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umass76


Aug 23, 2009, 12:36 PM

Post #451 of 1018 (12114 views)
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     Re: [FreakingOutInBd] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi all,

Funding at Oregon is indeed imperiled, according to at least one current student. There has even been a question about whether Oregon can or will continue to be a fully-funded program. Even before this downturn, the funding package wasn't quite as good as many thought (ranked outside the top 25 nationally, at #27) because of the low base stipend amount and the slightly elevated cost of living in Eugene (+3% off national average; most MFAs are located in well-below-average cost-of-living locales). Plus, it's two years rather than three, so it's a briefer duration of funding as well. The main issue with the poetry program at Oregon, however, have been consistent reports, for years, that it is poorly run--that a single individual with a personality that is extremely difficult to work with has made being a poet at UO hell for many. That reality has caused Oregon to tumble out of the top tier of programs in the genre (down to #15 nationally in poetry; the trend-lines suggest it will continue to fall, and I'm expecting it could go as far as #20 or so in next year's rankings, which may be enough to drop the whole program out of the top tier). If Colorado State and Montana's poetry programs are known for their high student satisfaction, Oregon is known (in poetry) for being in the opposite situation.

I have nothing but good things to say about Virginia Tech in poetry: strong faculty, strong funding, strong duration of funding, exactly the sort of generally-East-Coast location many are looking for. The only issue is that because of the program's recent good press and XS size (XS being the category in which a program accepts only 1-4 students per genre per year), its selectivity is going to go through the roof this year (i.e. its acceptance rate is going to drop precipitously) well before the program has really earned that drop reputation-wise (right now the program is ranked #50 overall, #34 in poetry, and outside the top 50 in fiction). I often advise applicants to avoid programs whose selectivity outstrips their reputation, unless/until they have an application list which can accommodate that kind of program because of some balance elsewhere on the list (e.g., a program in the opposite situation, like George Mason or Arizona; oddly, Iowa fits into this category as well). This year may be a particularly good year for fiction applicants to apply to VT, as Tech has the second most poetry-correlated applicant pool in the States, according to the data; that is, in the average two-genre MFA program the applicant pool is 66% fiction and 33% poetry, whereas at Virginia Tech the projected and extrapolated internals suggest the school's non-pejorative poetry bias my be 73% or higher--meaning, only 27% of the pool is fiction, as compared to that 66% figure nationally. If that doesn't send fiction-writers running to a fully-funded three-year program on the East Coast, I don't know what will. Granted, like I always say, no one should ever drop one of their dream schools from their application list; the above comments are simply for those looking for an additional (say) dozen options to add to the one or two programs they're going to apply to no matter what.

If anyone thinks they could benefit from individualized consulting regarding application lists, I can be reached via the link below.

Be well,

Seth Abramson
Abramson Leslie


katelauren
Kate

Aug 23, 2009, 2:24 PM

Post #452 of 1018 (12089 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi all. I posted a list of schools in July and since then I've done more research and changed it around a lot. Last time I got some great responses and ideas so I wanted to throw this one out there as well. Here goes, in no order, for fiction.
U Texas
LSU
Indiana
Ohio State
Purdue
Cornell
UFlorida
FSU
Colorado State
UIdaho
UMontana
UMichigan
UIowa
UVirginia
UWisconsin
Vanderbilt
UOregon
Old Dominion
SDSU
UArizona
UCSD
I know it's a huge list but I'm willing to apply to a lot of schools if it ups my chances of getting accepted somewhere. My main concerns are funding and low teaching loads (I think 2/2 would be too much for me) and I would prefer a 3 year program. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


gg.scholastica
Gena Goodman


Aug 23, 2009, 4:26 PM

Post #453 of 1018 (12066 views)
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     Re: [katelauren] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi kate--

I'm also applying for fiction and you have just as many programs as I do at the moment. You look like you've given yourself a wide selection in terms of acceptance rates and location... are you really up for anywhere in the US? Is there any type of city (small, big, nonexistant) in which you'd like to live? I think you have a great list, right now.

-Gena


katelauren
Kate

Aug 23, 2009, 7:29 PM

Post #454 of 1018 (12036 views)
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     Re: [gg.scholastica] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hey Gena
Well I'm up for allllmost anywhere. I don't like New England and I don't want to be in a huge city. Other than that I don't mind too much. What about you? Do you think you'll try to make a smaller list? I'm still not sure if I should but I guess if I can afford to apply to that many I might as well? I'll probably take one or two away in the end though.


gg.scholastica
Gena Goodman


Aug 23, 2009, 7:52 PM

Post #455 of 1018 (12030 views)
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     Re: [katelauren] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

I'm about where you are in deciding whether to take programs away. I'm going to sketch up some numbers, see how much the extra two-three programs I like but could do without are going to cost me. Though I'd hate to throw away a chance at a school that could fit me well... so I might end up applying to all twenty-one. I'm in the midst of a faculty read-a-thon, though, so we'll see how the schools stack after that. (Note: this is after I've picked schools by location, funding, and possible lit journal work. Faculty comes fourth, since it's so indeterminate.) If you can afford it and could see yourself happily accepting an offer from all the schools if you were admitted, go for it.

As for city size-- San Diego's pretty big, but I've heard it's gorgeous (Westerners want to jump in?). West Lafayette (Purdue) is not so huge, I suppose... it's divided into sections. Tucson's a wonderful place, basin-like (surrounded by mountains) which has somwhat stopped it from sprawling. The University of Arizona itself occupies a nice percentage of the city... I visited twice and, had I not been with a student, would have gotten lost even in their new student union building. I prefer that kind of college town, actually... where the University dominates or is doted on by the art community. (Tucson vs. Houston, in that comparison).


(This post was edited by gg.scholastica on Aug 23, 2009, 7:56 PM)


katelauren
Kate

Aug 23, 2009, 8:09 PM

Post #456 of 1018 (12023 views)
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     Re: [gg.scholastica] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Yeah I think I would put my - no big city - requirement aside for weather as nice as San Diego! I just know I wouldn't like to live in New York. I visited a few schools already and I was on the fence about Ohio since Columbus seemed pretty big, and the campus itself is huge. But so far it's staying on the list anyway. Are you finding the faculty work online? Looking on Amazon or something like that? I'm starting to do that too, and starting to go a little crazy trying to get this all organized. The next few months are going to be rough on all of us!


FreakingOutInBd


Aug 23, 2009, 8:11 PM

Post #457 of 1018 (12023 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi Seth, Thanks so much for your feedback. Am redoing my list (and dropping Oregon, sigh.)

I'm sure hundreds of people have already told you this, so let me be number hundred and one: you're fantastic. :-)

Virginia Tech is nudged up on my list -- and since my aim was to pare down my list, I guess Oregon going is good...


gg.scholastica
Gena Goodman


Aug 23, 2009, 10:19 PM

Post #458 of 1018 (11992 views)
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     Re: [katelauren] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Ohhh yes, this will be chaotic. Currently I'm a little more excited than worried, but that'll dissolve in a few months, I think. As to where I'm finding the work-- I've just gone to the school sites, most of them list faculty publications. I make lists and take them to the library, see what is to be had. I don't know if many current/post mfa students check out this forum, but if any would like to come and speak up for good books by their professors, Recs would be very helpful :).


Tabby


e-mail user

Aug 24, 2009, 9:06 PM

Post #459 of 1018 (11910 views)
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     Re: [gg.scholastica] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Kevin Canty (Montana) just put out a new book of shorts, Where the Money Went. Kakutani (NYT) gave it a thumbs up. And so does "Tabby"!

I'm also a fan his older collection A Stranger in This World. A short story from that, Blue Boy, was recently made into a movie.

I really liked working with Kevin, too. Sometimes people are great writers but not such great teachers. Not the case with KC.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 25, 2009, 4:40 PM

Post #460 of 1018 (11850 views)
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     Re: [Tabby] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Hi, I know that a lot people do this, however I would like some help if anyone is willing to offer it. Here's a list of programs that I know I want to apply to:

Cornell
U Florida
Florida State
Syracuse
Vanderbilt
Alabama

These schools offer decent funding (for the most part) and are close to family/where I am now (Tampa Bay Area). However, I would like to be in a cooler climate than Florida. I love the climate and environment of Virginia and North Carolina and I need some "easier" admit schools. I am looking for schools with (obviously) good funding in those areas or areas like them. What do you guys think about:

VCU
UVA
NC State
VA Tech
Arkansas (I just don't know if I could ever live in Arkansas... although I went to school in Alabama :)
Iowa (is it worth it to apply? Should I do so anyway? I would kind of kick myself if I could get in and didn't apply. In other words, does it live up to the hype?)
U South FL (I'd kind of like to get out here, but is it a good up and coming program?)
Wisconsin
Minnesota

Any other programs that people just HAVE to recommend? I'd be willing to move to the Mid-West, but I am nervous about the intense winters. Although, I am obviously willing to live in New York, though, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about ;) I'd like to apply to 12 schools, but I can apply to a few more than that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 25, 2009, 4:54 PM

Post #461 of 1018 (11845 views)
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     Re: [kbritten] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

If you are interested in living in Virginia you should definitely check out George Mason (where I'm headed this fall).


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 25, 2009, 7:49 PM

Post #462 of 1018 (11809 views)
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     Re: [alamana] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

If you don't mind me asking, what do you like about George Mason specifically? What kind of funding did you get/are you getting? Thanks for your response!


taraberyl



Aug 26, 2009, 12:25 AM

Post #463 of 1018 (11772 views)
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     Re: [kbritten] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

At the risk of making more competition for myself, I think you should apply to Iowa - it is a bigger program than Cornell, for example, and there's no reason to think it's any harder to get into.

I too am considering Wisconsin and Minnesota for my list, though everyone I know says Minnesota is too cold.

I am also considering UNLV because the program offers lots of traveling opportunities and I bet Vegas would do crazy cool things to my writing.


umass76


Aug 26, 2009, 3:29 AM

Post #464 of 1018 (11755 views)
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     Re: [taraberyl] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Actually, we know Iowa is easier to get into than Cornell. The data says so.

Cornell yield-exclusive acceptance rate (overall): 1.52%
Iowa yield-exclusive acceptance rate (fiction): 2.97%

And Cornell's acceptance rate for fiction--if Cornell's like every other school in the country--is lower than its overall acceptance rate, meaning Iowa is a minimum of twice as easy to get into as Cornell.

And yes, it's worth it. Iowa is the only true studio MFA program in the United States--no grades, no attendance, and the option of taking only workshop and thesis hours in the second year.

Seth
The Suburban Ecstasies

Abramson Leslie Consulting


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 26, 2009, 6:51 AM

Post #465 of 1018 (11745 views)
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     Re: [kbritten] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

kbritten:

George Mason was my first choice because I already live in Northern Virginia (so I donít have to move), and I wanted a three-year program. Additionally, I read some faculty work that blew me away.

Re funding: Mason's MFA has about 11 TA slots per incoming class, each of which pays a stipend between $10,000 and $13,000 and carries a full tuition waiver. The program also offers four full fellowships for third-year students, each fellowship carrying a stipend of at least $10,000 plus tuition waiver; plus two fellowships of $10,000 each to support students doing final thesis work. The program also offers a number of smaller fellowships, ranging from from several hundred dollars to several thousand.

Finally, something you should know since you asked about it earlier, is that George Mason is a higher chance admit because it has a big class (I think 30-35 including fiction, poetry and nonfiction).


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


bighark


Aug 26, 2009, 9:49 AM

Post #466 of 1018 (11719 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Actually, Seth, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is also a true studio program.


umass76


Aug 26, 2009, 12:33 PM

Post #467 of 1018 (11690 views)
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     Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Ah, good point--I'd forgotten the art schools. I think CalArts, California College of the Arts, and places like Bard (mid-residency) may be in that category also. I suppose I was thinking that no other "traditional" university (doctoral university) does what the IWW does. Thanks for the clarification. Be well,

S.


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 26, 2009, 1:18 PM

Post #468 of 1018 (11674 views)
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     Re: [alamana] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

I really appreciate your advice on George Mason, I hadn't even considered it. There are a lot of programs in VA I didn't even know about, and GM is great because it's close to D.C., which means my job opportunities are much wider after graduating (even if that sadly means I have to go back to teaching high school :().

I also appreciate everyone's comments on Iowa, and I will apply there. I don't think I'll get in, so it probably won't matter, but it's worth a shot and worth the effort. I think adding those schools bumps UVA off my list. I'd rather have a GM on my list than UVA, especially considering that I have a lot of low-admit schools. Charlottesville is so beautiful though :( But so is Blacksburg. Just not as close to the beach. I really like VA Tech.

What if I ask this question: are there any schools on the "maybe" list that people have bad experiences with, either from the application process or from the program itself? Thanks again, your help is immeasurable!!


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Aug 26, 2009, 1:47 PM

Post #469 of 1018 (11657 views)
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     Re: [kbritten] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

I'd take a look at Hollins, if you haven't yet. I can only speak for myself, but I had an amazing experience there (I finished with a concentration in poetry this past May). Though it's not fully funded for everyone, more than half of each year's admits do receive funding. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to PM me. Best of luck with the process...


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 28, 2009, 9:27 PM

Post #470 of 1018 (11438 views)
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     Re: [HollinsMFAer] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Question on selectivity:

I tried to consult TSE, but I couldn't find the selectivity information for Florida State, Virginia Commonwealth, or the University of South Florida. Am I safe to say that they are all over 10%? Anyone out there is cyber-land know?? Thanks!


Joe A. I.


Aug 28, 2009, 10:35 PM

Post #471 of 1018 (11424 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Seth,

I'm an incoming fiction student at Oregon and I have a couple quick points about the program's funding situation. As far as I can tell, Oregon's funding is slightly better than your website suggests. According to my acceptance letter, GTFs during the 2008-2009 academic year received "a salary of $1,258.86 per month for nine months." That amounts to $11,330 per year, possibly more depending on whether you can get yourself a GTF assignment for the summer--and yes, while summer fellowships are not advertised on the website and are not guaranteed, they do exist. Why the program has not updated its FAQ page to reflect this improvement (indeed, as far as I can tell, it hasn't been updated in the last five years) is not clear.

Also, I know of a number of people who were allowed to stay on as GTFs after their second year. Again, though, these third-year fellowships are not guaranteed.

Best,
Joe


van_buren22


Aug 28, 2009, 10:45 PM

Post #472 of 1018 (11421 views)
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     Re: [Joe A. I.] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

is anyone applying to mfa programs in nonfiction, or know anything about them or their selectivity?

i'm trying to make a list and want to apply to competitive programs. thx.


taraberyl



Aug 28, 2009, 11:08 PM

Post #473 of 1018 (11413 views)
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     Re: [van_buren22] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

in all likelihood you've seen this already, but here's a link to the ranking that refers specifically to nonfiction programs:
http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/2008/08/creating-writing-mfa-rankings-blogger_11.html

i'm fiction so i don't know much myself but certainly that's a good jumping off point...


van_buren22


Aug 28, 2009, 11:10 PM

Post #474 of 1018 (11410 views)
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     Re: [taraberyl] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

yeah i saw that. i was hoping for personal experiences or info about specific programs.

thanks.


FreakingOutInBd


Aug 29, 2009, 1:43 PM

Post #475 of 1018 (11356 views)
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     Re: [alamana] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

THanks so much! Two schools on my maybe list I've been wondering a lot about - GM and American...and not found much discussion on. I like the idea of Virginia (though American's location I'm not so happy abt...)

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