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Choosing an MFA Program (2009) (2010) (2011)
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sara e.g.


Nov 12, 2009, 12:33 PM

Post #601 of 1018 (14005 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Bluecheese--

The balance students find between teaching and writing will no doubt differ school to school as well as writer to writer. I'm a first year poet at the University of Illinois, teaching one class per semester right now, and I'm not finding it difficult to juggle my writing life with my teaching life at all. You figure out a schedule that works for you and you stick to it. You make priorities. I told myself from the beginning that workshop trumped all my other responsibilities. So far, I've stuck to that. I should also note that at UIUC we take a pedagogy seminar our first semester, so we're not being thrown in to the deep end with a weight around our foot.

Will it take you time to adjust? Certainly. I'll be teaching two classes per semester starting next year and I'm not too concerned about it. Grading is tedious, but not unmanageable. It also depends on what course you teach, obviously. I teach Business and Technical Writing, and while it sounds fairly unglamorous, I'm finding I really, really enjoy it (and enjoy teaching in general.) In our second year we get to teach an undergraduate workshop in our genre. We also have the chance to serve as assistant editor for Ninth Letter, the lit journal here, and that stands in place of teaching one class.

So, really what I'm trying to say is that there are a million ways to make teaching work for you. I feel really fortunate to have the experience...


BLUECHEESE


Nov 12, 2009, 7:55 PM

Post #602 of 1018 (13937 views)
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     Re: [sara e.g.] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Yeah, I want to teach very much. And, I'll do it for funding. It would be nice to have a year to mess around with just my poetry (and maybe be an editor at a journal)... I'm just saying.


BLUECHEESE


Nov 13, 2009, 1:27 PM

Post #603 of 1018 (13877 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

On a side note, I just added when all of my applications are due into "iCal" on my mac. I then added when all of they schools respond. Not because I want to stress out. Heh. Staying on top of things.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 13, 2009, 1:46 PM

Post #604 of 1018 (13871 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program 2010 [In reply to]  

Haha I did the same thing with my Google calendar. Just sent off transcripts this afternoon—two down, five to go.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


bunnytutu


Nov 13, 2009, 7:16 PM

Post #605 of 1018 (13806 views)
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     Re: [Pedro Eler] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I'd look at Brown University. The program seems very open to international students.

http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Literary_Arts/graduate_program/graduate_program_admission.htm

Good luck!


BLUECHEESE


Nov 13, 2009, 9:05 PM

Post #606 of 1018 (13785 views)
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     Re: [bunnytutu] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I wouldn't apply to Brown unless you're familiar with the faculty and the like. I mean, you can, but I even feel kind of stupid applying... and I'm SUPER excited about the faculty. They accept less than 2% of people that apply and these applications are not cheap.

They do have the international writers program but I don't at all know if that is student oriented.... does anyone else? I know they have a lot of international writers as visiting faculty/writers. That might be some indication.

Still, places with 60-80 dollar application fees that accept 2% or less of students are kind of iffy. If you're not excited about the faculty, pick one of those top 20 schools in which you are, and apply there.

There are plenty or more reasonable programs out there, though. I know Indiana says outright that diversity is important to them. I've seen plenty of other schools with directions for international students while looking at schools. I didn't make a list or anything, but you can look at the P&W MFA rankings (the top 50 AND the extended rankings)... I'm sure you'll find plenty or programs.

Also, start with programs with writers that you like, and then see if they have funding and other important things.

These applications are strange though... I was looking through the acceptances, and there was someone who got into like UVA or some other top school while they got rejected from Eastern Washington. I thought that was kind of funny.


WanderingTree


Nov 13, 2009, 9:11 PM

Post #607 of 1018 (13781 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I think the main thing to remember about Brown is that the program aesthetic is geared toward the experimental/genre-bending/interdisciplinary. Perhaps more so than any other program, becoming familiar with the faculty work at Brown is important before you consider applying.

Michigan is another school that has international leanings and the odds of acceptance are on the higher end for top 10 programs since they admit more students.


Pedro Eler


Nov 13, 2009, 9:20 PM

Post #608 of 1018 (13777 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Thanks for the tips! I was already planning on applying to Brown, even tough it is very expensive (which is why I am already saving money) and the chances aren’t very good (but hey, when it comes to MFA’s in Creative Writing the chances are never good). I am only beginning doing research on colleges, and already have some 20 that I’m really excited about (but of course I will have to take some 5 or 8 out of that list).

Anyway, I think that the major thing is the writing, it is what it all boils down to. Which is why I’ve been trying to write more often, but that is not easy, as I have a job and I’m also an undergraduate at the University of Rio de Janeiro. Finding time to write is almost impossible. Do you guys struggle with this as well? It sucks! I wish I was rich so I could stay at home writing all day long!


bunnytutu


Nov 13, 2009, 10:41 PM

Post #609 of 1018 (13764 views)
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     Re: [BLUECHEESE] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

in answer to your question the international writers program is separate. i still stand by my suggestion of the brown program for any interested international student primarily because the faculty is very focused on creating as diverse a program as possible. also, many of the faculty have what i would call an above average interest in translation, so having any type of knowledge of more than one language is great.

i admit the 2% does seem like a crap shoot and i agree it seems pretty iffy but so is the entire process.

experimental: if you consider yourself an individual then what you write IS experimental -Dean Young

Good luck peeps.


Forum Apps


Nov 14, 2009, 9:35 AM

Post #610 of 1018 (13705 views)
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     Re: [bunnytutu] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Very useful thread. These application dates are approaching fast. The stress and anticipation is building.

That "two percent" acceptance rate is definitely no joke--I was utterly surprised to find out that most MFA programs are harder admits than top law schools. There are jobs available for people who graduate from top law schools. Strange world we live in. I suppose one can always use an MFA to build an application to a more job-friendly graduate school. I'm supposing quite a few people do this.

I agree that people should spread out their applications across a larger variety of schools (where they like the faculty). Simply applying to top schools is silly--many of them have quite disparate styles. Look for schools you are truly excited about.

I already have my list of schools completed (already sent everything to my recommendations and the like), but maybe we should start considering backup or "under the radar" schools for those applicants still looking for places to add in order to flesh out their lists.

I see BLUECHEESE mentioned Boise State (I think it was above... could have been in another thread I was reading). I have add a vote in favor of that school as well. The faculty is great and the press is wonderful. While working on some poetry submissions recently, I did notice that they lost funding for one of their journals this year. That is a shame. Budget cuts are the general state of things.

(poetry)

There are two brand new MFA programs that really caught my eye but didn't make my final list:
Temple:
Rachel Blau DuPlessis + Jena Osman + a history of absurdly wonderful visiting faculty

Brigham Young:
Susan Howe! +two younger poetry faculty who seem _quite_ interesting.

Also,
Colorado State:
Having gone here, I can say that the faculty is absolutely wonderful and committed to the students. The location is absolutely amazing. Seriously, you don't even need a car--the whole place is set up with bike paths and the like. Three year program.


(This post was edited by ForumApps on Nov 14, 2009, 9:39 AM)


WanderingTree


Nov 14, 2009, 11:17 AM

Post #611 of 1018 (13680 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

You bring up a good point about top law schools in relation to MFA programs. Even less competitive MFA programs have acceptance rates that would make competitive law schools look like cake walks. As for jobs? Yeah, lawyers from top law schools get jobs. My friends that went to Ivy law schools all have jobs whereas the ones who went to less well known law schools are still unemployed. It's quite different for the MFA since even going to Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Cornell etc. won't guarantee you a job. Does going to a top writing program help? Sure, I don't think anyone would argue with that - names matter. But, what really matters at the end of the day is how much you publish and how significant your publications are. The fact that the majority of tenured writing faculty happened to go to Iowa, Cornell, Michigan, John Hopkins etc. doesn't speak so much to the programs as it does to the dedication of students that graduated from those programs years/decades after the fact (remember a lot of people stop writing seriously after the MFA).


Forum Apps


Nov 14, 2009, 11:57 AM

Post #612 of 1018 (13670 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I would argue that judging a top writing programs simply based off of rankings is rather troublesome. The faculty is what matters. One might say that certain programs have the top picks in terms of student body… but who knows how that group of peers will be slanted, or how close of a group it will be. Quality peers do matter but none of these programs are easy to get into anyway. I mean, I just read somewhere on this forum that someone got into some fancy school and was rejected from some very low tiered place. Who knows what your peers will be like.

I think those schools I listed above (as well as the ones I applied to) have faculty that I’d much rather work with. Don’t just jump into a school simply because it has a high ranking—the lower ranked school may very well make you a better writer, that is, if you’re (you not you you) serious about writing. There is also a chance that the nascent writer will fall to the lowest common denominator at an easier school. That said, some schools with more obtainable acceptance rates often have harder overall requirements to obtain a degree. It all comes down to the applicant, really.

I agree with what was said above…. it is rather silly to just throw a bunch of applications at top ranked programs.
There are a lot of amazing faculty at high ranked programs… I’m not denying that. I’m just saying that the rankings/reputations of schools alone are pretty damned deceiving.

Anyway, I think we agree on a lot of things here, I just wanted to clarify... and to promote people to look very close at those places they do apply to before throwing around piles of money aimlessly.


(This post was edited by Forum Apps on Nov 14, 2009, 11:58 AM)


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 14, 2009, 12:01 PM

Post #613 of 1018 (13667 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  


In Reply To
(remember a lot of people stop writing seriously after the MFA).


What? Really? Why even get the degree, then?


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


WanderingTree


Nov 14, 2009, 1:30 PM

Post #614 of 1018 (13646 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  


In Reply To

In Reply To
(remember a lot of people stop writing seriously after the MFA).


What? Really? Why even get the degree, then?


Well, the MFA in writing (like any other program) gives you time and perspective to see if you actually WANT to write and if you want to live "this kind of life". I mean, how many times does the average person change majors? How many people drop out of law, medical school and PHD programs? Or change careers mid-life? A lot of students (esp. younger ones) are still figuring themselves out. Some people might discover that writing is definitely what they want to dedicate themselves to despite knowing the poverty, challenges and competition that lie ahead. Some people don't want to deal with the politics and lifestyle and just want to write "on the side" while pursuing another passion. Some people might just burn out for whatever reasons. Why get the degree? Well, obviously to write, to become a better writer, for the community. But also because it might help you figure out to what level you want writing to be in your life.

[I went back to my undergrad to teach a short-course. I could tell pretty much immediately who sincerely wanted to be there, wanted to do the work and wanted to learn and who just signed up because they believed the class would be an easy A. Obviously when applying to grad school, applicants are all serious to various degrees. They all have a passion for their field. But what you think you want to do at 22 and what you want to do at even 25 can be two completely different things. Also, there's serious and then there's serious. Going through a program might help people figure out just how serious they are about their chosen field - that's a good thing.]

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Nov 14, 2009, 1:38 PM)


Forum Apps


Nov 14, 2009, 5:24 PM

Post #615 of 1018 (13598 views)
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     Re: [WanderingTree] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Writing is a lot of work that more often than not results in no rewards. People get jobs. People have kids. People simply realize they want to go to law school or become truck drivers.

I was reading a Chelsey Minnis interview a couple of months ago where she said she told a group of MFA students at a reading that she was thinking about giving up writing. They were all shocked... but how many of those shocked students are going to devote their lives to writing? I doubt all of them. I doubt the majority of them will. Many people go through MFA programs and barely scrape together a thesis--they lose interest in spending all of their time writing.

I really don't see how this is hard to understand.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Nov 14, 2009, 5:43 PM

Post #616 of 1018 (13593 views)
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     Re: [Forum Apps] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

It's not that I was under the impression that all MFA grads go on to be professional writers/teachers of writing, I'm just surprised that such a large number never write seriously again after graduation.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


Forum Apps


Nov 14, 2009, 6:37 PM

Post #617 of 1018 (13585 views)
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     Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

It is more of a question of sustained effort. Also, the motivation to keep up with something that provides so few palpable rewards tends to fade. George Oppen (one of my favorite 20th century poets) quit writing poetry for a large portion of his life because he thought it had become irrelevant to him. He was actually serious about the whole thing. How many people with more fleeting interests are going to stick with writing in a sustained way after they start dealing with the trials and tribulations of everyday life (which are vast and complicated in an of themselves)?


OldScribe2000


Nov 14, 2009, 11:05 PM

Post #618 of 1018 (13547 views)
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     Re: [Pedro Eler] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Pedro, look at Arkansas. They have a solid MFA Creative Writing Program, and they have a Translation program (also an MFA program).

For obvious reasons, the University initiated a diversity program that actively recruits minority and International students. I think they would LOVE to see you join the program. However, they only have a 3% acceptance rate, so make sure that writing sample hits home.

Good luck!


Pedro Eler


Nov 15, 2009, 10:12 AM

Post #619 of 1018 (13495 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Thanks Oldscribe2000 for the tip. I am conjuring a list of universities, and then I'll do some research. It's a slow process, but it's moving.

Thanks!


OldScribe2000


Nov 15, 2009, 2:28 PM

Post #620 of 1018 (13445 views)
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     Re: [Pedro Eler] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Pedro, your English is very good. As a matter of fact, you have a better grasp on it than some of the American undergraduates I've worked with. Just remember that you're compiling, not conjuring, a list of schools. Unless, of course, you're a wizard. Then you can wave your wand, and all the hard work will be done for you!

Best of luck!



Thanks Oldscribe2000 for the tip. I am conjuring a list of universities, and then I'll do some research. It's a slow process, but it's moving.

Thanks!



pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 15, 2009, 3:15 PM

Post #621 of 1018 (13436 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I think "conjuring" is fine and evocative.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


OldScribe2000


Nov 15, 2009, 6:24 PM

Post #622 of 1018 (13390 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

Perhaps. But do you think "conjuring" is the word he intended to use? I thought he meant "compiling" because the words are somewhat similar, but I may be wrong.


Forum Apps


Nov 15, 2009, 7:17 PM

Post #623 of 1018 (13376 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I'm "compiling" both a prophecy and a fireball attack. On my free time.

I just misspelled "attack" and wrote "attach" as I wrote that.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 15, 2009, 8:36 PM

Post #624 of 1018 (13361 views)
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     Re: [OldScribe2000] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I think all the other words he has used have been the ones he meant, so I'm willing to assume that "conjuring" was as well.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


__________



Nov 15, 2009, 9:18 PM

Post #625 of 1018 (13354 views)
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     Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) & (2010) - International Applicants [In reply to]  

I sped right over that one, too. Didn't find anything amiss.

I remember in high school, some of most fortuitous linguistic discoveries arrived courtesy of our foreign exchange students. One thing I wrote down: "She was automagically inclined to..."


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 15, 2009, 9:18 PM)

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