Jan 20, 2011, 9:57 AM
Post #2239 of 2631
Hello, P & W! I'm new to this board, and I usually watch and read for awhile before posting. However, I had to reply to the inquiry about Spalding University's MFA program. I am just completing my first Summer Semester, which began in Buenos Aires last July. I spent a year researching, writing, and choosing an MFA program, which ended with me applying to four schools--two of which were studio and two low-residency programs. The two low-residency programs (after much comparison!) were Spalding and Vermont College. Of course, I was looking for something that would fit my personality and my goals. Prior to applying, I called each school and talked with program directors and administrators and faculty, if possible. I called or emailed former students of the different programs. I plied everyone with every question imaginable and then I waited. It's a big commitment of time, energy, money, and soul, so you should be as sure as you can be. I choose Spalding's writing program before all of my acceptances (and rejection letter from Johns Hopkins. lol!). This was an unusual move for me, because I like having everything on the table before committing, but Spalding stood out on all levels and I just knew it was the right place for me. I have never doubted for a minute that this was the best place for me to be nurtured and challenged as a writer. I'm actually surprised at the progress I've made, and that I can chalk up to my faculty mentor, Dr. Philip F. Deaver. I am sad that my semester with him is soon over, but I am thrilled with what next semester will hold. Since I work as an Language Arts teacher, the Summer Semester is golden, and I don't mind that it will take four years to complete. I believe the extra time is to my advantage.
Re: [lmorris] Low-Residency MFAs
[In reply to]
So, let me say this, MFAer to future MFAer. Call Spalding. Talk to Karen Mann or Katy Yocum or Kathleen Driskoll. Ask them any question you can think of and then let them do their pitch. Every word is solid. No false promises. No fluffy faculty. NO EASY RESIDENCY. Yes, you will absorb the atmosphere and energy of the international location and be inspired, but this is not a vacation (and I was a little worried about that!). The international residency is grad school on wheels. You will be challenged and exhausted and totally satisfied that every drop of blood was squeezed from the turnip :)
It is amazing to find a community of writers and faculty whom I respect for their talent, hard work, and personality. I formed what I know will be lifelong friendships with other MFA students. We will graduate together in some international location and I'm excited about that. This program is a unique opportunity to work with some of the best faculty in the country and see amazing countries at the same time.
If this has not convinced you to at least call, let me tell you what sets Spalding apart from a lot of other programs. Founder Sena Nasland started with a vision to create an incredible, competitive, challenging program that would build up the writer, rather than tear him or her down. This is truly unique. I spoke with a graduate of another writing program that I applied to, and she loved telling me how they made a new MFAer cry during her workshop review. Shame on you, is what I thought. We are writers together. We should be community minded, kind and honest and helpful in our remarks. Don't mistake that for pat, fluffy remarks. I received only remarks that were helpful, insightful and, yes, critical. But the intent was to help, not harm. We are, after all, telling someone what we think about their baby. I'm honored to be apart of this community.