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Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
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seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 7, 2007, 4:28 PM

Post #226 of 454 (3608 views)
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     Re: [hamholio] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Hi Hamholio:

Sorry for the abrupt missive, but is there a chance you could PM or e-mail me regarding UF's MFA program. If you haven't got the chance to read my previous post, I chose UF as my second pick for the MFA program. It seems like an attractive program and would like to gain your knowledge and insight on the faculty, funding, and program. Compared to NYC (mind you, I am a native New Yorker/former Floridian resident), I would rather live and write in Gainesville because of the cheap living and such.


seemingmeaning

e-mail user

Oct 7, 2007, 4:32 PM

Post #227 of 454 (3605 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Yep, DFW surely did loathed (maybe 'loathe' is too strong of a word...how about indifference?) his MFA experience at UA (see Charlie Rose interview for clarification). And although he received his MFA sometime in the late 80s (1987, to be precise?). Evidently DFW was on a whole different level them some of his UA professors.

In Reply To
Any other novelists schools name drop, but who hated their programs?

I know one: David Foster Wallace. I was stoked about applying to Arizona, 'till I read this essay where he said it was a huge waste of time. Teachers going on and on about realism and proper syntax and so forth, lambasting the stories that made up his first, highly acclaimed collection.



andfw


Oct 7, 2007, 5:47 PM

Post #228 of 454 (3593 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Yep, DFW surely did loathed (maybe 'loathe' is too strong of a word...how about indifference?) his MFA experience at UA (see Charlie Rose interview for clarification). And although he received his MFA sometime in the late 80s (1987, to be precise?). Evidently DFW was on a whole different level them some of his UA professors.

In Reply To
Any other novelists schools name drop, but who hated their programs?

I know one: David Foster Wallace. I was stoked about applying to Arizona, 'till I read this essay where he said it was a huge waste of time. Teachers going on and on about realism and proper syntax and so forth, lambasting the stories that made up his first, highly acclaimed collection.



"Loathe" is, indeed, too strong of a word. I've been through this discussion before with Junior Maas. In the interest of avoiding having to rehash it, anybody who's interested in DFW's Arizona experience (or in the first-hand experiences of other students) can read this thread. Or, as seemingmeaning aptly suggests, you could just watch the Charlie Rose interview, which sums it up nicely. (The relevant segment is near the end, about 45 minutes in or so.)

Personally, I would suggest that anybody interested in Arizona rely more on first-hand perspectives from students who've been there in the last 20 years, as well as things like funding (including the new fellowship), location, faculty (which, on the fiction side, has changed significantly since DFW was there), the success of recent alumni, etc. Same with any program.


bennyprof


Oct 7, 2007, 7:09 PM

Post #229 of 454 (3581 views)
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     Re: [jstgerma] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

  

Great interview -- thanks for posting it. Not at all what I expected him to be like, from his occasional facial tick (where he grimaced after saying something he thought might be somewhat controversial) to his extreme self-consciousness, almost as though he is, himself, the embodiment of post-modernism... he attributes this to his nervousness about being on television, which I can buy to some extent. But yeah, one of the most interesting interviews I've seen in a long, long while. Very honest and confident in his own talent, but at the same time very insecure. A kind of paradox at work there, I think. Which, to me, makes him even that more interesting as an author.

And I think he does mention his time at Arizona in passing, in the context of his discussion of Blue Velvet, but he doesn't seem all that critical of his teachers, at least not in the way he is in the essay Junior Maas read. Found the transcript of it online (the CR interview); here it is:


DFW: I'm trying to think of a way so that this will have anything to do with what we've talked about before. Imagine you're a hyper-educated avant garde-ist in grad school learning to write.

ROSE: Right.

DFW: The screen gets all fuzzy now as the viewer's invited to imagine this. Coming out of an avant garde tradition, I get to this grad school and at the grad school, turns out all the teachers are realists. They're not at all interested in post-modern avant garde stuff. Now, there's an interesting delusion going on here -- so they don't like my stuff. I believe that it's not because my stuff isn't good, but because they just don't happen to like this kind of esthetic.

In fact, known to them but unknown to me, the stuff was bad, was indeed bad. So in the middle of all this, hating the teachers, but hating them for exactly the wrong reason -- this was spring of 1986 -- I remember -- I remember who I went to see the movie with -- "Blue Velvet" comes out. "Blue Velvet" comes out.


I didn't pick up on any disingenuousness in his voice, so I can only assume his feelings on the matter had changed by the time he did the Charlie Rose thing.

Anyway, thanks again for posting it. I'm forwarding the link to a friend of mine who's a big DFW fan, just in case he hasn't seen it already.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Oct 7, 2007, 7:15 PM)


zebulon


Oct 7, 2007, 7:37 PM

Post #230 of 454 (3573 views)
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     Competitiveness? [In reply to]  

Is that even the right word? Competitiveness? Level of competition, whatever, what exactly does that mean? Is it strictly for grant money, and teacher's favors, or is it a competitive application process, like at the schools that only accept like 8 students but give them all funding... I'm not quite sure what the whole concept of an mfa program being competitve or cutthroat means exactly... feel like I'm missing something big here.


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 8, 2007, 12:38 AM

Post #231 of 454 (3543 views)
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     Re: [Junior Maas] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Any other novelists schools name drop, but who hated their programs?

I know one: David Foster Wallace. I was stoked about applying to Arizona, 'till I read this essay where he said it was a huge waste of time. Teachers going on and on about realism and proper syntax and so forth, lambasting the stories that made up his first, highly acclaimed collection.


But at least DFW actually went to UA's MFA program. I really do think it is bad and dishonest how many programs list writers who merely went to the same university (for MAs in english or PhD's in physics or whatever) but not the MFA program, as if that should be relevant at all...


selmalee


Oct 11, 2007, 6:13 PM

Post #232 of 454 (3429 views)
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     Re: List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Wow, am I having trouble narrowing down my list, and it’s time to send forms to my recommenders...

I plan to apply to these programs:

NYU
Columbia
The New School
Syracuse
Brown
U of Iowa
U of Michigan
UMass – Amherst
Michener Center
UN Las Vegas

I’d originally planned to apply to 12 schools, and now I’m considering 13. that seems like a lot to ask of my recommenders though, never mind the expense.

I live in NYC but am drawn to a few programs closer to my family in the Pacific NW:
U of Oregon
U of Montana

But I’m also drawn to these North Carolina programs:
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington

I need to choose one, or possibly two of these four schools. At this point, I have no idea. I’m going to write tonight instead of fretting about this. I’ll get back to fretting tomorrow. If anyone has advice, I’d greatly appreciate it.

-Smergalee


SweetJane


e-mail user

Oct 11, 2007, 6:56 PM

Post #233 of 454 (3418 views)
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     Re: [seemingmeaning] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Seeming,

I'm also a first year student at UF, and had to choose between UF and UWM when it came time to choose between acceptances. Though I'm in poetry, I'd be glad to discuss with you why I made the choice I did. Feel free to e-mail me (whoasweetjane @ gmail.com)



In Reply To
Zebulon:

ptld is certainly right with picking UF as a possible choice. I checked out UF's MFA program based on a recommendation from a writer I recently booked at my bookstore. And, man, UF has such an impressive program and--I imagine--it will one day be considered as a up-and-coming program. Considering I am a former Florida resident, UF is ranked #2 (behind UW-Madison) as my top school selections. I'm not sure what the funding program is like but, according to a friend who recently graduated from Brown's MFA program, she states that UF's funding is quite strong. The two paragraphs listed below are UF's mission statement for prospective MFA students:



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"

(This post was edited by SweetJane on Oct 11, 2007, 7:01 PM)


HopperFu


Oct 11, 2007, 7:04 PM

Post #234 of 454 (3411 views)
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     Re: [smergalee] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I’d originally planned to apply to 12 schools, and now I’m considering 13. that seems like a lot to ask of my recommenders though, never mind the expense.



Don't worry about asking your letter writers. The work is in writing the first letter of rec, not in stuffing envelopes (or submitting online, which is becoming more and more standard). Twelve or thirteen is reasonable. Thirty? They'll say 'no' if it's really and issue, and if they are a prof then it is actually part of their job (I had a prof tell me that and I was shocked; I never thought of it that way before).


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Oct 12, 2007, 9:25 AM

Post #235 of 454 (3357 views)
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     Re: [smergalee] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Gosh I sound like a broken record sometime but UNCG and UNCW both have great programs. I did my undergrad at UNCG. The program, apparently, has recently been youth infused from what I hear with changing over of faculty--and I don't mean this in a bad way. Greensboro is also a great small down, would be a big change from NYC :)

UNCW is a 3 year program and I would love to live in Wilmington and attend their program, but I'm not mobile.

Best wishes making your decisions.

Also if you haven't mentioned it before you may want to mention your genre. My focus is poetry so that is what my thoughts usually reflect.

--Jessie "Finally getting cold in the Carolinas"


http://jessiecarty.com


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Oct 12, 2007, 9:59 AM

Post #236 of 454 (3348 views)
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     Re: [SweetJane] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

SweetJane, I hope that you're enjoying Year 1 of UF's MFA program! I really loved my experience there (and I have been out 4 years now). And I mean: LOVED. Even the times that seemed tough were times I learned so much from. The relationships I established with my professors (particularly WL and SW) still carry through now, and the relationships I have made with the other writers in my program are still pretty rock-solid. The work that filled my thesis and that I walked away with, for the most part, is work that I still very strongly believe in and value having written (and send out to journals, along with my much newer stuff...). You're in a GREAT program, and if you happen to have found a lovely place to live in the Duck Pond, well, that's one totally awesome neighborhood (and it's close to the library, and Maude's, and Louie's Lunch, and The Top, and that 1 screen movie theater downtown...). I miss Gainesville, and I miss that program. I learned so much, and I wish you a really great experience over the course of your program.

Zebulon: UF has long been considered one of the most attractive, highly-respected, serious MFA programs in the country. I don't know much about this "up and coming" business that you mentioned, because from the way people know of UF's program and the way that I knew of UF's program for the 2 years before I even applied, its reputation was already there, its name already established. If you apply and if you get in (regardless of genre; I was poetry, though, FWIW) you should know that you've been admitted by people who have some strong faith in your talent and in your ability to only grow as a writer.


selmalee


Oct 12, 2007, 10:10 AM

Post #237 of 454 (3346 views)
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     Re: [jacarty] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


In Reply To

Also if you haven't mentioned it before you may want to mention your genre. My focus is poetry so that is what my thoughts usually reflect.


ah, i forgot to say i'm applying for fiction.

thanks!

-smergalee


vmalone
Vanessa
e-mail user

Oct 13, 2007, 2:24 AM

Post #238 of 454 (3268 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hi All, I just read this entire thread and feel relieved to find others are in the same black hole of this application process. I also feel really behind. I'm still adding to my list of schools to apply to, and have so many questions for all of you.
My basic info is this: I'm a Creative nonfiction writer, and am currently living in AZ where I did my undergrad but am focusing on schools on the East Coast for the internship, publishing/writing opportunities. I am applying to both traditional and low res programs.

Biggest Questions:
Is anyone else looking at Rutgers-Newark or Camden programs for the CNF? I'd love to hear.
Is the funding situation at Columbia hopeless?
What's the latest date to take the GRE and still get it to schools for the Fall '08 apps?
Is it possible to get funded at low res programs?

Thanks!


bennyprof


Oct 13, 2007, 8:01 AM

Post #239 of 454 (3256 views)
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     Re: [vmalone] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Don't know about the others, but I can help you with the GRE question...

Following the test, it takes ETS 10-15 days (postmarked date) to mail your scores to the schools you've selected. You get 4 free score reports and pick where to send them on the test day. Assuming you phone in your order (on the same day) for however many extra reports you need, you should allow 20 days for your scores to get to the schools. So... I'd give yourself, at an absolute minimum, a 25-day buffer before your first application is due to take the test. Just to be safe.

That's my advice, anyway.


lmbuckton


Oct 13, 2007, 2:07 PM

Post #240 of 454 (3223 views)
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     Re: [vmalone] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

though i'm not completely definite, it's my understanding that funding doesn't generally exist for low residency programs. though i do know some (that have been financially capable of paying for the program and are generally retired) that have had really good experiences.


zebulon


Oct 13, 2007, 3:27 PM

Post #241 of 454 (3209 views)
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     Re: [stephkarto1] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

Haha, I was a little confused there, I hadn't actually said anything about UF, that was a response to my question about schools I hadn't listed. I know UF is a pretty highly regarded school, but I just don't know much about it at the moment, and didn't have it on my list, and Sweet Jane was saying in response to my question. Haha. Do you know how many (roughly) students get accepted each year there?


edwriter



Oct 13, 2007, 3:41 PM

Post #242 of 454 (3202 views)
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     Re: [vmalone] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

As far as funding for low-res programs goes, see this post at my blog. Full scholarships are pretty rare; partial grants somewhat less so. Loans seem to be the norm.

Good luck!

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



Clench Million
Charles

Oct 13, 2007, 4:01 PM

Post #243 of 454 (3200 views)
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     Re: [vmalone] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  


In Reply To
Is the funding situation at Columbia hopeless?

Columbia recently was given a gift of 600 million earmarked for financial aid this year and the MFA program was recently integrated with undergrad creative writing. So Columbia's funding should be rapidly increasing... that's my understanding at least. I know the current class already has larger fellowships than my class did and next years should be larger than that.

So I wouldn't say its hopeless at all. Especially not when you consider that a lot of the other top programs only even accept a few people a year. There are currently merit fellowships that cover the majority of tuition and a fair number of people get tuition waved and a stipend to teach undergrad essay writing classes (the big downside is you get this your second year and it is organized by a different department, so writing talent doesn't play a role.) The funding is still sub-par, but on the bright side there is no animosity or competition over the funding in the school.

Columbia is an excellent MFA program. The students work is high quality and alongside UCI and Iowa it has the best alumni success. The faculty, for my tastes, is easily the best in the country. A very diverse group of teachers, but all of them high quality. And you can't beat being in NYC. There are great writers reading every night and virtually everyone I know has interned at some great place like the New Yorker or lit agencies.

So while the funding isn't the best, it is definitly worth applying to. Obviously most people don't get the big fellowships, but your chances of getting them are as good as your chances of getting into some of these other programs that only take 2 or 3 students a year.


vmalone
Vanessa
e-mail user

Oct 13, 2007, 4:14 PM

Post #244 of 454 (3195 views)
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     Re: [bennyprof] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

thank you! that's so helpful, and I couldnt find that info on the GRE sights!


vmalone
Vanessa
e-mail user

Oct 13, 2007, 4:20 PM

Post #245 of 454 (3193 views)
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     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Thanks Clench. Columbia is my top choice because of the ability to connect with and intern at amazing magazines and publishing houses -my ultimate goal after graduation to be able to work at one. What's the housing situation like there? I'm married and have a little dog and Im worried about finding a place in the city. (i'm applying to all of the NY schools with CNF)


jamx85
James

Oct 13, 2007, 4:42 PM

Post #246 of 454 (3187 views)
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     Re: [als02] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Hi Everyone,

I used this forum last year when I applied, and I found it to be very useful. Well here I am again, but this time on the other side of things. I am a couple of months into the MFA fiction program at Purdue, and am loving it. The people are very friendly and social, the funding situation is good, and everyone is extremely supportive. I was also pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the program (both geographically and racially). That was a big concern of mine, moving from the Bay Area. The program also makes a concerted effort to bring in big visiting writers. This year the big names are Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, and Adam Zagajewski. The other concern I had when applying was with the faculty. IMO Purdue's fiction faculty is not as well known as its poetry faculty. But I have found that my fiction workshop have forced me to think about craft and aesthetic in ways that I haven't before. I have no complaints there. Anyway, if anyone has any questions about the program, don't hesitate to ask or pm me. It gives me something useful to do when I'm not writing.

-James


James
Fiction Editor
Sycamore Review

(This post was edited by jamx85 on Oct 13, 2007, 4:44 PM)


Clench Million
Charles

Oct 13, 2007, 4:45 PM

Post #247 of 454 (3183 views)
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     Re: [vmalone] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I should note that I only know about Fiction funding and I just realized you are going for non-fiction. I assume it is pretty much the same though.

As for housing... a lot of people get university housing which is a great deal (for NYC at least). These are apartments that are just run by Columbia, not dorms or anything. I believe there are family university housing plans too. I have no idea what the pet protocols are though.

It is also possibly to get housing in the 120s that is a pretty good deal and is nice. Those seem like the best options to me, although plenty of people live in Brooklyn and make it work. Housing is obviously wildly expensive in NYC, but given that Columbia is on the UWS it is easier to find somewhat affordable housing near campus than it would be at most other NYC schools.


Aubrie


Oct 13, 2007, 5:11 PM

Post #248 of 454 (3177 views)
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     Re: [Clench Million] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

Just to chime in, The New School is starting a TAship program next year with some very generous benefits for those who receive it. Great news for those hesitating to apply because of funding issues. They've also made an effort to at least partially fund almost everyone I've met in the program so far. If anyone has any Q's about the program, feel free to PM me!


hamholio


Oct 13, 2007, 6:34 PM

Post #249 of 454 (3157 views)
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     Re: [zebulon] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  


Quote
Do you know how many (roughly) students get accepted each year there (UF)?


Think we have 9 fiction and 7 poets this year, although it started 8 and 8.


hamholio


Oct 13, 2007, 6:35 PM

Post #250 of 454 (3156 views)
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     Re: [SweetJane] List of schools so far... [In reply to]  

hey sweetjane -- what are we doing looking at this forum still?? G.Zus!!!$ Well, as long as I don't look at Kealy's blog or Seth Abramson's abomination, it'll be okay. . .

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