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Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
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aathema


Mar 12, 2008, 11:25 AM

Post #426 of 454 (2862 views)
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     Re: [Dinosaur] Sick to my stomach [In reply to]  

I was in the same situation two years ago when I got into the University of Montana. I had shared all my plans to apply with my boyfriend and he seemed amenable. After having been rejected from three of the four schools I applied to, I lost hope and began making plans to get a job and move in with him in his hometown of Seattle. Then I got accepted to my first-choice school with a T.A. And he balked. He said he just couldn't move and he had all sorts of good reasons--work being the primary one. So I told him that I'd miss him but I would be moving to Missoula come August. Tears and recriminations and midnight discussions ensued. Around May, he relented and decided to move with me despite his concerns about finding work and missing out on his family's and friends' lives while he was gone.

I'm not saying that your boyfriend will change his mind. I think it's a daunting thing for a partner to pick up and move with a partner to a strange place any time, but especially when you are going to be in school--with a built-in social group ready and waiting for you. Maybe he's worried about being the third wheel between you and your program.

In any case, I'm glad I made the decision I made and I'm glad my boyfriend made the decision he made. Turns out, he did find a job here in Missoula (though, admittedly, it took longer than he would have liked) and it has inspired a shift in career for him that seems to make him happy. He did, indeed, make friends here. He goes out more than I do.

His happiness isn't in your hands. I know the guilt that comes along with feeling like you "made" him move away from his happy life. Truth is, he's a big boy and no matter what happens his happiness is his own responsibility.

Even if he doesn't end up joining you, I wouldn't consider the experience ruined. Like I said, you'll have a built-in support system of colleagues and you'll be plenty busy with your school work. I can say without a doubt that my writing has changed and grown so much that I don't think I would change the experience of being in this program for anything. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but there you go.

http://www.postmfa08.blogspot.com


ajm


Mar 12, 2008, 11:29 AM

Post #427 of 454 (2854 views)
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     Re: [Lyz] What to do? [In reply to]  

First off, congrats! Can you visit the school you got in to, or is it extremely far away? (If it is extremely far/expensive to travle to can you contact them and ask if they would fly you out? How rich is the program?) Maybe you will fall in love with the place when you see it and top-choice school won't mean so much to you. Or you could ask the school you got into for an extension (politely). Or do what top-choice school says and call them on March 28.
Someone posted the option of placing deposit at school you got into and later asking to be released, which would definitely not be the nicest thing but then again they are the ones putting you in the tight spot.
Hope this helps.


mchard


Mar 12, 2008, 8:25 PM

Post #428 of 454 (2761 views)
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     Help [In reply to]  

I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post this in, but I've already received some excellent advice about my current choice and I would like to hear what some of you think. I'm waiting on a few other schools, but I've basically been left with a choice between two programs: Purdue and Arkansas (in poetry). Which would you choose? Any suggestions would be great.

Thanks,

M.


Raignn



Mar 13, 2008, 9:27 AM

Post #429 of 454 (2631 views)
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     Re: [mchard] Help [In reply to]  

I went to Purdue for undergrad and had very close interactions with all the graduate students there at the time. I cannot recommend Purdue's program enough. Marianne Boruch is an amazing teacher and set that program on the right track. In the last couple of years they have hired some excellent faculty, and still has one of the best faculty to graduate student ratios in the country. Plus the great funding, plus the Sycamore Review. The graduate students I knew and worked with had nothing but excellent things to say about the program and have gone on to publish books, work towards PhD's, etc.

Purdue being a more engineering/technical oriented program actually affords many opportunities you wouldn't get at other schools, such as access to technology, etc. And the English department in general has always been very good. Purdue is a school that prides itself on providing an excellent education.

West Lafayette/Lafayette is a quiet place, and you do hear a lot of jokes about it being surrounded by cornfields, but I loved how easy it was to get away from people if you wanted, and how many outdoor places there were to explore. It's a great college town with tons of restaurants, bars, concerts, events, and things to do. And you're less than an hour from Indianapolis. It's very inexpensive to live there as well.

I graduated four years ago, but have kept fairly good track of the program. Marianne wrote one of my letters of recommendation this year. If you have any other questions please feel free to PM me!


rneighb


Mar 13, 2008, 10:51 AM

Post #430 of 454 (2597 views)
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     Re: [mchard] Help [In reply to]  

I went to Arkansas as an undergrad and loved it. Fayetteville is a beautiful city with many entertainment options and great places to eat.

I can't speak to the poetry faculty, but I know they have great fiction faculty. Plus, the writing program is always placed fairly high in the rankings (usually anywhere from 16th-25th). I'm pretty sure they fully fund most if not all of their students, too, with a pretty good stipend.

I'm actually still waiting to here back from them about my fiction application.

Anyway, good luck whichever you choose.


sas998


Mar 13, 2008, 11:36 AM

Post #431 of 454 (2569 views)
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     Re: [rneighb] Help [In reply to]  

Does anyone have any input on Emerson versus American University? Even if neither offer any fellowships? I am a bit hazy about the two...thanks!


liamolly


Mar 13, 2008, 11:50 AM

Post #432 of 454 (2545 views)
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     Re: [sas998] Help [In reply to]  

I am still waiting on both Emerson and American for Fiction! Have you heard from them already? Genre?

I live in Boston now, so if you have any questions on Emerson's area and prices, etc., feel free to PM me. :)


Maurine


Mar 16, 2008, 11:02 AM

Post #433 of 454 (2405 views)
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     Re: [liamolly] Help [In reply to]  

I too would like some Emerson info...how large is the program for fiction? I read on the website that there are about 950 grad students split among 10 programs...where does creative writing fit in? thanks!


EastCoastPoet


Mar 16, 2008, 12:02 PM

Post #434 of 454 (2369 views)
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     Re: [Maurine] Help [In reply to]  

Hey! I got into Emerson last year and the numbers I was given were...

They accept 12 Poetry, 12 Fiction, and 6 Non-Fiction per year...minimum 3 year program...so you're looking at about 90 MFA'ers and around 36 Poets, 36 Fiction writers and 18 Non-Fiction....give or take. I'm still surprised that they can get so many people, however, with their lackluster (see pretty much 0) financial aid. A good portion of people from the program live in Jamaica Plain, from what I've heard. If you can afford to go to Emerson and don't want to teach (that's another issue I had with them) then by all means go. Great faculty! Good luck!


effie.m

e-mail user

Mar 16, 2008, 12:26 PM

Post #435 of 454 (2357 views)
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     Re: [EastCoastPoet] Help [In reply to]  

thanks so much for the info! i've been trying to find that out too. what do you mean by "If you can afford to go to Emerson and don't want to teach (that's another issue I had with them)..." Do you mean that the only way that you can get any kind of funding from them is if you teach for them? (I'm fully aware of their reputation for poor funding) Or that it's hard to get any teaching/TA positions? Or both? I want to teach so I was just wondering what you might have heard. Thanks again!


In Reply To
Hey! I got into Emerson last year and the numbers I was given were...

They accept 12 Poetry, 12 Fiction, and 6 Non-Fiction per year...minimum 3 year program...so you're looking at about 90 MFA'ers and around 36 Poets, 36 Fiction writers and 18 Non-Fiction....give or take. I'm still surprised that they can get so many people, however, with their lackluster (see pretty much 0) financial aid. A good portion of people from the program live in Jamaica Plain, from what I've heard. If you can afford to go to Emerson and don't want to teach (that's another issue I had with them) then by all means go. Great faculty! Good luck!



EastCoastPoet


Mar 16, 2008, 12:36 PM

Post #436 of 454 (2349 views)
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     Re: [effie.m] Help [In reply to]  

Well I'll post this then anyone with questions can PM me (I don't wanna get in trouble with Dana!) Basically, they don't have TA positions there like other schools. If you want to get teaching experience from Emerson you have to go through this lengthy process. First, there's a class to take. I wanna say it's called WPA 600, but I'm not sure. It's a teaching/pedagogy type of class where you put together all kinds of stuff for the purpose of using it to teach Comp, I think...then IF you pass that class well enough, you can apply to become an adjunct teacher. You aren't a TA, they consider you adjunct. But to get that position you have to go through this ridiculously long application process (the website has it laid out somewhere). Then if you get hired to teach, students are only allowed to teach ONE section and they only pay $2000...which is pretty much useless compared to the cost of going there. You're basically slave labor for teaching experience. Really bad situation if you ask me. Doubly, I've also heard the opportunities to work with Ploughshares aren't as good as other schools have with their magazines. The big draw of Emerson is their faculty and location, if you ask me. Sadly, and I think the numbers agree with me on this (check Abramson's blog) that Emerson is slipping because of all these factors. Good luck with your process though...I went elsewhere and I'm quite QUITE happy with it...


effie.m

e-mail user

Mar 16, 2008, 12:41 PM

Post #437 of 454 (2343 views)
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     Re: [EastCoastPoet] Help [In reply to]  

hmmm...thanks for sharing! :)


hamlet3145


Mar 16, 2008, 12:46 PM

Post #438 of 454 (2338 views)
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     Re: [EastCoastPoet] Help [In reply to]  

EastCoastPoet,

If I remember right from last year you ended up going to Bowling Green? How are things going there? That's one program that we don't hear a ton about on the boards here yet seems to be on the rise.

--Jason


EastCoastPoet


Mar 16, 2008, 1:03 PM

Post #439 of 454 (2326 views)
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     Re: [Hamlet3145] Help [In reply to]  

Hamlet!

Yes, Sir, I did end up at Bowling Green. A program on the rise indeed. We, like every other program out there, have our positives and negatives, but things are great here. I just gave my public reading for the semester on Thursday, which was good. It really is strange that no one around here has said anything about Bowling Green. I can say, although if anyone ever noticed I could get in trouble, that all of the top 5 people from both genres have been contacted. I have a feeling we will be getting into our waitlisters, however. Hopefully that helps some people out there. If you haven't heard from Bowling Green by now don't despair! Our funding here is excellent, so if you're on the waitlist you'll be hearing in the next, oh, 3 weeks or so. Maybe I'll try and talk the powers that be into sending out Waitlist letters...hmm. Anyone with BG questions, feel free to PM me.

Missoula is on the same highway as BG is! How are things up there?


Zash
Zachary Ash

Mar 16, 2008, 8:04 PM

Post #440 of 454 (2219 views)
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     Re: [EastCoastPoet] Help [In reply to]  

I'll be going to U Mass-Amherst. How does its fiction faculty/workshops stack up compared to other MFA programs?


rhswift


Mar 17, 2008, 11:33 PM

Post #441 of 454 (2088 views)
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     More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

I got into Emerson and George Mason, and I'm leaning toward Emerson, mostly because Boston vs. Fairfax is no contest. But I'm concerned about Emerson's gross lack of funding, and whether this affects the quality of the students who attend.

I'd love to hear any more information that you folks have on either Emerson or Mason. Does anyone know any current or former students who I might contact? I'd love to hear about people's experiences at these programs.

Thanks to everyone who posted information--I've found everything to be very helpful. This board has been a wonderful support for me throughout this process, even though I mostly have been lurking :-)

In Reply To
Does anyone have any input on Emerson versus American University? Even if neither offer any fellowships? I am a bit hazy about the two...thanks!



ecrivain.amy


Mar 19, 2008, 10:18 AM

Post #442 of 454 (1950 views)
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     Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

There is a lot of information available on United States universities but nothing on British ones.

Is anyone able to shed some light on the top universities offering creative writing MAs in the UK?

Apart from East Anglia and Birkbeck London University, are there anymore suggestions to be offered?

Cheers.


liamolly


Mar 19, 2008, 10:25 AM

Post #443 of 454 (1942 views)
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     Re: [ecrivain.amy] Choosing an MFA Program (2008) [In reply to]  

I actually applied to Queens University Belfast off the recommendation of someone else. It's a one year creative writing MA and the program really appealed to me, as did beautiful Northern Ireland. I don't know if you meant the entire United Kingdom or just England, but that was the only non-US program to which I applied.


lostinthought


Mar 19, 2008, 10:34 AM

Post #444 of 454 (1928 views)
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     Re: [rhswift] More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

This is kind of third-party, but my roommate's boyfriend here in Boston recently received his MFA from Emerson and helped guide me a little through the application process of MFA programs and he gave me some good advice. He had mixed things to say about Emerson, especially as far as job placement after and the quality of the writing instruction (huge classes, very little one-on-one with professors and students don't get an advisor) and how much writing he actually got to do. In the end, he basically said he wished he'd gone somewhere where it was a lot cheaper to live because Emerson being in Boston didn't actually affect his job placement or writing in a positive way and he went into a lot of debt. I wanted to apply to places only in big cities because I thought my opportunities would be greater there; but he basically convinced me to mix it up and then I decided that I could write no matter where I am, so why spend thousands more just to be in a big city. If the tuition's the same and if the class size is smaller, I'd say George Mason beacuse you'll save on living and get more personalized instruction. I don't know if this helped at all... good luck with your decisions!


lostinthought


Mar 19, 2008, 10:38 AM

Post #445 of 454 (1925 views)
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     Re: [effie.m] Help [In reply to]  

More about Emerson... teaching! You have the option to take a sort of "How to teach writing" class. But in order to actually teach at Emerson, you have to interview and go through a long process like you would actually do applying for any other teaching job, so very few who take the teaching class actually acquire teaching positions. They don't pay much in the end, either.


rhswift


Mar 19, 2008, 11:00 AM

Post #446 of 454 (1896 views)
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     Re: [lostinthought] Help [In reply to]  


In Reply To
More about Emerson... teaching! You have the option to take a sort of "How to teach writing" class. But in order to actually teach at Emerson, you have to interview and go through a long process like you would actually do applying for any other teaching job, so very few who take the teaching class actually acquire teaching positions. They don't pay much in the end, either.



Thanks for the info. It sounds like a gamble, trying to get a teaching position at Emerson. I'd really like to be in Boston, but Emerson's program is looking more and more like kind of a scam. Ugh, I thought the application process was hard--deciding where to go might be even worse!


rhswift


Mar 19, 2008, 11:02 AM

Post #447 of 454 (1891 views)
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     Re: [lostinthought] More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

Thanks much--it does help to have an insider's perspective. I'm starting to lean toward Mason, the more I hear about Emerson...


In Reply To
This is kind of third-party, but my roommate's boyfriend here in Boston recently received his MFA from Emerson and helped guide me a little through the application process of MFA programs and he gave me some good advice. He had mixed things to say about Emerson, especially as far as job placement after and the quality of the writing instruction (huge classes, very little one-on-one with professors and students don't get an advisor) and how much writing he actually got to do. In the end, he basically said he wished he'd gone somewhere where it was a lot cheaper to live because Emerson being in Boston didn't actually affect his job placement or writing in a positive way and he went into a lot of debt. I wanted to apply to places only in big cities because I thought my opportunities would be greater there; but he basically convinced me to mix it up and then I decided that I could write no matter where I am, so why spend thousands more just to be in a big city. If the tuition's the same and if the class size is smaller, I'd say George Mason beacuse you'll save on living and get more personalized instruction. I don't know if this helped at all... good luck with your decisions!



Raignn



Mar 19, 2008, 11:15 AM

Post #448 of 454 (1870 views)
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     Re: [rhswift] More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

After living in Boston for over three years and knowing several people who went to Emerson in a couple programs I'd have to add that extra, I'd probably steer clear. If nothing else, Boston is an INCREDIBLY expensive city (cool yes, very hard to get by in), the weather is awful, and Emerson is... so so from what I've heard. You just shouldn't go in debt to get your MFA!


lostinthought


Mar 19, 2008, 11:15 AM

Post #449 of 454 (1867 views)
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     Re: [rhswift] More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

Oh jeesh, I really didn't mean to come across like I'm talking smack about Emerson. It's just that I guess most of what I've heard about it hasn't been overly positive... I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer! I really do wish you the best of the luck. I know this is a super tough decision.


rhswift


Mar 19, 2008, 11:46 AM

Post #450 of 454 (1843 views)
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     Re: [lostinthought] More questions on Emerson (and George Mason) [In reply to]  

No, I appreciate that you're being candid! I feel like I've heard a lot of positives from their catalogue, so I appreciate hearing some of the negatives.


In Reply To
Oh jeesh, I really didn't mean to come across like I'm talking smack about Emerson. It's just that I guess most of what I've heard about it hasn't been overly positive... I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer! I really do wish you the best of the luck. I know this is a super tough decision.


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