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rebarusset


Feb 26, 2010, 4:28 PM

Post #2851 of 2979 (23396 views)
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Re: [paligal] Decision Deadlines [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me know what you end up doing, paligal, with re: to how you handle UNCW. Everyone tells me just to ask them for an extension, but I feel like such a goob -- in the excitement of the moment, I said: "Oh, sure I can give you a decision by March 5." I feel like it's my fault for even getting into this mess ... Maybe we can unite and put our feet down together. Still, this is a stressful situation, and I hate having to haggle with such nice people.

After Iowa, is UNCW your top choice? Where's your heart/gut right now?


rebarusset


Feb 26, 2010, 4:35 PM

Post #2852 of 2979 (23391 views)
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Decision Criteria [In reply to] Can't Post

How do y'all end up making your decisions as to where you'll end up? Each of my acceptances so far has a handful of way-cool positives and a fistful of way-stressing negatives. I'm trying to come up with a set of ranked criteria in order to figure out which points matter most -- Where do location, teaching load, degree requirements and writer-faculty reps stand on your list of demands? What's most important to you?

(Note: I realize funding is a must, so if school A gives you 15k a year and school B gives you 6k a year, things seem cut and dry. But what if one school is offering 10k and another 9k? What makes or breaks you?)


ookfish


Feb 26, 2010, 4:50 PM

Post #2853 of 2979 (23377 views)
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Re: [rebarusset] Decision Criteria [In reply to] Can't Post

Unless you have full funding, and money in the bank, I'd think seriously about whether or not Wilmington, NC is where you want to live for the next three years -- very few real jobs, the town is strip mall after strip mall, and the cost of living is pretty high. Feel free to e-mail about specifics concerning the program.


paligal


Feb 26, 2010, 6:10 PM

Post #2854 of 2979 (23316 views)
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Re: [rebarusset] Decision Deadlines [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi. Look, they cannot ask you to make a decision by March 5, period. They called me again today as well and left a message. Frankly, I think it's out of line after they signed on to a resolution that every other school has been sticking to. Oregon State, Montana, Riverside, Iowa, nobody has put that time pressure on me, and all have said they fully understand that I need to have all my acceptances and funding info before making a decision, except UNCW, despite their being part of this agreement. As the U of Iowa rep told me, go forward with interviewing for any TA positions, and if they ask you to sign something, send them the agreement (I included it in my last post). They cannot unaccept you, and I don't believe they can withdraw a funding offer until the April date either. I think it's rather unethical what they are doing, frankly, and it does make me take a second look at putting their program second on my list after Iowa.

Here is my advice: They would not be putting pressure on you if they did not want you and weren't worried about losing you to another school. You are in the power position. So send them an e-mail, and let them know something to this effect: "I have just spoken with another school I was accepted at, and they have informed me that the Creative Writing programs, including UNCW, have signed on to a resolution (attached) that agrees to give students until April 15 to make a decision regarding attendance. As I am still considering some funding offers from other schools, and waiting to hear back regarding acceptance at other schools, I won't be able to provide a decision by the March 5 date you requested. UNCW remains among my top choices, and I expect I will have an answer well in advance of the agreed April 15 deadline; however, I am uncomfortable with making any decision in advance of my having all my options clear to me. Thank you for your understanding. I look forward to being in touch soon, and quite likely attending your program this fall."

Bottom line is, you are the one in the power position here, but they are trying to get you to commit to them before you realize that, I think. ;-) Own your success. They are trying to go outside the rules other schools are adhering to, and you don't need to sell yourself short. You officially have until April.

As far as me, I am impressed with how Iowa has been handling this UNCW business and how attentive and forthcoming they have been. Their funding package, if I get one (they won't know for a couple weeks), will be less than that of UNCW. However, cost of living is less in Iowa too. And the TAship at Iowa kicks ass over UNCW- your own small class, as opposed to a section of a large class at UNCW. Iowa is totally my top choice, given its reputation and those factors. But if I don't get funding there, then UNCW is my second choice, as the next ranked school in my list. Starting to question that now, though...



In Reply To
Let me know what you end up doing, paligal, with re: to how you handle UNCW. Everyone tells me just to ask them for an extension, but I feel like such a goob -- in the excitement of the moment, I said: "Oh, sure I can give you a decision by March 5." I feel like it's my fault for even getting into this mess ... Maybe we can unite and put our feet down together. Still, this is a stressful situation, and I hate having to haggle with such nice people.

After Iowa, is UNCW your top choice? Where's your heart/gut right now?



ookfish


Feb 26, 2010, 6:20 PM

Post #2855 of 2979 (23304 views)
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Re: [paligal] Decision Deadlines [In reply to] Can't Post

If you choose another school besides Iowa for a CNF degree, you'll miss out on working with Robin Hemley who, aside from being a knock-out writer, is one of the kindest, most nurturing individuals in the CNF biz.


paligal


Feb 26, 2010, 6:22 PM

Post #2856 of 2979 (23302 views)
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Re: [rebarusset] Decision Criteria [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
How do y'all end up making your decisions as to where you'll end up? Each of my acceptances so far has a handful of way-cool positives and a fistful of way-stressing negatives. I'm trying to come up with a set of ranked criteria in order to figure out which points matter most -- Where do location, teaching load, degree requirements and writer-faculty reps stand on your list of demands? What's most important to you?

(Note: I realize funding is a must, so if school A gives you 15k a year and school B gives you 6k a year, things seem cut and dry. But what if one school is offering 10k and another 9k? What makes or breaks you?)


Well, don't forget to factor in cost of living. UNCW has a higher dollar amount for funding than Iowa, but it costs less to live in Iowa, so I would guess they balance each other out. for me, having gotten into Iowa makes things pretty simple, provided they come through with funding and a TAship. Their ranking is #1 and my famous writer friend who teaches at Berkeley (who is being my coach right now on dealing with these programs) said that Iowa still has some cache when it comes to resumes, and that it will open doors in terms of connections. But if two programs are fairly close in rank, I would look at the location, the program itself and who will be teaching you, your teaching load, funding...I personally think, go to the school that is highest ranked, though, if there is a wide gap between that ranking and the alternative. But that's just my thought. I would pretty much rather live anywhere besides Iowa, but it's my future and my career, and just a few years.


umass76


Feb 26, 2010, 7:27 PM

Post #2857 of 2979 (23255 views)
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Re: UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

I don't know if this affects anyone's decision one way or another, but I wanted to note that as of tonight the University of North Carolina at Wilmington is being dropped altogether from the national MFA rankings. They are being dropped across the board: in funding, in fiction, in poetry, in nonfiction, and in selectivity. The basis for this decision is that the rankings do not -- and will not -- promote any program that does not adhere to the CGSR with respect to funded offers of admission, and in recent days UNCW has admitted publicly and privately that they do not follow the CGSR in any respect whatsoever. They have maintained that they "unofficially" withdrew from the CGSR -- just the MFA program, that is -- and that it will at some point in the future be made an "official" withdrawal (again, only for the MFA program). This justification has been rejected: First, because UNCW is a signatory to the CGSR and the CGSR does not allow individual departments within a university to reject an agreement signed by the university as a whole; second, because UNCW as a whole has announced no plans to withdraw from the CGSR; third, because the MFA at UNCW has made no effort to inform applicants that they have "unofficially" withdrawn from the CGSR, despite a regularly-updated website with a lengthy FAQ for applicants; fourth, because the rankings do not and will condone the unethical practice of giving students "exploding offers" -- that is, offers of admission that effectively require the admittee to immediately withdraw all outstanding applications at other institutions, whether or not any admissions decision has yet been rendered by these other institutions and without regard for how much money the applicant may have spent on these other applications (in many instances, well over $1,000). Those seeking to attend a ranked MFA program should be advised that a) Poets & Writers will be publishing updated rankings in its September/October 2010 issue, and b) the ranking system upon which the Poets & Writers rankings are based (the TSE system) does not rank or otherwise promote CGSR violators.

Best of luck to everyone,

Seth Abramson


belgium


Feb 26, 2010, 7:47 PM

Post #2858 of 2979 (23233 views)
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Re: [umass76] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth, this is wonderful of you. Really. I've been reading through this thread wondering what kind of wing-nuts the UNCW administrators must be.

Who, really, would want to spend two years in a school that exerts this kind of strong-armed tactics? If they coerce you at this stage of the game, do you really want to trust them with your writing?



Ridiculous Words

(This post was edited by belgium on Feb 26, 2010, 7:49 PM)


umass76


Feb 26, 2010, 7:58 PM

Post #2859 of 2979 (23215 views)
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Re: [belgium] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Belgium,

For what it's worth, I've been in contact with UNCW both publicly and privately -- have written them extensive explanations for the decision, both contextualizing it and advocating possible solutions to the problem -- so if at some point UNCW brings itself into compliance, it will be reinstated. I don't hold out hope that it will be soon, though; at this point the program is defiant, which I don't think is in its best interests. But what is, is, I suppose.

The rankings have always been designed for applicants -- not institutions. Those without power, not those with it. I won't let the rankings be used to promote programs which are deliberately and systematically taking administrative actions which are not merely unethical, not merely hurtful to students, but (most importantly) contrary to representations implicitly made to paying applicants through the fact that UNCW is a CGSR signatory. In the same way U.S. News & World Report wouldn't rank a program that required a pound of flesh from all admitted applicants -- or which required that admitted applicants pay (as here) the equivalent of a confiscatory fine in the amount of hundreds and hundreds of [wasted application-fee] dollars -- the TSE rankings won't promote any program that no MFA-watcher could, in good conscience, recommend. And to be clear: This has nothing to do with funding, and the TSE rankings have and will continue to -- and will always -- rank unfunded programs. This is an entirely different situation; indeed, UNCW is actually a program that offers funding to 40% of students. Its removal from the rankings is entirely a question of ethics and not "mere" policy or program structure.

Best,
Seth


ookfish


Feb 26, 2010, 9:14 PM

Post #2860 of 2979 (23161 views)
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Re: [umass76] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

This is really too bad. The program has high and low points, and has gathered some nice steam in the past eight years or so, especially in terms of grad books (Brad Land, George Bishop, Robert Lurie). I hope this isn't something truly detrimental to the success of their programming.


umass76


Feb 26, 2010, 9:25 PM

Post #2861 of 2979 (23150 views)
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Re: [ookfish] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

The good news: The ball's in their court. All they need to do is adhere to a Resolution they've already signed, which they're implicitly representing to current applicants is in full force and effect (by not posting otherwise on their website), and which roughly 200 other MFA programs -- nearly all of whom are in the same boat as UNCW with respect to trying to attract and keep promising applicants -- currently acknowledge and follow to the letter. In short: Only a bare minimum commitment to institutional ethics, and a modicum of good citizenship re: the national MFA community, is being required of this program.

--S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Feb 26, 2010, 9:26 PM)


rebarusset


Feb 26, 2010, 9:32 PM

Post #2862 of 2979 (23140 views)
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UNCW [In reply to] Can't Post

I've declined UNCW's offer. That means good news for those UNCW fans lying in wait.

I cannot say that the above discussion points did not factor into my decision. I've spoken with several UNCW MFA students and looked at the financial data and it just doesn't look like a place that's worth all this fuss and pressure I'm sensing. Indeed, it is a remarkable program, but not a right fit for me.

Thank you for all your input and support. I wish everyone here the best.


jaywalke


Feb 27, 2010, 12:59 AM

Post #2863 of 2979 (23064 views)
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Re: [paligal] Decision Deadlines [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hi. Look, they cannot ask you to make a decision by March 5, period.


I will say that if a program was playing fast and loose with the rules, I'd have no problem with turning it right back around on them.

If they want to pressure you for an early acceptance, say "I would love to come to ____. I cannot imagine a better fit." Then check your other offers, and if you get one better, back out on ____. They skeeve, you skeeve.

That will: save your spot, remove any need to get into a pissing match over an agreement they are obviously already ignoring, and, if you do decide to burn that bridge, will only do so with another firm offer in hand at a place you'd rather attend.


paligal


Feb 27, 2010, 2:28 AM

Post #2864 of 2979 (23040 views)
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Re: [umass76] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Kudos, Seth, for helping to nip this in the bud. UNCW is attempting to skirt the resolution they signed on to, and for all the reasons you mentioned, my opinion of their program has gone way down. I am not even sure I won't pass them up for Montana or even Oregon State if I somehow don't get funding from Iowa. UNCW was very short with their answer to me about the TAship, stating they would select a person for the position in the next few weeks so I needed to know if I wanted it by then. I still have a few applications out there, and am waiting on Iowa's offer of funding, so how on earth can I make a decision at this point?

This should put some pressure on them. Their program relies on its reputation to remain competitive, and this kind of behavior will certainly tarnish it if they continue. On the flip side of this, I have to say that Iowa responded to my news about this with the utmost respect, understanding for my situation, and candidness about where they stood. It validates the reputation of their program for me.


lostleaf


Feb 27, 2010, 11:32 AM

Post #2865 of 2979 (22975 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] Decision Deadlines [In reply to] Can't Post

you were right, I'd be killing to be in your position this time next year. How did you do it? Is it so lame if I want to ask for some advice or possible suggestions that what you think they expect from us? I'm applying this year and I know I will be as anxious as I can be this time next year. Anyway, I'm from China, and so far seem to be the only internatinal Chinese student here. Since not many Americans are accepted every year, I don't even think about how big my chances will be, but I have my hopes, and I'd really appreciate it if you have anything to share.


writer's block, http://lostleaf328.blogbus.com


balldontlie

e-mail user

Feb 27, 2010, 9:23 PM

Post #2866 of 2979 (22808 views)
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Re: [paligal] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Newcomer to the board, and in at UNCW.

Extreme initial excitement slightly tempered by all this, and I'm sorting through it while staying positive. Obviously the profs, students, workshops, community, etc. are all the same as they were last week, and I don't get the sense that this is representative of the way UNCW treats its students once in the program (have others gotten a different impression?). I'm trying to consider what effect the ranking drop will have - less talented writers applying next year? Less funding from the university?

rebarusset - did you bring up this whole thing when you turned down the spot (congrats on other acceptances!)? And did speaking to UNCW students and looking at financial data give you negative vibes, or just the CGSR thing? I've most heard great things from their students thus far.

paligal - let me know what you do. Sounds like you're in a solid situation w acceptances (congrats!). UNCW is my only acceptance so far so I'm in a little different boat. Would hate to accept and renege but would also hate to decline and end up nowhere, especially since I have funding at UNCW. How have your converasations w UNCW gone so far?

And obviously: congrats to everyone on acceptances everywhere!


bergdalea
Abbie J. Bergdale

Feb 27, 2010, 9:47 PM

Post #2867 of 2979 (22794 views)
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Re: [balldontlie] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

Congrats, balldontlie. Which genre did you apply to UNCW in, if you don't mind me asking.


rebarusset


Feb 28, 2010, 4:17 PM

Post #2868 of 2979 (22604 views)
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Re: [balldontlie] UNCW Being Dropped From National MFA Rankings Tonight [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I didn't bring up much of anything when I declined. I just said after some careful thought, I came to believe UNCW was not the right school for me. And, in essence, that's the truth, and all that really matters.

The financial stuff was the big kicker, compounded by speaking to some UNCW students who a) advised that UNCW was not a place for someone who didn't have quite a bit of money in the bank and b) that UNCW's recruitment strategies are very aggressive and there's no sign of that stopping and c) that many of the people who've been through this kind of situation with UNCW had no problem with the deadline because they weren't accepted anywhere else or saw UNCW as their top choice and had no more schools to hear from anyway. I just had a hard time justifying to myself that "everything was gonna turn out just fine." And my gut told me to walk away. I still feel it was the right choice.

I still believe that it's a great program and a perfect fit for some folks. Other than what was brought to light in Seth's posts, I have nothing bad to say about UNCW.


rebarusset


Feb 28, 2010, 4:20 PM

Post #2869 of 2979 (22601 views)
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Afterthought [In reply to] Can't Post

... In the meantime, I still *am* waiting on other schools. (Another big factor in declining the UNCW offer.) I am terrified that, say, the very few poets that U of Florida does accept won't happen to be members of any of the MFA blogging communities I turn to, which means their acceptances won't be (or haven't been) reported, which means that the blank spot on the Application Response list will lead me to linger and put off and put off my decision-making when, in reality, there's nothing to hope for.

I wish schools would make it more clear just who's on a waitlist and who's been rejected; those phone calls and emails come April from schools that haven't said word one since their first wave of acceptances in February leave me feeling sick.

Not being able to know one's options, not being able to make a choice is horrible. Especially if one needs to plan an extensive and expensive move.

(This post was edited by rebarusset on Feb 28, 2010, 4:21 PM)


Forum Apps


Mar 1, 2010, 7:56 PM

Post #2870 of 2979 (22332 views)
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LSU [In reply to] Can't Post

Received a phone call from LSU earlier this afternoon. In for Poetry!


Best,
Aaron


ceeya


Mar 1, 2010, 8:42 PM

Post #2871 of 2979 (22293 views)
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Eastern Washington [In reply to] Can't Post

Lurker with good news. Just got a call from Greg Spatz at Eastern Washington. I'm in for fiction. No word on funding, but after three rejections, this is a nice change of pace. I just wish I didn't say "uh" so many times.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Mar 1, 2010, 10:22 PM

Post #2872 of 2979 (22222 views)
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Re: [ceeya] Eastern Washington [In reply to] Can't Post

Johns Hopkins, poetry. Astounded.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Peter Lucas


Mar 1, 2010, 11:15 PM

Post #2873 of 2979 (22176 views)
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Re: [fixittuesday] Hi, I'm new. [In reply to] Can't Post

I also got the email acceptance to SIU for Fiction. Have you decided if you are going?


Peter Lucas


Mar 1, 2010, 11:17 PM

Post #2874 of 2979 (22174 views)
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Re: [WanderingTree] Hi, I'm new. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also accepted to SIU Fiction. Let me know if you decide to go!


bluepoet1


Mar 2, 2010, 2:47 AM

Post #2875 of 2979 (22082 views)
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Re: [Trilbe] The University of Michigan [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Yes, great news for you! Congratulations.

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