Jul 2, 2007, 9:20 PM
Post #480 of 764
Interesting to hear Montana's applications were up by that margin; I know that Massachusetts also had a record-high pool this past cycle. I think, where the top 25 programs are concerned (and Montana, to my mind, is definitely in that class), an acceptance rate around 10% would considered--only relatively speaking--"good" odds. If Montana's MFA were a law school, mind you, it would be harder to get into than every school in that field except Yale and maybe Harvard. But if we rank the top 25 programs (or some semblance of such a list) by acceptance rate, Montana and Arizona and Columbia come out as the "best" odds of getting in (that's my read of things, I am not claiming it's gospel, and not looking to argue/overstate the point). Please don't take that as any criticism of the program; in fact I imagine Montana will shortly be with UVA and Cornell and Brown and several others in having a 5% or so acceptance rate--until then, applicants have a year or two left where they might be able to get into a top school with a (relative to other top schools) higher-than-expected likelihood.
As to size, it's odd: I've been thinking of programs with 4 to 6 students per genre (Brown, Cornell, UVA, Mississippi, and so on) as "small," programs with 7 to 10 students per genre as "medium-size," and programs with 11 or more students per genre per year as "large"--only because, if you break down the top 100 programs or so, I think about 33% fall into each of those three categories. [NB: One wrench in that theory is that many schools have equally-sized poetry and fiction programs and then a smaller non-fiction class; so, if a school accepts 10 poets and 10 fiction-writers and 3 non-fiction writers, how would it be classified? I'll admit my site is geared toward the expectations/informational needs of poetry and fiction folks]. It seems that for every well-publicized outlier size-wise (e.g., Iowa with 25 per genre) there's one on the other end (Cornell, say, with 4 in each genre, or Wisconsin, which only accepts one miniscule class [per genre] every other year). People call Michigan a "large" program, but I believe it's only 12 per genre. That's just "large" for MFAs; obviously, to use the law school analogy again, Michigan's MFA would probably be the smallest law school in the country, or close to it. If Montana has 40 students in three genres total per year (I think I understood you right), that approx. 13-per-genre figure would actually put it, I think, in the "large" category. My website has a ranking of class sizes and I think it probably makes the point better than I'm making it here(!) Cheers,
PS In the event you meant that Montana has 40 students altogether--20 in each of two years of classes--I'm still pretty sure that accepting 20 students/year altogether (my website currently has 23 as the most recent figure) would put Montana in the mid-to-large category. [On the list I have, which includes 57 schools, 30 accept fewer than 20 students a year, 15 accept between 20 and 30, and 12 accept 30+ per year, making 23 slightly on the "larger" side].
(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 2, 2007, 9:31 PM)