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carplowe


Jul 20, 2008, 2:48 AM

Post #601 of 764 (16399 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi all,

I'll shortly be adding an extremely preliminary version of the 2009 P&W MFA Rankings to my website (http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/).

Just thought I'd post the initial results here, particularly as they're a little stunning--thus far there's only one New York City-based MFA (New York University) in the Top 25. While I'm sure this'll change dramatically over time, it nevertheless underscores the new ways of thinking about MFA programs that are encapsulated in this year's and last year's "Choosing an MFA Program" threads. In other words, folks are starting to consider funding (as Tom Kealey famously advised in his Creative Writing MFA Handbook) a primary (if not the primary) factor. As is now well-known, the New York City-area programs, while top-notch quality-wise, offer almost universally poor financial aid packages.

On my website you can find a score of 2007 and 2008 polls and rankings in the right-hand sidebar; a "master" P&W poll of nearly 300 respondents (along with the first-ever tiered ranking of MFA programs) will appear in the second edition of Kealey's The Creative Writing MFA Handbook, due out later this fall (I also wrote a long essay for the book analyzing more than fifty MFA programs individually, and ranking the top fifty best-funded programs).

My goal is to have the 2009 P&W MFA Rankings include the largest respondent pool--and thus be the most accurate MFA popularity/reputation rankings--ever.

As I get new acceptance rate data for MFA programs, I'll be adding that to my website, also. MFA administrators should feel free to e-mail me at the e-mail address listed on my website if they'd like to supply acceptance rate data directly (as some MFA programs have already done, to their palpable benefit, I think--as the provision of accurate admissions information can only be an aid to applicants and admissions committees alike).

Those who'd like to be included in the poll can do so by indicating here, or on the "Choosing an MFA Program (2009)" thread, where they're planning to apply, or (if they've already applied in previous years) either which schools they applied to, or else which schools are the best in their opinion. As I know this is something folks would do (and do do) on this discussion board anyway, I'm sure there'll be lots of data in any case.

Anyway, preamble over.

Here's where things stand now (NB: needless to say, in the early stages of this poll there will always be a lot of ties between programs; that said, you can already see some recognizable patterns emerging, including the continued popularity of several programs which made great strides in the 2008 rankings):

1. University of Michigan
2t. University of Virginia
2t. University of Texas
4. University of Alabama
5t. University of Iowa
5t. Cornell University
5t. University of Oregon
5t. University of Minnesota
5t. University of Notre Dame
5t. University of Houston
5t. University of Illinois
5t. Southern Illinois University
5t. Virginia Commonwealth University
14t. Syracuse University
14t. Indiana University
14t. University of Wisconsin
14t. University of Montana
14t. University of Washington
14t. New York University
14t. Arizona State University
14t. Vanderbilt University
14t. George Mason University
14t. Bowling Green State University
14t. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
14t. Virginia Tech University
14t. McNeese State University

Bubbling Under: University of California at Irvine; University of Florida; Johns Hopkins University; Washington University; University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Florida State University; University of Arkansas; Ohio State University; Sarah Lawrence College; University of Mississippi; Colorado State University; Hunter College [CUNY]; and 11 others.

Good luck to all applicants!

-- Seth

More info at: http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/

Seth,

Thanks for all of your hard work. If this helps, here are the 8 schools I'm planning to apply for fiction this fall (I'd like to do more, but can't afford all the application fees):

Johns Hopkins University
Emerson
University of Arizona
Iowa
NYU
San Francisco State
San Diego State
Mills College


Fader J


Jul 20, 2008, 8:23 PM

Post #602 of 764 (16330 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

 
love your site, seth!! can't believe i never knew about it. boy, that must have take you forever to compile all that data. is there any reason you haven't done rankinsg for low-res programs? i'm applying to both regular and low-res next year and am having trouble getting a sense of the best ones out there, other than the ones people seem to mention on these threads.

btw, here's the list of schools where i'm applying in the fall for poetry writing. i'm trying to stay pretty close to home, chicago, as you can see, or else hoping for a low res acceptance.

regular mfa...

illinois--champaign-urbana
western michigan
columbia college (chicago)
iowa
iowa state
minnesota

low-res...

vermont college
pacific
warren wilson
bennington
nebraska


umass76


Jul 20, 2008, 9:23 PM

Post #603 of 764 (16320 views)
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Re: [Fader J] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Fader,

As near as I can tell, Erika Dreifus is the country's foremost expert on low-res programs. You should check out this page on her website: http://practicing-writing.blogspot.com/...tudy-mfa-and_28.html. She's done for low-res programs what I've tried to do for full-residency programs, and is like me a contributing author to the next edition of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook. Hopefully that link'll get you started; please do tell others you know looking for MFA information about this and other sites. We're trying (in a very loose way) to create a network of sites MFA applicants can go to. It's about time we all stopped trying to find our way in the dark.

Be well,
Seth


Fader J


Jul 20, 2008, 9:28 PM

Post #604 of 764 (16316 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

hi seth,

thanks. i actually ran into erika on the low-res thread and checked out her site. really helpful. many thanks to both of you for putting together this info!


Scrat1


Jul 20, 2008, 9:31 PM

Post #605 of 764 (16316 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

I'm shocked to see Virginia Tech so high, and, especially, to see VCU tied for fifth. As a Virginia native already heading to an MFA program, it would have been nice to know more about these programs. Just for the sake of masochism, what rocketed those two programs up past programs like UC Irvine?

Thanks


umass76


Jul 20, 2008, 9:40 PM

Post #606 of 764 (16310 views)
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Re: [Scrat1] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Scrat,

VT and VCU won't end up that high I don't think, but the Top 50 isn't outside the realm of possibility. The reasons? Excellent funding (they're both Top 50 in that particular ranking) and strong faculty, and (at least as to their popularity) location probably also plays a role.

Be well,
Seth

P.S. As to Irvine, I don't know why, but it always starts slow (i.e. seems less popular early in the application cycle), and as a result never gets to quite the heights one would expect (#10 in 2007, #12 in 2008). If the pattern holds, it seems #13 to #15 is a pretty good bet for this year (which ain't too shabby at all).


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 20, 2008, 9:47 PM)


aiyamei

e-mail user

Jul 21, 2008, 7:04 AM

Post #607 of 764 (16266 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't it possible that there are programs that are hugely desirable to most applicants but are seen as so elite that people don't apply to them out of fear?

That seems to be the case with Irvine. People know it's tiny, and they hear that it's "number one in the country" and just figure that they wouldn't get in anyway so why waste the money?


umass76


Jul 21, 2008, 12:06 PM

Post #608 of 764 (16231 views)
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Re: [aiyamei] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Aiyamei,

Honestly, that seems unlikely, as Iowa, which is generally seen as number one nationally, has consistently had a sizeable lead on all other schools in the P&W Reader Poll, and in terms of real-world applications has a 600-application lead (1,500 to 900) on its next-closest competitor (NYU hit a high-water mark of 900 applications several years back, and is now believed to be at around 700 to 750 applications). I've speculated before that one of the reasons for Irvine's failure to crack the Top 5 (or, in the past two years, the "inside" of the Top 10) is that it is considered a desireable target for fiction-writers, but less so for poetry. Also, there's been a tremendous amount of upheaval faculty-wise, so a significant amount of luster has been lost in that regard as well.

A few other reasons I doubt that theory: no other top-ranked school seems to suffer so (unless you count the drop-offs since 1996 of Johns Hopkins and Houston, which I think are clearly attributable to other factors); and since application-rate data was released a little over a year ago, it's become clear that Irvine is actually one of ten schools in America with an acceptance rate under 3%, and none of those other schools seems to have problems in this poll. If you look only at fiction programs, there are probably close to twenty which, along with Irvine, have an acceptance rate under 3%, and again, none of these programs are showing the trend we see with Irvine. My guess is that, as more and more applicants do research online and realize there are more top-notch programs than just Iowa and Irvine, Irvine is joining what I call the First Tier of programs, which includes eleven other schools--and thus could place any school in that Tier anywhere from #1 to #12 nationally--whereas Iowa, in a singular fashion, has maintained its long-standing lead on any other program (due in large part to the fact that it's much, much older than any other program, including Irvine, and not necessarily on the idea that Iowa is truly leaps and bounds stronger than, say, the amazing programs at Michigan, Cornell, Virginia, et. al.).

Best wishes,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 21, 2008, 12:15 PM)


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jul 21, 2008, 7:18 PM

Post #609 of 764 (16161 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Is UMass-Amherst not on the list? This is troubling, as I'm going there this fall. I thought it was a top fifteen program.


umass76


Jul 21, 2008, 8:17 PM

Post #610 of 764 (16150 views)
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Re: [Zash] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Zash (and all),

As I mentioned earlier, this is a very preliminary listing. The rankings haven't taken their full shape yet--or anything remotely like it--and there are a number of schools not listed in the above list which will end up in the top ten almost certainly. The University of Massachusetts is a high Tier 1 school; Columbia University (also not listed above) is also in Tier 1. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I posted the preliminary listing here just for fun--attach absolutely no significant meaning to the ranking until it goes "live" on The Suburban Ecstasies in a few weeks (assuming there's enough responses between now and then). And even when it goes "live," schools will still move up and down over the next ten months, with some programs (if last year was any indication) moving as many as 20 to 30 spots before the final bell rings on April 15, 2009.

In other words, Zash, UMass is awesome, you'll love it, and ultimately the rankings will reflect how good a school it is (in my view, a Top 5/Top 8 program). Have no fear.

Best,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jul 21, 2008, 8:18 PM)


rkweiss


Jul 22, 2008, 2:02 AM

Post #611 of 764 (16119 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

Do you have any earlier predictions about where the University of Washington will end up? That's one of my top choices purely for geographical reasons, I've always wanted to live in Seattle, but have no idea what type of tier it's on. First? Second? Third? It's kind of the odd ball on my list.

Oh, and if this will help you with your poll, here's the list of school where I'm applying this year. It used to be twice as long, but I did some pruning. These are definites.

Rutgers-Newark
U Virginia
Pittsburgh
Hollins
Brown
U Iowa
U Washington
U Maryland, College Park
Johns Hopkins


mchard


Jul 22, 2008, 2:34 AM

Post #612 of 764 (16113 views)
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Rankings List [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

This was my list last year (in poetry):

University of Michigan
University of Texas (Michener)
Purdue University
Indiana University
University of Montana
University of Washington
University of Oregon
University of Arkansas
University of Idaho
Eastern Washington University


umass76


Jul 22, 2008, 11:43 AM

Post #613 of 764 (16072 views)
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Re: [mchard] Rankings List [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, you two. R.K. (and others), if you could let me know your genre, too, that'd be great. I'm planning on doing the most extensive genre-specific rankings this year, too. Be well,

S.


rkweiss


Jul 22, 2008, 2:58 PM

Post #614 of 764 (16033 views)
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Re: [umass76] Rankings List [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying in Fiction, Seth. Thanks.


Zash
Zachary Ash

Jul 22, 2008, 6:07 PM

Post #615 of 764 (16000 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, Seth, for your reassurance and for all the amazing research you do.


reality writes


Jul 23, 2008, 4:12 PM

Post #616 of 764 (15900 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

hey Seth, I applied to these schools for poetry last year

Indiana (rejected)
Sarah Lawrence (accepted)
VCU (accepted)
Virginia (rejected)
UNCG (waitlisted)
UNCW (rejected)
Oregon (rejected)
Montana (rejected)
Iowa (rejected)
UM-St. Louis (accepted)

I declined my offers because I either was unimpressed after visiting/talking to students or was not offered enough funding to attend. I didn't move up at UNCG's waitlist; the director is deferring my application.

here's where I'm applying for poetry in 09:

UNCG (reapply, deferred)
Montana (reapply)
UT Austin (MA & MFA)
University of Arizona
University of Alabama
University of Arkansas
University of Minnesota-Minneapolis

...and I'll try not to make that list change 3 times over in the next few months :)


p.walsh


Jul 24, 2008, 8:31 PM

Post #617 of 764 (15793 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Seth,

This is where I'm applying for fiction this year:

UMass Boston
UMass, Amherst
Sarah Lawrence
Houston
Iowa
Montana
New School
UNC Greensboro
Hollins


__________



Jul 26, 2008, 11:55 PM

Post #618 of 764 (15677 views)
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Re: [p.walsh] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth!

Hello again, and thanks for your continued hard work; it's appreciated.

So I was pretty surprised to see McNeese State up there in the top twenty. Do you attribute its ginormous rise to Adam Johnson's piece in the MFA Handbook? I loved the essay, but decided not to apply, as Johnson's main draw (Robert Olen Butler) has left...


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Jul 26, 2008, 11:58 PM)


umass76


Jul 27, 2008, 12:11 AM

Post #619 of 764 (15665 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there JM,

To be honest, I don't think McNeese will end up being in the top 50 when the rankings reach their final stage. That said, a) the program has decent funding, and b) it's an "early reporter" (each year, according to my data, it has notified its first admittees in late fall of the year before the April 15th deadline for that cycle), which is probably important to some applicants. In the "master" Poets & Writers Reader Poll (2006-8), McNeese didn't crack the top 90. Administratively it's not clear how much they have their act together, either, as their website is inaccessible presently, and poorly navigable (at least as to the University as a whole) when it is accessible. Google doesn't even have a cache version of the MFA website available. Finally, I don't know that McNeese has location on its side, as Louisiana has not been a prime target for applicants in recent years (the puzzling lack of applications to the well-funded LSU program being some proof of this).

Be well,
Seth


v1ctorya


Jul 27, 2008, 4:03 PM

Post #620 of 764 (15616 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I for one am applying to LSU. The more I read into it the more I like the idea of going there and think it fits my sensibilities well.

I just know I'm not applying to any NYC schools but that's mainly because I've lived here for so long and feel I need to jar myself out of the lull living and learning here has put me in.


S.K.J.


Jul 27, 2008, 11:32 PM

Post #621 of 764 (15572 views)
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Re: [umass76] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Seth,

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with those of us who don't know what we're doing. I've been following your posts and they have been really helpful. Is that really true about Iowa getting that many applications? I knew they were considered to be the best program in the country, but those numbers are crazy. Reading that post basically confirmed two things for me: a) Iowa is my top choice (which I already knew) b) I have a better chance of being drafted by the Oakland A's than getting in there.

Here is my own list, which may get longer. I'm applying to these for fiction, in order of preference

Iowa
Brown
Cornell
Syracuse
UC Irvine
TX State
Arizona State
NM State
Colorado State
Texas Tech


symmetrical


Jul 28, 2008, 12:13 AM

Post #622 of 764 (15561 views)
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Re: [S.K.J.] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

My current list (for poetry)

Texas (michener)
Michigan
Alabama
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Virginia Commonwealth
UNc-Greensboro
UNC-Wilmington
Maryland
Illinois
Southern Illinois
Montana
Arizona State

14 schools so far. Could be more. I really don't want to have to wait another year if I don't get in somewhere, and I'm pretty flexible location-wise, but not funding-wise. Also would prefer a program that's 3 yrs, which half of these are.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 28, 2008, 9:34 AM

Post #623 of 764 (15536 views)
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Re: [symmetrical] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Symmetrical:

Add University of Florida to your list. The program just stretched out from 2 to 3 years, and everyone in the program is funded and gets great teaching experience. The faculty for poetry is phenomenal, and the attention your writing will get is top-notch. The town of Gainesville ain't so bad to live in, the rent is reasonable, and the locals are rather friendly. Also, the application fee is pretty darn inexpensive. UF is one of those schools where it is *truly* the quality of your writing--and the "teachability" that the faculty sees in you (ie the directions you could head in and the things you can learn to help you fine-tune your craft are sympathetic to what and how the poets teach...)--that will get you into the program.

I more than highly recommend that place. It's an awesome, awesome, awesome program.

Good luck with your applications.

Best,
Stephanie


symmetrical


Jul 28, 2008, 12:04 PM

Post #624 of 764 (15508 views)
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Re: [stephkarto1] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info Stephanie. I hadn't realized FL had changed to 3 yrs, but unfortunately Florida is the one state I refuse to move to, having grown up there. I have heard great things about the program, but I just can't move back there again.


Raysen


Jul 29, 2008, 12:41 AM

Post #625 of 764 (15441 views)
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Re: [symmetrical] 2009 P&W MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for the info Stephanie. I hadn't realized FL had changed to 3 yrs, but unfortunately Florida is the one state I refuse to move to, having grown up there. I have heard great things about the program, but I just can't move back there again.


I understand where you're coming wrt returning to the place of your childhood. My parents are the same way. They always say "We left there for a reason."

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