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sicofelephants


e-mail user

Mar 24, 2008, 2:01 AM

Post #226 of 430 (7621 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

To be fair now, I spoke with a former Columbia student who absolutely loathes the school. He felt that it did not do much to improve his writing skills so much as his networking skills. His biggest complaint, though, was with the student body. Haha, I've never spoken to anyone so bitter about their time at a school, and I really regreted bringing up the subject with him. I won't get into specifics about what he hated so much about the students there, but believe me when I say I would never ask him again about C_ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Anyway, I just bring up this point because there's a place for everyone. Sure, maybe my money *will* go to waste at Texas State or UT because it's just not as good as most places (the MA, not the Michener MFA. My professor also mentioned the flakey faculty at the Mich, and her boyfriend had a few negative things to say about them as well even though he got his MFA there). Then again, maybe I'll actually enjoy my time at a place like Texas State, despite its smaller size and budding reputation. The students I've spoken to there are highly enthusiastic about the program and have been so welcoming. I know you mentioned you weren't trying to bash lesser schools, but in your rush to defend Columbia, it did come off that way. Not all of us are that good, and it kinda brings us down when you talk about schools some of us will end up going to. As if the only thing worse than our writing skills is our judgement for taking a well-funded offer. I'm happy for all the future TC Boyles and Flannery O'Conors of the world who will graduate from Columbia and Iowa. *shrug* I just don't think that either is an ideal model. If all schools were like that and suddenly 90% of MFA applicants could never get in to any schools becaues they weren't good enough....

Again, I know you weren't trying to be mean or trying to discourage students from taking funded offers for the sake of money. It just sounds like your defensiveness got the better of you in some parts of yours posts. And to your credit, I'm sure there are kids about to accept their Columbia offers who needed a voice like yours to save the school's reputation.


sicofelephants


e-mail user

Mar 24, 2008, 2:12 AM

Post #227 of 430 (7614 views)
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Re: [sicofelephants] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, and as for tiny programs having a problem with students being the professors' favorite in order to get the most out of their time there, the guy I spoke to at Columbia said the out-of-control ass kissing there was one of his biggest turn offs about the school. A quote from him, verbatim:

"Competition is rife and the environment is an absurdity. However, if you become someone's pet, you'll have fewer problems and mysterious gifts will make their way to you. (And I was recipient of some of those, in spite of the tone of this message.) If not, well...it will be a long two years. I recommend spending breezy days at the Cloisters."

And in spite of all his anger, I've never heard anyone so deft with language. I have no doubt of the caliber of students going to Columbia. Just sayin' there are students that good who choose other "lesser" programs.


(This post was edited by sicofelephants on Mar 24, 2008, 2:12 AM)


spamela


Mar 24, 2008, 9:27 AM

Post #228 of 430 (7584 views)
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Re: [wardis] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

Oy, just to join the fray here, I've found Iowa City to be one of the snobbiest writing towns I've ever lived in--and I just moved here from New York. I've found there to be an attitude here that if you didn't/don't go to the workshop, you're not a real writer. Iowa City is the town of my birth and youth and so it was quite disappointing to find this to be the case when I moved back as a fiction-writing adult. Basically, I've learned my lesson and stay away from the Workshop people. The townies are where it's at.


__________



Mar 24, 2008, 10:13 AM

Post #229 of 430 (7564 views)
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Re: [sicofelephants] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Columbia...Not all of us are that good, and it kinda brings us down when you talk about schools some of us will end up going to.
____________________________


Gotta say I disagree with this line of thinking. Columbia might be a 'name' school (and nothing against Columbia, I do know it's really swell), but no one should feel less of a writer for getting into a great school like Texas State (which is even more selective than Columbia!). Read the best work coming out of the various schools (in journals, I guess), read the more mid-range (or even bad) work (from friends, acquaintances, school journals, helpful netizens), and you'll see it's not much different wherever you might end up. (Except maybe Iowa, is what I'm thinking. Then you may reasonably feel like a lesser human for not getting in. But not even then, not always...).


six five four three two one 0 ->


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 11:01 AM

Post #230 of 430 (7527 views)
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Re: [sicofelephants] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

sicofelephants:

Those are some fair points. And yes, I'm sure there are many people who loathe Columbia after graduating. I've heard graduates rail against how horrible Iowa was and Arkansas and pretty much every program. No program is for everyone, hell MFAs aren't even for all writers. You can read articles by a lot of them that make it clear they never should have gone to an MFA at all. C'est la vie.


Quote
Not all of us are that good, and it kinda brings us down when you talk about schools some of us will end up going to.


Well, I wasn't commenting at all on what someone who gets into only X or Y program should do. I'm just giving a note of caution that there is more to an MFA program than the funding. I've just known people and read accounts on boards like this where people were offered a spot at their dream school but turned it down for better funding somewhere else and lived to really regret it.

This isn't only about Columbia. Like I said, there are a fair number of really good programs in the country and Columbia is certainly not on some special pedestal here. It may be someone gets into NYU with barely any funding or is one of the Iowa picks without money and turn them down for other offers.

I'm not at all bashing anyone for going for the other offer either. All of this is personal choice. Just saying that people should keep in mind all the factors. This is, after all, your only MFA experience. I feel like the conversation in certain circles has focused too heavily on the one factor of funding ands it caused some people to make decisions they regret. Of course, I"m sure there are people who regret going into debt for an MFA as well.

I was not trying to bash anyone, just offering up something to think about when picking schools.


Quote

Oh, and as for tiny programs having a problem with students being the professors' favorite in order to get the most out of their time there,


This is not what I meant before. I was referring to how at a small program you may end up talking almost all your classes with like two professors and what if neither of them ends up being a good teacher for your work? Not every teacher is the best for every student. I think we all know this from undergrad workshops.

That is not to bash small programs, just to say that there are a lot of positives and negatives to both small and large programs. It really is a matter of personal preference.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Mar 24, 2008, 11:06 AM)


sicofelephants


e-mail user

Mar 24, 2008, 11:07 AM

Post #231 of 430 (7519 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

Points well taken. It was just hard to tell sometimes whether your aggression was aimed just at disparagers of Columbia or at some of these smaller programs as well.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 11:24 AM

Post #232 of 430 (7511 views)
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Re: [sicofelephants] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Points well taken. It was just hard to tell sometimes whether your aggression was aimed just at disparagers of Columbia or at some of these smaller programs as well.


I apologize if I come off as aggressive. I don't mind legitimate criticism of Columbia or any questions raised. The only thing I mind are is some of myths that are perpetrated. Well, and that fact that some posters feel the need to rail against the program with obvious bile in post after post after post, not stating their point of view, but drowning everyone in it and forcing out all other opinions under the sheer length and volume of the posts.

Threads like these are for future applicants to peruse and get some thoughts on various programs, not a place to hear one person's opinion repeated ad nauseum.


(This post was edited by Clench Million on Mar 24, 2008, 11:28 AM)


pensive
Adam
e-mail user

Mar 24, 2008, 11:35 AM

Post #233 of 430 (7495 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Columbia, again [In reply to] Can't Post

Children... behave.


LauraJean1


Mar 24, 2008, 1:12 PM

Post #234 of 430 (7451 views)
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Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post

The benefits for me, outweigh the negatives.

I'm going to Columbia, for fiction, fall 2008!


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 1:34 PM

Post #235 of 430 (7426 views)
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Re: [LauraJean1] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post

Laura:

Well congrats on the acceptance. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the program.
peace
CM


upsetme


Mar 24, 2008, 2:29 PM

Post #236 of 430 (7391 views)
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Re: [LauraJean1] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The benefits for me, outweigh the negatives.

I'm going to Columbia, for fiction, fall 2008!


Congrats! I'm close to pulling the trigger myself, but I want to make a visit first -- see the New School, see Columbia -- then decide.

Anyone get a (Columbia) packet yet or word on the best time to visit?


LauraJean1


Mar 24, 2008, 5:56 PM

Post #237 of 430 (7324 views)
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Re: [upsetme] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post

No packet yet.

Oh when will information just show up at my door?


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 24, 2008, 6:12 PM

Post #238 of 430 (7309 views)
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Re: [upsetme] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
The benefits for me, outweigh the negatives.

I'm going to Columbia, for fiction, fall 2008!


Congrats! I'm close to pulling the trigger myself, but I want to make a visit first -- see the New School, see Columbia -- then decide.

Anyone get a (Columbia) packet yet or word on the best time to visit?



I don't know the date off hand, but there is an open house for prospective students sometime in april. Probably the best date to come. I think George Saunders is giving a guest lecture that day as well. I'll post the date if I find out.


upsetme


Mar 24, 2008, 6:34 PM

Post #239 of 430 (7286 views)
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Re: [Clench Million] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!


hackofalltrades


Mar 24, 2008, 7:45 PM

Post #240 of 430 (7265 views)
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Package arrived [In reply to] Can't Post

Dudes and dudettes, my Columbia package arrived. I'm in Brooklyn, so I'm probably one of the first recipients, but expect yours in the mail soon! It requests a yay or nay by April 11.

I was happy to see that the Hertog Fellowships are still running. For some reason, I don't recall reading about them on the Columbia website, so it's nice to know that they're still around.

I'm still holding out to hear if I got more money before saying yes officially, but I'm just being coy--I'm 99% on the Columbia train at this point.


dylanvitti


Mar 24, 2008, 8:26 PM

Post #241 of 430 (7234 views)
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Re: [hackofalltrades] Package arrived [In reply to] Can't Post

My packet arrived, as well! And I'm in North Carolina, so it took a few days to get here. I'm nearly 100% certain I'm attending for poetry in the fall.


shireen


Mar 24, 2008, 8:43 PM

Post #242 of 430 (7218 views)
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Re: [upsetme] Verdict [In reply to] Can't Post

I also just got the packet (in New York)...
As a heads up, the open house is on April 17.

I heard that there's a week when we can sit in on classes? The packet doesn't mention anything about that, but I assume it'd be around the open house. Hm...


hackofalltrades


Mar 24, 2008, 9:23 PM

Post #243 of 430 (7193 views)
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Re: [dylanvitti] Package arrived [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, upon re-reading my package, one letter says I have to notify them of my decision no later than April 11, and another says no later than April 7. The professor who called me said May 1. This is all kind of confusing... and maybe pointlessly so, but I figure the longer I hold out, the better chances I have of hearing about more funding before I commit.


LauraJean1


Mar 25, 2008, 11:43 AM

Post #244 of 430 (7102 views)
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Re: [hackofalltrades] Package arrived [In reply to] Can't Post

My packet arrived, in Oregon, sans self-addressed envelope and reply card.

I contacted folks over at Columbia and they said I should just send my own note with the acceptance payment.

Now I'm hoping the financial aid packet will arrive before Friday. The process continues...


kijordan


Mar 25, 2008, 4:55 PM

Post #245 of 430 (7037 views)
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Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post

Do your packages make any mention of $ ? Or does funding require a separate, slow-moving parcel ? My mailing address is in Southern California, so I bet it arrives Friday. Anyone on the West Coast waiting as well ?

Also, is anyone else visiting Columbia before Open House ? I'll be in NYC from 28 Mar - 1 Apr (I wanted to see the school before the deadline).

In reality, I can probably say with certainty that I'll be attending Columbia for poetry in the fall. Especially after finally receiving my rejection letter from Brown today, 10 days late. No love lost, though ! I'm really excited to work with Tim Donnelly and Richard Howard.

See some of you in the fall !

PS: A good friend in the fiction program at Columbia told me that this year's class of poets was only 16 strong. So while that may be 3ish times bigger than Iowa or Brown, it's still, well, not that big.


hackofalltrades


Mar 25, 2008, 5:04 PM

Post #246 of 430 (7029 views)
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Re: [kijordan] Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post

Mine had a fellowship award letter, but I'm not sure if I saw anything about the tuition costs for 2008-09.

That class size sounds perfect! I prefer larger programs to small ones--they seem less insular, and you'd probably have so many more points of entrance with your peers--and 16 new names is probably the most I can remember. Heh.

Are any of you guys still corresponding with the professors who called you?


umass76


Mar 25, 2008, 5:12 PM

Post #247 of 430 (7023 views)
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Re: [hackofalltrades] Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post

KIJ,

Actually, as it turns out Iowa's entering class this year--in poetry--is reported to be 27 poets strong. My own class is 22. Brown is 5, Virginia 5, Cornell 4, and so on (there are others that size too) but 16 is actually starting to move toward "mid-size," like Michigan (12) and Massachusetts (10).

Best,
Seth


kijordan


Mar 25, 2008, 6:01 PM

Post #248 of 430 (6989 views)
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Re: [hackofalltrades] Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm still in sporadic contact with Josh Bell, and I've reached out to a couple other lecturers / professors, who have responded warmly.

Congrats, by the way, on the fellowship ! Which exactly is it ? The tuition halver ?


LauraJean1


Mar 25, 2008, 6:17 PM

Post #249 of 430 (6974 views)
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Re: [kijordan] Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post

Unfortunately, I think the $$$ news comes in a separate, slow moving packet.

Meanwhile, I have kept in touch with the professor who first called me.

The ongoing buzz/excitement about going off to NY makes me dizzy some days. Can't wait.


Clench Million
Charles

Mar 25, 2008, 6:54 PM

Post #250 of 430 (6954 views)
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Re: [kijordan] Package Envy ! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

PS: A good friend in the fiction program at Columbia told me that this year's class of poets was only 16 strong. So while that may be 3ish times bigger than Iowa or Brown, it's still, well, not that big.


Columbia's fiction section is the only large one (entering class is mid-30s I think). Poetry and non-fiction are in the teens, more mid-sized.

Iowa has a larger poetry section that Columbia, actually.

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