Aug 8, 2007, 8:55 PM
Post #79 of 454
Welcome, Kadence! Good to see another hopeful MFA'er amongst so many "been there, done thats" or "doin'it nows." That is to say, it's good to meet somebody else who's in the same boat as I am -- just beginning the application process.
Re: [Kadence] Choosing an MFA Program (2008)
[In reply to]
I haven't started on my SOP yet, but I've picked up what I think is some fairly sound advice so far:
-Don't try to impress them with your writing in the SOP. Let your writing sample take care of that. So... I wouldn't go for too much wit.
-Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Be honest, but I don't know about "brutal honesty." That's sounds like a loaded phrase that might lead to the inclusion of too much info. They don't need to know all the sordid details of your past, or how incredibly insecure you are about your writing... most, if not all of us, are insecure, so they'll probably assume as much.
-Come across as a serious writer, but not cocky, jaded or overly-intellectual. Try to strike a good balance between idealism, pragmatism and a strong willingness to learn. Remember, they're reading this with the following thought in mind: "Is this someone I want to work with for the next few years?"
-Humility is fine, but don't take it too far or it'll start smacking of false modesty.
-As far as content, include a brief personal history, talk about why you want to write, what you hope to accomplish during your MFA experience, as well as a few of the authors you admire and why.
-Express an interest in teaching, even if you're not all that excited about the prospect. Someone explained it to me like this: "Teaching, to the writer, is kind of like flipping burgers. To most writers (who just want to write) it's a pain in the ass, but you're probably going to have to do it at some point during your grad school experience, so it's best to express a positive attitude about it in your SOP." Not exactly how he worded it, but you get the picture. For me, it's not a problem... I'm genuinely looking forward to teaching. Although that might change after a semester of reading freshman comp papers.
Again, this is just some advice I've received from others so far in my research and is not based on personal experience, as I have none, so read it with that in mind.
Anyway, hope it helps!