Feb 17, 2007, 2:18 PM
Post #645 of 1172
You'll find that people here at this board are split, too. But my guess is there are more people against taking loans for the MFA, than for it. The reason is simple: what the MFA will give you is for the most part time to write and a community of fellow writers, not job opportunities. Sure, if you're at some top program, you'll very likely have the chance of doing some networking, meeting editors, agents, publishers, etc. But even that doesn't secure you a job. To get a real job (tenure-track, not just up-in-the-air, poorly paid adjunct work), you'll need an excellent publication record at prestigious journals -- and perhaps not even that, but a book deal. Only then will having the MFA degree might help you: if two candidates have an equal pub history, but one of them has an MFA, the hiring committee might lean towards the latter. So, unless you have some independent source of income, or you're certain you'll have a stellar pub record two years from now, going into big debt to get an MFA at a no-name school (no mean to belittle it; perhaps in 5 years it'll be a very prestigious school, but right now it's a no-name) sounds like trouble. OK, you don't want to wait tables. No one does. But if the choice is between "sacrificing" one year waiting tables (and, say, writing at night, thus improving your portfolio) and getting "immediate satisfaction" (starting the MFA right away at this school with no fin aid) but putting your financial future in jeopardy, well, I think the choice is obvious. Wait a year, improve your writing, and you WILL get into a good school that will pay for your MFA.
But this is just my opinion. If you browse this site you'll find a long discussion with lots of people jumping in. Clench Million made the case for getting in debt to get the MFA -- but he was talking of Columbia.
Hope this helps.