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silkfx2004


Jan 10, 2005, 6:21 PM

Post #26 of 357 (6195 views)
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Re: [catenz] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a 2.47 total GPA in undergrad because, trying to please other people, I majored in engineering and math before I came to my senses and changed to English. At the end of my junior year I had a 1.1 or something, that's how bad it was. But I ended up graduating with a 3.7 in my (final) major. I thank everything that's holy that I took English classes throughout my four years, because they literally saved my ass.

I basically explained this on a few of my apps, so I'm hoping they'll give me a break. My GRE scores were strong, but my writing samples...oy...

If you can provide extenuating circumstances (e.g., I was a dope and thought I could be the next Albert Einstein), that might help.


--------
Nobody but God gets it right the first time. Everybody else has to rewrite. --attributed to Stephen King


thebeatbaby


Jan 19, 2005, 11:00 PM

Post #27 of 357 (6130 views)
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Re: [silkfx2004] GPA/GRE/MFA Panic [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I've said this a few times already, but what the hell.
I had a 2.67 gpa, crappy gre scores and the way my handwriting is it probably looked like a five year old put the thing together on a bender
and I got into seven schools including nyu, columbia and university of arizona.

The first time I applied i got in nowhere and was convinced the whole grades not mattering thing was a big lie.
But it's not.


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee

e-mail user

Apr 6, 2005, 12:53 PM

Post #28 of 357 (6021 views)
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Sometimes a condition may apply... [In reply to] Can't Post

If a writing program wants to admit you, they will--the worst that will happen is the university will accept you conditionally, meaning you have to meet a certain GPA that first semester, quarter, or year in order to continue, usually at least a 3.0. (This is true when an applicant must apply both to the university and the program.) Every university will be different, but as everyone else has said, if your writing sample wins them over, they'll accept you.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


Aubrie


Oct 8, 2005, 11:37 PM

Post #29 of 357 (6116 views)
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Re: [thebeatbaby] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I must know whether or not this is the truth... I've been fretting over my gpa since i began the application process. What is your secret? How was it possible that you got into all these programs? Please let us know so that I don't go ahead and waste the application fee for Columbia & NYU?!?!?


taizhu


Oct 9, 2005, 11:18 AM

Post #30 of 357 (6111 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
must know whether or not this is the truth... I've been fretting over my gpa since i began the application process. What is your secret? How was it possible that you got into all these programs? Please let us know so that I don't go ahead and waste the application fee for Columbia & NYU?!?!?


Aubrie, I don't think you should spend time worrying about gpas and test scores, when it comes to Columbia and NYU. It really is all about the manuscript for most of these programs. The funding situation at Columbia, however, would definitely cause me to think twice about applying...


Kaytie
Kaytie M. Lee

e-mail user

Oct 24, 2005, 6:16 PM

Post #31 of 357 (5954 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] gre questions... [In reply to] Can't Post

Do your scores meet or exceed the requirements of each university's graduate program? If so, I suggest not taking the test over and instead concentrating on your writing samples and letter of intent. These will be much more important when it comes to reviewing your entire application.

If they don't meet or exceed the requirements for some strange reason, take the test again. FWIW my scores and GPA were similar and I was accepted to 3 of the 5 schools I applied to.


Kaytie M. Lee Last Updated November 2008


hapworth


Oct 26, 2005, 7:41 PM

Post #32 of 357 (5918 views)
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Re: [Mikaeltb] gre questions... [In reply to] Can't Post

These scores are very, very strong. I took the GRE ten years ago, scored a 590 on the verbal, and got into Bama's MFA program. Anything over 600 is a good to very good score. Anything over 700 is fantastic. But here's the thing. I honestly don't think GRE scores mean diddly to the majority of programs. Yes, some programs might require a 600 for a teaching assistantship, but not many. And I imagine that there are perhaps some programs, like Columbia, where a high score doesn't hurt, but programs will be judging you primarily on your writing sample, your statement of purpose, and your letters of rec. I've known plenty of people with 500-range verbal scores who got into fine MFA programs, and I know people with 500-range verbal scores who got into Ph.D programs.

Really, I think the whole discussion of GREs for writing programs is very, very secondary. Oh, and did I mention that you could have scored a 420 on the math and MFA programs won't care?

Hapworth


hazelmotes


Oct 28, 2005, 6:40 PM

Post #33 of 357 (6057 views)
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Re: [taizhu] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I applied to a few schools in 2003 (Iowa, Irvine, MN, Wisconsin, Columbia and NYU) I had a 3.9 GPA, a 99% GRE, and I didn't get in anywhere. I think it boils down to the writing sample, and I'm going to try again this year. All in all, the only reason your numbers matter are so they can apply for state and federal grants. Who the hell cares if you got an A in Chemistry? They only care if you can write.


rooblue


Oct 29, 2005, 12:44 AM

Post #34 of 357 (6045 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Hazelmotes" is a terrific moniker choice. FO would be proud.


hazelmotes


Oct 29, 2005, 12:47 AM

Post #35 of 357 (6043 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I wanted my moniker to be "doloreshazelmotes" but it's too long, they wouldn't let me do it.


rooblue


Oct 29, 2005, 10:40 AM

Post #36 of 357 (6034 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

hah! it would have been great if the board could have made an exception -- FO and VN together again for the first time -- I wonder if they ever met, and if so, what they would have thought of each other...


hazelmotes


Oct 29, 2005, 1:11 PM

Post #37 of 357 (6030 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

They were both pretty surly. They may have hated each other. My two favorite writers though.


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 10:51 AM

Post #38 of 357 (6010 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Lolita, if not my favorite novel, is definitely in the top 3. I learned only recently that he'd written short stories, too. I'm going to have to check those out. I imagine that FO would have found him arrogant and godless, and he would have found her shrewish, prudish, clannish, and every other negative -ish he could think of. They won't be sitting next to each other in the writers' dining hall in Heaven, unless the maitre d' has a wicked sense of humor.


hazelmotes


Oct 30, 2005, 6:26 PM

Post #39 of 357 (5988 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

But they were both really great at insults (see Nabokov's short story "Spring in Fialta" for some examples) so their hatred of each other would be priceless to see. My favorite thing by FO is her novel WISE BLOOD.

Where are you applying? Fiction, I assume.


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 7:28 PM

Post #40 of 357 (5984 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

That particular VN story has been recommended to me before -- I'm definitely going to have to check it out. I'm actually already in MFA school, at Warren Wilson, but I like to read this board because I remember so clearly, and empathize so much with, the agony of waiting, waiting and waiting. I watched the mail, but WWC notifies people by phone, so when I finally found out I was in, I wasn't prepared. I'm in my third term, and it's a great program, if you're on the low-res track. What about you? What is your top choice?


hazelmotes


Oct 30, 2005, 7:37 PM

Post #41 of 357 (5982 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't want to do low-res, mostly because I'd like to teach and get some teaching experience. I think the program at Brooklyn College looks most exciting, but it would be hard for me to afford the move to New York. So, other than that, I'm looking mostly at extremely well-funded schools, my top choice of which is Wisconsin: Also applying to Indiana, Austin, Montana, maybe Brown and about six million more.

WW does have a good program. Did you apply only low-res?


rooblue


Oct 30, 2005, 10:04 PM

Post #42 of 357 (5977 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, only low res. I've been out of school a lonnng time -- I have a big job that I wasn't considering giving up -- so low res was the only option. If I were alot younger, I'd do what you are doing. I didn't realize Austin had an MFA program. Is that at UT? I'm from Texas so I'm curious. WHo are the fiction fac?


sovietsleepover


Oct 31, 2005, 2:57 PM

Post #43 of 357 (5959 views)
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Re: [rooblue] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, there's both an MFA program & an MA with creative writing concentration at UT. The MFA program itself is interesting--offers playwriting & screenwriting in addition to poetry & fiction, is very loose in terms of lit requirements, requires writers to declare a secondary genre that they take several workshops in, pays a hefty stipend, and doesn't require teaching whatsoever (it's not part of the english department & gets its money from an endowment, so college level teaching isn't an option & the emphasis is entirely on having time to write).

The faculty themselves isn't that impressive, but the program brings in a lot of impressive (& plenty of unheard-of, too) visiting professors for full semesters or day-long masterclasses. (I'm there now, & last week got to go to a 2hr masterclass with Salman Rushdie! (!!!! x1000); Dean Young'll be here in Fall 2006; Naomi Shihab Nye was here last year.) There's a full faculty list here.

Nearby programs include Houston & Texas State (Denis Johnson & Tim O'Brien teach here, but I've heard not-so-good things about the caliber of the students--whatever that means, I have no evidence!). I think there're PhD poetics programs at Texas Tech (!?) and UNT...


laroo


Nov 1, 2005, 11:56 AM

Post #44 of 357 (5936 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think the program at Brooklyn College looks most exciting, but it would be hard for me to afford the move to New York.


I am enrolled full-time in the Brooklyn College program. I also work full-time. Cunningham noted at orientation that BC is a good program for people with jobs, families, etc. I concur: my classses are at night, the work-load is tolerable, and I don't struggle to pay the rent. Granted, I am busier than hell, but it's worth it.

New York is certainly an expensive place to live. But you don't need a car and you don't have to live in Manhattan—both of which will save you a ton of money. Also, the in-state tuition for the Brooklyn College program is around $2,500 per semester. Not bad at all, especially if you have a day job. It was better for me financially to work 40 hours a week with a real salary and pay a modest tuition than it would have been to work just as many hours teaching for a $10,000 stipend.


hazelmotes


Nov 1, 2005, 2:38 PM

Post #45 of 357 (5875 views)
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Re: [laroo] importance of your gpa? [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I'd probably live in Brooklyn. It's pretty hard to get any type of place in Manhattan these days. But I hope to teach someday, so teaching in the school would be helpful. Also, I would be paying out of state tuition. These things add up. But I love New York, and it might be a good excuse to move there.

More importanly, how do you like the program? I've heard only good things. Is Colson Whitehead teaching there now?


gymnick


Nov 23, 2005, 8:34 PM

Post #46 of 357 (6007 views)
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Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been a frequent lurker/sometimes poster to this forum and I want to say that I'm taking the GRE advice offered- as in, I'm not really preparing. I've done a few verbal sections (had no problem with them), some math (had more than a few problems there) and looked over the writing questions. I've thrown myself into all other aspects of the application, especially the writing samples. If I get into a program, I'll you guys.


HopperFu


Nov 23, 2005, 10:32 PM

Post #47 of 357 (5999 views)
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Re: [gymnick] Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Good luck with the applications, Gymnick. I had a MFA prof who was willing to answer questions for me - he is a graduate of Iowa and currently the head of a program - and he said that the schools look at (in this order): writing samples, statements, letters of rec.
I'm sure there is a program somewhere that weights the GRE's highly, but none that any of us have heard of....


Aubrie


Nov 24, 2005, 11:46 AM

Post #48 of 357 (5983 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Gymnick - I did little to no preparation for the GREs. I had the best intentions too, but... life gets in the way. I'd agree that programs will only be looking at scores to back up their most important opinion - which would be your writing sample.
Don't stress about the exam - it's not so tough. I just took mine yesterday. As long as your scores aren't abysmal (and even then...) the school shouldn't care.

p.s.- at Columbia's open house they said they've accepted talented writers without BAs. It's all about the writing.


hazelmotes


Nov 24, 2005, 12:27 PM

Post #49 of 357 (5977 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, honstly-- I applied two years ago, got really stressed about my GRE's, studied like hell (neglecting such thing as my personal statement) I got 99% on the GRE, and didn't get in anywhere. Oh, and I have a 3.9 gpa-- So honestly, I don't think they care. They're looking at your writing, and mine obviously didn't appeal to them. Plus, I had a typo in my personal statement (first sentence!)

So I really would not worry about the GRE. Just pass it. I think most schools ask you to get over 600 on verbal. Even that isn't a drop dead thing.


gymnick


Nov 24, 2005, 8:26 PM

Post #50 of 357 (5964 views)
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Re: [hazelmotes] Trusting you guys [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much for all of the encouragement. I'm giving up on practicing and going out to dinner with friends (it's Thanksgiving, after all). I did a few practice sections today and I'm generally doing about 50% on the math section. It's not going to get any better at this point. Only my confidence will get shakier at this point.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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