11437 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

hi amarier,

i struggled with the same question because i dropped a, by the sound of your post, similarly disappointing workshop after 3 or 4 sessions. because it was a workshop taught through a university extension program and there should have been some form of course credit associated with it, my decision was easy. i didn't include it on my applications since i had no transcript for the course and would then have to explain why i had not received credits, and so on...more headache than any admissions committee would tolerate.

what they're looking for - i think, but really who the heck knows how these decisions are made - is whether not the course experience has advanced your writing and/or ability to contribute in a workshop setting. if you think the y workshop helped you in either way, you could list it and qualify it as a 3-session workshop. there are so many sorts of workshops taught - one-day seminars, three-day courses, workshops of varying length.

good luck!


HopperFu


Jan 6, 2006, 9:11 AM

Post #74 of 1175 (11692 views)
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Re: [BB] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

MFA programs will (after the all-important writing sample) look to see if you have done some things on your own to improve your writing: workshops, conferences, classes, reading for literary magazines, whatever. I'm not sure how much weight it really carries, but it is nice to have on your application, and it actually doesn't really matter if the experience was actually helpful to you or not (how are they going to know, anyway).
Here's the thing, though - if you signed up for a workshop, and then took some of it, but didn't complete it, you didn't actually take the workshop. If you list the workshop, and they, for whatever reason, actually try to confirm that you took it, and then find out you didn't (or dropped out partway through)....
Obviously, I think you are asking this question because you want to do the right thing; I think that listing a workshop or class that you dropped is a bad call.
Ultimately, it's your decision, but if it makes things any easier, I can't imagine it will tip the scales to list it. You've already taken other workshops (I think, from your post).
Sorry your workshop sucked, by the way. That's annoying.


lavashlavash


Jan 6, 2006, 9:42 AM

Post #75 of 1175 (11686 views)
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I regret... [In reply to] Can't Post

I regret not applying to more big programs. I wish I had applied to Arizona, Florida, and Florida State. They are great programs and their acceptance rates are markedly higher (15% for Arizona) than those of smaller programs such as Brown and the Michener Center. But I didn't end up applying to Arizona because I didn't have my act together by December 1st (what an early deadline!) And I didn't apply to Florida because various people told me that Gainesville could be the worst city in the United States. Now, however, I wish I could start over.

I guess there's always next year (hopefully not!)


amarier


Jan 6, 2006, 10:13 AM

Post #76 of 1175 (11850 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks bb, hopperfu for your thoughts. i'm not going to include it on my application. seems like such an easy decision now. and yes, i do have other workshops (a few), so i think it'll be just fine.


HopperFu


Jan 6, 2006, 11:37 AM

Post #77 of 1175 (11841 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck with it all. I stressed a ton about the ancillary stuff, though several profs told me that pretty much the only thing that matters is the writing sample; they just use the other stuff to make sure they didn't make a horrible error.


amarier


Jan 9, 2006, 7:30 PM

Post #78 of 1175 (11803 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

okay, i have a question about personal statements. i'm working on mine (writing one that i will then tailor to each school's specifications), and i'm wondering if it's good/necessary to include something about wanting to study with a certain writer. i don't really want to include this, and so far the essay prompts don't ask... and if i did include it, it seems a bit presumptuous to think/imply that i would want to study with a certain writer when that writer may no longer be there, or that the school might think i was a better fit to study with someone else...
i'm asking because i read a sample mfa personal statement on the web (of someone who was accepted), and she did include something about how she wanted to study with so-and-so. so, is it bad if i don't include it? also, how much are people brown-nosing? i don't want to at all, but i also don't want it to seem like i don't care about the school. i kind of think they should know, because i'm applying in the first place, that i want to be at their school, so why should i spend part of the essay talking about that? hope that makes sense.


HopperFu


Jan 9, 2006, 7:42 PM

Post #79 of 1175 (11801 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think - and given that I'm applying like everybody else, take with a grain of salt - that what schools are looking for is _exactly_ what they ask for on the statement. Usually, why do you want to get an MFA, why here, and what do you want to do with it.
I think the "why here" question is what you are talking about. The answer can be, I want to study at Iowa because I think that Ethan Canin is a wicked awesome writer and he also loves poodles, or it can be, I want to study at Cornell because the class size is really tiny and I am anti-social. (I wouldn't use those exact sentences, by the way). I think this is one of those questions that is sort of up to you and how strongly you feel; it's not brown-nosing if you actually are applying to a school for those specific reasons.
For example, one school I applied to has a very small prof pool, and I dedicated a paragraph each to two profs who I would mainly be working with. I've done a lot of research on that school, those profs, have met and talked to the profs, have talked to students, etc., and all of the things I said about them were real reasons why I was applying there. A second school, however, where I respect all of the profs, and have read all of the profs, but don't really know much about them (as people, their teaching style, etc.), I just didn't get into it at all.

Actually, let's back up: you said that you figure they know you're interested because you're applying. A lot of people apply to graduate school because they aren't really happy with what they are doing and think that grad school seems like a good enough diversion, and then they, more or less randomly, pick grad schools. They want to make sure you aren't that person; it does make sense to give _specific_ reasons why you are applying to that school. I.e., lets take Cornell: "I'm applying to Cornell because I think the high faculty to student ratio will give me the chance to have a mentoring relationship that I need to improve my writing." vrs, "I'm applying to Cornell because it is a good school."
Does that make sense? Note, I'm not asking if it is actually helpful....


amarier


Jan 9, 2006, 8:04 PM

Post #80 of 1175 (11798 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

hopperfu- thanks, it did make sense, and it was helpful. again, i think i'm just overthinking all of this. starting to stress a little. i'll just be honest, and i'll include a little something- something specific- for why i want to be at such-and-such school. i'm not going to dwell on it though, i'll dwell on the questions they ask. thanks


shadowboxer


Jan 9, 2006, 10:04 PM

Post #81 of 1175 (11790 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
okay, i have a question about personal statements. i'm working on mine (writing one that i will then tailor to each school's specifications), and i'm wondering if it's good/necessary to include something about wanting to study with a certain writer. i don't really want to include this, and so far the essay prompts don't ask... and if i did include it, it seems a bit presumptuous to think/imply that i would want to study with a certain writer when that writer may no longer be there, or that the school might think i was a better fit to study with someone else...
i'm asking because i read a sample mfa personal statement on the web (of someone who was accepted), and she did include something about how she wanted to study with so-and-so. so, is it bad if i don't include it? also, how much are people brown-nosing? i don't want to at all, but i also don't want it to seem like i don't care about the school. i kind of think they should know, because i'm applying in the first place, that i want to be at their school, so why should i spend part of the essay talking about that? hope that makes sense.

You shouldn't include it, especially if the person is 'famous'.


bighark


Jan 10, 2006, 11:00 AM

Post #82 of 1175 (11768 views)
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Re: [shadowboxer] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know, shadowboxer, if I agree with that.

Yes, there's the whole "good writer does not necessarily equal good teacher" thing, but if a student thinks that he or she can learn from a particular person at a particular school, then why not say so?

I mean George Saunders at Syracuse is about as "famous" as creative writing faculty get, and one of his most attractive qualities as an instructor is the reputation he's developed as a generous and inspiring teacher. If you were applying to Syracuse, why wouldn't you say that his presence there is a factor in your decision to apply?

There are dozens of such "famous" faculty members at institutions around the country. Robert Coover at Brown, Barry Hannah at Mississippi, Padgett Powell at Florida, Charles Baxter at Minnesota, and the late Frank Conroy of Iowa are but a few of the great writer-teachers that I can think of off the top of my head. In some ways, applying to one of those programs above without mentioning the famous faculty member is like ignoring the elephant in the room.

And what about distinguished visiting faculty memebers? Granted, you would have to be a very motivated and well informed applicant to know who was going to be in residence at a particular school during any given year, but if you did know that someone you admire was going to be visiting during your first year in the program, what harm could there be in mentioning that you noticed this fact and that it influenced your desire to attend the program (on top of all its other great qualities, of course)?

Frankly, I think there's a way to state that you're excited about a faculty member or members being a part of a program without the mention dominating your SOP. I think this mention doesn't have to come off like fan mail, and I think an applicant can say that he admires so-and-so but doesn't expect to write like so-and-so.


HopperFu


Jan 10, 2006, 11:25 AM

Post #83 of 1175 (11763 views)
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Re: [bighark] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think bighark is right, but it depends on the situation: e.g., my understanding is that at Brooklyn College, they make sure that everybody gets a chance to study with Michael Cunningham (The Hours). I think that's fair enough.
Again though, the trap - in the statment - is that you could say, "I am applying because I want to study with XX" and XX may be on leave for the next two years, or still on the website / brochure even though XX doesn't teach there anymore (which, I've been told, is pretty common).
I think the concern would be saying, "I want to study with XX" and have that be the only specific reason you give for applying there.


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Jan 10, 2006, 3:12 PM

Post #84 of 1175 (11746 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think "I want to study with X" is a bit strong and presumptious. But of course the faculty should be a factor in most people's choice of programs. You might want to soften it by saying something along the lines that you're impressed with the work of the faculty, particularly X (and X...). Let them fill in the rest.


HopperFu


Jan 10, 2006, 4:00 PM

Post #85 of 1175 (11729 views)
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Re: [wiswriter] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, yeah, I certainly hope that nobody takes my quick examples as actual text that should be used. God forbid. I just meant that I don't think it is a bad move to mention that there are members of the faculty that you are specifically interested in.


leviadams


Jan 10, 2006, 4:01 PM

Post #86 of 1175 (11729 views)
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Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, all.

Out of nowhere, I have a question- and one that I wish I didn't have reason to ask.

If a recommender disappears off the face of the earth after submitting 2 out 7 letters, is it possible to get a substitute recommender (after all the other materials have been sent in) or do the recommenders have to match the names on the app for everything to be considered?


HopperFu


Jan 10, 2006, 4:47 PM

Post #87 of 1175 (11718 views)
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Re: [leviadams] Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

No clue. I think, on this, it's probably cool to call the programs and ask. That sucks. Sorry.


Aubrie


Jan 10, 2006, 4:57 PM

Post #88 of 1175 (11717 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

I would definitely contact the programs. I've had tremendous luck in getting polite and helpful people on the phone and via email with any questions I've had.
That really sucks.
I wish you the best of luck in figuring it out!


leviadams


Jan 10, 2006, 4:58 PM

Post #89 of 1175 (11716 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, I think I will. *Sigh*


leviadams


Jan 10, 2006, 5:17 PM

Post #90 of 1175 (11709 views)
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Re: [leviadams] Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha. Never mind. I got in touch with the recommender. He assures me they were sent out.


sayra


Jan 10, 2006, 5:36 PM

Post #91 of 1175 (11705 views)
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Re: [leviadams] Posting in this thread because it's cozy. [In reply to] Can't Post

i had a similar scare earlier this week with one of my recommenders, whose letter has not yet been received, umm, anywhere, which made me fear that he'd fallen in a well somewhere and they were never being sent, but he swears they're in the mail, so here's hoping. yeah, delinquent recommenders are great times. greeeeeeaaat times.

(oooh, wait, update. umass amherst finally received his recommendation. it actually exists!!!!! miraculous!)


(This post was edited by sayra on Jan 10, 2006, 5:39 PM)


amarier


Jan 19, 2006, 1:25 PM

Post #92 of 1175 (11635 views)
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critical essay [In reply to] Can't Post

ok, new last minute question...
i have my writing sample and personal essay done. now it's just the 3-4 page critical essay. only two schools i'm applying to require this. does anyone have any idea how important it is? more so than the personal essay? (i hope not)
i know the writing sample is 90% of it all. i guess i'm wondering, not that it will do me any good, how much i should worry about it, and how many more drafts of it i need to write for it to be good enough to send... argh! i am ready to be done with it all.


cnk


Jan 19, 2006, 10:48 PM

Post #93 of 1175 (11597 views)
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Re: [amarier] critical essay [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to a school that requires a critical essay too, and I believe its considered much lower than the personal statement. They said the hierarchy goes something like this: creative sample, recommendations, personal statement, transcripts, critical. I just adjusted for some notes my professor left on an old essay (I'm a recent graduate) and turned that in. But then again, the school required a 15-20 page essay, not a 3-4.


Moonshade


Jan 24, 2006, 11:18 PM

Post #94 of 1175 (11635 views)
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Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone know what the correct way to format a story for the MFA application? For the first page, do I start the story in the middle of the page? Title on the first page? Should it have a cover page? Should I put my name in the header, so it'll will print on every page?

The school didn't specify a font size either, should I use courier ten point or twelve point? Can my SOP be in one font size and my story in another font size?

Suggestions anyone?


HopperFu


Jan 25, 2006, 9:22 AM

Post #95 of 1175 (11623 views)
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Re: [Moonshade] Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post

With font, there is a correct answer: always, always, always, 12 pt font. The most often specified font to use is Times Roman (or Times New Roman in word).
I would suggest putting your name and the title of the story in either the header or footer, as well as, of course, page numbers, mostly in case somebody drops your story or a stack of stories and then needs to sort the pages again, or loses a page or something.
I think most people format the first page of a short story like this:


Full Name (top left of page)
Address
City, State, Zip
Phone
Email

Title in Bold (this should be centered and about 1/3 of the way down the page)

space
space
First line of the story, with in indent after every paragraph break. Double space.


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Jan 25, 2006, 9:22 AM)


amarier


Jan 25, 2006, 10:47 AM

Post #96 of 1175 (11612 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post

i wonder if the people reading our (i mean, my) applications will mind too much if it wasn't formatted correctly? i did double space and use 12 pt times new roman, but i put my name, page number in every top right corner, and i started with the title and my story pretty close to the top of the page too... since i've only sent one application off, i guess i can format my stories correctly for the other schools.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 25, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #97 of 1175 (11608 views)
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Re: [amarier] Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post

Most writers don't understand that there is a correct format, much less use it. However, if you want to increase your chances of success as much as possible, read this:

http://www.sfwa.org/writing/vonda/vonda.htm

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/


HopperFu


Jan 25, 2006, 1:50 PM

Post #98 of 1175 (11594 views)
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Re: [amarier] Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
i wonder if the people reading our (i mean, my) applications will mind too much if it wasn't formatted correctly? i did double space and use 12 pt times new roman, but i put my name, page number in every top right corner, and i started with the title and my story pretty close to the top of the page too... since i've only sent one application off, i guess i can format my stories correctly for the other schools.



There is a "proper" format (or something like that), but really, they only care about the quality of your work. You aren't going to get a "no" because you put your name in the wrong corner. Don't stress about it for the ones you already sent in.... Try to avoid the crazy look though - pink unicorn paper.


rjkostuck
Robert Kostuck


Jan 25, 2006, 3:34 PM

Post #99 of 1175 (12100 views)
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Re: [Moonshade] Need Correct format of short story for MFA appl.? [In reply to] Can't Post

This was mentioned in a previous post--can't remember where:

http://agentquery.com/

Robert


Om Shanti


ElRi


Jan 26, 2006, 4:57 PM

Post #100 of 1175 (12043 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I just put five low-res applications in the mail today and I'm feeling pretty seasick. I actually went to the post office this morning, put all my apps in priority mail envelopes and sealed them, waited for 15 minutes in line, then panicked because I thought there might be a typo of an author's name in one of the essays, got out of line, went home, checked the computer copy (no typo) and then went back to the post office. I'm a mess.

And I didn't finish Goddard. I am stumped by the "design your own course of study" request. I'm resisting the urge to write "If I could design my own course of study, I wouldn't need to go to school." I expect that level of snark would be unappreciated. And I'm already worried that the rest of my applicaiton has too much of my attempts at humor.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 26, 2006, 5:32 PM

Post #101 of 1175 (11516 views)
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Re: [ElRi] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Goddard won't be put off by humor, but they do expect you to have some idea of why you want an MFA and what you need to learn. They don't really expect a completed course of study, just a rough draft. If you can't put together a course, you don't belong there.

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/


bullscheidt


Jan 26, 2006, 5:48 PM

Post #102 of 1175 (11510 views)
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Re: [ElRi] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey -- congrats on getting them all in the mail! That typo thing -- happened to all of us. I always think I remember a typo the minute after I close the envelope.

Cheers, Erica


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Jan 26, 2006, 10:48 PM

Post #103 of 1175 (11483 views)
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Re: [ElRi] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't apply to Goddard, but I've thought about this "design your own course" question in case I don't get in anywhere. Think about what you'd like to read, and how you think that might help you develop your writing. Think about your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and the authors you know that might inform and influence those strengths and weaknesses. How will you study the works of the masters and the contemporary writers you admire? How will that make you a better writer?


FWIW.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


amarier


Jan 27, 2006, 2:54 PM

Post #104 of 1175 (11440 views)
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application fee [In reply to] Can't Post

i mailed my application to vermont college on monday... and got my check for the application fee ($50) back today. the letter says they're waiving the application fee for January 2006! i wonder why they're doing that, other than being nice? anyone else get money back?


wiswriter
Bob S.
e-mail user

Jan 27, 2006, 7:52 PM

Post #105 of 1175 (11409 views)
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Re: [amarier] application fee [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
i mailed my application to vermont college on monday... and got my check for the application fee ($50) back today. the letter says they're waiving the application fee for January 2006! i wonder why they're doing that, other than being nice?


That's your scholarship. Congratulations.


BB


Jan 27, 2006, 9:31 PM

Post #106 of 1175 (11399 views)
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Re: [amarier] application fee [In reply to] Can't Post

I did too! It was a great feeling, wasn't it? Too bad the other schools don't do the same.


Elika619


Feb 16, 2006, 4:11 PM

Post #107 of 1175 (11432 views)
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Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

I am planning on applying for an MFA program for Fall 2007 and as I start the process, hope to get some good information early on.

Right now, I would love to go to a program that emphasizes teaching while giving you time to write. While I would love to make my fortune by getting my work published, I fully understand that rarely does your written word pay the bills alone. And, more importantly, I would find it a joy to teach others creative writing.

Since this is for NEXT fall, my list is very tentative, so am looking for constructive suggestions and comments. Right now, I am thinking about NYU, Boston, Montana, Iowa, UC-Davis or UC-Irvine. Does anyone know anything about programs in Denver?

Any advice would be appreciated as I start this process! :)

Thanks!

Elika619


bighark


Feb 16, 2006, 6:05 PM

Post #108 of 1175 (11404 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Elika, welcome to the forum.

There are a number of programs that allow students to teach, but not all of them cover creative writing pedagogy or allow students teach a creative writing course.

In my reasearch, I encountered two programs that seemed to do a good job of providing the training and opportunity to teach creative writing--the University of Michigan and the University of Indiana. There are a bunch of other schools that allow you to teach composition and <i>maybe</i> creative writing, and there are schools where you can teach creative writing but not get any formal training in pedagogy, so make sure that you're able to make the distinction when you're peforming your research.

Of course, I only list two programs. Others may chip in a few more names--by no means is my list exhaustive. I just mention it because the teaching of creative writing is not a general focus in most MFA programs.

Having said that....

You mention that you would like to teach in order to pay the bills. If you intend to get a job at the college level, you should know that these jobs are very competitive and hard to acquire. As a matter of fact, there's been a recent discussion on this very message board about the job market for creative writing instructors and what it takes to get a full-time appointment. There are a couple of veteran posters here, too, that presently work as instructors in colleges and community colleges. They may pop into this thread and give you better advice that I can give.

But the bottom line is (and I think the veterans will back me up here) that you should not plan on being able to teach without having a successful publishing career. An MFA might give you the ability to work as an adjunct composition (notice that I did not say "Creative Writing") instructor at a community college, but you won't get a full-time appointment at a 4-year institution without an impressive list of publications.

If you want to teach at the high school level, though, you should be fine. And good for you, too, if you want to help high school students with creative writing. That would be a cool job.

Anyhoo, to summarize: The MFA is not job insurance.

And that concludes my post.

Good luck with your search and applications!


ddl


Feb 16, 2006, 6:19 PM

Post #109 of 1175 (11399 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Elika,

Every student who goes through the MFA program at Ohio State gets to teach at least one workshop in their genre. All of us also teach intro composition for a year and get intensive (40 hours) pedagogical training before doing that. There's an optional course in creative writing pedagogy available, which basically entails observing and serving as an apprentice to a faculty member for one quarter while the faculty member teaches an undergraduate course.

We also, as I've noted in other threads, get full funding for three years, mostly through teaching and sometimes through additional fellowships.

Hope that's helpful. Best of luck with your application process.

Danielle


HopperFu


Feb 16, 2006, 8:39 PM

Post #110 of 1175 (11366 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure how helpful it would be, but if you want (or if anybody wants, please message me) the AWP Official Guide to Writing Programs 11th Edition, it's yours for the price of postage.


flatiron10


Feb 17, 2006, 12:10 AM

Post #111 of 1175 (11331 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

What's inside? If it has profiles of schools and whatnot, I'd be glad to take it off your hands!


HopperFu


Feb 17, 2006, 7:53 AM

Post #112 of 1175 (11312 views)
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Re: [jennatelesca] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

It has a brief rundown on every program in creative writing in North America, with names of teachers, funding info, program requirements, etc. It's a good way of browsing all of the programs, but not ideal for very specific info about programs - if you know exactly what programs you are interested in, you are better off going to the program websites or getting brochures mailed to you.
It's an interesting book, and can help give you an idea of some programs you might want to explore further, but the reason I'm willing to give it away for postage is that I'm not sure it is worth more than that.
Let me know. And if Jennatelesca doesn't want it, it's open for the taking.


bighark


Feb 17, 2006, 9:21 AM

Post #113 of 1175 (11300 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

This cat's book look like it might be good. It came out too late in the application process for me to buy it, and I really really hope I won't need to get a copy for next year, but here's a link to the blog where you can learn more about it: http://creative-writing-mfa-handbook.blogspot.com/


HopperFu


Feb 17, 2006, 9:31 AM

Post #114 of 1175 (11293 views)
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Re: [bighark] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I guess it's not a bad book for getting your initial list of schools in order. When I first thought I was going to be applying to more schools, I read through it and put a post-it next to the thirty or so schools that I thought, "yeah, I want to know more about that program."
I've already pulled out the post-it notes, so they won't come in the mail with the book....


flatiron10


Feb 17, 2006, 12:07 PM

Post #115 of 1175 (11266 views)
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Re: [bighark] Comments needed for tentative Fall 2007 school list! [In reply to] Can't Post

I actually bought that one...it seems pretty informative, but doesn't have every program profiled. Although, the book does have a selection of profiles and also a list of every MFA program that was in existence before the book's publication.


Onyx


Feb 20, 2006, 7:07 PM

Post #116 of 1175 (11320 views)
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Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't seen this question yet so I hope I didn't miss it. I am wondering how early is too early to start having things like transcripts and letters of recomendation sent to schools? I am going for the Sept (aprox) deadlines, and I was wondering if anyone had any idea about this?

Thanks!


bighark


Feb 21, 2006, 12:00 PM

Post #117 of 1175 (11269 views)
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Re: [Onyx] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Onyx.

I'll do my best to answer your question, but I must say that I'm confused. You mention "September" deadlines, which seem really, really odd to me.

Most traditional MFA programs have application deadlines in December and January. Are you applying to low-res programs or something? Are you confusing the the enrollment dates with the application dates? If you could explain what you mean by "September deadlines," I'm sure we can give a better answer.


Onyx


Feb 21, 2006, 12:46 PM

Post #118 of 1175 (11247 views)
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Re: [bighark] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sorry, yes I am talking about application deadlines for low-res programs. For those programs the deadlines for application are mostly in the Sept-Oct range. Sorry about that - I missed including that info.


bighark


Feb 21, 2006, 1:11 PM

Post #119 of 1175 (11235 views)
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Re: [Onyx] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, that makes more sense.

Personally, I think now would be too early to start sending materials, but the only way to know for sure is to contact the programs where you want to apply. Some institutions may not be ready to accept application materials until a certain date; others may not be so constricted.

If your deadlines are in September, I would think that July would be Ok. Again, though, you should call and ask.

Anyway, we're about seven or eight months away from those deadlines. Are you anxious to get this stuff crossed off a to-list or something? What's the big hurry?


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Feb 21, 2006, 1:24 PM

Post #120 of 1175 (11226 views)
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Re: [bighark] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

Bear in mind that the people who work in admissions offices are human. Sending them stuff that they won't have to deal with for six or seven months only gives them the chance to lose it.

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/


Onyx


Feb 22, 2006, 11:26 PM

Post #121 of 1175 (11155 views)
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Re: [bighark] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

The reason I am trying to find out is one of the Profs. I would like to ask for a letter of recommendation from is moving out of state to a new college job after the end of the semester. I know at the end of the semester she will be busy with finals, and then will go straight to moving, so I'm trying to figure our how to make this as easy for her as possible to mail letters to the schools that require them to be sent from the recommender. :)


noneya


Feb 23, 2006, 9:08 AM

Post #122 of 1175 (11109 views)
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Re: [Onyx] Sending secondary info to schools - how early is too early? [In reply to] Can't Post

Onyx,

You might see if your prof would be willing to put a letter of recommendation on file through your college/university's Career Services. Otherwise, if it's written on letterhead of the current employer, but the prof is listed as teaching somewhere else, it might raise eyebrows...

Just a thought.


Aubrie


Sep 20, 2006, 2:34 AM

Post #123 of 1175 (11054 views)
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Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

So let's get the ball rolling - how about everyone who is applying to school this year drop in let everyone know where they're applying, and how far along in the process they are? I know I've already posted this, but for the sake of starting the post, I'll go first.
Applying to: Columbia, NYU, New School, Brooklyn College, Iowa, Michener, Montana, Michigan, Minnesota, SFSU, Notre Dame, and New Mexico.
Workshopping writing sample at New School class now, drafting S.O.P, and took GREs last year. Have some recs already rolling in, and have three definite recommenders. Have 14 transcripts in hand already. Yes, I'm prepared because I applied last year to 4 NYC schools and was negged by all of them. :(
Know how annoying it is to beg alma mater for transcripts, cram for GREs, etc.
Feel a lot more confident this year, but you never, ever know.
I wish everyone the best of luck and much strength/coffee/beer/cigarettes/all of the above while working away at apps!


renapoo


Sep 20, 2006, 4:54 AM

Post #124 of 1175 (11342 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, I'll bite--it's 4.44 a.m., why not?

Applying to:

Irvine
Indiana
Iowa
Michener
Cornell
NYU
UMass
UVA
Johns Hopkins
Mich-Ann Arbor
Montana
Stegner (looooong shot, but I'd take it)

Have 1 writing sample done, am fixing up the other, have 1 recommender's letters on the way, haven't heard from the 2nd potential rec (it's been three weeks...I'm gonna call him), and am still hedging on who to ask for the last one. Personal statements are slowly rolling along, I think the short ones are mostly done (250 words) but the longer ones are tricky. Anyone applying to Johns Hopkins and flipping out about the self-critique?


__________



Sep 20, 2006, 4:54 AM

Post #125 of 1175 (11342 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

Alabama, UT Austin, Texas State, Syracuse, U-Mass Montana, Indiana, Michigan, and Iowa, just because.

Thinking about: one of the Floridas, perhaps an Arizona, New Mexico State ( Antonya Nelson, Robert Boswell might leave?), and Ole Miss (Barry Hannah? Still around?)

And gosh darn do everyone's lists look the same!

Finished second draft of my 'second' story. Will finish first draft of my 'primary' story next week (risky, but the best thing I have).

No workshops, no conferences, but have found two MFA profs who do consulting work by mail.

Worried about recommenders--an Old English prof, a fiction prof....and?

Very relaxed about the SOP's after reading HopperFu's and Sibyline's, which were just very honest and straightforward.


six five four three two one 0 ->


v1ctorya


Sep 20, 2006, 10:52 AM

Post #126 of 1175 (11514 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie -

I'm curious as to which New School course you're taking. I was in one this semester, but it didn't feel right for me (too disorganized) so I left for another workshop elsewhere. Just curious as to how your experience is there, and who the instructor is.

And no worries, I am applying to no NYC schools, no money there :)


Lglabor


Sep 20, 2006, 12:09 PM

Post #127 of 1175 (11504 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying to NYU, Brooklyn College, City College, Queens College (new program starting next year), and perhaps Rutgers-Newark (also new program starting next year) if it's cheap. I live and work full-time in NYC, have no money and can't take out any loans. So the CUNY schools, and perhaps Rutgers, are the only almost-affordable options, which is cool since they're all good programs. NYU rejected me a few years ago and they get about 1000 applicants for about 10-15 spots so it's an extremely long shot--but I work at NYU and would get free tuition so I have to give it a try. If all else (mostly meaning money, but also convenience, time on the trains, etc.) were equal, though, my first choice would be Brooklyn. Great faculty (Michael Cunningham, Sapphire and others) and I've heard great things about the program. The new Queens program looks good to me too, with a strong faculty: poets Kimiko Hahn and Nicole Cooley, and novelists John Weir and Jeffrey Allen. Rutgers has Tayari Jones and Jayne Ann Phillips, both wonderful writers. Brooklyn, Queens and Rutgers are extremely appealing to me also because the student body is more diverse and more working-class than at the expensive schools. From this same viewpoint, if I were younger and less tied-down and could apply anywhere in the country, I think my number-one choice would be Indiana.

Prep: I'm almost done polishing a story that I've had very good feedback on. About to write statement of purpose. GRE scores in. (And they crack me up. About as low as they can be in math, and 99th percentile in verbal. Seems about what an MFA program should want. Sort of a babbling dunce.) Recommenders lined up. Undergrad transcripts in. So that's it.


Aubrie


Sep 20, 2006, 2:06 PM

Post #128 of 1175 (11480 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi v1c,
I'm taking Advanced Fiction: Elements of Craft with Karen McKinnon. So far, so good. It's strictly workshopping, so the craft elements comes in while we are discussing other people's work. It's really beneficial to have your work looked at so closely (each story gets about an hour of critique) but I'm used to examining established writer's work to learn craft. So it's a little different than I expected. Karen seems to be a great teacher - she reads each student's work VERY closely - I was pleasantly surprised by all the feedback she's been providing. All in all, I'm pretty pleased, but tonight's only my 3rd class, so we'll see. Maybe when my story goes up and gets slaughtered, I'll feel differently. :)~
I do like being in the class and polishing work before applications, and the constant discussion of writing keeps me in the right mindset.


v1ctorya


Sep 20, 2006, 4:34 PM

Post #129 of 1175 (11459 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

I knew you'd say that! it's the class I didn't like, although I liked Karen a lot I felt the author was too much 'on attack' by the other student's, so I switched to another workshop where the instructor really focuses on the students asking what in the story isn't working, not if the author 'meant it' to work or not. Also, which I LOVE, they critique people's critiquing, you have to do a written critique for each story, and these are read and the instructor guides you in how to more effectively critique, the idea being 1. you gotta do that to your own work and 2. you gotta do that in MFA programs, critique others effectively. Much more my style in prepping for the MFA's. Although I am interested in seeing your perception as it goes forward. I do still have the e-mail list somewhere. .. .(nov 1st, can you really wait that long????) Mind if I e-mail you off of here?

In terms of more on-topic, I've got my database going with the school information and am running off reccomendation letter waiver forms (for those needed) and have two people lined up, jthird soon will be. I just have to drop it off and then pick it up later, and I'm picking them ALL up. Those that need to be mailed separately I'll pop in the mailbox, others go with the application. This way I know for sure what's what. I'm picking up a few transcripts (it sucks because I've got three schools) Took the GRE a few years ago, one draft of a manuscript that was workshopped, then completely deconstructed and is being reformed in a much better image and one that goes before my workshop group Monday.

All in all, I'm stressed and have that fear that 'what if none do' so really narrowing the list and applying to a select few, and if I don't get in will do the same next year.


Aubrie


Sep 20, 2006, 5:00 PM

Post #130 of 1175 (11456 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Season [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha! Definitely email me or PM me here. I'm trying to match the name to a face, but I'm really, really bad at remembering names and faces.... So you were in last week's class?


Glinda Bamboo


Sep 27, 2006, 12:51 PM

Post #131 of 1175 (11353 views)
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Re: Cornell [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone else applying to Cornell and wondering about the application process? They use an online application, but unless I'm missing something, they don't explain where to mail the writing sample, personal statement, etc. I assume I should just send it to the English department, and I will email them and ask....or am I just a bonehead who missed that info on their website?


Glinda Bamboo


Sep 27, 2006, 12:58 PM

Post #132 of 1175 (11350 views)
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Re: Letter of Recommendation [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a silly and nitpicky question: When some schools give the option of submitting electronic letters of recommendation, do you go that route?

For me, since I'm applying to so many schools, I figure it's just easier to give my recommenders all the paper info so they can do each letter the same way, instead of having to log on and create accounts for just a few specific schools. I guess I like the thought of paper versions better, anyway, and this way the letters come to me in the mail and I can put them in with my other materials.

Just curious what everyone else does. Thanks. :)


trinmeg


Sep 27, 2006, 1:21 PM

Post #133 of 1175 (11343 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Cornell [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, The website says to send the following "supporting materials" to the English Dept:
    • statement of purpose
    • three letters of recommendation
    • one transcript from each college or university attended
    • GRE general test scores
    • writing sample (see below)

and you send them to the following address:
Graduate Application
Department of English
250
Goldwin Smith
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-3201


But, for the record, I e-mailed the English department a couple of weeks ago with another question and they were very nice and helpful.


trinmeg


Sep 27, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #134 of 1175 (11342 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Letter of Recommendation [In reply to] Can't Post

I just sent all of my recommenders the paper materials... wanted to keep things as simple and consistent as possible.


bighark


Sep 27, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #135 of 1175 (11341 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Letter of Recommendation [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Glinda,

Different programs require different LOR submission methods. There are three possible variables:

1. Electronic
2. You send all LORs with your application
3. Your recommenders must send LORs to program directly

Now if you're allowed to send your letters with your application material, I can absolutely understand why you'd want to go the paper route. It's nice having all your material in-hand and knowing that the application is complete.

If your recommenders must submit their letters directly to the program, however, you will want to encourage them to use the electronic submission format so you can see when, exactly, they have submitted their letters.

Another thing to think about: Electronic applications are becoming the norm. If your LORs are coming from former professors, they'll be more than familiar with the process.

Good luck


Aubrie


Sep 27, 2006, 1:24 PM

Post #136 of 1175 (11341 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Letter of Recommendation [In reply to] Can't Post

The apps I have that offer online recs I've used. My recommenders seem to think they're easier - I think they just get to copy and paste their letter - and you basically do most of the registration for them.

I like the idea of paper recs, too, but then I have to remind myself that the letters are opened as pdfs, and printed out. So in the end, they'll look exactly the same as if they'd been mailed in. Unless your recommenders are handwriting the letters (!?!?).

I emailed my recommenders and asked them which one they preferred - it's probably the best way to go about it.


Glinda Bamboo


Sep 27, 2006, 2:05 PM

Post #137 of 1175 (11337 views)
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Re: [trinmeg] Cornell [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi trinmeg,

Yes, thank you. I'm a moron. I went to Cornell's site again before coming here and saw the address listed there plain as day. At least it's only September and I have a few months left to pull myself together. :) (And that will hopefully include not using phrases like "plain as day" in my writing.)

I suppose I will give my recommenders the option of submitting online if they want...I just figured that since they have to print the letter for other programs, it would be easier to stay consistent.

Thanks, everyone. I look forward to spending a few months obsessing over my applications here in this forum.


HopperFu


Sep 27, 2006, 4:16 PM

Post #138 of 1175 (11319 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Cornell [In reply to] Can't Post

I had my recommenders do it online when possible - the reason for this is that you can actually confirm that your recommendation is in.
I don't think it hurts to ask them which they prefer, however.


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Sep 27, 2006, 9:32 PM

Post #139 of 1175 (11288 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Letter of Recommendation [In reply to] Can't Post

Glinda,

If you go with the online recommendations not only will you be able to see when the recs are in, but some schools will automatically remind your recommenders for you when it starts getting close to deadline time. Saves you that uncomfortable phone call to remind them they agreed to help you out.

Good luck.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 28, 2006, 2:34 PM

Post #140 of 1175 (11247 views)
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I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I screwed up several of the online applications that I already submitted. Before I was an undergrad, I went to two different community colleges and took a total of four classes at them. Two were taken as part of an honors' program when I was in the eighth grade, and two were classes taken as a non-matriculated student just after high school graduation when I was working full-time. Although the credits eventually transferred to my ugrad, it was as free-electives; they didn't count for anything. Anyway, somehow I just completely failed to mention attending those schools on the five applications I've filled out so far. I can't imagine how it even slipped my mind, but when I was filling out Iowa's app, I saw the big, screaming, bold print that tells you to "INCLUDE ALL POST SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS ATTENDED" and realized my mistake. I can still forward the transcripts, and I'm trying to contact the schools to officially correct it (a very nice woman with a thick southern accent at UVA told me not to worry about it at all), but I can't help but feel like I've totally futzed everything up, and won't be able to get into any of them now.

Anyone else totally overwhelmed and stressed by all of this--the paperwork, the fees, the forms, everything?


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


muttonfish


Sep 28, 2006, 2:43 PM

Post #141 of 1175 (11243 views)
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dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post

Applying earlier or later, does it make a difference? Most applications are due around mid-January. If I apply in December do I suffer any less change of being accepted as opposed to applying now. Thanks


(This post was edited by muttonfish on Sep 28, 2006, 2:45 PM)


Aubrie


Sep 28, 2006, 2:50 PM

Post #142 of 1175 (11238 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Sweetjane - I did the same thing when I was in 8th grade, and certainly never thought about getting transcripts from it. ????
Also - I took an evolutionary anthropology class at NYU during undergrad, but that class shows up on my undergrad transcripts - I didn't think that I would have to ask NYU to send a separate transcript. I don't know - I can't imagine these little things would affect any major decisions. If any school was really concerned about not having records like these - but they were impressed by your manuscript - I'd imagine they'd just ask you to provide them. Maybe I'm being too lackadaisical about it, but I'd be a bigger nervous wreck than I already am if I stressed about all the little things. Because like you said - the forms and fees and paperwork are already starting to keep me up at night.


Aubrie


Sep 28, 2006, 2:57 PM

Post #143 of 1175 (11231 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Muttonfish - my understanding is that most schools begin reading apps. shortly after the deadline - not right when they're received - so regardless of when you get yours in, you'll be in the same pile as the early and late people. The only exception would be those programs that have rolling-type admissions (Alabama offhand?) that read your work once it arrives, and contact you shortly afterwards.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 28, 2006, 2:59 PM

Post #144 of 1175 (11230 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie,

I originally felt the same way you did--after all, while the letter grades didn't transfer to my undergraduate transcript (incidentally, all As), it shows that they were passing grades. But this is the text from the Iowa application that put the fear of God in me:

" List chronologically all post-secondary institutions you have attended or in which you are presently enrolled. Omission or misrepresentation of information concerning enrollment in other colleges or universities is sufficient grounds for canceling one's admission or registration. Submit to the Office of Admissions an official academic record/transcript from each institution attended and submit a second set of official academic records/transcripts to your department."

What's worse, this is going to triple the cost to forward my transcripts.



In Reply To
Hey Sweetjane - I did the same thing when I was in 8th grade, and certainly never thought about getting transcripts from it. ????
Also - I took an evolutionary anthropology class at NYU during undergrad, but that class shows up on my undergrad transcripts - I didn't think that I would have to ask NYU to send a separate transcript. I don't know - I can't imagine these little things would affect any major decisions. If any school was really concerned about not having records like these - but they were impressed by your manuscript - I'd imagine they'd just ask you to provide them. Maybe I'm being too lackadaisical about it, but I'd be a bigger nervous wreck than I already am if I stressed about all the little things. Because like you said - the forms and fees and paperwork are already starting to keep me up at night.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Sep 28, 2006, 3:00 PM

Post #145 of 1175 (11229 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post

You won't be putting yourself at any disadvantage by finalizing your application earlier, and you might save yourself the grief of realizing a couple weeks after the deadline that you left something out.


HopperFu


Sep 28, 2006, 3:13 PM

Post #146 of 1175 (11226 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Applying earlier or later, does it make a difference?

I think Arkansas has a sort of rolling admissions, but other than that, as far as I know, as long as you make the deadline it won't affect your application status.
That being said, I would strongly suggest you try to beat the deadlines by a couple of weeks for two reasons:
1) It will give you the luxury of a cushion and a few days to digest everything, to maybe reconsider that decision to print your story on pink unicorn paper, or to submit your statement of purpose in sanskrit
2) It means that if something gets fucked up - a rec doesn't get in, a story doesn't work out the way you want, your application gets lost in the mail, your computer crashes - you can fix it.

But, of course, the most important thing is to simply give the best application you can (which sometimes means you should send it in early so you don't overwork stuff).


Aubrie


Sep 28, 2006, 3:14 PM

Post #147 of 1175 (11226 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Gah. I hate this whole process.


renapoo


Sep 28, 2006, 3:48 PM

Post #148 of 1175 (11221 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

SweetJane-- I too freaked out when I saw this. But I've since relaxed and decided not to bother with it (I took classes at my local college while in highschool, and have taken classes through Harvard and UCLA extension). The transcripts for this classes are really irrelevant, and the cost of requesting 5 transcripts for the eleven programs I'm applying to is outrageous. If you're really worried, why not call or e-mail the admissions coordinator and ask about it? Then you can report back to the P&W board and make us all feel better...or make us all very unhappy, depending.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 28, 2006, 3:59 PM

Post #149 of 1175 (11457 views)
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Re: [renapoo] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Further investigation has turned up the following:

University of Virginia specified that I should forward all transcripts.
University of New Hampshire only wants transcripts for schools attended for a year or longer.
University of Florida graduate admissions office will not answer their phone!
University of Wisconsin has a really useful feature on their website--an e-mail address where you can contact them about mistakes or changes on your application.

I'll let you guys know what I figure out about University of Washington (Seattle), University of Montana, and University of Oregon.

It's nice to know that other people are in the same boat as me, at least. I do think, though, that demanding official transcripts for single courses attended at an institution is pretty gross, and a needless drain on our wallets.


In Reply To
SweetJane-- I too freaked out when I saw this. But I've since relaxed and decided not to bother with it (I took classes at my local college while in highschool, and have taken classes through Harvard and UCLA extension). The transcripts for this classes are really irrelevant, and the cost of requesting 5 transcripts for the eleven programs I'm applying to is outrageous. If you're really worried, why not call or e-mail the admissions coordinator and ask about it? Then you can report back to the P&W board and make us all feel better...or make us all very unhappy, depending.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


Glinda Bamboo


Sep 28, 2006, 6:58 PM

Post #150 of 1175 (11440 views)
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Re: sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, man, you guys are going to love this question. It's going to make you want to kick me off the forum. If any MFA profs are for some reason reading this, they are going to pray my real name is actually "Glinda Bamboo" so when I apply they can reject my application ASAP on the grounds that I am an obsessive compulsive nutjob. I call this type of question the "Glinda is avoiding the real issue of perfecting her writing sample and is instead freaking out over the stupidest, smallest details possible."

So you know how your letters of recommendations have to be sealed, with the recommender's signature across the seal? I thought that meant we had to supply an actual sticker/seal to seal the envelope, and then they sign over that. I just returned from three stationery-esque stores, and none sold plain seals for envelopes. Then I started to think that maybe they just need to, you know, lick the envelope and sign across the flap. I was going to give each recommender seals, but maybe that is unnecessary. And maybe college profs have their own college seals or something, but one of my recommenders is not a professor so I wanted to be sure.

Any thoughts? Feel free to respond to either the seal question or the fact that I need to get writing and stop worrying about little round sticky things. Thanks.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 28, 2006, 7:04 PM

Post #151 of 1175 (11714 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm 90% sure I didn't screw up this part at least! I think they just meant that the prof has to seal the envelope (lick it, etc) and sign across the flap. It would be awesome, though, if they meant that they had to use old school sealing wax!!


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


renapoo


Sep 28, 2006, 9:15 PM

Post #152 of 1175 (11699 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Hm...I just looked at Michener's website (UT Austin) and they say they want All transcripts, even for extension classes. And they say it in BIG RED INK. Crap!

I guess I'll post what I find out for the schools I'm applying to, besides the ones SweetJane's already contacted...I'm still not bothering for the college class I took in high school, though. It was only a dance class, and besides, these programs aren't asking for my high school transcripts.


HopperFu


Sep 28, 2006, 9:33 PM

Post #153 of 1175 (11697 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm 100% sure. They just mean that the person sending the letter should close the envelope (i.e., seal it), and then sign their name so that it overlaps where it opens, thus supposedly making it difficult for you to conduct monkey business.
Though I agree that a good old medieval wax seal would be kind of cool.


blueragtop


Sep 28, 2006, 11:51 PM

Post #154 of 1175 (11684 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

I haven't taken the GRE. How long does it take the scores to be sent? I want to take the exam in late October, so I can prepare for a bit longer. Is that too late?


Aubrie


Sep 29, 2006, 12:15 AM

Post #155 of 1175 (11681 views)
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Re: [melos] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

I took mine at the end of November last year and didn't have any problems with deadlines. (you can breath a sigh of relief now)
Good luck!


blueragtop


Sep 29, 2006, 12:21 AM

Post #156 of 1175 (11678 views)
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Post deleted by melos [In reply to]

 


GDClark
George David Clark
e-mail user

Sep 29, 2006, 12:24 AM

Post #157 of 1175 (11677 views)
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Re: [melos] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

Melos,

I took the GRE around the first of August last year and had plenty of time to get the scores out, at least a month or two. You should be fine taking it at the end of the month.

Good luck.


renapoo


Sep 29, 2006, 2:23 AM

Post #158 of 1175 (11666 views)
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Re: [melos] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

This is off topic, but what's the deal with livejournal? Where do people hang out? Is there a good place for sharing work? (I'm a fiction writer, getting my shorts prepped for the big MFA push in december). I've been to the zoetrope site, but that place is a little desperate and/or impersonal for me.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Sep 29, 2006, 7:51 AM

Post #159 of 1175 (11658 views)
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Re: [renapoo] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is off topic, but what's the deal with livejournal? Where do people hang out? Is there a good place for sharing work? (I'm a fiction writer, getting my shorts prepped for the big MFA push in december). I've been to the zoetrope site, but that place is a little desperate and/or impersonal for me.



Zoetrope's a little hard to get acclimated to, but once you do, it's the best workshop for fiction I've seen. There are some very fine writers and critters there though you have to plow through some dreck to find them.

You might also try the IWW workshops(they work through email) which are more intimate.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 29, 2006, 9:02 AM

Post #160 of 1175 (11652 views)
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Re: [renapoo] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

I decided to go ahead and e-mail all of the program directors to get the official report. I've also started pouring over the instructions a little more carefully. Word from Washington (Seattle) is that they want everything, including the high school community college transcripts. Here's what they said:


Quote
Hi Phoebe, Most people send us their community colllege transcripts as
well. We want a full record of your previous academic experience so
unless there is some reason why it's difficult to procure, the committee
would like to have those community college transcripts.


Also, I've found that University of Oregon has two different transcripts requirements--the Admissions Office asks for transcripts from colleges that you graduated from, but the Creative Writing Program wants transcripts from every college you've attended.

I'll continue to update you guys with official reports, although at this point, I'm thinking that it's safest for everyone to send everything, unless the program specifies otherwise (as in the case of Oregon or New Hampshire).


In Reply To
Hm...I just looked at Michener's website (UT Austin) and they say they want All transcripts, even for extension classes. And they say it in BIG RED INK. Crap!

I guess I'll post what I find out for the schools I'm applying to, besides the ones SweetJane's already contacted...I'm still not bothering for the college class I took in high school, though. It was only a dance class, and besides, these programs aren't asking for my high school transcripts.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 29, 2006, 10:33 AM

Post #161 of 1175 (11641 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Wisconsin's answer:

"Your questions was referred to the Graduate School for a response.
Because need to see individual transcripts, and because we are unable to
count any transferred courses from another university to your
undergraduate transcript, the Graduate School requests that you send
original transcripts for each school attended."

So . . . they need to see individual transcripts, because they need to see individual transcripts. The logic isn't great, but there you go.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


Glinda Bamboo


Sep 29, 2006, 1:20 PM

Post #162 of 1175 (11612 views)
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Re: transcripts [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to all those posting the transcript research. This thread reminded me of the distance learning advanced fiction class I took from Iowa several years ago. I hadn't even considered including that transcript, but now I realize that since it was a for-credit class, it counts. But this news stinks because my undergrad transcripts are completely free (I know; how lucky am I?) but the Iowa transcripts will be $12 a pop. And I'm applying to 10 schools! I will probably contact all the schools and see if they really need this transcript.

At the least, I'm glad I wised up because isn't Iowa one of the schools that is adamant about receiving all transcripts? Since this was an Iowa class (albeit distance learning), they could probably tell by my social security number or something that I took it, and would know I didn't not include all my transcripts if it wasn't in my application.

I wonder if they still charge the $12 for sending the transcript back to themselves when I apply to Iowa? :)


Art
Arthur J. Stewart
e-mail user

Sep 29, 2006, 3:19 PM

Post #163 of 1175 (11602 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] sealed envelopes [In reply to] Can't Post

It means, lick'em, close'm, and sign'em across the sealed back-flap place, such that the signature is on both parts of the envelope (i.e., the flap part and the part to which the flap is stuck).


sibyline


Sep 29, 2006, 6:10 PM

Post #164 of 1175 (11578 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Applying earlier or later, does it make a difference? Most applications are due around mid-January. If I apply in December do I suffer any less change of being accepted as opposed to applying now. Thanks


i wouldn't necessarily recommend doing this but i hate bureaucracy and as a result have problems missing deadlines whenever paperwork is involved. without exception, all my applications last year were between a day and a week late.

no idea whether it made a difference at the schools i wasn't accepted. but i know that hopperfu applied to cornell pretty early and we're both here. cornell's deadline was dec. 15 and i mailed mine a few days later saying to myself, "no way they're going to read anything before winter break." then i got a call from a faculty member on feb. 10th, in which she said specifically that they look at the apps before the break. i bet there was some nice administrator who took pity on my application.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Sep 29, 2006, 8:11 PM

Post #165 of 1175 (11567 views)
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Re: [sibyline] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post

 
no idea whether it made a difference at the schools i wasn't accepted. but i know that hopperfu applied to cornell pretty early and we're both here.

What's it like at Cornell? Is everyone under 25? Are you in fiction or poetry?


renapoo


Sep 29, 2006, 10:34 PM

Post #166 of 1175 (11557 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Transcripts! Here's what I found out:

Cornell: “Please plan to send official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, unless the classes taken were in no way related to your degree or to your application for the MFA.”

Michigan: ( I think they were confused about my question): "No we don't need those because they go toward highschool credit)

NYU: “We'll need 2 copies of original transcripts from each college you attended where the credits you received contribute to your final degree. If, however, your final transcript from the school you graduated from has those transfer credits, or abroad credits, etc. listed on it, then you'll just need originals of that final transcript.”

UMASS: “You only need to submit your college transcripts where you earned an
undergraduate degree or studied toward a degree.”

Judging from the websites/online applications at JHU, Iowa, Irvine, UVA, Michener, and Indiana, I'm assuming they want all transcripts from all classes ever taken, but if anybody wants to contact them and make sure, be my guest!


SweetJane


e-mail user

Sep 30, 2006, 9:43 AM

Post #167 of 1175 (11541 views)
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Re: [renapoo] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Montana and Virginia have both said that just the undergrad is fine. Which brings my count up to:

Montana, Virginia, New Hampshire--just undergrad

Washington (Seattle), Wisconsin, Iowa--want everything

Oregon--the admissions office just wants the transcripts of where you've graduated from, but the Creative Writing Department wants everything.

Still no word from University of Florida, either by phone or by e-mail. Honestly, that kind of administrative problems make me feel less inclined to go to a school; I had enough red tape runaround as an undergrad!


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


sibyline


Sep 30, 2006, 10:59 AM

Post #168 of 1175 (11535 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] dilatory [In reply to] Can't Post

cornell's great. our class ranges in age from 20 (actually, she turns 21 today) to 40 so it's a nice mix agewise. i'm in fiction. no major complaints so far. i've been getting great feedback, which is really shifting the direction of my work in an exciting way.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 2, 2006, 12:40 PM

Post #169 of 1175 (11482 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi SweetJane,

First you said that UVA wanted all transcripts, but then you said they only wanted undergrad. Just curious whether you can clarify...and hopefully save me $12. :)

Thanks.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Oct 2, 2006, 12:44 PM

Post #170 of 1175 (11480 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

The Graduate Admissions office recommended sending all transcripts, but the department said that just the undergrad transcripts would be fine. Since the Admissions office said that they'd just be forwarding whatever they got to the department, I'm going with the word of the department.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


Yugao


Oct 2, 2006, 1:05 PM

Post #171 of 1175 (11476 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't intending to send transcripts for any non-degree courses. I'm taking a writing class at my local college now, but only as continuing education. The class will still be ongoing when I apply anyway. I never would have thought that a transcript to show the grade for one non-credit course would have to be sent. I already have to pay $10 each for my undergrad transcripts and some schools are requesting two official copies. Please, I hope I am misunderstanding this.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Oct 2, 2006, 2:12 PM

Post #172 of 1175 (11465 views)
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Re: [Yugao] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

If it's a non-credit course that you're taking after your undergrad, it doesn't seem to me that there would be any need to send those transcripts as well--after all, they have no way of knowing that you took the class. The issue was for those of us who took coursework unrelated to our degree, but which transferred for college credit to our undergraduate institutions.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


Yugao


Oct 2, 2006, 3:41 PM

Post #173 of 1175 (11451 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you. That makes sense.


renapoo


Oct 2, 2006, 9:58 PM

Post #174 of 1175 (12396 views)
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Re: [Yugao] I'm an idiot [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, my issue is that I took extension courses after undergrad, non-degree related, and didn't think anybody would want to see those transcripts. But apparently, some schools do.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 3, 2006, 10:42 AM

Post #175 of 1175 (12371 views)
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Re: [renapoo] fun with transcripts [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in a similar situation: I had already earned my BA from institution #1, and then a year later I took a (for-credit) extension course from institution #2. I did earn credit for the extension course, even though I already had my degree.

Some schools have asked for that additional transcript, and some schools aren't worried about it. I guess you need to ask. And since my extension course was in creative writing, it definitely relates to an MFA...so that may be why some schools want to see it. Right now my tally is: 6 schools want the transcript, and three schools don't need it (four if I count UVA).

I assume it's not necessary to produce transcripts for non-credit work.


Aubrie


Oct 25, 2006, 2:12 PM

Post #176 of 1175 (11993 views)
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Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm confusing myself. This question is intended for anyone else out there applying to Iowa.

Do you have to send your transcripts both to Dey House and the grad school? And same for the GREs? Do each places get an application, or can I assume that one I fill out online gets to both?

Do these two places communicate enough so that the GREs I sent to institute 6681 Dept 2503 will be distributed to both?

Argh.


Elika619


Oct 30, 2006, 11:33 AM

Post #177 of 1175 (11909 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Aubrie...Yes, you have to send one set to the Dey House and one set to the Grad School. Also, here's a question for you (or for anyone). When ordering my transcripts, I want to order them unsealed from the registrar so I can see what my final GPA was (I have a vague idea but don't know specifically.) Lots of the applications ask you to list your GPA. However, I don't know if the grad schools want your transcripts sealed by the registrar. Any thoughts?


laughingman


Oct 30, 2006, 11:46 AM

Post #178 of 1175 (11907 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

At my school they stamp it "issued to student" if they don't seal it and send it themselves. I think there's some concern you may tamper with it otherwise. I went ahead and had them send my transcripts sealed and paid the five dollars to get an extra "issued to student" copy of my own so I'd have a record of my GPA, major GPA, GPA in the last two semesters, etc.



In Reply To
Hey Aubrie...Yes, you have to send one set to the Dey House and one set to the Grad School. Also, here's a question for you (or for anyone). When ordering my transcripts, I want to order them unsealed from the registrar so I can see what my final GPA was (I have a vague idea but don't know specifically.) Lots of the applications ask you to list your GPA. However, I don't know if the grad schools want your transcripts sealed by the registrar. Any thoughts?



Elika619


Oct 30, 2006, 12:07 PM

Post #179 of 1175 (11903 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Laugher. I think that's what I'll do. However, I think I will have them mail me official sealed envelopes, and then I will just mail them myself to the grad schools, in their appropriate packets. Hopefully that should be fine. (I'm applying to 12 schools...it's getting EXPENSIVE!!!)


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 30, 2006, 1:00 PM

Post #180 of 1175 (11886 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

I sent my GRE scores to Iowa once, and I don't intend to do it again. :) I think the scores were sent to the creative writing program. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think schools ask for you to send you GRE scores twice. At $15 a pop (coughcoughRIPOFFcoughcough) that seems ridiculous. So I sent it once and I assume that's good.


Aubrie


Oct 31, 2006, 10:24 AM

Post #181 of 1175 (11839 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Iowa Application [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Elika619 - thanks for the info on Iowa. I figured so much. About the the transcripts - I'm not sure how your school handles it, but when I get into my undergrad's online database to request transcripts, there's a link where I can look at my "unofficial" transcript. Perhaps your school also has the same?


Aubrie


Oct 31, 2006, 3:43 PM

Post #182 of 1175 (11808 views)
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Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

All my recs are out, in the hands of three people that I really trust. GREs have (hopefully, if ETS has their shit together) been sent to the respective schools. SOP is slowly shaping up. Have a big fat pile of transcripts on my desk ready to be sent out. Manuscript going to workshop tomorrow.
Finally feel like I'm getting somewhere.

How's everyone else doing?


Elika619


Oct 31, 2006, 6:19 PM

Post #183 of 1175 (11792 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Aubrie...that's pretty much exactly where I am. I have LORs in from one person, and am waiting to get them back from two others. I have a pile of transcripts on my desk (and am waiting on another set from some graduate courses I took a few years ago.) Also, am hoping that ETS will be mailing out my GRE scores too. SOP has yet to be written, and have revised one story and am working on the second. Whew!!! What is your list of schools again??


renapoo


Nov 1, 2006, 1:20 AM

Post #184 of 1175 (11756 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a word of warning to y'all-- Keep a close watch on your GRES. For me, ETS forgot to send part of them out the first time, then resent them (at no extra cost to me, to their credit), and then mis-sent one of them to the wrong school. Annoying, yes.


Elika619


Nov 1, 2006, 8:17 AM

Post #185 of 1175 (11746 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, that IS annoying. How did you know that they messed up? Did the send a copy to your house?


v1ctorya


Nov 1, 2006, 9:46 AM

Post #186 of 1175 (11738 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, that is weird, especially since when I talked to schools they get them all by e-mail about every two weeks a batch comes through. The 15$ fee really sucks when realizing it's to pay someone to click and send.


renapoo


Nov 1, 2006, 11:12 AM

Post #187 of 1175 (11719 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Wow, that IS annoying. How did you know that they messed up? Did the send a copy to your house?


yeah, they send a copy straight to you.


Aubrie


Nov 6, 2006, 12:05 PM

Post #188 of 1175 (11628 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Wheee! [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone applying to University of Minnesota?
I have a couple of specific Q's, so send me a PM if you are!


BridgetB


Nov 6, 2006, 1:02 PM

Post #189 of 1175 (11610 views)
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Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quick question about MFA applications and publications. I've applied (and been rejected) by my top choice MFA program two times in the past ten years. However, since the last time I applied (two years ago), I've had two stories accepted for publication in decently ranked (third or forth tier on the lists I've seen on this board) lit mags. I hope that this will make me a more attractive applicant this time around. Any idea how much publications count when it comes to MFA acceptance?

Thanks!


__________



Nov 6, 2006, 1:41 PM

Post #190 of 1175 (11605 views)
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Re: [BridgetB] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, they won't know your stories are published unless they like them enough to read your statement of purpose, where I guess you'll mention such things, correct?

On the other hand, no matter what programs say (the standard line is, We care about quality, not publications!) they all strike me as a bit like Beowulf, always running around with their heads cut off, trying to scoop up fame and carry it away in their little animal hide bags. Your pubs might bring a wee bit more fame to a program, and that certainly carries influence, no matter how small.


six five four three two one 0 ->


Aubrie


Nov 9, 2006, 2:42 PM

Post #191 of 1175 (11524 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

Has anyone else had to request extra GRE scores? I sent the paper forms in the mail what feels like ages ago, and I haven't seen the charges on my credit card. Does anyone remember about how long it takes for ETS to process your request? I'm getting paranoid here. Also, do they send you some sort of confirmation that they've sent the scores, or do you just have faith that they did?!?!?!

Hating this whole process.
Feel like I'm wasting valuable nervous energy on trivial things, instead of editing and re-editing (and then editing maybe one more time) my manuscript.


Elika619


Nov 10, 2006, 11:09 AM

Post #192 of 1175 (11472 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie, I totally feel your pain. I ordered my GRE scores over the phone, and I got them in the mail about a week later. No confirmation came that they had sent them--they just came. I'll tell you what I'm worrying about (instead of focusing on my writing!)...I sent away for my transcripts two weeks ago by mail, and I've heard nothing. My check hasn't cleared, so I don't even know if they are working on it. So frustrating!!


Aubrie


Nov 16, 2006, 3:56 PM

Post #193 of 1175 (11363 views)
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Minnesota Applicants [In reply to] Can't Post

For those applying to Minnesota -

On the MFA page, there is a list of necessary application materials (man, I almost said "ingredients") that seems pretty standard. However, when you go to the link for the English Dept., there are more "ingredients" like an English GPA calculation sheet, etc. Do you think we are responsible for providing these items, or are they only for the English MA students?


laughingman


Nov 16, 2006, 6:01 PM

Post #194 of 1175 (11343 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Minnesota Applicants [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie- I'm planning to include all of those "ingredients," unless they are qualified by "for MA/PHD applicants, only."

In other news, I finally finished distributing my LoRs to my writers, today, and dropped in at the registrar's office at my old school to take care of my transcripts. The online applications are filled out but have yet to be submitted. I ordered my GRE scores yesterday and now all that remains is cleaning up my SoP and finishing my writing samples (gulp).

Since I know you're all dying to know: My final list, in chronological, deadline-date order, is as follows:

Cornell
Minnesota
Syracuse
Virginia
Montana
Iowa Writer's Workshop
Washington U in St Louis
Alabama
Amherst
Indiana
Michener Center, Austin
Oregon (Eugene)
Arkansas
Idaho at Moscow
Purdue


vronsky


Nov 16, 2006, 6:31 PM

Post #195 of 1175 (11331 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Minnesota Applicants [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I'm including the GPA calculation sheet.


bighark


Nov 16, 2006, 6:37 PM

Post #196 of 1175 (11328 views)
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Re: [maggiekate] Minnesota Applicants [In reply to] Can't Post

After ruining about a ream's worth of grade sheets on previous applications, I made a MS Word version. You're welcome to use mine.
Attachments: MN Grade Sheet.doc (35.0 KB)


jargreen

e-mail user

Nov 17, 2006, 5:21 PM

Post #197 of 1175 (11261 views)
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Re: [BridgetB] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding is that, as ludicrous as it sounds, publications don't mean much to a reviewer. The decision depends almost entirely on your writing sample. But if your writing sample is good enough to be published, then surely a decent program will embrace you.


jargreen

e-mail user

Nov 17, 2006, 5:42 PM

Post #198 of 1175 (11246 views)
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Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello Writers,

I'm new to the forum and curious about everyone's writing samples. Are you finished writing/revising them yet? How many stories are you sending? Does it look as though you'll stay within the page length limits? Are you sending your favorite work, or that judged to be the best by your fellow writers? Do you trust your fellow writers? How do they really know who you are and what you're trying to do in your writing anyway? Will you be sending the same piece(s) to every school, or does mixing it up calm your nerves?

Nervously,
Ryan


laughingman


Nov 17, 2006, 6:05 PM

Post #199 of 1175 (11747 views)
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Re: [jargreen] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

My sense of the process is that if you don't pique their interest with your writing sample, they probably won't bother to read the rest of your application and realize that you're published. After you make the first cut, though, and they start reading the rest of your app, I'm sure those publications will weigh favorably for you. Just my speculation.



In Reply To
My understanding is that, as ludicrous as it sounds, publications don't mean much to a reviewer. The decision depends almost entirely on your writing sample. But if your writing sample is good enough to be published, then surely a decent program will embrace you.



jargreen

e-mail user

Nov 17, 2006, 6:29 PM

Post #200 of 1175 (11745 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Publications? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure each reviewer is different. If I were reviewing applicants, I would consider all the "ingredients." Of course, when you have a hundred or so files to review at the beginning of the spring semester, those applications and resumes may begin to be a blur. The stories are what writers truly love to evaluate.

I'm finishing up my undergrad work at a school that has a top-five writing program (according to Tom Kealey), and two professors I've spoken to extensively have very different criteria. One takes a close look at all materials an applicant submits, while the other considers even the recommendation letters a formality.


Rambler


Nov 17, 2006, 7:45 PM

Post #201 of 1175 (11661 views)
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help [In reply to] Can't Post

This is my first ever post. I am desperately looking for info on Northwestern Univ.'s MFA program in Writing for the Screen and Stage. Also, I'm applying to Warren Wilson and Queens (low res.). If anybody has any info on Northwestern's program or general tips for the writing sample, I would really appreciate it.


ptld


Nov 17, 2006, 9:22 PM

Post #202 of 1175 (11646 views)
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Re: [jargreen] Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

I can tell you that I'm sending the same two stories to everyone, and a third story to those programs who require longer portfolios. Despite many people's good advice, I'm going with my gut and sending my favorite stories, not simply because I feel they're my best, but also because I think they complement each other and show my range. Also, I don't know many people who I trust to critique work, which is one of my big motivations for the mfa. I'm really sweating it though. I still need to finish my SoP and I have one story that needs one final rewrite.


In Reply To
Hello Writers,

I'm new to the forum and curious about everyone's writing samples. Are you finished writing/revising them yet? How many stories are you sending? Does it look as though you'll stay within the page length limits? Are you sending your favorite work, or that judged to be the best by your fellow writers? Do you trust your fellow writers? How do they really know who you are and what you're trying to do in your writing anyway? Will you be sending the same piece(s) to every school, or does mixing it up calm your nerves?

Nervously,
Ryan



renapoo


Nov 18, 2006, 2:23 AM

Post #203 of 1175 (11624 views)
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Re: [ptld] Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anybody sending just one piece for their writing sample? Kealey and others have said you should really send two, even if it exceeds the page limit, but the article in P&W advocated the "less is more" theory. It would be a load off my mind to just send one (18-19 page) story for the places that want 25 pages or less, but I'm afraid reviewers would want to know that I can write more than one good story. Thoughts?


ptld


Nov 18, 2006, 2:36 AM

Post #204 of 1175 (11619 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

I can say that I feel more confident with two, for the simple reason that I would want to be judged by any one story. As it worked out, I feel one of my stories is about 16 pages and the other 8, which fits me nicely in the 24 page limit. However, even if this weren't the case, I don't feel like any one story shows enough of the things I do well to be comfortable being judged on it. Just my two cents, but this is based on my portfolio. If you have that one story which shows your talent well, go for it!


HopperFu


Nov 18, 2006, 8:20 AM

Post #205 of 1175 (11611 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

I sent one piece last year to the school that I applied to that had a 25 page limit. They accepted me.
If your single story is really good, and they are worried if you can write another one, it's also possible they'll ask to see another story - it happens.


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 18, 2006, 5:50 PM

Post #206 of 1175 (11573 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] SASE postcards [In reply to] Can't Post

That's right, it's time for another mind-numbing Glinda Bamboo question. Poo on all these questions about "writing samples." I've got a winner for you:

What do you guys use for a return postcard? This is assuming you use one -- I know some schools specifically ask that you include an SASE postcard indicating whether or not the school has received all your applications materials. Do you just use large, unlined notecards, or do you actually get real postcards? The only blank postcard stock I could find had unprofessional little drawings and borders on them. I want plain white.

...because we all know that application readers toss the writing samples and immediately check out our postcards, right? Hmmm.


__________



Nov 18, 2006, 6:09 PM

Post #207 of 1175 (11568 views)
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Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello, helpful ones... Any advice on the following?

My two best pieces--the ones I hoped to send off--just haven't come together. They're first drafts, but also my teacher-approved, best work. They'll probably get a second look, but nothing more. I'm so disappointed. I'm just trying to find out whether I should simply wait until Spring/next year to apply. I fear that if I send the improved drafts next time, readers will simply recognize the first, unchanged pages of each and chuck them. Any thoughts?


six five four three two one 0 ->


HopperFu


Nov 18, 2006, 6:11 PM

Post #208 of 1175 (11566 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] SASE postcards [In reply to] Can't Post

I just bought the large size blank index cards (I think they are 5 x 7) and used those. Other people have used normal postcards (think, "wish you were here")


rooblue


Nov 18, 2006, 6:41 PM

Post #209 of 1175 (11562 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Amy,
If you really don't think these stories are good enough to get you in for this cycle, I wouldn't send them. My guess is that grad programs keep your earlier applications on file, so that if you sent the same story twice, even if it was revised substantially, it might prejudice a reader against you.


laughingman


Nov 18, 2006, 7:02 PM

Post #210 of 1175 (11557 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Amy,

I think you should send your two teacher-approved drafts. If you think they're worth getting second looks, if you think they are capable of garnering interest and showing that you have potential as a writer, I say give them a chance to do so. What more could you ask for in an application piece?

'Saving' the work for next year doesn't sound like the best idea to me. Those two stories are not extent what you have to say as a writer. Trust yourself to have the ability in the next year to crank out drafts of five or six other stories that you like better.

That said, you still have time to work on your stories this year. Work on them patiently, and let them be the stories that they are. I have some advice I'm going to call my "when you see a bear in the woods" advice. As the big scary deadline looms, don't make any sudden moves with your stories. I made some very rash, very dramatic editing decisions in the last two weeks before I sent out my applications last year, and when I looked at my stories five months later (that's right, I didn't look at them at all until five months had passed) I was horrified by what I'd done.

Good luck,

laugher



In Reply To
Hello, helpful ones... Any advice on the following?

My two best pieces--the ones I hoped to send off--just haven't come together. They're first drafts, but also my teacher-approved, best work. They'll probably get a second look, but nothing more. I'm so disappointed. I'm just trying to find out whether I should simply wait until Spring/next year to apply. I fear that if I send the improved drafts next time, readers will simply recognize the first, unchanged pages of each and chuck them. Any thoughts?



bighark


Nov 18, 2006, 8:21 PM

Post #211 of 1175 (11545 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't see how substiantially improving a story could be bad under any circumstances.


jargreen

e-mail user

Nov 18, 2006, 8:57 PM

Post #212 of 1175 (11538 views)
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Writing Sample Jitters [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello Writers,

Thanks for your responses to my many nervous questions about writing samples. The writing sample is a complete mystery to me. The question that haunts me in my sleep is, How good does it have to be? Of course, I don't think this question can be answered without seeing a writing sample that gets a "Yes" from Iowa or Michigan or Bowling Green or Colorado State.

I'll just refuse to be bashful and ask my next question: Would anyone like to exchange writing samples by private email? I'm sure there's nothing braver than to share your writing with a complete stranger. But we are hoping that complete strangers buy our short story collections one day, right? So, if anyone would like a last-minute critique and be willing to give one in return, drop me a line!


renapoo


Nov 19, 2006, 4:46 AM

Post #213 of 1175 (11508 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Writing Sample [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you! That's a load off my mind. Your school just happens to be one of my top choices, if not THE top choice.


In Reply To

Post: I sent one piece last year to the school that I applied to that had a 25 page limit. They accepted me.
If your single story is really good, and they are worried if you can write another one, it's also possible they'll ask to see another story - it happens.



sibyline


Nov 19, 2006, 5:59 PM

Post #214 of 1175 (11456 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel like as long as you've done your best, that's really the important thing. In comparison to my cohorts here, I feel like my writing samples last year were quite unpolished, mainly because I had been writing fiction for a relatively short time and there were a lot of rules I didn't know about. One of my application stories is so flawed that in trying to revise it recently, I decided that it's unsalvageable and so I've abandoned it. But the admissions committee found something in my work that they liked despite its problems. It's quite possible that an admissions committee at a school you want to go to will find promise in work that isn't completely together yet.


kevin82


Nov 19, 2006, 6:30 PM

Post #215 of 1175 (11450 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone know when Notre Dame's application is due? I can't find the due date on their website.


Banyon


Nov 19, 2006, 7:20 PM

Post #216 of 1175 (11441 views)
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Re: [kevin82] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's pretty hard to find. From the application section of the MFA page, click on the link that says "admissions" (it's about halfway down), and that takes you to a site with different bits of information. Under "Before you apply" is a link that says "application deadlines and GRE Subject Test Requiements." The deadline is February 1st. Your app fee is $35 instead of $50 if you submit before December 1st.

-Banyon


HopperFu


Nov 19, 2006, 8:34 PM

Post #217 of 1175 (11427 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hello, helpful ones... Any advice on the following?

My two best pieces--the ones I hoped to send off--just haven't come together. They're first drafts, but also my teacher-approved, best work.


First of all, you've got between three and six weeks before deadlines at most places. Work on them. Get them as good as you can before you throw in the towel.
Second of all, I agree with what Syb says: you send in your best work. That's all you can do. Programs are not looking for genius; they are looking for the sparks of genius. Yeah, I guess it's a bonus if you come in as James Joyce (without the attitude), but most programs are simply looking for promise, for spark.
Third of all, you absolutely have to keep writing no matter what. If you submit this year and do not get in, then write a bunch more short stories, keep workshopping, try to go to summer conferences, whatever. Do you really think you only have these two good stories in you? I say submit, hope you get in, but plan as if you won't. The day after you post your applications (or two days after, if you are hungover), start working on stories for next year. The hope is that you keep growing as a writer, and the stories you write in the next year will be better than the stories you applied with anyway....


HopperFu


Nov 19, 2006, 8:36 PM

Post #218 of 1175 (11425 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

And, I forgot to add, it's so subjective anyway, that as long as you have one person saying to you, these pieces are good, then hell, send them in. Somebody else will, hopefully, have the same reaction.


__________



Nov 20, 2006, 6:08 PM

Post #219 of 1175 (11356 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey guys. Thanks for all the advice. I think P&W should seriously be paying some of you by now.

I've decided to hunker down and work feverishly for the next six weeks. And to retitle my story "Serious Potential".


six five four three two one 0 ->


Fear&Loathing


Nov 21, 2006, 12:46 AM

Post #220 of 1175 (11304 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Writing Sample: Help Me Please!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand the sentiment. I appreciate the comments from those who are in or have finished their MFA programs. It's like talking to people from the afterlife. You make it easier for those of us who are trying to break on through to the other side. Sorry for the Doors' cliche. It seems like Cornell has their students regularly posting here. Am I missing other program respondents? I remember Franz from Hopkins.


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 25, 2006, 5:21 PM

Post #221 of 1175 (11198 views)
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Re: Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

This is probably another dumb question, but that's what I'm here for. When you have someone registered to submit an online recommendation, does that mean you cannot officially submit the electronic application until that person has turned in the online rec? I was planning to submit my online apps for two of my early deadline schools this week, but I'm still waiting on one recommender.


Aubrie


Nov 25, 2006, 7:35 PM

Post #222 of 1175 (11186 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

I was wondering the exact same thing. Anyone have any idea?


Fear&Loathing


Nov 25, 2006, 8:19 PM

Post #223 of 1175 (11179 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the online application is usually only to register them. It would seem rare for a graduate admissions site to hold up an online application because of a recommendation. I could be wrong. Some sites will have an application inspector that will tell you if you can't submit after filling out their form.


HopperFu


Nov 25, 2006, 8:36 PM

Post #224 of 1175 (11504 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is probably another dumb question, but that's what I'm here for. When you have someone registered to submit an online recommendation, does that mean you cannot officially submit the electronic application until that person has turned in the online rec? I was planning to submit my online apps for two of my early deadline schools this week, but I'm still waiting on one recommender.


You can submit the electronic application before all of the recs are in - I did last year.
If you are still waitin on a recommendation at this point in the process, and you haven't already, I STRONGLY suggest you contact that recommender and remind them / check on their status in a very friendly way....
You should be able to check on the status of your recommendations online - it sometimes takes a few days to update, I think.


blueragtop


Nov 28, 2006, 1:04 AM

Post #225 of 1175 (11415 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

I took the GRE last week. How soon do I need to call ETS and tell them to send off the scores to the schools that weren't free. Are we talking tomorrow? The time is running out here and I'm trying to do a million things at once.


HopperFu


Nov 28, 2006, 7:16 AM

Post #226 of 1175 (10889 views)
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Re: [melos] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

do it this week. I don't think it takes that much time. Do it while you're eating breakfast....
ETS sucks on so many levels.


bighark


Nov 28, 2006, 8:44 AM

Post #227 of 1175 (10881 views)
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Re: [melos] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

Hopperfu is right. ETS blows.

I sent my GRE requests on November 6, and they still can't find my order forms.

The truly twisted thing about it is, though, that they won't even escalate to a manager until 20 business days have passed. That's outrageous! I mean, "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to wait until December 1 before we can conclude that your order forms are lost and not merely being processed."


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 28, 2006, 9:52 AM

Post #228 of 1175 (10875 views)
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Re: [bighark] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

How do we know that they sent off the scores, anyway? Do they confirm it? I mailed my form not long ago and it looks like the check was cashed (though it seemed to be cashed almost *too* soon, like immediately after they received it) so I assume that means it's being taken care of. But I don't trust ETS at all.


bighark


Nov 28, 2006, 12:18 PM

Post #229 of 1175 (10853 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Glinda,

I didn't mean to cause a panic! If your check was cashed, you'll be fine. ETS will be sending you a receipt in the mail, and you can check that against your original order.

Good luck!


bighark


Nov 28, 2006, 12:32 PM

Post #230 of 1175 (10850 views)
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Re: [bighark] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

Woah!

ETS does not suck as much as I previously thought. I just had them fix my problem in a very agreeable fashion.

Anyway....

My hot ETS tip of the day is to use the 1-609-921-9000 phone number instead of the 1-866-473-4373 phone number.


sibyline


Nov 28, 2006, 1:38 PM

Post #231 of 1175 (10839 views)
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Re: [bighark] Online letters of rec [In reply to] Can't Post

i just wanted to wish everyone good luck on their applications, and also remind everyone to breathe! :)


EastCoastPoet


Nov 28, 2006, 4:54 PM

Post #232 of 1175 (10809 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I have totally knocked Columbia and Cornell off my list. Not only because of their ridiculously high app costs (100 and 90!) but because the deadlines are almost impossible while trying to still maintain focus on my current MA degree classes. The goal is to finish the manuscript first, because as most of us know, a number of MFA's read that and ONLY that. The essays will be bs, as usual, so I don't think anyone should fret over them. Anyone nervous to the point of puking? I know I am...

Places applying to so far:

1) UNH
2) UMass Amherst
3)Emerson
4) Iowa (yeah right)
5) Indiana
6) BGSU
7) ASU

Some longshots, but I might as well go big...lol. Where's everyone's first choice? Second?


Aubrie


Nov 28, 2006, 8:31 PM

Post #233 of 1175 (10766 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

We all have "yeah rights" on our lists! I feel like all of mine are! But as I think I said somewhere earlier, I'm not going to apply just to get in somewhere, I'd rather wait and keep trying.
I know the costs are exorbitant - I feel like I'm throwing money away. It will be so frustrating if I don't get in anywhere.
Unfortunately, my first choice is Columbia (I know, I know - $$$$), and after that probably U of Minn. But I feel like my first choices change day to day. i'd be happy (I think) everywhere I applied.

And yes - definitely close to puking. A LOT of anxiety involved in this process.


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 28, 2006, 8:47 PM

Post #234 of 1175 (10763 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Wait, I thought Cornell's app fee was $70. Or at least it was the last time I checked. I still think that's too high, but it better not be $90! And a hundred bucks for Columbia? Geez.

I'm applying to two early deadline (Dec. 15) schools and it's a pain. I thought I'd have my manuscripts in the mail by now, but I'm still tinkering. As long as I get them out this weekend, I should be okay.

On top of everything, I'm considering changing jobs to a much higher-paid, responsible-adult position. Of course, if I get into an MFA program, that means I'd have to quit the new job after less than a year. Not good. But if I don't get in anywhere, I don't want to be stuck in my current job for even longer. And what if I take the new job and love it and only get into a program I'm not super excited about? Argh. Too many decisions. I can't wait until all my apps are in the mail and I can sit back and see what happens.


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Nov 28, 2006, 9:00 PM

Post #235 of 1175 (10761 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I'm new to the forums :)
I have applied to start w/ January residency insat Queens University instead of May and Summer programs.
Does anyone out there have experience w/ how long it takes to hear back if you are accepted or not?

I got a letter in Sept that stated it would be up to two months. The last day for applications was October 15th. I had corresponded by email with one former graduate (miss jilly-thanks!) who told me when she found out she was accepted but I wanted to hear from some others about how and when they heard.

Thanks!

Jessie
jessie.carty@gmail.com (feel free to email me separately from the boards, work, ah they like to block these things!)


EastCoastPoet


Nov 28, 2006, 10:05 PM

Post #236 of 1175 (10749 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

To be quite honest, I have the feeling I won't be getting in anywhere. I'm only 22 (barely) and am totally unsure of my talent (I'm poetry btw). I think people's first choices and whatnot are probably based on location, because wouldnt we all be going for name and reputation? Personally I'd rather go to UNH and study with Charlie Simic than Iowa 99 times out of 100. Then there's money, etc etc, but at this point for me I'm already in so deep, what's the difference? ha...but yeah, I haven't evan begun to write my personal essays or any of that...and I haven't done the GRE yet! yikes!! But I've been told by some schools that as long as I take it before their deadline then I'll be okay (the word from Cornell before I took them off the list.) What programs are people looking for? Are you guys weighing money over reputation/faculty? It'll be interesting to see what happens if I get into multiple programs and the packages they offer are different.


vronsky


Nov 29, 2006, 12:46 AM

Post #237 of 1175 (10729 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I hear Simic's a good teacher. I studied under someone who studied under him.

I'm only applying to dream schools (well, dream school: Iowa) and schools with good funding. I pared down the list according to my geographical preferences (West coast sounds nice), but I didn't rule out applying to schools like Iowa, Minnesota, Cornell, or Syracuse (all of which have elicited horrified responses from friends and relatives. "What the hell is in Syracuse?!")

Small money rant: I have some student loan debt from undergrad, I'm currently working to pay it off, and trust me--going in deeper will make a difference. You don't want more debt. You especially don't want to go into debt for an MFA, which doesn't guarantee a better salary after graduation. The entry-level editing job I have now wouldn't pay more if I had an MFA. And working as an adjunct/lecturer at a university probably wouldn't pay much more, either...not to begin with, anyways.

But geographical concerns are important. Social climate is a factor, too. But money, unfortunately, should probably be a bigger factor--unless you're able to land a two million dollar book deal after you graduate. Oh, wait...you're a poet. Never mind.

(p.s. I'm applying for poetry, too.)


blueragtop


Nov 29, 2006, 1:47 AM

Post #238 of 1175 (10717 views)
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Re: [maggiekate] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Everything is starting to freak me out, so here goes. What is the proper way to formart submission stories? The same way you would for a lit mag submission? Some people tell me to leave one space after a period, some say leave two, others say it depends on the font. Some say 1.25 margins others say 1.5, some say 1 inch.

Also, does anyone really think we can get rejected for sending in an incorrectly formatted story?


allisonbarrett


Nov 29, 2006, 8:03 AM

Post #239 of 1175 (10704 views)
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Re: [melos] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

...how about formatting poetry? Font size? Should one's name and social security number appear at the top of each page?... I think I'm going to be cutting it close with these December 15th deadlines. I just can't get the personal statement how I want it. It is becoming the bane of my existence. I'm feeling pretty good about my writing sample (every other day), but I think I need to buy a printer. Work will probably not dig me using up all the printer paper and toner. Also, does anyone else feel creepily anxious about the paperwork minutae type-things? I remember Sibyline saying she sent things a bit late because she hates red-tape. I do too... sometimes (ok, a lot of times) I send my bills in rather late, not because I don't have the money, but because they fill me with a strange sort of paperish/deadline dread. Oh, and top choices for schools... on most days, Cornell, Wisconsin, Washington @ St. Louis... hell, I'd be slobbering with joy to get accepted at any of them.


HopperFu


Nov 29, 2006, 8:37 AM

Post #240 of 1175 (10699 views)
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Re: [melos] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Everything is starting to freak me out, so here goes. What is the proper way to formart submission stories? The same way you would for a lit mag submission? Some people tell me to leave one space after a period, some say leave two, others say it depends on the font. Some say 1.25 margins others say 1.5, some say 1 inch.

Also, does anyone really think we can get rejected for sending in an incorrectly formatted story?

Okay, this is an easy one to answer: don't freak on it. Some schools specify, but other than that, there are no universal answers to this. What I'm going to list below is probably the most accepted, and you certainly can't go wrong with it. Basically, you should format it as if for a literary mag submission.
1) Use Times New Roman
2) 12 point font.
3) 1.25 margins on side, 1 inch on top and bottom (which is, I believe, the Microsoft Word default)
4) One space after a period.
5) Indent the first line of every paragraph
6) Double space
7) If you are trying to indicate a break (i.e., white space), either hit enter twice and / or use a single * in the break

All that being said, the only really unbreakable rule is to make it readable: 12 point font and double spaced. Make sure the ink hasn't run out on your printer and that it isn't all smeared.
While you should do your best to follow guidelines, you aren't going to get rejected because you use 1.5 margins instead of 1.25....
I will say, however, that when you read large stacks of manuscripts, it's really annoying to get one that is in a weird font, or in blue ink, or in 11 point, or 1.7 spacing, or the print is really faint because their cartridge is almost out of ink.... We still try to give it a fair read, but I wouldn't want to start by having somebody be annoyed.


HopperFu


Nov 29, 2006, 8:40 AM

Post #241 of 1175 (10698 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...how about formatting poetry? Font size? Should one's name and social security number appear at the top of each page?...

Unless they state otherwise, no to social security number. Again, unless they state otherwise, your name SHOULD appear on every page (either header or footer), in case the folder gets dropped or something gets shuffled, so they can identify your poem.
I am a fiction writer, but my understanding for poetry is that you single space or space it however the hell you want.
I would suggest using 12 point font unless you have an amazing reason for not doing so; keep in mind that many of the professors are past the age of 40, and hence, reading a couple of hundred application portfolios can be a strain on their eyes....
Hell, I'm 33, and after reading slush pile for a couple of hours I want to claw my own eyeballs out.


trinmeg


Nov 29, 2006, 10:35 AM

Post #242 of 1175 (10685 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

What's the deal with a cover sheet and/or combining two stories into one manuscript? Should we have a cover sheet that says like My name, and then StoryNameOne pp 1-12... StoryNameTwo pp 13-38? Are you supposed to combine the page numbers to reflect one manuscript? Previously, I'd just planned on having two stories... seperately numbered... seperately stapled... seperately titled... no cover... etc. And then of course, name on every page, etc. Is that wrong? I've also wondered if it might be worth putting a very little title by the page number on every page, just in case the pages get seperated, stories jumbled, etc. Thanks.


muttonfish


Nov 29, 2006, 10:46 AM

Post #243 of 1175 (10680 views)
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GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post

Just curious. I was planning on sending my score reports today. I have one deadline of December 15, but the others are all January and February. Question: Recommend that I order via phone or fax? Those phone fees are absurd, and I feel like avoiding them just on principle. But i don't want my scores to arrive late. Suggestions? Thanks


sibyline


Nov 29, 2006, 10:47 AM

Post #244 of 1175 (10678 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

i just want to say that i completely resent bill gates and microsoft for arbitrarily creating the 1.25" margin standard, and i still format my manuscripts at 1" as was the standard before microsoft word came out. i don't think it's a big deal in any case.

you know what the advantage of early application is? early response. i remember being shocked when i got a call on february 11th last year. a lot of the late application deadlines also means not hearing from schools until later.


HopperFu


Nov 29, 2006, 10:48 AM

Post #245 of 1175 (10678 views)
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Re: [trinmeg] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if there is a standard, but this is what I did last year:
On every page of the story in the footer, I had (I think in 8 pt font) my name, my contact info, the title of the story, and the page number. I don't think it matters that much where this stuff is, as long as it is unobtrusive. When I included two or more stories, I had the numbers sequential for ALL of the stories - in other words, the first story would be pages 1-17, the second story 18-31, the third story 32-40.
Most of the programs required some sort of cover sheet, I think, where the asked the title of the stories, and I would write "Title of Story" (P. 1-17) "Title of Second Story" (P.18-30).

All that being said, I don't think you can really fuck this up. If you just have two stories numbered normally, that's not going to be a problem.
Some programs do have detailed "this is how we want it, use this cover sheet" things, and I'd try to follow them if you can.

Seriously though, you don't get rejected because of font choice or numbering. While I really suggest trying not to be annoying, that's not how they choose stories.


HopperFu


Nov 29, 2006, 10:52 AM

Post #246 of 1175 (10675 views)
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Re: [muttonfish] GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Question: Recommend that I order via phone or fax? Those phone fees are absurd, and I feel like avoiding them just on principle.

Unless there is a huge time difference, I can't imagine it matters, as long as the scores get there. I mean, if fax ordering takes 8 weeks and phone ordering takes 1 week, suck it up, but if faxing only adds a week or ten days, I wouldn't worry about it.


EastCoastPoet


Nov 29, 2006, 12:17 PM

Post #247 of 1175 (10657 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, so I have a GRE question too. As I said before, I'm FINALLY taking the GRE on December 29th, when most of my deadlines (except Emerson, I think) are January 15th. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you receive your score automatically when taking the computer exam? Also, do they charge me anything if I choose to send my scores to my prospective schools right there? I remember (so many years ago) the ST test let you send your results to whomever you wished. I'm hoping the GRE does the same? Thanks!

Plus! As for poetry formatting, unless they specify, which most don't, I'm simply going to send them my manuscript as I would anyone else. Each page is a single poem to me, so it contains the title of the poem and my name. I usually format my title to 16 font, my name to 10 and the text itself to 12. I also vary on headers, gutters etc. If I have a poem where there's only one or two lines on the next page, I fix it to fill the previous page. No sense in wasting paper. I also vary between bouble and 1.5 spacing. My current "mento", if you will, uses 1.5 because according to him that's how his publisher wants it.

I take it no one else wants to go to UNH for poetry? AWESOME!


HopperFu


Nov 29, 2006, 12:23 PM

Post #248 of 1175 (10651 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post

When I took the GRE - two years ago - they let you send your scores to four schools for free. There is a fee for each additional school (I don't know what the fee is, but knowing ETS it is probably something horrid like $15 a school). It is MUCH easier just to send the scores then. You recieve your verbal and math scores immediately, but do not recieve the written scores right away because they are hand graded.
As for formatting, if you are a poet you can get away with almost anything.
The one, basic rule that everybody should follow is to try to make it easy to read. Be creative with your work, not your font / paper / type size choices.


__________



Nov 29, 2006, 12:26 PM

Post #249 of 1175 (11145 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To

you know what the advantage of early application is? early response.





Good lord did I not even think of this. Do they give early rejections, too? How bad would that suck? We haven't yet seen all the manuscripts, but we do know yours just isn't good enough. No matter what.


six five four three two one 0 ->


Glinda Bamboo


Nov 29, 2006, 1:09 PM

Post #250 of 1175 (11136 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hallelujah, sib. I always use 1" margins, and I think 1.25" is a waste of perfectly good paper. Both are entirely acceptable for submissions, but I don't see the point in using larger margins (unless you're trying to pad your page count, I guess, but anyone can tell by looking that you have bigger margins). And 1.5" margins?? I never heard of such a thing, and I'm kind of appalled. You'd be left with a little cube of text in the center of the page. :)

GRE: Yes, you can send scores to 4 schools for free at the testing center, but I suspect they don't send anything until after analytical writing section is scored, which takes up to 10 days. If you want to send the scores to more than 4 schools, you have to wait for your results to come in the mail before you can order.


bighark


Nov 29, 2006, 1:13 PM

Post #251 of 1175 (11203 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post

You'll get automatic scores for the Verbal section and the Quantitative section. Your scores on the Analytical Writing section won't be finalized until about 10 to 15 (business) days later.

Thus, if you take the GRE on December 29, your scores won't be put into the mail until some time between January 12 and January 19. After that, it's up to the postal service to get them from New Jersey to wherever they're going to.

The price of the exam includes score reports to four institutions. The cost for additional score reports is $15 per institution if you order by fax or post. If you order by telephone, there's a $6 charge surcharge for the cost of the call and the cost per school remains $15.

The GRE isn't going to make or break your application, but you may want to let your programs know that you are taking the exam and that your scores may arrive a few days after ther the official deadline.

---

Regarding formatting....

Maybe things are different for poetry submissions, but I wonder why you need to use different sized fonts for titles and such.

Unless you're experimenting with typography and design, shouldn't you just use the same margins, spacing, and fonts for everything?


EastCoastPoet


Nov 29, 2006, 1:23 PM

Post #252 of 1175 (11199 views)
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Re: [bighark] GRE, another question [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm, maybe then I am screwed...lol. Not only do I need to be up at 7am for this thing, but they charge you an arm and a leg to boot. It's going to cost me 51 more dollars then to apply to 7 total schools. Plus app fees, mailing costs...this becomes astronomical! Oh well...

As for the formatting I described, that's simply personal preference I've come to do on every poem to make some kind of distinction. It helps me and my editors along and just looks better to me. I, however, do not mess with font types. There may be a few here or there, for example using courier typewriter font for a poem dedicated to Bukowski, but other than that it's a rare thing. I don't think people should stress over these little nitpicky things. Hands down, if a school doesn't accept me to their program based on anything other than my writing sample and potential talent then why would I want to go there?


plumagemour


Nov 29, 2006, 10:10 PM

Post #253 of 1175 (11133 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

as far as i know, that's only how rolling admissions work. if there's a set deadline, the applications aren't read until weeks after the deadline has passed and all the applications are in. at which point applications generally go through rounds; they're all read and then how ever many are chosen, and from that group more are chosen, etc. until a final list is created


HopperFu


Nov 30, 2006, 7:37 AM

Post #254 of 1175 (11106 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Do they give early rejections, too? How bad would that suck? We haven't yet seen all the manuscripts, but we do know yours just isn't good enough. No matter what.

I think you're joking, but no, you don't get an early rejection. That is correct, that is only rolling admissions (which, as far as I know, is only Arkansas?).
Cornell tends to notify earlier than some other schools, probably a result of the earlier deadline. If I remember correctly from last year, people will start hearing mid to late February. In other threads you can go back and note when people will first start hearing.
Keep in mind, because this is something people freak out about every year: just because somebody else has hear a "yes" from a school does NOT mean you will automatically hear a "no." Schools do waitlists and admissions notifications differently (I can't remember which school, but last year there was some school that called a few people, emailed a few people, and sent snail-mail acceptances to a few people. It freaked everybody out)


Aubrie


Nov 30, 2006, 2:34 PM

Post #255 of 1175 (11059 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone else applying to SFSU? I'm assuming that they're used to receiving partials as their page limit on writing samples is 15 pages, right?
Erm... I'm hoping so at least!


EastCoastPoet


Nov 30, 2006, 3:30 PM

Post #256 of 1175 (11050 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Not to discourage you, but I talked to someone who went to SFSU for their MFA, I believe in poetry though, and she said it was the worst experience of her life. On the flip side, there arent too many places that support such a cradle of writing in their community as SF, so good luck!

Still loking for other who are applying to places like UNH, ASU, and Emerson...


Aubrie


Nov 30, 2006, 3:44 PM

Post #257 of 1175 (11043 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Oof. That's wildly discouraging.
Any one else with opinions on SFSU?


FinishTag


Nov 30, 2006, 6:54 PM

Post #258 of 1175 (11020 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time SFSU [In reply to] Can't Post

SFSU for undergrad was the worst thing i could've done.
It's a horrible, disorganized school and the English department is tyrannical.


Shaneestep


Nov 30, 2006, 9:17 PM

Post #259 of 1175 (10997 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,
Many of the programs prefer that the application be submitted electronically, including uploading the writing sample (creative manuscript) from Microsoft.

Yet I prefer the idea of sending a printed manuscript of poems by mail, rather than uploading it as part of electronic application, so that I can control exactly how the poems appear on the printed page, and double-check that the pagination, formatting, etc. all worked in the way that I intended.

I know that even programs that strongly prefer that the application as a whole be sent in electronically do permit the manuscript to still be sent in as a hard copy by regular mail, but there also seem to be some advantages to electronic submission of manuscript - for ex., knowing for sure that it reaches them by the deadline, knowing for sure that it won't be accidentally misfiled, etc.

I would greatly appreciate hearing from folks who are submitting overall applications for poetry electronically, in regard to which approach you are using for the submission of your manuscript of 10-20 poems.

Thank you, and very best wishes to all!


bighark


Nov 30, 2006, 11:55 PM

Post #260 of 1175 (10974 views)
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Re: [Shaneestep] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you tried converting your samples to PDF? I use PDF whenever I want to make absolutely sure the layout is the way I want it to look.


plumagemour


Dec 1, 2006, 10:33 AM

Post #261 of 1175 (10941 views)
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Re: [Shaneestep] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

for whatever reason, i personally feel totally weird about sending my manuscript via uploading file. i'm glued to my computer and the internet, so it's not by any means a technological scare. and really with online processes, it seems to make sense to keep the application as together as possible. it's even more economically sound.
i'm not sure what my problem is..

and in regards to the sfsu scare, is anyone else experiencing second thoughts about any of the schools they're applying to?
my list has been solid at 7 (syracuse, arizona, alabama, ucdavis, johns hopkins, brown, cornell) for a while now, but am starting to feel lukewarm about some of the schools (namely johns hopkins and syracuse-mostly due to the apparently heinous location).
is anyone else considering narrowing down their list this late into the process?
thankfully none of the schools in question have early deadlines, so i'll be wavering over this decision throughout the holidays. *lovely*


schambers1980


Dec 1, 2006, 11:00 AM

Post #262 of 1175 (10936 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

So here's a question: Why in God's name does a school like Brown have a Dec. 15 deadline if they don't notify students (or even read the applications) until March?!? Is it just to cut potential applications?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I find it kind of amazing that Boston U. has a March 1 deadline. They notify people in March too.


v1ctorya


Dec 1, 2006, 12:23 PM

Post #263 of 1175 (10924 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


and in regards to the sfsu scare, is anyone else experiencing second thoughts about any of the schools they're applying to?
my list has been solid at 7 (syracuse, arizona, alabama, ucdavis, johns hopkins, brown, cornell) for a while now, but am starting to feel lukewarm about some of the schools (namely johns hopkins and syracuse-mostly due to the apparently heinous location).
is anyone else considering narrowing down their list this late into the process?



Yup, narrowed. And after I had some people do reccomendations for all original schools, and got transcripts for all original schools. Then I had a rethinking and scrapped a lot, narrowed it down to 6 or 7 I think from 12 or so. I just did a firm reevaluation about what I wanted, and decided if I didn't get into these I'd try again next year, but these were the ONLY ones I'd leave my job for.


Glinda Bamboo


Dec 1, 2006, 1:39 PM

Post #264 of 1175 (10906 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Holy moly, I just double checked Michigan's website and I see that they need a personal statement and an intellectual statement of purpose. Crap. I mean, I know these aren't a huge deal, especially compared to the writing sample, but I thought I was done with my personal statements. Oh well. It also looks like these statements are uploaded, and not mailed, which for some reason bothers me. I really thought I needed to include a hard copy of the personal statement with the manuscript, but I guess not.

I'm applying to 10 schools and I don't think any of them require applicants to upload their creative manuscripts instead of mailing them in. Hm. I thought the grad apps were for the grad school, and the cw departments usually prefer to receive the manuscripts in the mail directly. Oh well. Either way, I'm sure there's room for error, and either way I'm sure it will all work out in the end. :)

I have to admit I'm also feeling lukewarm about a few of my schools. Part of that is because I have a potential new job opportunity, and if I get it I'd probably only want to leave for one of my top MFA choices. I think I will probably apply to all the schools anyway, since I've sent my GRE scores and asked for the letters of rec, and just see what happens. I don't want to regret it later, especially now that most of the grunt work is done anyway.


laughingman


Dec 1, 2006, 1:43 PM

Post #265 of 1175 (10905 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the third or fourth time i've heard Syracuse referred to as a less-than-desirable place to live. I live in Kansas so pretty much any other location sounds esoteric and heavenly to me--when I hear "up-state New York," I think: "Gosh--sounds Neat-O!" What's wrong with Syracuse? Someone disabuse me, please?

-laugher

In Reply To
for whatever reason, i personally feel totally weird about sending my manuscript via uploading file. i'm glued to my computer and the internet, so it's not by any means a technological scare. and really with online processes, it seems to make sense to keep the application as together as possible. it's even more economically sound.
i'm not sure what my problem is..

and in regards to the sfsu scare, is anyone else experiencing second thoughts about any of the schools they're applying to?
my list has been solid at 7 (syracuse, arizona, alabama, ucdavis, johns hopkins, brown, cornell) for a while now, but am starting to feel lukewarm about some of the schools (namely johns hopkins and syracuse-mostly due to the apparently heinous location).
is anyone else considering narrowing down their list this late into the process?
thankfully none of the schools in question have early deadlines, so i'll be wavering over this decision throughout the holidays. *lovely*



v1ctorya


Dec 1, 2006, 2:44 PM

Post #266 of 1175 (10889 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is the third or fourth time i've heard Syracuse referred to as a less-than-desirable place to live. I live in Kansas so pretty much any other location sounds esoteric and heavenly to me--when I hear "up-state New York," I think: "Gosh--sounds Neat-O!" What's wrong with Syracuse? Someone disabuse me, please?

-laugher

In Reply To




I've been to Syracuse a few times and never liked it. I remember industrial complexes, scary streets, crime, and the carousel mall. One of the salvation army headquarters is out there I think, if that means anything (in terms of homeless presence). They have a lot of crime, and a quick search showed at least double the national average. http://syracuse.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm

A further search showed that the crime rate has doubled http://www.senate.gov/...record.cfm?id=265186&


alisha
Alisha Westerman


Dec 1, 2006, 2:46 PM

Post #267 of 1175 (10889 views)
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Re: [FinishTag] Application Time SFSU [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
SFSU for undergrad was the worst thing i could've done.
It's a horrible, disorganized school and the English department is tyrannical.


woah. crossing that one off my list. i kinda just tacked it on for location sake thinking, "it's in san francisco! how bad could it be?" even though i didn't get a good "vibe" when i googled pictures of the campus. now i know why. sensitive pisces thing.


www.alishawesterman.com
www.myspace.com/alishasings


bighark


Dec 1, 2006, 3:16 PM

Post #268 of 1175 (10879 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I live in Chicago and we have lots of urban blight, homeless people, Salvation Army centers (including the College for Officer Training), and crime. Yes, you can be robbed, burgled, assualted or raped just about anywhere in city limits.

We don't have George Saunders, though.


alisha
Alisha Westerman


Dec 1, 2006, 3:20 PM

Post #269 of 1175 (10877 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I just returned from the post office where I dropped my first envelope in the mail (Stegner). Even though there's about a snowball's chance in hell that it will amount to anything, I experienced a wave of nausea when I dropped it down the mail hatch and realized there was no way for me to get it back out and check it one more time. My mind immediately went to HopperFu--I didn't expect to experience what he described quite so literally. I'm going to be a mess by the end of February.


hey i just turned in my app yesterday too. good luck! i just mailed it off with a few good luck kisses. no nausea for me. all i have to lose is $60, a couple of hours and some daydreams. i put in more recent work (poetry). it feels good to know we're judged firstly on that. since that's stronger than any credientials or connections i have at this age. also, i think i enjoyed it because it was so much quicker than an mfa application. haven't even started on those, though have been researching, and really struggling with not letting my school choices be too dicated by location. (too hot, too cold, not enough trees...)


www.alishawesterman.com
www.myspace.com/alishasings


SweetJane


e-mail user

Dec 2, 2006, 9:25 AM

Post #270 of 1175 (10812 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
and in regards to the sfsu scare, is anyone else experiencing second thoughts about any of the schools they're applying to?


Rethinking UNH, as it's apparently a three-plus year program, when originally all of their information made it look like a two-year. Not too psyched on the location, either, although I'm sure Simic is amazing.

Also, wishing I'd picked a school in the North Carolina area, although technically, I suppose that there's still time. That is, if I ever hear back from any of my recommenders.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


sfronky


Dec 2, 2006, 11:23 AM

Post #271 of 1175 (10802 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I did the exact same thing for my Michigan application. I thought I was all set and then realized I had to include an intellectual statement of purpose. It's a bit redundant in my mind, but I've become accustomed to jumping through hoops in this whole process. I almost crossed a few schools off my list because they required a critical sample in addition to the creative sample. I got my undergrad degree seven years ago, and have worked a regular "day job" ever since, so I'm not exactly writing critical essays every day at this point. I'm hoping I have something up my sleeve come March when I have to submit that application. Does anyone else have advice about a critical sample? Or the intellectual statement of purpose?

In Reply To
Holy moly, I just double checked Michigan's website and I see that they need a personal statement and an intellectual statement of purpose. Crap. I mean, I know these aren't a huge deal, especially compared to the writing sample, but I thought I was done with my personal statements. Oh well. It also looks like these statements are uploaded, and not mailed, which for some reason bothers me. I really thought I needed to include a hard copy of the personal statement with the manuscript, but I guess not.

I'm applying to 10 schools and I don't think any of them require applicants to upload their creative manuscripts instead of mailing them in. Hm. I thought the grad apps were for the grad school, and the cw departments usually prefer to receive the manuscripts in the mail directly. Oh well. Either way, I'm sure there's room for error, and either way I'm sure it will all work out in the end. :)

I have to admit I'm also feeling lukewarm about a few of my schools. Part of that is because I have a potential new job opportunity, and if I get it I'd probably only want to leave for one of my top MFA choices. I think I will probably apply to all the schools anyway, since I've sent my GRE scores and asked for the letters of rec, and just see what happens. I don't want to regret it later, especially now that most of the grunt work is done anyway.



EastCoastPoet


Dec 3, 2006, 4:45 AM

Post #272 of 1175 (10733 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Simic is amazing! That's a huge reason why UNH is my #1 choice. I'd turn down Iowa for it, easily. The location is a little less to be desired unless you're from there like I am. I grew up an hour south of Durham and I think it's gorgeous. I'd consider myself a New ENgland poet though, and lots of my writing is reflective of that. If you can't handle the snow, I'd suggest not applying. If you like it though, by all means. As for the length of time, it shouldn't take you more than three years unless you're going to be taking a class at a time. Like most other programs, your time spent there will determine your time out. I'm looking forward to hearing from them.


renapoo


Dec 3, 2006, 5:11 PM

Post #273 of 1175 (10684 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm probably going to dump Indiana. Teaching every semester for three years, sometimes two classes a semester, is just too much. Especially considering they offer less than $13,000 a year. They only take 6 people/year per genre; I might do a last-minute switcheroo and apply to Syracuse instead, even though I don't want to live in Syracuse (the crime rate is bothersome because the area is isolated and does not offer the perks of other places--Chicago, New York--that are also crime-ridden).

The other places I'm less excited about and could potentially dump are NYU and UMass, but they're both larger programs, so I feel I need to keep them in there.


In Reply To
is anyone else considering narrowing down their list this late into the process?



blueragtop


Dec 3, 2006, 5:55 PM

Post #274 of 1175 (11083 views)
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Re: [renapoo] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I was at 10-12 schools, now I'm at 8. To be honest, there are only a few schools that really excite me. Eight schools is probably the max I can go. I looked at Hopkins, but I want no part of Baltimore. Three years at Syracuse doesn't sound too great. I looked at Indiana, but I want to teach as little as possible. When you really look at it, only a few select schools seem like good fits. I just don't think an MFA is so important that you need to go into severe debt and spend 2 or 3 years in a crappy location.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Dec 4, 2006, 10:56 AM

Post #275 of 1175 (11013 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Simic definitely isn't the problem! I'd love to be his student. But, all of the other schools I'm applying to are in fairly exciting college towns and, though I don't mind the snow--one of my top choices would be University of Wisconsin--Durham just doesn't sound all that appealing to me, aside from general prettiness.

Plus, I really only wanted to do a two-year program. Unfortunately, some of my undergraduate student loans can only be deferred for that long.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


EastCoastPoet


Dec 4, 2006, 3:12 PM

Post #276 of 1175 (11049 views)
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Re: [melos] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm down to, and will probably stick with, 7 schools. UNH, UMass-Amherst, Emerson, BGSU, Indiana, Iowa, and Arizona State. With most of these I'm not paying attention to their location or things of that nature, because I can adapt to almost anywhere. If you're worried about things like crime, or the social scene, etc making some kind of impact on how you do your MFA, then I'll quote Bukowski and say "don't do it". It's about the writing and the community you involve yourself in, not if some homeless guy is going to ask you for a dollar. Maybe it's because I've lived in a lot of different kinds of communities, but if you can't make something out of being stuck in the woods like the Midwest or being surrounded by pavement in Boston, you may have other issues to deal with.

Does anyone else agree or maybe disagree with my opinion that the #1 priority of school choice should be who you'll be studying under? I don't know, but if I'm studying under some schmuck who has published more chapbooks than years they have lived, I'd be less inclined to go there whether it's in the middle of a social paradise or not. I'm willing to brave the heat to study under Norman and Tito down at ASU. Any thoughts? This thread has been jumping! So exciting.


HopperFu


Dec 4, 2006, 3:51 PM

Post #277 of 1175 (11038 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Does anyone else agree or maybe disagree with my opinion that the #1 priority of school choice should be who you'll be studying under?

I'd disagree fairly strongly. There are a lot of good writers who are bad teachers (often notoriously so). Even if you get a good writer who is also a good teacher, for the most part, you'll get to do one workshop with her. At some schools the profs are known for being generous with their time, at others, not so much. There is also the issue of teachers being on leave, etc. It is not unusual to go to a school to study with X and then to not get to study with X.
The overall strength of the faculty is an important consideration, and if there is somebody you want to study with, by all means, check them out, but it probably isn't the number one thing. I'm not even sure it's in the top three.
For most people, the biggest - by far - influence will be their fellow students. That's hard to control, but it's a fair bet that the harder a school is to get accepted to the higher the general quality of writing (and, hopefully, critiquing) will be. There is also the question if you would prefer a small group of students that you can work with who will get to know your work closely, or a larger group where you can flit around and pick and choose.
Probably second on my list is knowing that you are financially secure. If you have a secondary source of financing, this isn't an issue, but for many people, not having to worry about money is a huge deal and one of the things that actually allows you to concentrate on your studies.
Third (or perhaps first?) is actually having time to write. There are some schools that require henious workloads of teaching and classes, and it's difficult for me to imagine having time to actually write.


HopperFu


Dec 4, 2006, 3:58 PM

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By the way, probably the best way to find out what a program is like is to ask the students. They'll usually give the straight dope. If you can, ask three or four (so responses aren't skewed by one sourpuss or one pollyanna). Ask them 1) what they like about the program, 2) what they don't like / what sucks about the program, and 3) if they are glad they chose to come or wish they had gone somewhere else.
It's also not a bad idea to ask about how much access you have to profs, if you are concerned about that.


EastCoastPoet


Dec 4, 2006, 4:03 PM

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Well said, and I agree with a fair amount of that, especially the part about time with certain professors, etc. The pitfalls of some of it though is that some times, and this has been confirmed by one of my professors who went to Arizona for a while, you will run into other students who become so competitive that there isn't much in gaining help form your peers. Alternatively, you hope that doesn't happen. Sometimes too you'll find that certain schools with great reputations think so highly of their programs that they begin to forego real talent for what seems fresh or exciting to them. I've been told by a friend that Iowa has the reputation to accept certain poets who write about sex and orgasms as though they were writing about buying groceries. Who knows, I'm beginning to think the whole experience, from applications, to writing, to the whole MFA experience, is one big friggen crapshoot. I myself have decided to be as frank and open in my personal statement as possible. I've left all of my ass kissing back in undergrad.


HopperFu


Dec 4, 2006, 4:28 PM

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In Reply To
you will run into other students who become so competitive that there isn't much in gaining help form your peers.

I've heard this in some situations. I think that one of the few ways to control this is if you go someplace where funding is equal so that lowers one of the stakes. I mean, people are people, so there is always the risk of having assholes in your workshop, but I've been told that at places where funding is unequal or there are other ways of elevating some students over others, the competitive sense can be overwhelming.
Part of what we have to do, as students in workshop, however, is also learn to figure out what is wheat and what is chaff in terms of comments.

Again, though, one of the best reasons to talk to students at programs where you get in is because they will most likely give you an honest description of both pluses and minuses. This is such and odd process, and yes, some of going to the right program is luck.


plumagemour


Dec 4, 2006, 5:02 PM

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while i've never been one with any grand daydreams about new york or paris, i disagree with your advice. it's great for you if you are one who adapts easily to various surroundings, but that's most definitely not that case for most people. and i think as applicants we are in a position where we can say "i would not survive in a podunk town" and accordingly decide against certain schools.
i think it's pretty ludicrious to name regional/climate preferences/reservations as measures of a writer's ability and desire to pursue and fare well in an MFA program.
if environment is something that affects someone strongly and they're aware of that, i think the smart thing to do to to keep that into consideration. it's not just an mfa program, it's where you'll be living for the next two years. there are a lot of factors that determine whether you will be able to make the most of the few years you have, and any problem prevented is a problem solved.

of course faculty is an important factor. that's why i'll be applying to cornell, despite the dreadful winter weather.


SweetJane


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Dec 4, 2006, 5:32 PM

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If you're worried about things like crime, or the social scene, etc making some kind of impact on how you do your MFA, then I'll quote Bukowski and say "don't do it". It's about the writing and the community you involve yourself in, not if some homeless guy is going to ask you for a dollar. Maybe it's because I've lived in a lot of different kinds of communities, but if you can't make something out of being stuck in the woods like the Midwest or being surrounded by pavement in Boston, you may have other issues to deal with.


Maybe I'm bristling against what you're saying particularly because I hate that Bukowski poem. In any event, I strongly disagree--being more productive in one environment than another isn't necessarily a mark of deficiency on the part of a writer, and we weren't especially discussing productivity anyway. Personally, I'd probably be productive in a quiet suburb, because that's where I've spent most of my life and I have written plenty in that time. But I am much happier, and write much more, when I'm in a culturally and socially stimulating setting. Why put myself in a place where I'll be less happy and possibly not write as much when I have a choice?

Also, as HopperFu said above, following a poet that you like might sound promising, but it doesn't assure that the rest of the program will be a good fit for you or that you'll get to work with that poet at all, unfortunately. When I started this whole process, I was hoping to work with Robert Hill Long at University of Oregon and in between the time when I first started looking at programs and began applying, he left that school.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


HopperFu


Dec 4, 2006, 5:39 PM

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In Reply To
When I started this whole process, I was hoping to work with Robert Hill Long at University of Oregon and in between the time when I first started looking at programs and began applying, he left that school.

This happens pretty frequently. Profs also go on leave for extended periods of time - one, two, three years - teaching at other schools, and it's kind of hard to find out about ahead of time, sometimes.

As for the location of a school, I think most people are better writers when they are able to concentrate on their writing. For some people, living in a place where they are uncomfortable works as a muse, for others, not so much, or at least, not at the time. If you are completely fucking miserable, you are probably not going to be writing well (despite the romantic idea of genius coming from misery).


blueragtop


Dec 4, 2006, 5:49 PM

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Eastcoast,

I couldn't disagree with you more. Writing is just one of the things I do. This whole romantic idea of the struggling writer in some basement is ridiculous. I need a nightlight, culture, football games on Sunday in order to productive. I can't imagine just writing all day. Writing is difficult and can be very draining, so I can't imagine being in a place where nothing is going on.

I just really hate that notion about the struggling artist. I'm a person, and I need stuff going on. Sure, Bukowski was profilic as hell, but that notion that he lived on one candy bar a day is ridiculous. He lived with his folks a ton and created his own myth, so for that I give him props. But struggling or living in a crap town doesn't make anyone a better or worse writer.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Dec 4, 2006, 7:38 PM

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But god forbid that we contact writers or show our hearts to them. No we're supposed to stand around on our party clothes and hope to be picked . Only after months of preparation, we find out that it didn't matter how pretty we were---the one we wanted never even showed up.


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 4, 2006, 8:25 PM

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Quote

Does anyone else agree or maybe disagree with my opinion that the #1 priority of school choice should be who you'll be studying under?


Like HopperFu, I 'd definitely disagree.

Faculty is a key aspect and I think should be considered very heavily (especially diversity of faculty style which leads to diversity in student work and encouragement of diversity... if you like that kinda thing. If not, t here are plenty of schools that only let it typical realist short story writers), but picking a school because there is one or two people you really want to study under might easily bounce back at you.
Said writer could be on leave or be a bad teacher. At a large program, you might not be able to get in their class. The teacher might leave for another school (people rotate fairly regularly at MFA programs) etc. And lastly the teacher really won't matter much if your classmates are bad (bad workshoppers, not necessarily bad writers).

My workshop teacher this semester is fantastic and is someone who is only visting for this year and whose work I only somewhat familiar with before hand.

My advice would be to go to a program with a strong faculty and a diverse one (if you want that and I think you should), but to not worry about needing a specific writer you feel you need to study under going in.


Quote
If you're worried about things like crime, or the social scene, etc making some kind of impact on how you do your MFA, then I'll quote Bukowski and say "don't do it". It's about the writing and the community you involve yourself in... if you can't make something out of being stuck in the woods like the Midwest or being surrounded by pavement in Boston, you may have other issues to deal with.

Now this I completely, 100%, disagree with.
I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I personally do a lot more with my time that write and read. I have friends, I go out, I experience cultural events, I eat, I have jobs, sometimes internships, etc.

Location is, for my money, is THE most important factor to consider. I suppose there are people who could live anywhere, who could be just as happy in a small town with no music scene or friends or museums or jobs outside of scrubbing diner floors, but I haven't met many. People have their own tastes for enviornments, but most everyone needs certain things to be happy and fufilled.

This is not merely an MFA program you are attending. It is two to three years of your life. If you can be happy anywhere under any circumstances, bravo. But I'd advise most people to think about where they can be happy and enjoy life during those 2-3 years in addition to the writing and eduction they will be getting.

And one specific quibble: "It's about the writing and the community you involve yourself in." The community you involve yourself in his very dependent on where you live. The kind of community you will be involved with in say New York City will be completely different than one in Charlottesville Virginia. (I'm picking two cities I love there, so not saying one is better than the other)





kmegear


Dec 4, 2006, 8:36 PM

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Just as a warning... I'm finishing my Master's at UNH (and applying to MFA programs elsewhere right now) and Charles Simic is not going to be teaching at UNH for much longer. Call the school to find out the details but as of now he is only teaching one class per year, in the spring, and that may change in the next year or two (he may retire) or so the rumor goes anyway. He is wonderful and one of my favorite poets and that's why I came to UNH to begin with. After the first semester I switched into the fiction program (always on the fence) but I still got to take a workshop with Simic. Some of the other teachers are pretty amazing (Mekeel McBride for one.) Durham is not a great town, but there are alright towns not too far away from it. If you are enrolled full-time and you don't teach, you can probably finish the MFA program in 2-2.5 years, but most people teach and it takes them 3. If anyone has any specific questions about UNH, let me know.


vronsky


Dec 4, 2006, 9:02 PM

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I think it's probably okay to pick a school based on faculty. Schools that attract good writers are generally strong schools. But I think it's more important to select in terms of funding and location.

As everyone here has said, it's difficult to write if you have forty thousand dollars in student loans hanging from your neck like a damn carcass. Trust me, you do NOT want to shell out money for an MFA. Also, schools with better funding are probably going to be more competitive, which means better students, which means better workshops, which (hopefully) means better writing on your part. Better funding also means more time for writing. It's safe to say you'll be happier in a program that gives you more money for less teaching (or no teaching at all, in the case of UT Austin). You won't be able to enjoy Simic if you're teaching two classes a semester in addition to attending classes full-time, maintaining your personal life, and (oh, right!) trying to become a better writer in the process.

Keep in mind that the writers you will connect with will surprise you utterly. You might end up hating Simic's guts. You might connect with a "less important" writer, someone with more time on her hands (writers like Simic are always going on leave, giving readings, trying to...what is it again? ah, yes...create great works of art!), someone without a big ego (yet), someone who used to be kind of like you, maybe. Or you might end up being some famous writer's class pet. I don't know. What am I saying here? What I'm saying is, you can't control who you connect with. You can't, you really can't, predict who you'll learn from.

You can, however, control (to an extent) how much money you'll have, and where you'll live...in short, the basic things that will make moving to a strange city more tolerable.


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 4, 2006, 9:27 PM

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"Better funding also means more time for writing."

Better funding often means much less time for writing. There are one or two programs that fully fund people with no obligations, but most programs that fund require teaching loads and other work that will eat up a lot of your time. Some of these schools, as has been noted a lot on here, require a very large workload from you and will leave you very little time to write.

I think that being a TA is probably a nice job, but if you are being funded by doing 40 hours a week of work you need to keep this in mind. Is that really so much better than going to a program that funds you less but requires no work? I think there are probably a lot of situations where one could go to the program with lesser funding and get an outside job for 20 hours a week and end up better off than a person in a fully funded but 40 hour work week program. I'd certainly prefer the former.

Funding is great if you can get it, but like Hopper said it is a matter of your personal situation. If you get partial funding and have family that can help you it can eaisly be worth it. I know plenty of people in unfunded or poorly funded MFA programs who are not having any difficulties writing with "student loans hanging around their necks." That situation might be different when they graduate, but I don't think taking out loans is going to affect your writing during the program. If you can get into the Michener program, grab it quick. But otherwise I think you should be careful to way the various factors (how much funding is gift money? How much requires work? How large is the workload? How much is the pay for the workload, would you be getting more money working a side job? how much is the cost of living in the city? etc.)

It is a hard issue though because, I think, much of it depends on one's success. If one is succesful in their dream of being a writer, almost any amount of money spent will seem to have been worth it. If not...





EastCoastPoet


Dec 4, 2006, 10:46 PM

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I'm going to definitely have to agree with you on this one. Of course money is going to be an issue, no matter where you go. But what's the point of doing anything at all if money is your biggest worry? Let's be honest people, if you're trying to get an MFA to be a famous writer and make a million dollars, you're dreaming. Personally, I just want to write a few books while sitting in a comfortable office chair at some university, teaching poetry and forgetting about how awful it was to write personal statements.

And yes, I too enjoy going out with friends and doing things outside of reading and writing, but it's safe to say that cars are known to go any distance you want them to go as long as the gas is plentiful. Example, you can drive from Durham NH to Boston in under two hours. I don't know about you, but that's not too much to ask. Maybe it's all personal experience I'm going off of here, but it isn't so hard making the most of your situation. Good luck living in New York or Texas.


(This post was edited by EastCoastPoet on Dec 4, 2006, 10:58 PM)


blueragtop


Dec 4, 2006, 11:50 PM

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Plenty of people can pay for an MFA, and if I had to, I probably could, but I won't. If I get accepted into a good program, but I have to pay, I won't go. This is how I have always felt, but after talking to several people at top programs, I am sure of it now. I just don't think an MFA is worth tons of money. I think an MFA is great, but a lot of people (too many) think it's this incredible thing that will make you the best writer ever and will get you a book deal. Personally, I'm realistic: I want time and money and a community. I might get published, I might not, that's not the point. I just can't imagine going into massive debt and then realizing that all I'm doing is going to a class here and there while attending a workshop once a week. If something is free, I'll deal with it. I really wanted to apply to Columbia. Great city, great school, great faculty, everything you could want. But I just can't go into debt for a writing degree. Sure, I love to write, but money makes the world go round, and in that case, for me, Columbia is a bad investment. However, like Clench said, if someone has deep pockets and they don't mind paying, great for them. Some people are loaded and that's cool.

Like Clench also said, these teaching gigs are not as easy as everyone thinks. My buddy is teaching two classes now, and he says, he feels like a teacher more than anything. This epiphany (the fact that I want to write as much as possible) helped me cut quite a few schools. For a while Indiana looked great, but let's be honest I don't want to be some school's bitch for a few years. No thanks. Schools like Cornell, Virginia, and Michigan seem like nicer fits. In most cases, you don't teach the first year, and I think that's perfect. In my opinion, Michener Center is the best program. But that's just for me. Three years, great city, fully funded.

I just think people need to be realistic about this. If you have the money for an MFA and you think it's worth it, pay for it. If you need to take out massive loans, don't do it. For me, I don't want to pay and I don't want loans. I want to teach as little as possible. Time and money is what I want. I can't control who my teachers will be or my peers so I don't care about that. And if I don't get the deal I want this year, I'll just apply again.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Dec 5, 2006, 7:54 AM

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I think that being a TA is probably a nice job, but if you are being funded by doing 40 hours a week of work you need to keep this in mind.

------------------------------

I'm a little surprised by the reluctance to teach and the impression that teaching is an onerous burden. Is no one planning to go on and be a preofessor? The first thing they'll ask(after noting your publications) is whether or not you have teaching experience. Of course, those jobs are rare. What do you all plan to DO with these degrees?


HopperFu


Dec 5, 2006, 9:08 AM

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I'm a little surprised by the reluctance to teach and the impression that teaching is an onerous burden. Is no one planning to go on and be a preofessor? The first thing they'll ask(after noting your publications) is whether or not you have teaching experience. Of course, those jobs are rare. What do you all plan to DO with these degrees?


Some schools have onerous demands in terms of teaching and TA ing. I've heard of one school (and no, I can't remember which) that has its students teach two classes a semester and take three. That would leave very little time for writing.
Yes, if you want to go on to teach, you have to have teaching experience, but it is a balance. I think you are best off with a situation where you do not teach more than one class a semester, simply because more than that makes it difficult to write, and hence, get publications, which is the true yardstick by which we are measured for hiring.
It's also nice to be in a situation where you get training. Cornell has a six week session during the summer (funded) before you teach where you recieve training and do TA'ing so that you are trained for teaching on your own.
I think the problem comes when your teaching is not viewed as a learning experience but rather as a way for the school to get cheap labor. If you are teaching two or, yes, even three classes a semester, it does not leave a lot of time for anything else.


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 5, 2006, 3:35 PM

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I don't think anyone is saying teaching is an onerous burden. But it is a JOB and you have to treat it as such. There is nothing wrong with having a job and being in school, but it does mean less writing time. A lot of people I know at several of the TA funded schools mentioned here had to have outside jobs to fully support themselves on top of their 20-30 hour a week teaching job. Sadly, not that many people get TA spots at my school, and while the ones who do certainly prefer it for financial reasons there is no doubt that it is impacting their writing time.

I'd certainly like to teach at some point, but the fact of the matter is if you are trying to teach with an MFA at a college level your grad TA experience isn't likely to be a factor at all. A candidate with no teaching experience but more impressive publications will get that position over someone who did a TA funded program every time.

Again, I'm not looking down on teaching as a means of funding, I am only saying that people should keep in mind that it does require many hours of work and is not funding as much as it is working. Some schools require you to teach 2 classes which probalby equates to a 40 hour a week job. Would you really prefer to go there with funding than to say go to a Iowa (whose tuition as a state school is pretty cheap, I think) with little funding? If money is the only issue you could go to Iowa and work a side job waiting tables and end up more in the black than you would working 40 hours and getting an 9,000 dollar stipend.


__________



Dec 5, 2006, 4:04 PM

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That's what I've been thinking lately (about the waiting of tables). Real jobs would also expose you to more grist for the fiction mill.

I was so excited when Tom Kealey started telling us of all these schools that offered "funding". Now it seems like there's two schools that do that...the rest just seem to be getting TA's and teachers at bargain rates.


six five four three two one 0 ->


HopperFu


Dec 5, 2006, 5:31 PM

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In Reply To
That's what I've been thinking lately (about the waiting of tables). Real jobs would also expose you to more grist for the fiction mill.

I was so excited when Tom Kealey started telling us of all these schools that offered "funding". Now it seems like there's two schools that do that...the rest just seem to be getting TA's and teachers at bargain rates.

First of all, I'm not sure I agree with Clench's assertion that teaching experience doesn't matter. Unless you are a rock star with your pub credits, then yeah, it probably matters. And for many of us, we will be teaching as an adjunct for a few years, in which case teaching experience matters a ton.
I also think there is a distinction between places that ask you to teach a reasonable amount - which I would say is one class a semester - compared to places that give you the equivalent of a full-time job teaching and then expect you to write and go to class.
Perhaps more importantly, I think you learn a lot by teaching. It requires you to approach things from a different perspective, and whether you are teaching lit or creative writing, I think it can help you get more out of your MFA. Assuming that the time demands are not ridiculous.
And don't dismiss the "funding." In many fields - and at many programs - people are paying for tuition - Columbia's what, $35K a year? - plus all their living expenses. Figure Columbia is $50K a year. At Cornell, the tuition waiver and stipend add up to about $55K a year. That's a swing of more than $100K per year. I'm willing to teach one class a semester for that (hell, this year I just have to work at the literary magazine for eight hours a week. It's not exactly a sweatshop).


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Dec 5, 2006, 5:40 PM

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I'd certainly like to teach at some point, but the fact of the matter is if you are trying to teach with an MFA at a college level your grad TA experience isn't likely to be a factor at all. A candidate with no teaching experience but more impressive publications will get that position over someone who did a TA funded program every time.



They'd have to be A LOT more impressive. As an undergrad, I was "in on" a new fiction hire. Both candidates had similar credentials--one well-published book of short stories and were relatively new grads. One had taught(as a TA) one had not. Guess who got the job?

Also, the rule of thumb is that a comp class should take maybe ten hours a week, including prep and class time.


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 5, 2006, 6:20 PM

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Your teachers in undergrad discussed the reasons for why they hired a teacher over another? That seems like somewhat of a breach of ethics. Was teaching really the only difference? No preference for one's work or a better interview or a better trial class (what I'm assuming you were in on?)

I guess I shouldn't have been so hyperbolic with my comment. I don't think being a TA wouldn't help at all, but I do think it would be a lot less important than publications and most good teaching jobs tend to have lots of applicants and would narrow things down by publications first. I'd also assume that regular teaching experience would be a lot more important than a TAship while in grad, but I could be wrong.

As for the hours, I'm going by Tom Kealey's work load claim. I guess I can't say if he is right or wrong.

Anyway, I think Hopper and I are both quite cool with programs that ask you to teach a class for a semester. The discussion was more about programs that require 2-3 classes while still asking you to be a full time student and also write. Would having taught 2 classes each semester in grad be a big boost in hiring over teaching just one one semester? Or is it just some amount of experience that they want?


HopperFu:

I agree with most of what you said there, though I think you math is slightly faulty. If you are going to lump living expenses into one you need to lump them into the other. The choice isn't -50K versus +55K, it is more -35K with no work (and thus time to have an outside job for money) versus no tuition and whatever the stipend is (+10,000? I dunno) and a part time job.

Cornell's deal there is certainly a much better one. Cornell's deal is one of the best out there, I think. But it isn't really a swing of 100K, if a Columbia person worked the same amount the wing would probably be more like 30-40 thousand (assuming you got zero money from Columbia) which is still awesome. Like you said, situations like that (one class and a nice stipend) are the ideal for an MFA... outside of the Michener's free money. It is the 2-3 class a week


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Dec 5, 2006, 6:34 PM)


swanson15


Dec 5, 2006, 9:40 PM

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what about parlaying the teaching experience into a regular teaching job-- i.e. high school english teacher, or something like that, something more practical and feasible than the elite writing professor track that seems to be the only thing on people's minds. am i the only one that thinks this way? i want to get an mfa so that i can have the time to read and write, hopefully finalize a few projects, but i have no grand illusions of publishing success or of becoming the next "george saunders" or whoever the hell else everyone here keeps raving about.
so i see the TA thing as nothing but great experience for a future career, if you ever publish anything worthwhile, then hell, that's just a bonus.


alisha
Alisha Westerman


Dec 5, 2006, 10:04 PM

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after funding, my second reason for choosing these schools was location. i've grown up in southern california. i wanted bearable weather and more trees than cement. or at least some trees. i wanted weather. i wanted to be somewhere i found beautiful and inspiring. and while i did look at the curriculum for each school to make sure it wasn't way off target for me, i felt that researching all the faculty at 9 schools was overwhelming. i figured i'd do that once i get acceptance/unacceptance letters. i feel like i can make the most of most situations.

University of Oregon
Oregon State
University of Florida
Washington University, Missouri
University of Washington
University of Virginia
Brown
UC Irvine (close to home)
CSULB (also close to home)

also considering Iowa state (funding)

if anybody has warnings about any of these, do let me know.


www.alishawesterman.com
www.myspace.com/alishasings


curban14


Dec 5, 2006, 10:18 PM

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Re:writing sample Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, i'm about to send my writing samples for dec. 15th deadline to schools such as NYU, Cornell. The online application lets you upload your personal statement but not the writing samples ...right?
thanks for your help


ptld


Dec 5, 2006, 11:21 PM

Post #302 of 1175 (11083 views)
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Re: [alisha] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

From my perspective, U of Florida doesn't have that great of weather, nor do I think Gainsville that inspiring. That being said, I'm still applying. Padgett Powell and Mary Robison seem like inspiration enough.

I did my undergrad at Oregon State. I like their writers a lot and several graduates are starting to make an impact in the publishing world--locally at least. Graduates have a good track record of finding teaching positions. If you like the Pacific Northwest, Eastern Washington might be a place worth looking into if you're flexible.

In Reply To
after funding, my second reason for choosing these schools was location. i've grown up in southern california. i wanted bearable weather and more trees than cement. or at least some trees. i wanted weather. i wanted to be somewhere i found beautiful and inspiring. and while i did look at the curriculum for each school to make sure it wasn't way off target for me, i felt that researching all the faculty at 9 schools was overwhelming. i figured i'd do that once i get acceptance/unacceptance letters. i feel like i can make the most of most situations.

University of Oregon
Oregon State
University of Florida
Washington University, Missouri
University of Washington
University of Virginia
Brown
UC Irvine (close to home)
CSULB (also close to home)

also considering Iowa state (funding)

if anybody has warnings about any of these, do let me know.



HopperFu


Dec 6, 2006, 12:10 AM

Post #303 of 1175 (11073 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
....I think you math is slightly faulty....

Clench: I'd bet good money that my math is more than slightly faulty. One of the many reasons I'm getting an MFA instead of an MBA.


HopperFu


Dec 6, 2006, 12:12 AM

Post #304 of 1175 (11072 views)
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Re: [swanson15] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
what about parlaying the teaching experience into a regular teaching job-- i.e. high school english teacher, or something like that

I think that in most states you need a teaching degree to teach high school, middle school, etc., whether it is masters in education or whatever. I'm not sure that an MFA degree is translatable into a teacher's license.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authority on this.


HopperFu


Dec 6, 2006, 12:13 AM

Post #305 of 1175 (11071 views)
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Re: [curban14] Re:writing sample Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi, i'm about to send my writing samples for dec. 15th deadline to schools such as NYU, Cornell. The online application lets you upload your personal statement but not the writing samples ...right?
thanks for your help

As of last year, that was correct. I remember feeling quite ill when I dropped my writing sample envelopes into the mailbox.


andfw


Dec 6, 2006, 1:12 AM

Post #306 of 1175 (11061 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Re:writing sample Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I can offer my experience in a situation a few people are asking about. I got a TAship to my MFA program and taught two classes my first semester. I took three (although that was my own dumb idea -- I only had to take two).

I did very little writing that semester. I felt like a full-time teacher, and I didn't notice much if any development in my writing. But the next semester I only taught one, and the next year I did the same sequence, only I already had developed all my course materials, which cut the workload and anxiety level considerably. In other words, teaching may have cost me a semester's worth of writing, but I was fine once I adjusted to the workload and stress. I even had another job for most of my final year.

Teaching paid for all my tuition and fees, as well as health insurance and a stipend that I could have lived on if I had lived very modestly. I also gained the experience that allowed me to adjunct, which is what I'm doing now and what I can continue to do, if I so choose, until I have enough of a publication history to apply for real teaching jobs.

I could have turned down the TAship, gotten a job, and had more time to write. But I would've left grad school only marginally more employable than I was when I got there (i.e., with an MFA). As it was, I got a free MFA plus two years of college-level teaching experience and health insurance. And, in my case, the TA pay was probably as good or better than what I would have gotten at a part-time job.


alisha
Alisha Westerman


Dec 6, 2006, 1:38 AM

Post #307 of 1175 (11057 views)
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Re: [ptld] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm. One blogger said Gainesville was beautiful and great. Do you mean it's very hot and humid? I was hoping to keep away from that, though I'm no stranger to it.

University of Oregon and the state of Oregon is most appealing to me, and I'm glad to hear some props for Oregon State. That's encouraging.

Now, what do you mean by "flexible" when it comes to Eastern Washington? The Pacific Northwest seems nice because it's different. But I think Washington might be too rainy-cold different. I appreciate your input.


In Reply To
From my perspective, U of Florida doesn't have that great of weather, nor do I think Gainsville that inspiring. That being said, I'm still applying. Padgett Powell and Mary Robison seem like inspiration enough.

I did my undergrad at Oregon State. I like their writers a lot and several graduates are starting to make an impact in the publishing world--locally at least. Graduates have a good track record of finding teaching positions. If you like the Pacific Northwest, Eastern Washington might be a place worth looking into if you're flexible.

In Reply To
after funding, my second reason for choosing these schools was location. i've grown up in southern california. i wanted bearable weather and more trees than cement. or at least some trees. i wanted weather. i wanted to be somewhere i found beautiful and inspiring. and while i did look at the curriculum for each school to make sure it wasn't way off target for me, i felt that researching all the faculty at 9 schools was overwhelming. i figured i'd do that once i get acceptance/unacceptance letters. i feel like i can make the most of most situations.

University of Oregon
Oregon State
University of Florida
Washington University, Missouri
University of Washington
University of Virginia
Brown
UC Irvine (close to home)
CSULB (also close to home)

also considering Iowa state (funding)

if anybody has warnings about any of these, do let me know.




www.alishawesterman.com
www.myspace.com/alishasings


EastCoastPoet


Dec 6, 2006, 4:36 AM

Post #308 of 1175 (11049 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think wilma and I are in the same boat. I'm getting an MFA so that when I look for a job teaching at the college level, I won't be competing with people who only have an MA in creative writing. Sure, it's a nice degree, but from what many professors have told me it's a waste of time. Hope I don't offend anyone...

Also, you guys do realize that those three classes you take on top of teaching two or three are writing classes? I don't know about you guys, but I don't plan on taking courses that do much more than writing, or at least a bit of research/reading on something related to my writing. Yes, there are some schools that require some bs stuff that has little to do with actually writing, but if you're dedicated enough you can find time. Maybe writing (poetry in this case) is more important to me than sleeping in or going out to bars four nights a week, but if my Mon-Fri consists of teaching, classes, and writing constantly, I'll take it. I get very little sleep as it is. You get quite used to it. I just don't get the impression that a few of you are completely dedicated to it all, and are simply looking for a book deal instead. Good luck with that...

Also, I highly disagree with the notion that publishing experience outweighs teaching experience. It isn't that hard to get published if you know the right people. And if you don't know any of the right people, it's time for you to do a little networking.

I just personally think that if you aren't going into an MFA program with the want to be a TA for at least the money, you're crazy. There are 168 hours in a week. If you can't get at least 1 or 2 hours a day to write, what the hell is going on?


podi


Dec 6, 2006, 10:59 AM

Post #309 of 1175 (11026 views)
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Re: [curban14] Re:writing sample Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

hi curban,

i'm in the same boat, applying to cornell. yes, I plan to mail my writing sample by the end of this week (not 100% sure if Dec. 15 is the postmark or received-by deadline, so I'm playing it safe) but I will submit my application online by the end of next week.

good luck! here's hoping we both get a nod in february.

sergio


Glinda Bamboo


Dec 6, 2006, 11:31 AM

Post #310 of 1175 (11021 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It isn't that hard to get published if you know the right people. And if you don't know any of the right people, it's time for you to do a little networking.



Uh oh. I predict a storm brewing over that comment. :) The publishing industry isn't exactly that simple, unfortunately. I don't know as much about poetry, but even if you have an amazing novel and kick ass agent (and maybe you also "know" people) the odds are still stacked against you when it comes to a publishing company plunking down cash for the book.

Anyway, I don't think anyone was being lazy for not wanting to teach 2-3 classes a semester while taking classes and trying to write. Many people (including yours truly) are interested in an MFA program for the time and resources to write. The deal looks a little less sweet if you don't have, you know, any time to write. I actually want to teach, and hope I have that opportunity, but I also don't want to be completely bogged down, either. (I am still applying Indiana, so we'll see what happens if I get accepted there.) I've been out working in the "real world" for years, so I know what it's like to squeeze an hour or two of writing time out of a day. That's fine, and that's what we'll have to do after an MFA program, anyway. I want to get into a well-funded MFA program so I have all that glorious time to write, instead of working and scrounging around for writing time. I already do that.

Also, while I know some MFAers want to concentrate exclusively on their own writing, I still think literature courses will help round out any writer. This is how we learn, after all: by reading and studying what we read. Our own writing does not exist in a vacuum.

I'd also like to announce that I mailed two writing samples today. Ah! Wish me luck. And good luck to everyone else, as well.


__________



Dec 6, 2006, 11:38 AM

Post #311 of 1175 (11019 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
what about parlaying the teaching experience into a regular teaching job-- i.e. high school english teacher, or something like that

I think that in most states you need a teaching degree to teach high school, middle school, etc., whether it is masters in education or whatever. I'm not sure that an MFA degree is translatable into a teacher's license.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authority on this.



I think you just need a teacher's certification, not an Ed. masters, to teach in public schools. But...you can teach in private schools w/ an MFA and no regular teachers' certification, methinks. At least in my state. Checking out this poet's blog recently, I saw that the elite girls school in my neck of the woods actually contacted him with a job offer, just based on his Oregon MFA. That's like my dream scenario...


six five four three two one 0 ->


v1ctorya


Dec 6, 2006, 12:03 PM

Post #312 of 1175 (11014 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

In NYS you can get an internship certificate just by taking the LAST (liberal arts and science test) and getting sponsored by a school. If you have any type of advanced degree here, you're golden, just take the easy as hell exams. (LAST, ECST - English Content Specialty, ATSW - some teaching thing "if johnny hits jodie, what do you do? a - hit him back, b - shoot him, c - call in the administrator, d - tell jodie to toughen up)

Now, can I vent for a moment?

I had five people set to write my rec's, cause I'm anal. First one - fine, got it in months ahead of time. Then the second one said he's going out of the country, doesn't have time to do it. Then the third one - well, I realized she was not the right person (total flake), so there go the two cushion. But then the fourth gives me hers, and it's where I teach Writing, and she tells me she was rushed so - being nervous as I am and never signing a waiver, it's riddled with spelling errors, including my name. I tell her that this would reflect poorly on us both (which it will) and spell check it for her and now SHE'S pissed. But dammit, if I'm spending over 400$ on applications I at least want a shot. If it's between me and someone else and it comes down to rec's, I don't want them to say "and this is where she teaches? WTF?" and go with the other person.

I hate recommendations, hate 'em. And now my boss wants to send me to get an MBA, doesn't know about the true passion.

On the plus side, a little annual publication picked up a short short for April publication - and JUST IN TIME as I hope to get everything out tomorrow.


bighark


Dec 6, 2006, 12:35 PM

Post #313 of 1175 (11007 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi EastCoastPoet, welcome to the forum.

I noticed one of your comments about teaching and thought I would chime in. "Teaching at the college level" can mean a lot of different things. By teaching did you mean a tenure track position teaching creative writing at a major university, or did you have something more like an adjunct community college composition instructor position in mind?

The former requires a robust publications history and perhaps some prominent writing awards; the latter requires a masters degree and teaching experience.

I get the sense that you're talking about tenure track creative writing positions, so I would suggest that you take a look at a typical job description for professors of creative writing in publications such as the Chronicle for Higher Education or even the classifieds section of Poets & Writers magazine. Without exception, these ads clearly state that a significant publications history in addition to teaching experience is reqired for the job.

There are a number of MFA graduates that contribute to the Poets & Writers Speakeasy forums and the MFA threads (Pongo comes to mind) that can provide a much better idea of what you can expect in terms of post MFA employment than I can, but I think that your assessment of your immediate post-MFA employablity is a overly optomistic.

Similarly, I think your understanding of publishing is a little undercooked. I don't think you'll find too many people who will disagree with you on the importance of cultivating contacts in the publishing world, but contacts alone do not a well published poet make. You can have all the editor and agent friends in the world, but if your poetry sucks you'll just be the most popular self-published poet at the ball.

I do wish you luck with your application. You seem very passionate, and passion is a tremendous engine. I do ask, though, that you try to mind your manners while you're here. We are a very friendly bunch, but it's hard to overlook someone who's been here a week and has in one post insulted people with MA degrees and questioned the integrity of other MFA seekers by suggesting that their motives are less than pure.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Dec 6, 2006, 1:04 PM

Post #314 of 1175 (10995 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
what about parlaying the teaching experience into a regular teaching job-- i.e. high school english teacher, or something like that

I think that in most states you need a teaching degree to teach high school, middle school, etc., whether it is masters in education or whatever. I'm not sure that an MFA degree is translatable into a teacher's license.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authority on this.


You don't need a teaching degree, but you do need a certain number (which varies by state) of education credits in order to get certification. Merely knowing the subject, and how to teach it, is not relevant.


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/


SweetJane


e-mail user

Dec 6, 2006, 1:20 PM

Post #315 of 1175 (10987 views)
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Teaching Stuffs [In reply to] Can't Post

In New Jersey, and in most other states, you need a teaching certificate to teach public school at any grade level--which usually involves about a year of course work and student teaching--OR you can participate in an alternate route program, where you take classes for your certification during your first year of teaching and during which you skip the student teaching requirement. A teaching certificate can be obtained during undergrad, or through taking a post-undergrad Masters program specifically for those who don't yet have a certificate (IE, a Masters of teaching in English; there are other Masters programs in education only for those already certified).

In New York state, you must have a masters in order to teach in public schools. This might apply to other states as well, but I'm not sure.

This only applies to the states that require certification. Not all do, though I'm not sure which.

Private schools are a different matter entirely. Some require teaching certifications, and some private schools want their faculty to have advanced degrees as well, while some ask for nothing beyond undergraduate education. No certification or higher education is usually required for Catholic schools and other religious institutions, but the pay is usually pretty bad and you probably won't be able to teach, say, the Beat poets, in your classes.

If I decide not to get a PhD in rhetoric and composition after my MFA, I plan to pursue teaching in a private school while getting an MAT in English, so I've read up on this quite a bit--in fact, I was considering the teaching degree before the MFA, but decided against it so that I could be around writers a little more. My mother is also a public school teacher, and my undergrad was largely a teaching school, so if anyone has any questions about "lower" education teaching, drop me a line and I'll find you the answer.


In Reply To

In Reply To
what about parlaying the teaching experience into a regular teaching job-- i.e. high school english teacher, or something like that

I think that in most states you need a teaching degree to teach high school, middle school, etc., whether it is masters in education or whatever. I'm not sure that an MFA degree is translatable into a teacher's license.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an authority on this.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


SweetJane


e-mail user

Dec 6, 2006, 1:27 PM

Post #316 of 1175 (10982 views)
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Re: [v1ctorya] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I had five people set to write my rec's, cause I'm anal. First one - fine, got it in months ahead of time. Then the second one said he's going out of the country, doesn't have time to do it. Then the third one - well, I realized she was not the right person (total flake), so there go the two cushion. But then the fourth gives me hers, and it's where I teach Writing, and she tells me she was rushed so - being nervous as I am and never signing a waiver, it's riddled with spelling errors, including my name. I tell her that this would reflect poorly on us both (which it will) and spell check it for her and now SHE'S pissed. But dammit, if I'm spending over 400$ on applications I at least want a shot. If it's between me and someone else and it comes down to rec's, I don't want them to say "and this is where she teaches? WTF?" and go with the other person.
[ . . ]
On the plus side, a little annual publication picked up a short short for April publication - and JUST IN TIME as I hope to get everything out tomorrow.


Oh man, do I hear you on the recommendations. I asked four people to write me recommendations, and so far I only have, in hand, the recommendations of my "back up." The rest are making vague promises about finishing before Christmas break, and one recommender still hasn't submitted my online Wisconsin rec. which is due next week. I wouldn't be bothered about any of this, if it weren't for the fact that they've had all of my stuff since September, and these professors were the ones to encourage me to pursue an advanced degree in the first place! Everything else in my application packets is done. I'm getting major agita about all of this.

Congratulations on the publication though! I really think that that's one of the best feelings in the world.

Quick question to any other poets who are applying to Wisconsin: have you used the online application check list to see what's been accepted yet? I was told by the graduate school that the creative writing departments computers and theirs don't always "match up," but I submitted all of my stuff in early November, and it's still saying that my transcripts and writing sample haven't been received. Anyone else getting this message and can ease my nervousness?


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"

(This post was edited by SweetJane on Dec 6, 2006, 1:33 PM)


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 6, 2006, 1:38 PM

Post #317 of 1175 (10977 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote

Also, I highly disagree with the notion that publishing experience outweighs teaching experience. It isn't that hard to get published if you know the right people. And if you don't know any of the right people, it's time for you to do a little networking.

It isn't hard to get published in SOME place, but it is VERY hard to get published in big magazines and extremely hard to get a book published by a real publisher.

You honestly think that if Iowa's MFA program (or any grad MFA program) was looking for a new adjunct teacher and they had one candidate with no grad TA experience but a novel out with F,S&G that was a nominee for a few prizes and also publication credits in the New Yorker and Harpers and the other was someone with no books published, maybe a few story publications in fourth tier magazines but was a teaching assistant for two semesters in grad school that they would ever choose the second person?

and if you wre trying for a tenure position you wouldn't even be considered in the least without significant publication history.

I've seen posters on this forum and similar places attack programs (rightly or wrongly) for having teachers with minimal publication credits. Plenty of people ENTER MFA programs with books published or many magazine publications. Who on earth would want to be taught by someone with less experience who merely was a teaching assistant for a few semesters? You want to be taught by succesful writers.


swanson15


Dec 6, 2006, 1:52 PM

Post #318 of 1175 (10971 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

on recs- i'm sure this has been discusssed to death elsewhere, but... have you all been bothering your recommenders with the individual school forms? this seems highly unnecessary, especially when many of us (see above posts) clearly are experiencing frustration with our so-called reliables.
my one professor rec asked for the forms, she's in academia and she knows how it works and takes the time to do it properly. but my other recs- both editors in the real world, very busy people with non-academia schedules and deadlines, i feel it's almost too much already to get them to just write the letter and print it 12 times on their letterhead,
all this in lieu of the advice from an application reader in the toolkit, who basically says all these peripheral things that we're so stressed about don't matter, only there for tie-breakers and maybe fact-checking, 99% is the sample


hamholio


Dec 6, 2006, 2:06 PM

Post #319 of 1175 (10972 views)
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Re: [swanson15] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't say I know for sure, but to me, that sounds like a great excuse for them to reject your application.

I'm definitely not taking any short cuts.


EastCoastPoet


Dec 6, 2006, 3:09 PM

Post #320 of 1175 (10953 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe we're just talking in different fields here (fiction vs. poetry) but how many people under the age of 40 do you know have a book published by some major publisher, have their feet in the door at places like The New Yorker, and can simply stand on their precious hardcover edition and begin to presume they know how to teach at all? Most top tier universities will gladly take the more published over the person with teaching experience, but that's because most of those universities today are so damn pretentious that they don't feel the need to have quality educators anymore. Who needs a good education when you have something like Yale or Brown on your resume? Hell, I can graduate from Yale with a C average and be President! My point is, that teaching experience (no matter how lowly you or whomever it is whispering in your ear thinks) is vital when looking for a teaching job. Maybe you don't want to be a professor, maybe you do. But if you're going to honestly say that it's going to outweigh experience everytime, you must have had some really disenchanted undergraduate professors. I'll gladly teach 3 classes a semester while you peddle your book across the globe hoping for a bite. Maybe fiction is easier to tote around out there, but in the poetry world you take every chance you can get. If someone wants me to teach like a slave for three years, fine. Bet your bottom dollar on them remembering my name later on though. And that comes in especially handy when you need to network.


muttonfish


Dec 6, 2006, 3:17 PM

Post #321 of 1175 (10953 views)
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Re: [swanson15] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

AMEN. Feel the same way. Hopefully I can receive some teaching experience, write a bunch, and read a lot of great books. If I publish something, great. If not, I'll go teach high school English or first-year comp/creative writing at a community college. Either way, I think I'll be happy. But if the heaven's split open, and a grand being floats down with reigns of fire in hand, and I end up getting one of those "top" teaching gigs, well, that'll be great, but it's tough to bank on something that relies more on chance and subjectivity than anything else.


plumagemour


Dec 6, 2006, 3:18 PM

Post #322 of 1175 (10952 views)
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Re: [swanson15] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

for one of my recommenders i sent a link to the forms for schools that required them and she printed them out and attached them to my rec and mailed them off. i later realized that there was a portion of the form for me to fill out. with my name and my waiver signature(if applicable). if i filled these things out for 2/3 of the recommendations but not hers do you think there will be a problem?


blueragtop


Dec 6, 2006, 3:33 PM

Post #323 of 1175 (10946 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's simple: I want to write as much as possible. I don't want to be a teacher. I want to be a writer. If something happens and I get lucky and I get a big book deal and a school offers me a ton of cash, I'll teach. I'll say it again, I want to write my ass off for a couple of years. I don't want to deal with underclassmen or teach technical writing.

This teaching 2 or 3 classes a semester thing is a ridiculous. For that I just get a real job, make some real money and write. Maybe I'm one of the few, but I see an MFA as a time to write and forget the real world. A writing vacation if you will. Teaching 2 classes might sound easy, but I guarantee you, it's no joke. I don't mind teaching one class the second year, but some of these schools, it seems to be, just want teachers for cheap.

Poets are screwed, so I understand Eastcoast. If the prospects of making money as a writer are bad for a fiction person, imagine for a poet. I hate to be an ass, but poetry seems to be on life support, and the best a poet can hope for is winning a contest that pays a couple thousand dollars. In that case, you might need some teaching experience.


bighark


Dec 6, 2006, 3:55 PM

Post #324 of 1175 (11337 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

EastCoastPoet, you are misinformed. Quality publications beat teaching experience in poetry and fiction every day of the week no matter how much you would like for it to be otherwise.

You ask how many people under the age of 40 have books and contacts and could teach without experience? I can think of five off the top of my head:

Emily Barton, 37
Dave Eggers, 36
Gary Shteyngart, 34
Nicole Krauss, 32
Jonathan Safran Foer, 30

To the best of my knowledge, Barton is the only one on the list above who has an MFA. Safran Foer and Eggers are household names. Name a single university in this country that wouldn't be delighted to have either on their full time faculty.

The point, EastCoastPoet, is that recent MFA grads with little to nothing in the way of a publication history do not get hired for creative writing teaching jobs at four-year universities. The MFA is not job insurance.

If a TA-ship is part of your funding package at your MFA program then great. Get the most you can from it. Just don't count on teaching experience to be the deciding factor on you getting even an interview let alone job.

That's not just creative writing, either--it's higher education in general. If you want to teach at a four year university, you better have the research and publications to contribute to the university's prestige. Even the most gifted of instructors will be turned away at the gate if they don't have a lengthy CV.


hamholio


Dec 6, 2006, 4:59 PM

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sibyline


Dec 6, 2006, 5:06 PM

Post #326 of 1175 (11453 views)
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emily barton has an mfa from iowa, nicole krauss an mfa from columbia, and gary shteyngart started the mfa program at hunter.

i think this is a complicated issue. it's true that the big names probably don't need degrees to teach, but not every young author who publishes a novel or collection becomes wildly successful. in the case of most of the people who publish books, i think teaching credentials help.


bighark


Dec 6, 2006, 5:27 PM

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Re: [sibyline] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Believe me, I'm not discounting the importance of MFAs, teaching, or the development and practice of a strong, formal writing pedagogy. I wouldn't keep trying to apply to MFa programs if I thought the pursuit was a dead end.

My point, rather, is that creative writing instructors (adjunct or otherwise) at four-year universities have to have a number of publications under their belt (midlist or otherwise) in order to be competitive. Just having an MFA and teaching experience will not be enough in the very competitive creative writing instructor job market.


EastCoastPoet


Dec 6, 2006, 5:48 PM

Post #328 of 1175 (11426 views)
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Re: [bighark] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course these people exist, excellent job doing some easy research. By the way, those aren't "household" names onloy because you know who they are. I don't want anyone to think that I mean publications will never outweight experience, but how can you discount teaching experience all together? It's impossible. Hopefully the years people spend in an MFA program allow them to do both, teach and publish. Tenure is impossible without publication. However, publishing work does not mean that you are going to be a great teacher, let alone a mediocre teacher. To get back to about four pages of posting ago, because I'm afraid this is going to go where it shouldn't, I personally find it important to have teaching experience. Period. I also find it important to have some publications under your belt, but not necessarily some kind of book.

I enjoy playing Devil's Advocate. Thanks for playing.

To me, if you haven't published as an MFA student, you aren't much of a student at all. Again, playing the Advocate...I'd be interested in know where many of you are currently? Are you all MFA applicants? Are some of you currently at programs? Fiction or Poetry?

OH BTW!! I have heard, directly from the department at UNH, Charles Simic is indeed retiring. However, he will be teaching 1 class per year for the next three years. Also, I have heard from many people that he is easy to find and is enthusiastic to speak with students. True or not, it sounds pretty good still.


zyzurgy


Dec 6, 2006, 5:58 PM

Post #329 of 1175 (11421 views)
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Re: Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

hi all. this isn't in direct reply to anything posted here thus far (though perhaps obliquely influenced by some of the recent tone of conversation). i've been lurking for a while and am very grateful to all the info/advice that's been posted. "objectively" i sort of know that i'm in an okay position: my list of schools is together, i've only got 1 rec still outstanding and am pretty confident it will come through, my GREs were decent enough, my transcripts should be in the mail, i used to be pretty confident in my sample (though i still have to compile it into a final form and make some last minor edits), my statement, which has been driving me up the fother mucking wall the last few weeks, is probably comprehensible to someone who isn't me and will likely be improved by one or two final assaults, my i's are almost crossed, my t's are almost dotted, &c. and yet and yet and yet. i feel the tinglings of a freak out coming up my spine. dec. 15 feels way too close. i'm hoping this is the basis for a final burst of manic energy and not the premonition of despair, lethargy, failure, and collapse...

so, um, anyone feel like commiserating?


words, words, words


blueragtop


Dec 6, 2006, 6:07 PM

Post #330 of 1175 (11413 views)
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Re: [zyzurgy] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

zyzurgy,

I know how you feel, but I'll give you some advice. Forget about it. Watch an episode of The Office or watch that new show where Shatner dances. Take a load off. This process is so subjective, it's almost a joke. If someone likes your writing, your in, if not, forget it. Once you mail everything out, it's not in your hands, so relax.


zyzurgy


Dec 6, 2006, 6:27 PM

Post #331 of 1175 (11405 views)
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Re: [melos] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

hey melos. thanks for trying, i really do appreciate it. there is, of course, some level on which i know you are absolutely right. earlier i attempted to zone out with an old ep of the kids in hall, except it was the last of the series, which in retrospect was probably not the best choice what with them having dirt tossed on their faces and bellini dancing on their grave and whatnot (i mean, it was still funny, but probably for me at the moment not exactly the right choice). i kind of don't think the office would have been any better, that show is enough to give me kafka dreams even when i'm in a good mood. shatner dancing on the other hand... i so cannot wait until everything is in the post and i get to do my holiday traveling and see my friends and drown my sorrows. but in the meantime, and again i'm thankful for the attempt but, if anyone else out there in interweb-land could at least give a shoutout to last-minute fear, anxiety, and dread, well, maybe i wouldn't feel so alone. maybe. *sniff*

or maybe i should go smoke a cig on the porch,
zyz




In Reply To
zyzurgy,

I know how you feel, but I'll give you some advice. Forget about it. Watch an episode of The Office or watch that new show where Shatner dances. Take a load off. This process is so subjective, it's almost a joke. If someone likes your writing, your in, if not, forget it. Once you mail everything out, it's not in your hands, so relax.



words, words, words


muttonfish


Dec 6, 2006, 8:48 PM

Post #332 of 1175 (11365 views)
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Question for anyone [In reply to] Can't Post

Does it matter if your letters of recommendations, transcripts, etc. have been sent to the schools, but you have yet to complete the online application? I'm figuring they just throw it in a folder and wait for the application and fee.


Clench Million
Charles

Dec 6, 2006, 8:56 PM

Post #333 of 1175 (11364 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
but how many people under the age of 40 do you know have a book published by some major publisher, have their feet in the door at places like The New Yorker, and can simply stand on their precious hardcover edition and begin to presume they know how to teach at all?


I guess we do seem to be coming from different places, because I honestly don't see how being a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes (often not even creative writing) as a mandatory aid package somehow proves you are a quality teacher.

Most of the teachers at my MFA program who come to mind are, I believe, under 40 (Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, Rebecca Curtis, Paul LeFarge, etc.) and I am pretty sure all go their jobs based on their publications, not on whether or not they were a teaching assistant for a short period of time in grad school. Bighark basically said everything I wanted to. In fact, he named a writer (Shteyngart) who is currently teaching at my program... and I don't think it was based on his TA experience


Quote
but that's because most of those universities today are so damn pretentious that they don't feel the need to have quality educators anymore.


I think this is a pretty silly statement for several reasons, but most of all because it implies that having grad school TA experience somehow means you will be a more "quality" educator. People in MFAs are normally forced to be TAs and if you get into a program that funds that way you do it no matter what. It isn't a matter of loving teaching, much less being a "quality" educator... it is a matter of money pure and simple. Sure, plenty of people want to teach, but plenty of people don't and having been a TA hardly proves anything about your educational abilities. Pretty much every MFA program awards TA spots based on the merits of the writing, not individual educational skill.


Quote
But if you're going to honestly say that it's going to outweigh experience everytime, you must have had some really disenchanted undergraduate professors.


In terms of MFA/creative writing teaching, every single person I've ever talked to or read articles by has said publication is more important than TA experience. Everyone from professors to blogs to program directors. Where are you getting the idea that mandatory TA experience is more influential than great publications? Again, who would prefer to be taught by someone with less success than them in writing merely because said person had done a few semesters of assistantships?


Quote
I'll gladly teach 3 classes a semester while you peddle your book across the globe hoping for a bite.


You seem to be taking a fairly harsh stance against writers who want to publish writing for someone going into an MFA program. If your goal isn't to publish work, but merely to teach, why get an MFA? You could get a teaching job much easier with other degrees....


Quote
Bet your bottom dollar on them remembering my name later on though.


Remembering your name over whose? I'd bet my bottom dollar they'd remember a student who got published in the New Yorker more than one who just had a TAship....



(This post was edited by Clench Million on Dec 6, 2006, 9:10 PM)


ptld


Dec 6, 2006, 9:44 PM

Post #334 of 1175 (11339 views)
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Re: [alisha] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I just meant if you're not 100% on your list already. For instance, my letters of rec are all sent out and I'm not willing to apply to any more schools. That's all.


andfw


Dec 6, 2006, 10:12 PM

Post #335 of 1175 (11330 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
To me, if you haven't published as an MFA student, you aren't much of a student at all. Again, playing the Advocate...I'd be interested in know where many of you are currently? Are you all MFA applicants? Are some of you currently at programs? Fiction or Poetry?

I'm with Clench on the teaching angle. When applying to tenure-track CW teaching jobs, publications don't just matter more than teaching experience -- they're virtually the only thing that matters. Teaching experience might make a difference if you're trying to adjunct.

As for the above statement, I'd be interested to know where you're getting your info on MFA programs. Many of the people I went to school with didn't publish during the MFA, and very few published anywhere big. In fact, a good percentage didn't even submit much work, because they were so focused on generating new material while they had workshops that they didn't have enough time to revise stories to their satisfaction. The MFAers I knew have published much more often in the few years after the MFA than they did during the program.


curban14


Dec 6, 2006, 10:34 PM

Post #336 of 1175 (11319 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks hopper. good luck to you too, sergio


blueragtop


Dec 6, 2006, 11:46 PM

Post #337 of 1175 (11302 views)
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Re: [curban14] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Is anyone here currently enrolled at FSU?


allisonbarrett


Dec 7, 2006, 8:28 AM

Post #338 of 1175 (11257 views)
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Re: [zyzurgy] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a freakout-shoutout. I'm also waiting for rec letters from one professor, and I'm getting really really scared that he thinks all my deadlines are in January. I've been emailing him, but I haven't gotten a response yet. I just emailed my other recommenders to see if I could get his phone number or something. And I'm still revising my personal statement. I feel like I will eternally be revising my personal statement. It is so unpleasant. And it will be all for naught if my rec letter doesn't come!


hamholio


Dec 7, 2006, 8:56 AM

Post #339 of 1175 (11252 views)
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Re: [zyzurgy] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

I've applied to three different schools so far and have written three radically different SOPs (one included two paragraphs about food!) -- I regret sending them out, but I'm not too worried about it.

Just settle down -- life will go on without an MFA program if you don't get accepted, and perhaps things are better that way.


bighark


Dec 7, 2006, 8:58 AM

Post #340 of 1175 (11252 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Allison,

This is the freak-out season, so you're definitely not alone.

Fortunately, you won't be the first person to have an LOR provider flake out on a deadline. Since this is actually a very routine occurance, simply call the programs with the earlier deadlines and let them know that this one letter may arrive late. As long as your application fee and writing sample arrive on time, you should be fine.

Good luck!


allisonbarrett


Dec 7, 2006, 9:12 AM

Post #341 of 1175 (11251 views)
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Re: [bighark] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

One of my other recommenders said something similar... that actually reassures me A LOT, so thanks!


EastCoastPoet


Dec 7, 2006, 9:49 AM

Post #342 of 1175 (11240 views)
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Re: [melos] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

SO TRUE!!! THANK YOU! Christ, I don't know how many times I have had to tell myself that same thing. When this whole process gets boiled down, that's what it all is. Subjective...as all hell. All of the bullshit and money we have to go through boils down to the first 5 pages of the damn manuscript. How awful!


Glinda Bamboo


Dec 7, 2006, 10:05 AM

Post #343 of 1175 (11238 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Sing it with me, now. Awww....freak out! I am also waiting for one recommender, who seems to have disappeared. And I have two deadlines next week. I figure that if she really flakes out (which I doubt...she was going to be my strongest recommender!) I can have a writing group buddy whip up an emergency recommendation. Not the best plan, but better than nothing.

I mailed two writing samples recently, and I was surprised to not have that panic attack when the envelopes were out of my hands. I only felt relief that the samples were officially out of my control and out in the world.

Besides that letter I'm waiting on, I still need to write a few teaching statements for other schools (bleh). I thought all my personal statements were done, and I was pleased with them, but I recently realized Michigan needs two separate ones. For some reason I can't make myself do them! It's like my body and mind went into statement of purpose shock or something.

When everything's done, I'm going to take an MFA mental vacation and be blissfully happy I have nothing else to do. I hereby promise to not get obsessive and anxious while awaiting the acceptances and rejections. I swear.


v1ctorya


Dec 7, 2006, 10:23 AM

Post #344 of 1175 (11230 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

1st 5 pages? Then I'm putting my three page story up front! Followed by my five.

Of course, if I don't get in my current 'grown-up' persons job wants me to start taking finance courses and think about an MBA. I figure I can start that (won't hurt me to learn how to add) while taking writing workshops to work on my manuscipt for next year. And if I never get in, I have a secure job that affords me the time to write (even let me take a week off to finalize my manuscripts for this adventure.)

Of course, I'm saying this because I'm dropping off everything in the mail today (for 3 schools) and over the weekend will finish up the final four. Still have to write one SOP and one "diversity" letter.


allisonbarrett


Dec 7, 2006, 11:25 AM

Post #345 of 1175 (11213 views)
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Re: [Glinda Bamboo] Application Time: Freak Out [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes! A pox on those two separate statements for Michigan! It jacks up the whole process. What the hell is the real difference between a statement of purpose and an autobiographical statement? Shouldn't they mingle freely? Also, for those of you applying to the Michener Center... I sense difficulty in trying to cut my 500 word SOP down to 250 words. How very tiny! And then there's those schools that want critical writing samples! At this point, they are getting my best undergraduate paper, which I don't think is all that great, but that's the way it goes... Anyone applying to Western Michigan Univ.? (Kalamazoo). They want you to write some 5 page expository paper about an issue or a problem. I think it's to make sure you can write grammatical sentences or something. If you haven't taught before, it's used to determine whether you'd be an ok T.A. I'd rather they did it like Indiana, where you write about how you would teach a beginning creative writing class. But that would be too easy; then I'd be able to use one essay for both programs. I probably will anyway use the same one anyway, and to hell with it. I thought this would be more about my writing sample, which is pretty much where I want it, but which I would still rather be working on than on the amazing technicolor personal statement parade! Sibyline didn't tailor her statements, and she's at Cornell.... but I'm too scared not to tailor them! I guess this is what we get for applying to so many programs. It's a special kind of hell. When I'm finally finished, I'll have to start working a part-time job on top of my full-time job in order to pay off the credit card debt I've incurred during this process. OSU seriously wanted an extra $10 per five transcripts to stamp the seals. I had to draw the line somewhere, and took them without the stamp. Yeah! Score one for me! Geez that was a long rant.... sorry guys.


augustmaria


Dec 7, 2006, 5:01 PM

Post #346 of 1175 (11162 views)
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Teaching [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to chime in and say that teaching has been one of my favorite parts of my experience thus far in my MFA program. This year, I teach less than two hours a week and spend probably about five hours a week grading. Next year will be a different story, as I'll be teaching about five hours a week and spending about ten hours, I'm guessing, on grading, but I'm expecting to enjoy that as well. Teaching doesn't have to be a drag. It can be fun. Even when the students are sitting there, staring at you like a bunch of morons, it can still be fun.


muttonfish


Dec 7, 2006, 5:41 PM

Post #347 of 1175 (11152 views)
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Syracuse online [In reply to] Can't Post

Looking at in disbelief/completing the online application for Syracuse. How many short answer responses do these people want? saddest part...they're not even going to read these things unless they like your short story, and even at that, if they do like it, the short answer responses really aren't going to matter much. This what you should write:

Dear George S.
Get real. (less than 350 characters)

Now that would be funny.


jhw03d


Dec 8, 2006, 1:31 PM

Post #348 of 1175 (11069 views)
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Late GRE scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

One of the programs I'm applying to is NYU, where, as I'm sure a lot of you know, the application deadline is next Friday. When I took the GRE in November, I stupidly sent my scores to Tisch instead of GSAS, where they're supposed to go. I've just sent an additional score report, but I'm not sure it's going to get there by December 15, and I just keep seeing the bolded type on the application and department website: "We do not offer extensions for any part of the application", "All supporting materials not included with this online application must be received by the deadline date for your program." Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation? Am I just going to be wasting my $80 application fee, despite my transcripts (with the GRE scores on them), letters, sample etc. being in on time, by getting automatically disqualified because of this GRE thing?

Thanks

(sorry if I did this wrong by posting it as a reply the Syracuse thing, but I couldn't figure out how to just add a new post to the thread)


gblackwe

e-mail user

Dec 8, 2006, 2:29 PM

Post #349 of 1175 (11541 views)
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Re: [jhw03d] Late GRE scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Not to worry. When I applied to NYU 3 (?) years ago, I recall reading the same grim forewarning, only to have one of my recs. not show. They called me to tell me that the app. was not complete, but were satisfied to get the rec. sometime after New Year's. But not too much later, because I also seem to recall getting their rejection letter rather quickly... Hmmm. Well, it was probably my writing sample they didn't like, and not my promptitude (or lack thereof). Anyway, you shouldn't be disqualified for GRE scores, especially if they have them in some (unofficial) form already. You won't be admitted to an MFA program based on your GRE scores, and likely you won't be rejected for them either.


Lglabor


Dec 8, 2006, 4:53 PM

Post #350 of 1175 (11516 views)
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Re: [jhw03d] Late GRE scores [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think the deadline is real, but I also think it is possible to get the GRE scores from Tisch to GSAS by next Friday. I work at NYU, not in any of the relevant departments so I myself can't help you, but my goodness the separate schools aren't utterly hostile camps, surely some nice person at Tisch would be willing to convey your scores over to GSAS. Have you asked them to?


jhw03d


Dec 8, 2006, 5:45 PM

Post #351 of 1175 (11734 views)
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Re: [Lglabor] Late GRE scores [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks very much to you both. LgLabor, I would think the same thing, but the application FAQ states pretty explicitly that they can't/won't do that.

I think I'm just going to mail in my personal score report (even though it says, in that big scary bold type across the bottom, "THIS REPORT IS NOT VALID FOR TRANSMISSION OF SCORESTO AN INSTITUTION) with my transcripts, cross everything I got, and hope it all works out.

"My GRE scores will likely arrive late because I'm taking the GRE exam a few days prior to the application deadline. Will my application still be considered if my GRE scores arrive after the official deadline?
Your application will receive full consideration so long as your official test scores arrive soon after the deadline. Please be sure that all other parts of your application are received at the Graduate School by stipulated date. It is also suggested that you also mail a copy of your paper test score report when you receive it since it may take a while for the official test scores to arrive at the Admissions office."

I found this in the FAQ for the American Studies department and though logically it has absolutely nothing to do with my application, illogically it's very comforting.


(This post was edited by jhw03d on Dec 8, 2006, 5:56 PM)


Elika619


Dec 9, 2006, 10:38 AM

Post #352 of 1175 (11674 views)
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Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok just wanted to check in and see how everyone was doing. I've sent out three so far: UC-Irvine, Cornell, and NYU. Three down, nine to go. Ugh!!!


laughingman


Dec 9, 2006, 12:37 PM

Post #353 of 1175 (11653 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm planning to send out my first two, Cornell and Minnesota, on Tuesday. I love/hate my writing samples every other day, and Tuesday is a 'love' day if the current rotation keeps. I have an eerie feeling I'm either going to be accepted by every school I apply to or none of them at all.


mares


Dec 9, 2006, 1:34 PM

Post #354 of 1175 (11632 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been a lurker on the board for awhile now, but I thought I'd jump in just to say that it's comforting to know some others aren't sending out there stuff for the 15th deadlines until Tuesday, either! I'm paranoid that after I mail my poems I'll have an "A-ha!" moment about one (or all!) of them and wish I could revise it. Plus, I'm just a procrastinator by nature.

I'm just finishing up the statements of purpose for Cornell and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tuesday is also the day I'm taking the GRE...great move to put that off.

I also have that same weird feeling that I'll either have to choose between more than one great school, or get flat out rejected by everyone.

Best of luck to everyone!




In Reply To
I'm planning to send out my first two, Cornell and Minnesota, on Tuesday. I love/hate my writing samples every other day, and Tuesday is a 'love' day if the current rotation keeps. I have an eerie feeling I'm either going to be accepted by every school I apply to or none of them at all.



Elika619


Dec 9, 2006, 1:57 PM

Post #355 of 1175 (11627 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I hear you, Laugher. I have promised myself I'm not going to read over my writing samples anymore. It's just torture. I am having major second thoughts about my SOP, but I guess it's too late now.


sibyline


Dec 9, 2006, 6:44 PM

Post #356 of 1175 (11577 views)
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Re: [Elika619] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

so excited that lots of people are applying to cornell! good luck every one and i hope i'll be showing a few of you around campus in march!


allisonbarrett


Dec 11, 2006, 8:28 AM

Post #357 of 1175 (11490 views)
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Re: [mares] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sending out Cornell today, University of Wisconsin on Tuesday, and Univ. Minnesota on Wednesday. I think I'm going to do a jig once they're in the mail. Then, like Elika said, only 9 more to go. For the other poetry people: are you guys stapling your writing sample?


Banyon


Dec 11, 2006, 9:16 AM

Post #358 of 1175 (11483 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I spent a good five minutes hovering over my writing sample with a paper clip in one hand and a staple gun in the other. Went with the staple gun. I assume it's your call unless the school specifies (and I seem to remember that some schools do... or maybe I'm just thinking of lit journals).

I wanted everything together because I write longish poems, so I don't want anyone losing the second, third, or fourth page of a poem.


curban14


Dec 11, 2006, 10:24 AM

Post #359 of 1175 (11479 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

Does dec. 15th deadline mean postmakred? I'm planning on sending mine out today. thanks


mares


Dec 11, 2006, 12:16 PM

Post #360 of 1175 (11457 views)
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Re: [curban14] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if it means postmarked. But I've been planning on having mine there by the 15th, just to be safe.

I also am going to dance a jig once they're out of my hands.

Only 10 more after these!


allisonbarrett


Dec 11, 2006, 12:35 PM

Post #361 of 1175 (11445 views)
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Re: [curban14] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm using overnight delivery just to be safe... I'm pretty sure that for Cornell and Wisconsin, the 15th is the deadline, not the postmark date.


blueragtop


Dec 11, 2006, 1:57 PM

Post #362 of 1175 (11427 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

For anyone who is applying to Michigan, are you guys sending the letters of recommendation in your application packet or did you get recommenders to mail them to the school directly? The Michigan site says they want the recommender to mail it, but I'm positive a few months back it said to include it with the writing sample. If anyone has been in contact with the program, do tell.


mares


Dec 11, 2006, 3:28 PM

Post #363 of 1175 (11406 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I just got off the phone with a really friendly lady from the office at Wisconsin. Their deadline is a postmark deadline; she assured me it wouldn't be necessary to pay to overnight the app packet. I probably will go ahead and overnight to Cornell though. They haven't responded to my email about it yet.


mares


Dec 11, 2006, 3:32 PM

Post #364 of 1175 (11405 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

Wisconsin specifies that they want it stapled. Unless they say that, I feel like just paperclipping them. With my name on every page of course. I need to stop over-thinking all this stuff. I just spent an hour with one of my teachers, trying to decide on the order of the poems. Siiiigh. So excited to get these out of my hands!


sibyline


Dec 11, 2006, 3:58 PM

Post #365 of 1175 (11397 views)
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Re: [Banyon] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

not that it matters too much but i would suggest paper clips for your other applications. they're a lot easier to deal with in terms of looking over pages quickly, since people don't usually have time to read the manuscript carefully until after the first skim. just my experience as a journal reader.

and do keep in mind that it's a total crap shoot. i did lots of things wrong last year and still ended up getting accepted, so i wouldn't stress out too much about the little things.


Glinda Bamboo


Dec 11, 2006, 4:32 PM

Post #366 of 1175 (11385 views)
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Re: [melos] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

Melos, I emailed Michigan a few months ago and they said that while they prefer recommenders mail them directly, it's also okay to include the letters with your other materials.


In Reply To
For anyone who is applying to Michigan, are you guys sending the letters of recommendation in your application packet or did you get recommenders to mail them to the school directly? The Michigan site says they want the recommender to mail it, but I'm positive a few months back it said to include it with the writing sample. If anyone has been in contact with the program, do tell.



Banyon


Dec 11, 2006, 5:32 PM

Post #367 of 1175 (11373 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

This first skim thing makes me nervous... I don't think my poetry is very good or makes much sense when skimmed:o(

Sibyline--If you wouldn't mind, could you share with us all the things you did wrong? I think it would make me feel better! Ha! You're invited too, HopperFu:o)


sibyline


Dec 11, 2006, 5:47 PM

Post #368 of 1175 (11371 views)
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Re: [Banyon] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

6 things that sibyline did wrong while still getting into grad school:

1. mailed her applications 1-3 days late (including cornell).

2. submitted vastly different writing samples to different programs.

3. did not personalize her SOP's at all.

4. applied to five of the most competitive programs: iowa, cornell, michigan, brown, and hopkins (hopperfu applied to four).

5. submitted at least one crappy story that she can't even look at now.

6. took her gre's in december.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Dec 11, 2006, 7:08 PM

Post #369 of 1175 (11347 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

And, even so, you had multiple offers, no?


afkasmhop


Dec 11, 2006, 7:21 PM

Post #370 of 1175 (11343 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

Can we discuss these personal statements. Sounds like everyone takes the tried and true route of a business letter... here is who i am , what I have done. Does anyone actually try to be personal in them? Come off like an individual and not a resume?


i find this so stressful.


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Dec 11, 2006, 7:33 PM

Post #371 of 1175 (11341 views)
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Re: [afkasmhop] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I think hopperfu and sibyline posted thers in the SOP thread recently and they're both at Cornell. One is a lot chattier than the other. I think the writing sample matters about ten times as much as anything else.

here's a link:

http://www.pw.org/speakeasy/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=232914;page=4;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;mh=25;


(This post was edited by wilmabluekitty on Dec 11, 2006, 7:39 PM)


sibyline


Dec 11, 2006, 8:23 PM

Post #372 of 1175 (11325 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And, even so, you had multiple offers, no?



i was accepted at cornell and waitlisted at michigan. i accepted the cornell offer right after i visited, so i don't know how the michigan thing would have turned out. i did find out peter ho-davies is super-nice though. however, i would still advise turning in applications on time. i was kinda thinking of last year as a trial run that ended up going surprisingly well.


v1ctorya


Dec 11, 2006, 10:23 PM

Post #373 of 1175 (11288 views)
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Re: [allisonbarrett] Whew [In reply to] Can't Post

I sent mine out except for the one I'm on the fence about. My boss knows something is up so is offering to pay for an MBA. Do I want an MBA? no. BUT, if I don't get into a top program, it won't hurt to take a couple classes while continuing my writing and waiting for next year to come and apply again.

ANYWAY, I hate the post office. I mailed some off last week, and with delivery confirmation it was about 3$ each package. Today? 4-5$, same amount of materials. The guy said the other postal employee did it wrong, I showed him the receipt - same weight, same size, different price. There was no love. I am applying to one low-residency too, but the deadline is march and one recommender hasn't sent the rec. for it yet, I know he's swamped.

Now, off to write thank you cards for my recommenders. Am I stressed? I already found one mistake and have to finish two online applications (including one more essay) so figure, eh. If I have to wait until next year, I have to wait until next year. I got a special amazon card to charge all the application fees too so that I can earn back some money for books.


Aubrie


Dec 11, 2006, 10:43 PM

Post #374 of 1175 (11983 views)
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?!? [In reply to] Can't Post

So here's a good question. U of Minn's app asks for a sheet listing all your (upper level) English classes, and your GPA for these classes. So I head over to my undergrad's student services website to look at my transcript and see that I've taken all of 2 - TWO - English classes in my four years there. What can I say? I was a social sciences major - a late bloomer when it came to writing. So um... do I just include a short note explaining that (in much more eloquent phraseology, of course?!), or do I fill it out with two (2!!!!) classes.

Ack.


HopperFu


Dec 12, 2006, 8:36 AM

Post #375 of 1175 (11947 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] ?!? [In reply to] Can't Post

I took maybe two upper level English classes, three total in college. It didn't seem to matter. Just fill out the form. Don't worry about it. My guess is that is some sort of carry-over from Ph.D. applications. They aren't going to be parsing your course record unless you have a miserable GPA.


plumagemour


Dec 13, 2006, 1:40 AM

Post #376 of 1175 (11199 views)
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things that went wrong today:
-the mail lady on campus conned me into paying $28.80 (!!!!!!) to mail 1/2 of an application and 1 recommendation letter to cornell with priority shipping. after rehinging my jaw, i tried to change the arrangement and the mail lady wouldn't let me. in my defense i'm left with not much more than complaining about the incident here, and insisting on referring to the mail lady as the mail lady.
-i find a grammatical error in my statement after having already mailed it to cornell.
-i'm able to fix it in my application to davis, except at one point in the application they ask for my gpa, and later my undergraduate gpa, both for which i gave the same answer only to later realize that the first was most likely referring to the gpa in my major, which is much higher.


laughingman


Dec 13, 2006, 3:18 AM

Post #377 of 1175 (11192 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Was the grammatical error in your statement of purpose or in your writing sample? I was under the impression that the statement of purpose was supposed to be online. Do you submit a hard copy, too? ... or are you saying you clicked 'submit' and then found an error in the attached SoP?

I just mailed the writing sample and my transcripts--my SoP is online and my LoRs are all being mailed by profs.


plumagemour


Dec 13, 2006, 11:12 AM

Post #378 of 1175 (11159 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

i have a standard sop that i'm tailoring for each school and while tailoring my sop for davis i found a grammatical error that must have been in the version i sent (yes, online) to cornell.

is anyone else applying to schools that are asking them to fill out tedious, long applications for financial aid and teaching positions?


hamholio


Dec 13, 2006, 1:26 PM

Post #379 of 1175 (11124 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

That Davis app really made me question how much I wanted to apply to Davis. I did anyway, but wasn't excited about it.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Dec 13, 2006, 1:33 PM

Post #380 of 1175 (11120 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

If it makes you feel any better, I also realized that I had a very minor, but nonetheless present, grammatical mistake in all of the online SoPs that I sent out--including UVA, which is my top choice. It's a misplaced apostrophe, and managed to slip through despite four rewrites and proof readings by several other people. All I can hope is that they overlook it, or don't particularly mind such a small mistake. Honestly, I've belatedly caught similar tiny typographical errors in cover letters for jobs that I subsequently managed to be hired for, and this is despite working for two years as a writing tutor and doing freelance paper editing for other students. I figure that even great writers make mistakes, and these programs realize that we're human, even when we're trying to be exceedingly careful.

I just realized that I have to write another 300 word statement for UWashington (Seattle)'s teaching application, which is a pain in my backside. I thought I was all done with everything except compiling and mailing my materials.


SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


plumagemour


Dec 13, 2006, 2:20 PM

Post #381 of 1175 (11102 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks sweet,i'm hoping cornell overlooks my error too [as me and my advisor both did through multiple readings of the statement]. now that the rush of getting my applications out to cornell and davis is over, i can hopefully finish and send out my brown app. tonight. but yeah, i'm also going to have to write various short essays for syracuse and johns hopkins. ugh

also ham, which genre are you applying for? i go to davis now so i just walked by the office and dropped off my application a few minutes ago. although the money i saved on postage still doesn't make up for what i blew on cornell's package.


hamholio


Dec 13, 2006, 6:15 PM

Post #382 of 1175 (11053 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Fiction, you? how is Davis? are you in the English department? any opinions? looks like all the MA students are female on the web page. (??) I am intrigued by the staff and the location but worried about it being an MA and put off by the stack of materials they wanted (two copies of transcripts -- well, there goes another $12.)


harvardmfa


Dec 13, 2006, 7:02 PM

Post #383 of 1175 (11038 views)
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Dates of Notification [In reply to] Can't Post

I've just sent in applications to:
Columbia
The New School
Brown

Does anyone know when each of those programs notify applicants about acceptances or rejections?


sibyline


Dec 13, 2006, 7:06 PM

Post #384 of 1175 (11035 views)
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Re: [plumagemour] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

i don't think an error or two matters that much. one of my classmates was proofing for epoch the other day and found a couple of errors in the original manuscript of a story we're publishing, so even the professionals have typos it seems.


Fear&Loathing


Dec 13, 2006, 8:29 PM

Post #385 of 1175 (11011 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I read the same thing I wrote ten times (after it was checked by someone else) and found an error each time. Unfortunately, I sent the writing sample out to a different school each time I did a read through of the work, thinking this was the final read and polished version. By the last application, I think I had all the errors I could find out. Alas, I had nowhere else to send what seemed like a completely polished sample afterwards. I'm already thinking next year if I'm thinking at all.


Aubrie


Dec 13, 2006, 8:48 PM

Post #386 of 1175 (11007 views)
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blarghhhh [In reply to] Can't Post

About to submit NYU's app and package up Minn's for the post office tomorrow and I feel waaaaay sicker than I did this time last year. I can only hope that it's a sign of better things to come for me (as opposed to last year's rejections).

Seriously - my stomach is in knots.


Aubrie


Dec 13, 2006, 11:09 PM

Post #387 of 1175 (10982 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] blarghhhh [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
About to submit NYU's app and package up Minn's for the post office tomorrow and I feel waaaaay sicker than I did this time last year. I can only hope that it's a sign of better things to come for me (as opposed to last year's rejections).

Seriously - my stomach is in knots.

Squeeee! Just submitted NYU!


renapoo


Dec 13, 2006, 11:49 PM

Post #388 of 1175 (10970 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] blarghhhh [In reply to] Can't Post

Commiseration City!

I have 2 totally done with a big fat sharpie through them (NYU & Cornell), 3 that I'm waiting for usps.com to tell me arrived safely (Irvine, UVA, Iowa), and 2 more done and ready to send tomorrow morning (UMass, Brown).

Which leaves 4. The Michigan and Montana and JHU apps make me queasy (an intellectual statement AND a personal statement? Come ON!!!), so I'll probably tackle Michener next.

Not that anybody but me cares! But I care, I care! So. Damn. Much.

Anyway, I think this process is messing with my head. Today, after months of sitting on my "final list," I decided to apply to Brown instead of Indiana, and shoomp! Did it. (in case anyone's wondering, this was surprisingly easy to do as their application is simple, almost entirely online, and they don't need the GRE.)

Can I just say I don't know what I'd do without this board? No matter what happens, we're all in this together. virtually.