Jun 20, 2008, 11:49 AM
Post #20 of 1018
I only applied to schools in the Midwest last year and would like to provide some insight to those considering any of the following schools. Most of my insight is poetry, but some fiction information can be gleaned from what I know. Don't discount the Midwest! There are some really excellent programs in this part of the country and although some might not be in the most glamourous of locations, definitely check them out.
1. University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana -- This is the school I ultimately chose out of the several I ended up getting into. This school has amazing funding (really, it's amazing), you get to teach, but not too much, the faculty to student ratio is incredible (four poetry faculty, only three incoming poets a year), plus instead of teaching you can work on The Ninth Letter (which is also awesome). Plus you're two hours from three very major cities (Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis). The program is quite new, which is why it doesn't end up on many people's list, but I highly recommend everyone check it out. This is a three year program.
2. Purdue University -- I went to Purdue as an undergrad. They also offer excellent, full funding to everyone, have a great set of faculty lined up, the Sycamore Review, and other perks. I also highly recommendthis program. This is a three year program.
3. Ohio State -- I almost went here. Full funding, incredibly nice people, great faculty. I highly recommend this program as well. This is a three year program.
4. Western Michigan -- Great program, super nice people, great town, great faculty. The problem is they don't offer full funding. It's almost full funding so it's totally doable, but for someone who wasn't willing to spend a dime on their MFA it was what broke the deal for me. They do accept some people without funding, but they generally are able to find funding for everyone. But, they do have the Prague program (sooo hard to turn down) and Third Coast. I do really recommend this program, they are very well thought of. This is a three year program.
5. Indiana University -- They have full funding, but this can be a tough one. It's a great program, but they are focused on diversity (for good or for bad), and frankly I found them to be less than helpful during the process (I was waitlisted).. take that as you will. They do have an excellent program with great writers. This is a three year program.
6. Pittsburgh -- Yes, Pittsburgh is a great program. However, be aware, they accept a lot of people and only 1 maybe 2 out of each genre are funded. I was something like 15th on the list for funding when I was accepted. Then they sort of tell you to go find your own funding. I found them to be less than helpful during the whole process and was very turned off by their whole "you should come to our program because we are Pittsburgh" attitude. That being said, my best friend got her MFA from Pitt, did receive full funding, and came out a great writer. If I could do it all over again I wouldn't have even bothered with Pitts, but that's just my experience. This is a three year program.
Hopefully this helps those out there!