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Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014)
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motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
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Mar 1, 2011, 6:04 PM

Post #1 of 169 (32181 views)
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Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014) Can't Post

The application season for 2013/2014 is approaching and choosing the right MFA program can be a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision. There are so many choices to be made when it comes to the type of program, cost, location, and duration. Which is best, a full-time program or a low residency? Is it affordable? How's the funding? Will you be freezing cold for most of the year or sweltering in the humidity? Can you spend three years or only two?

This topic is a good place to start answering these questions and others.


Click on this link to view the previous years Choosing an MFA thread

For a complete listing of all the active topics in this forum as well as our archives, click here: DIRECTORY - Topics in the MFA Forum

Good luck to all 2013/2014 applicants!



(This post was edited by motet on Mar 18, 2014, 10:21 AM)


JoanneMerriam
Joanne Merriam


Mar 7, 2011, 2:13 PM

Post #2 of 169 (31973 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't want to derail this new thread, but Dana had suggested it would be an appropriate place to ask about MLAS (Masters of Liberal Arts and Sciences) degrees. I am in the process of applying to Vanderbilt's. I live in Nashville and get a tuition reimbursement benefit from my employer, which will pay 70% of the cost of one course per semester, which mitigates most of my concerns about going into debt for a degree I don't need. The MFA program at Vanderbilt is full-time, so my only other option is a low-res program. From what I can tell, most of those still require you to do more than one course at a time, and I can't afford that.

So I had pretty much given up on getting a Masters, but then Mark Jarman (of Unholy Sonnets fame, and head of the English Department at Vanderbilt) suggested I look into Vanderbilt's MLAS, which is designed to be taken one course at a time, at night, for people who have full-time M-F type jobs. It also has the advantage of not requiring you to write the GRE, which I wasn't looking forward to, and since it's not focussed just on English you can take a really diverse group of courses, which is good for me since my goal is strictly learning and has nothing to do with my career aspirations. I have, I think, a very decent chance of getting in, since they require a B average from your undergrad and I had a B+ average, and I have publications, and I add to their "diversity" since I'm an immigrant.

So since I've only just heard of this degree, I was wondering if anybody else had any impressions/anecdotes/concerns/information about it. Has anybody done one, maybe at Vandy or maybe at another school?


Editor: 7x20 * Upper Rubber Boot Books
Most recently: Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days (Atwood, Bacigalupi, JCO, etc.)

Writer: joannemerriam.com * The Glaze from Breaking (poetry)


pongo
Buy this book!

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Mar 7, 2011, 3:16 PM

Post #3 of 169 (31954 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a note on low-res programs. Goddard, and others along the same pattern, don't do courses in the ordinary sense. You set up a study plan for the semester, then carry it through, reporting to your advisor at set intervals.

Of course, you don't get the tuition reimbursement and so on, so it isn't a good idea for you, Joanne, but I wanted to get the concept straight.


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/


maida


Mar 8, 2011, 1:33 PM

Post #4 of 169 (31848 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like a great option for you, Joanne! Wish I knew something about it, but I don't. I'd love to pursue a one-course-at-a-time program that allows you to select from a diverse group of courses. Good luck!


Tabby


e-mail user

Mar 8, 2011, 9:13 PM

Post #5 of 169 (31775 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd like to put in a plug for the MA in Creative Writing at Ohio University. (I'm a PhD in nonfiction there right now).

Spieló

OU is a small program, only 2-3 in per year per genre, so each student gets great faculty one on one time. There's a lit fest (this year Tobias Wolf, Padgett Powell, Rita Dove, Debra Marquart) and visiting writers throughout the year. OU supports three respected pubs (NOR, Quarter After Eight, Brevity). All in all, a solid writing community. As for quality of of life, Athens is a groovy little Appalachian town, great farmer's market, downtown.

Of courseófull funding. (TA ship)

My insider info is that while the PhD is very competitive, the MA doesn't receive that many applicants. (MA less sexy than MFA?) Yet, despite the MFAs in abundance, this year's MAs (so far) have been admitted to creative writing PhD progs at Utah and UNLV. (Last year, FSU, South Dakota and Kansas). If you are considering the PhD after, this is a good place to be. Grads also go on to the MFA.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


JoanneMerriam
Joanne Merriam


Mar 9, 2011, 11:16 PM

Post #6 of 169 (31678 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, David, for straightening me out.

I got my transcript yesterday. It's been about 15 years since I've looked at it - I'd forgotten I'd taken some of these courses! And have no memory of one of them ("The Rise of Modern Science").

Vanderbilt wants to know my GPA, my Major GPA, and my GPA Scale. My GPA is on my trasncript, and I can figure out my major GPA (3.77 WHAT) but what is a GPA Scale?? (That's not really a real question - I'm going to call them tomorrow to get them to explain it to me - I'm just puzzled.)


Editor: 7x20 * Upper Rubber Boot Books
Most recently: Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days (Atwood, Bacigalupi, JCO, etc.)

Writer: joannemerriam.com * The Glaze from Breaking (poetry)


hamlet3145


Mar 10, 2011, 12:26 AM

Post #7 of 169 (31671 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

It is kind of a weird question, but they probably just want to know if it is a 4 point scale or 5 point scale, i.e., 3.77 out of 4.0 or 5.0. (I'm sure it's the former here). I really don't know of a university that uses a 5 point.


pongo
Buy this book!

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Mar 10, 2011, 8:06 AM

Post #8 of 169 (31649 views)
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I also rather suspect that the longer you've been out of college, the less important the GPA is. (Although, with a 3.77 in your major, you probably don't have to worry about that.)


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/


JoanneMerriam
Joanne Merriam


Mar 12, 2011, 10:23 AM

Post #9 of 169 (31559 views)
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I hope that's all it is, since that info is easy to get (it's 4.0). The one person who can answer my question at Vandy was out sick this week, so hopefully she'll be back Monday.

This morning my task is to send one of recommenders all the info he needs to write me a kick-ass letter.


Editor: 7x20 * Upper Rubber Boot Books
Most recently: Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days (Atwood, Bacigalupi, JCO, etc.)

Writer: joannemerriam.com * The Glaze from Breaking (poetry)

(This post was edited by JoanneMerriam on Mar 12, 2011, 10:24 AM)


ThreeDogTruck


Mar 17, 2011, 1:59 PM

Post #10 of 169 (31406 views)
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In Reply To
The application season for 2012 is approaching and choosing the right MFA program can be a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision ...


Hey folks,
Just wanted to post that the Optional-Residency program at University of British Columbia is, in my humble opinion, the best low-res MFA on the planet.
I hope to finish my degree there in Fall 2011 after 4 years of part-time study.
The deadline is in early September ... check it out if you have interest -- www.ubc.ca
The faculty are utterly amazing and devote immense amounts of attention to the students ...



mfa app
mfa app

Mar 29, 2011, 10:40 AM

Post #11 of 169 (31221 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations to those of you already considering MFA acceptances and best of luck to those still waiting to hear from schools.

As you make your MFA decision, please keep in mind that Seth Abramson's poll is based only on MFA applicants such as yourselves, people who have never attended any MFA program. This is as useless as having only those who have never read a book review books, or having the Academy Awards voted on only by those who have never seen a movie.

So please do not give credence to Seth Abramson's MFA rankings that were published in P&W.


mfa app
mfa app

Mar 29, 2011, 10:40 AM

Post #12 of 169 (31220 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The application season for 2012 is approaching and choosing the right MFA program can be a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision. There are so many choices to be made when it comes to the type of program, cost, location, and duration. Which is best, a full-time program or a low residency? Is it affordable? How's the funding? Will you be freezing cold for most of the year or sweltering in the humidity? Can you spend three years or only two?

This topic is a good place to start answering these questions and others.


Click on this link to view the previous years Choosing an MFA thread

For a complete listing of all the active topics in this forum as well as our archives, click here: DIRECTORY - Topics in the MFA Forum

Good luck to all 2012 applicants!



RM2
Rosalie Mingus

Mar 29, 2011, 3:21 PM

Post #13 of 169 (31177 views)
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Re: [mfa app] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

mfa app,

Oh, my. Seth does take a beating about his numbers. I used his ratings to identify the top 20 schools; some of his forum posts I found useful. You really can't use them for too much more than that. The fellow obviously cares a lot about rankings, but he doesn't really have the resources, cooperation, or expertise to do what he seems to want to do. I don't think it's unfair to say that he doesn't have the quality or quantity of information required to publish what he publishes in the form he publishes it...

The best resources really are the Delaney articles in the Atlantic. Delaney is smart and honest about it--he says what can be said, he knows what he doesn't know, and he describes the landscape in a manner that can't be misconstrued, misused, and is an honest representation of the best information we have. His articles are a couple years old, at this point, though...

rm


jburche


Mar 31, 2011, 4:01 PM

Post #14 of 169 (31061 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

I'm in the midst of the MFA applications: studying for the GRE (the math section is going very slowly), working on my SoP and looking at schools. I'm going to be applying to both low-residency and full residency programs, so I'm excited to see what happens. My question is: when do you know you're ready for an MFA? I haven't published anything and I struggle writing believable characters at times (though this is getting better with practice). I have the other basics down and am plugging away on my work. I'm just a little nervous that I should wait until I have things published or until I feel extremely confident about my stuff (rather than mildly or momentarily confident). Or are these things that come after the MFA?


pongo
Buy this book!

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Mar 31, 2011, 4:08 PM

Post #15 of 169 (31058 views)
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When you're ready for an MFA isn't a matter of your level of skill; it's your commitment. Are you committed to improving your craft, and spending two or three years working primarily at that? Then you're ready.


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/


JessieB


Mar 31, 2011, 4:20 PM

Post #16 of 169 (31052 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

If it's level of commitment, then I'm in somewhere. Thanks!


pongo
Buy this book!

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Mar 31, 2011, 4:29 PM

Post #17 of 169 (31048 views)
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Well, there's when you're read and when some program wants you. Those aren't always the same. But there are a lot of programs out there, if you are willing to settle for good (but not famous) teachers.


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/


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

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Apr 6, 2011, 10:02 PM

Post #18 of 169 (30873 views)
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An article in Huffington Post by Seth Abramson about Penn State's plans to close their MFA program.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...ml?ref=fb&src=sp

I am, quite frankly, surprised at the level of praise Seth gives this program. I mean no disrespect to anyone who is a graduate of it, on the faculty, or currently in it, but . . . it left me completely cold. I live in Pennsylvania, a scant 90 minutes from the main campus, and did take a look at it, as a traditional program I could manage without moving, really. The atmosphere I encountered was not open, friendly, encouraging. (I was invited to look into it by a faculty member.)

So I am really not surprised that the university is cutting it, since it didn't seem to be something that they were very invested in. But I am surprised at what Seth says about its reputation. That reputation hasn't reached the wannabe writer circles I travel in.


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Apr 7, 2011, 7:15 AM

Post #19 of 169 (30846 views)
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In Reply To
But I am surprised at what Seth says about its reputation. That reputation hasn't reached the wannabe writer circles I travel in.


I think he's basing that reputation on his own rankings. Which, in my opinion, doesn't always add up.


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com

(This post was edited by alamana on Apr 7, 2011, 7:16 AM)


JessieB


Apr 7, 2011, 12:47 PM

Post #20 of 169 (30810 views)
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I'd also heard from Seth's blog about how amazing Penn is, but it's too far from where I might be to even consider. I DO have a question about Pitt State. I haven't heard much about it on Seth's blog or elsewhere and am wondering what people think of the program. I really like the teachers and the students, but I heard they only accept something like 6 fiction writers a year, which is scary to me. I don't think there are any other MFA programs in that area, except Chatham, which I'm also applying to, but haven't heard anything about. Since you're from Pennsylvania, do you know anything about those programs?


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Apr 7, 2011, 1:20 PM

Post #21 of 169 (30806 views)
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In Reply To
I'd also heard from Seth's blog about how amazing Penn is, but it's too far from where I might be to even consider. I DO have a question about Pitt State. I haven't heard much about it on Seth's blog or elsewhere and am wondering what people think of the program.

Allow me to refine some terminology, here. The soon-to-be-cut program under discussion is at Penn State, The Pennsylvania State University, a land grant college in the north central part of the state. It has the main campus, where the football team is headquartered, as well as many satellite campuses, many of which offer full 4-year degrees, as well as the medical school (The Penn State College of Medicine) in Hershey, which I used to be able to see from my classroom, and the law school at Dickinson College in Carlisle. (The law school was always separate form Dickinson College. Penn State bought it about ten [?] years ago.) My more recent master's degree is an MA in American Studies, earned entirely at the campus in Middletown, PA (near Three Mile Island, which is in oine of the muncipalities of the school district where I taught). "Penn," on the other hand, always refers to the University of Pennsylvania, a private university in Philadelphia and one of the Ivy League. It does not, ti my knowledge, have an MFA in creative writing, only one in studio arts. Around here, a reference to "Penn," as in "I'm applying to Penn" or "I'm going to visit my cousin at Penn," means you are going to Philadelphia. "I go to Penn State" means the land grant college with the football team. Here is a link to Penn State's MFA in creative writing: http://english.la.psu.edu/...masteroffinearts.htm The University of Pittsburgh is never referred to as "Pitt State," only "Pitt." Once a private university, it is now "state-related," as is Temple University. Like Penn State, Pitt has many satellite campuses, and a football team at its main campus in the city. Tuition is on a par with that of Penn State, with different schedules for PA residents and out-of-state residents. Here is a link to their MFA program http://www.creativewriting.pitt.edu/graduate In addition, Pennsylvania has the State System of Higher Education (PSSHE), which comprises 14 separate and independent colleges that were once known as "teachers' colleges," then "http://gradstudies.carlow.edu/creative/index.htmlstate colleges," and are now known as universitites. I am a graduate of Millersville University, called Millersville State College when I was there in the late 1960s. Of these, Cheyney Univesity is historically black. Lincoln University, also historically black, is a "state-related" university as well. No PSSHE school has an MFA in creative writing. Lock Haven University has a Bacehelor of Fine Arts in studio arts. Chatham's program is well known, although I don't know too much about it. Carlow University in Pittsburg also has an MFA in Creative Writing (http://gradstudies.carlow.edu/creative/index.html) Everybody's a university now! (That's a sentiment from a close friend who is the dean of admissions at one of the PSSHE school.) I don;t know much about Carlow's program, either. Carlow's program is low res. Chatham's (it's Chatham University -- everybody'a a university!!) has both a traditional residential program and a low res.


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


JessieB


Apr 7, 2011, 2:20 PM

Post #22 of 169 (30793 views)
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Re: [silkentent] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry for the bad terminology. I'm in Kansas City and have been my entire life, so I know nothing about Pennsylvania. I did look at Carlow, but forgot about it in my post. Thanks for reminding me!


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Apr 7, 2011, 4:34 PM

Post #23 of 169 (30767 views)
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Re: [JessieB] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Gee -- I didn't expect my post to show up as a solid block of text with a random link in the middle.

According to Penn State's website, the MFA program is still inviting applications.


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


blue_skies


Apr 9, 2011, 7:59 PM

Post #24 of 169 (30648 views)
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West Virginia University is about an hour from Pittsburgh and has an MFA.


umass76


Apr 10, 2011, 6:40 PM

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I'm not looking to get into a discussion of the rankings, but let's just be really clear here, anyway. There is no such thing as "my" rankings. Penn State ranks in the Top 10 among MFA programs for selectivity -- fact. Based on hard data. Penn State ranks in roughly the Top 25 for funding among MFA programs -- fact. Based on hard data. Penn State ranks in the Top 40 for postgraduate fellowship and residency placement for the period from 1998 to 2011 -- fact. Based on hard data. Three-year polling of nonfiction applicants places PSU among the Top 10 nonfiction programs, and three-year polling of hundreds and hundreds of fiction and poetry applicants puts the program in the Top 40 in those genres -- again, this is based on data collected from applicants. In 2010, I wrote that Penn State was underrated, along with more than 25 other programs; that wasn't to say Penn State is a Top 10 or even Top 20 or Top 25 program, but that the program's then-#44 ranking was too low, given that that barely put the program in the top 33% of programs nationally. Whatever one thinks, the program deserves to be ranked in the top third of programs -- I merely thought it should be higher than #44, given its funding and selectivity and placement and popularity among applicants in three different genres. But my statements about PSU have been based, from the beginning, on polling and hard data -- not on "my own rankings." No one here has any idea whatsoever where I would place PSU in "my own rankings."

Seth Abramson


(This post was edited by umass76 on Apr 10, 2011, 6:41 PM)


pongo
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Apr 10, 2011, 8:37 PM

Post #26 of 169 (9304 views)
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I have no dog in this fight -- I finished my MFA long ago -- but I think, Seth, when people refer to "your" rankings it is at least in part because you are their public face and (as far as I know) do most or all of the considerable work in putting them together. As far as I'm concerned, that makes them yours.

It doesn't make them your opinions, of course, but they are the rankings that you put together, and I think you're entitled to get some credit for them.

Others are free to disagree, of course.


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/


umass76


Apr 10, 2011, 10:15 PM

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Hi Pongo,

I take your point; I think my concern is that often referring to them as "my rankings" is a way to either discredit them (by suggesting they are merely the opinions of one man) or downplay their significance (by disassociating them from their institutional sponsor). There is a group of actual people behind the U.S. News & World Report rankings, too, of course, but no one bothers to find out who they are -- no one cares. And if the rankings were not constantly under attack by those who don't really understand what they are and how they work, I think I would merely be seen as a freelance journo who collects data for the "Poets & Writers MFA rankings," and not some gent who has developed some kind of arcane methodology that makes sense to only him. The same folks who commonly use the phrase "Seth Abramson's rankings" are also strangely loath to speak of the three hard-data rankings in the rankings chart (Funding, Selectivity, Placement) or all the unranked data that would help explain a program's popularity -- for instance, does Penn State have a great student-to-faculty ratio? (yes); does it comply with the CGSR, suggesting sensitivity to the needs of applicants? (yes); is the cost of living in Happy Valley reasonable? (yes) -- and instead act naively bewildered about what the rankings could possibly be saying, as if they are _only_ constituted by the largest (two-thousand-plus strong, five-year) poll of MFA applicants ever taken.

S.

P.S. Case-in-point: An individual comes on the board and says, as has been said before, that the P&W rankings are like asking the opinion of someone who's never eaten at a restaurant what they think of the restaurant. Is there really not one person here who could point out the obvious: No ranking system ever devised relies on the self-reporting of currently in-program faculty and students regarding their own experiences, because to do so would invite self-serving responses and inject a terminal degree (no pun intended) of bias into the methodology? Why does no one ask these people to point to even a _single_ credible national ranking methodology -- in any field, at any point in history -- that does what they've suggested? Or maybe someone could point out that, in fact, one can learn _hundreds_ of things about a restaurant before ever tasting its food? Or that, in fact, a single patron's reaction to a restaurant's food is often based on personal taste, whereas reportage of immutable restaurant traits is more likely to allow potential restaurant-goers (for whom the rankings are intended) to make their own decisions? These are obvious replies, but it's much more satisfying to snipe from a distance or hide behind those doing so. It's still, after all these years, remarkable to me.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Apr 10, 2011, 10:19 PM)


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Apr 11, 2011, 10:12 AM

Post #28 of 169 (9253 views)
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In Reply To
Hi Pongo,

I take your point; I think my concern is that often referring to them as "my rankings" is a way to either discredit them (by suggesting they are merely the opinions of one man) or downplay their significance (by disassociating them from their institutional sponsor).

I think I understand the methodology behind the rankings and what the resultsmean a little better now. In terms of funding, teacher-student ratio, etc., the program does rank high -- it's small, accepts few students, and fully funds them, and it is relatively inexpensive to live in State College, as opposed to Philadelphia or New York or Pittsburgh. So if you're looking for a small program that pays you to be there, and "there" is a pleasant place (it's in the middle of nowhere but it doesn't take long to get somewhere, or even deeper into nowhere if you want to live in a cabin in the woods, and the university community is large and diverse and culturally rich, a city unto itself), PSU is a good choice. In the article, Seth writes: "Little explanation has yet been given for why the University elected to cut one of its most prestigious graduate programs." It was the assertion that the program is one of PSU's "most prestigious," as measured by me and what I know about it, given my experience as a PA resident and an informal counselor of college-bound youngster. (I've been out of the classroom since 1998, my daughter out of high school since 2004, so my interest in and need for keeping up with the college selections and admissions game has waned, but I have continued to work with college-bound youngsters until very recently.) When a kid says, "I want to become a fiction writer," I do not immediately think of Penn State. I might think of PSU if the student wants to go there and wants to study English or literature or even get a PhD in English, but in my mind, its "most prestigious" programs are in science, engineering, and medicine and allied health professions. This is perhaps because I come to an inquiry about an MFA with an extensive background in the academic MA in English and MA in American Studies (which I earned at a Penn State outlying campus in a program I truly loved). I told a friend who works in the PA state system in admissions about this. Knowing only what I told him (the stuff I've written here), he commented that the program is likely very expensive, and it's probably the "fully funded" part that is driving the decision. They want to put their resources more into the traditional English/literature program. As to the intangibles that P&W's rankings don't measure -- the look and feel of the program to someone like me who wnats craft craft craft instruction and mentoring, I just don't feel it from PSU.


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


RM2
Rosalie Mingus

Apr 11, 2011, 1:00 PM

Post #29 of 169 (9216 views)
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To be really honest, I don't want to add to the talky about the inherent folly, merit, and harm of mfa rankings. I just wanted to say that I don't think one can cry foul over Penn State cutting Penn State's program because their program comes out near the top of some mfa ranking in some data fields. That would be like my mom saying, oh rosalie! you can't leave your job to get an mfa and become a POET. You just made the Library of Congress' list of the 100 most successful librarians under 40 in the US!

rm


umass76


Apr 11, 2011, 2:15 PM

Post #30 of 169 (9194 views)
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Re: [RM2] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Rosalie,

I don't think that's what's being said at all. What's being said is that universities are, by and large, rational actors who operate on the basis of cost/benefit analyses. PSU wouldn't suddenly cut its Chemistry Department because the professors in that department would make the case against it and they would win: We bring money into the university system, they'd say; or, we're prestigious and we bring acclaim; or, we don't cost you much to operate (if that's true); and so on. When we see a university operating in contravention of logic -- for instance, by cutting a prestigious program that costs the university little money -- that's when we start to get suspicious. And if we're artists, we get a little angry, too, because we know the Arts are always targeted first by those who are "budget-conscious" more than they're community-conscious (or worse, given that PSU's MFA costs very little, by those who simply devalue the Arts and use alleged budgetary concerns as a cover for this).

In any case, your analogy is a bizarre one: If you were one of the most successful librarians in the U.S., I'd bet your friends and family _would_ question your decision to end your career as a librarian (as would anyone's family and friends question such a decision by _anyone_ to leave a field while operating at its very highest levels). And your response would be, "No! I'm still going to leave, because I value doing an MFA more than anything else." And your friends and family would gauge the importance of you doing an MFA -- to you; i.e., in your mind -- partly on the basis of what you're willing to give up for it. Just so, PSU's MFA: the University has to _really_ want to ax this MFA to be cutting a program that doesn't cost much and has documented prestige within its field. And given that no reason was ever given to the MFA program as to _why_ destroying them altogether was worth _so_ much to the University, it's reasonable for that question to be asked.

S.


RM2
Rosalie Mingus

Apr 11, 2011, 3:08 PM

Post #31 of 169 (9175 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I know, I know my analogies are bizarre. Thank you, thank you. Please don't say 'if we're artists, we get a little angry...' because I'm not angry. Seth, it's an MFA Program at Penn State. They're not paving over a UNESCO World Heritage Site to put up a parking lot. If a few academicians in Pennsylvania decide not to give a damn about sponsoring fiction writers or poets to spend a few years kicking it at the academy, who really cares? There are tons and tons of MFA programs out there if people decide they want that experience.

You're obsessed by all this, you know? Now, if you really want to be helpful to me and atone for calling my analogy bizarre, please tell me what kind of glue to use to glue the handle back on my favorite coffee mug. I just broke it. I'm not blaming you, but I was typing this to you when I knocked it over. Can I use regular superglue or do I need to stop by the hardware store and buy epoxy? It's ceramic, if that helps.


potshot


Apr 11, 2011, 4:17 PM

Post #32 of 169 (9153 views)
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Re: [RM2] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Whatever you get to fix your mug, don't breath in the fumes. You seem damaged enough as it is.


(This post was edited by potshot on Apr 11, 2011, 4:17 PM)


umass76


Apr 11, 2011, 5:55 PM

Post #33 of 169 (9117 views)
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Re: [RM2] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't calling you "angry," Rosalie -- though honestly, with the unnecessary personal attack you are certainly making yourself seem angry. My point was that those who care about the availability of financial resources for artists do, in general terms, get "angry" (in the principled sense) when funding for the Arts is cut totally unnecessarily. But look, if that doesn't bother you, that's fine. I'm not telling you how to feel, obviously; I'm simply saying that the answer to the question "Who cares?" is this: "A lot of people."

As to whether or not I'm obsessed by this, isn't the answer to that question, "Who cares?" I believe what I'm doing helps young literary artists -- and I'm "obsessed" with helping young literary artists, yes. If that offends you, well -- you're going to break a lot of mugs listening to me, then.

S.


Swamp Thing
Jim Ryals

Apr 11, 2011, 6:25 PM

Post #34 of 169 (9107 views)
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Re: [RM2] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Super Glue will work just fine. Be careful getting it on skin or clothing, as the guy in the men's room at Walmart recently discovered.

Seth has taken a great deal of time and effort to create a workable ranking system. He's been upfront about his methodology for as long as I've followed it. For this, he's taken his lumps and, from what I've seen, upset a few high level academic mucky mucks. He's also been dismissed from time to time by people who have not bothered to examine exactly what he's done or how he's done it.

You may waive your hand and dismiss what he's done. You may ignore what he's done. I for one applaud his effort. I also can see that he would be sensitive when people say that one shouldn't bother with his rankings because he "he doesn't have the quality or quantity of information required to publish what he publishes in the form he publishes it..." He has admitted his lack of information where it impacts what he's trying to do and has worked hard to get MFA programs to be more forthcoming with things like funding and has had some notable successes. Where he has not, he's talked about it on various forums. So this quoted statement is largely without merit, and I think Seth is correct to refute it. When I saw it some time ago, I almost made a comment. However since Seth follows this board, I figured he didn't need me to defend him.

As to the fact that he uses prospective applicants in his rankings, which I surmise by the restaurant analogy is a problem for some, I can only say that when I applied to law school a couple of decades ago, I knew the rankings of the top 50 law schools by heart, their acceptance rates and who from my college was attending, as did every person applying I knew. You my dismiss the opinions of prospective applicants, but from my personal experience, I will not. People who are about to drop a significant amount of money on a choice that will have a major impact on the rest of their lives are pretty good judges in my experience, whether he or she's an applicant for a J.D., an M.B.A., or an M.F.A.

As to whether or not Seth is obsessed, over the course of my long career as a lawyer and my recent career as a writer, I have learned the most from people routinely described as "obsessed." I for one would take it as a complement, albeit back-handed.

ST



JessieB


Apr 12, 2011, 7:27 AM

Post #35 of 169 (9058 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,

Sorry to barge in on the rankings discussions, but does anyone have any information on West Virginia's program. I've done some checking into it after one person (I'm so sorry, I forget your name) mentioned that it's only an hour outside of Pittsburgh. I really like the look of it, but there's just not a lot to go on based on the website alone.


RM2
Rosalie Mingus

Apr 12, 2011, 9:53 AM

Post #36 of 169 (9035 views)
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Re: [Swamp Thing] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the ranking context, ST. I appreciate your post and the mug is fixed. When I shovelled through my own MFA research, I was grateful for the posts and data Seth provided.

I didn't mean to make people feel upset or feel defensive or feel attacked. Apologies Potshot and UMass! It's just that the ordination of the programs--the fact that they're numbered, the form itself that is chosen, the 1,2,3--can't help but gloss the methodology issues which, to Seth's credit and honesty, he takes pains and oodles of words to lay bare and make disclaimers for.

Obsession can be terrific and you can get a lot done, but the danger is in not being able to rightly judge proportions or contexts. I speak from experience. My comment wasn't intended as an insult or a compliment.

I will now sneak away, but I wish I had some info on West Virginia to share!

rm


Swamp Thing
Jim Ryals

Apr 12, 2011, 11:35 PM

Post #37 of 169 (8955 views)
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Re: [RM2] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't sneak away, for God's sake. You had your point and you made it. If you think Seth's wrong, I'd like to hear about it beyond one sentence criticisms.

I'll use an analogy that will offend some =

When Al Gore said "the debate is over" I said to my wife, "Science isn't about debates. It's about testing hypothesise. She called me a Nethanderal jerk, slapped me and went upstairs for a few days. But then she came down and apologized.

If you disagree with what Seth does, test it. Here. I don't think you will find a kinder group of folks to disagree with. My wife isn't a writer and doesn't haunt these forums. (fora?)

ST


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Apr 13, 2011, 8:06 AM

Post #38 of 169 (8930 views)
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Re: [Swamp Thing] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone who disagrees with the rankings -- any rankings -- or their methodology is free to create a competing set. Nothing is stopping you.

"Go thou and do likewise," as someone said.


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/


mgaby22
Margaret Gaby

Apr 20, 2011, 11:09 AM

Post #39 of 169 (8788 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hello I am new to this site, however I have come across it in my research. I am a rising senior majoring in English/creative writing at UMASS Amherst and am thinking about applying to MFA programs. Would it be a good Idea to apply right out of school? I plan on doing publishing as a career. However, my biggest concern is funding. I've heard that my school has good program, by some of my teachers and the MFA rankings, but would I have a better chance of getting because I'm already an undergrad? I really just want to have time to finish my novel and get a degree and some experience working on publishing magazine and/or teaching.

I know that University of Austin has the best funding, and Cornell is good too so is Brown and Iowa and Indiana. But what are my chances of getting into one of those programs.

So here are main concerns:
Funding/cost of living
Genre writing?
Reputation
Diversity
location
ability to take electives
campus feel

I know it's kind of a random list. If I don't get funding I'm just going to go into publishing.

Thanks!

The application season for 2012 is approaching and c
hoosing the right MFA program can be a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision. There are so many choices to be made when it comes to the type of program, cost, location, and duration. Which is best, a full-time program or a low residency? Is it affordable? How's the funding? Will you be freezing cold for most of the year or sweltering in the humidity? Can you spend three years or only two?

This topic is a good place to start answering these questions and others.


Click on this link to view the previous years Choosing an MFA thread

For a complete listing of all the active topics in this forum as well as our archives, click here: DIRECTORY - Topics in the MFA Forum

Good luck to all 2012 applicants!



pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Apr 20, 2011, 11:47 AM

Post #40 of 169 (8781 views)
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Re: [mgaby22] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If I don't get funding I'm just going to go into publishing.


I love this line.

Most people who go into publishing need funding, you know. When I was an executive editor, hiring new assistants, I never managed to hire someone who wasn't getting financial help from Dad, because I couldn't pay enough to keep someone housed and fed. And there were gobs of applicants for each position, even if you just count the ones who could afford to take the job.


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/


bighark


Apr 20, 2011, 1:03 PM

Post #41 of 169 (8767 views)
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Re: [mgaby22] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

1) When to apply is a personal decision. Writers routinely apply and get accepted to MFA programs as graduating undergrads. Whether you'd benefit from going straight to grad school is something you need to determine on your own.

2) As a UMASS undergrad, I'd say you're less likely to get into the UMASS MFA program than a similarly qualified writer from a different institution. Generally speaking, grad programs shy away from taking their own undergrads.

3) You state three wants: 1) Writing time 2) A degree 3) Work experience. Which of those is most important to you? Why do you feel you need to go to graduate school to get things 1 and 2? You do know you can get these things without going to graduate school, right?

4) Your "chances" of getting into a funded program are slim. Very slim. Think about acceptance rates in the range of 1 to .5 percent or less.

5) Funding? Do some research. The info is out there.

6) Reputation? A well regarded program may attract a number of really strong writers, and that's good, but if you're asking whether a program's reputation is going to help you land a job, it won't.

7) Diversity? Of what? The department? The college? The town?

8) Location? Figure out where you feel you can live and narrow your choices from there.

9. Electives? Depends on the program. This information is readily available on program web sites. What non-writing courses do you want to take and why?

10) Campus feel? What's more important to you, developing as a writer or playing frisbee on the quad?

11) Just going into publishing? As what? A writer of fiction? A journalist? An editor? Ad sales? What's your end game? "Going into publishing" is not the same as writing fiction and poetry.


(This post was edited by bighark on Apr 20, 2011, 1:03 PM)


karinr
Karin Rosman


Apr 20, 2011, 4:20 PM

Post #42 of 169 (8743 views)
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Re: Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Something to consider regarding funding is that many MFA programs are accredited, meaning that you can apply for financial aid. If you don't have undergraduate debt, and if your personal debt is reasonable, it's worth considering. Also, an acquaintance of mine completed a well-regarded MBA, and the cost was considerably higher than my estimated MFA. Of course, his return will likely be higher, too.


mds2179
Michelle

May 1, 2011, 7:13 PM

Post #43 of 169 (8554 views)
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Re: [karinr] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think I have officially drowned myself in MFA programs and requirements. With months left before the application submissions are started I am already losing faith in myself! At the moment I am looking to apply to 8 programs: Brooklyn College, Hunter College, The New School, Queens College, Sarah Lawrence, City College, Long Island U (Brooklyn Campus), and UNC Wilmington [I know- NY is the place for me :)]. My biggest fear at the moment is my writing sample. I'm currently an undergrad at UNCWilmington, English Major- Creative Writing minor (fiction) and I feel as if I need MORE eyes for my writing sample. Does anyone have advice/ or ideas for more eyes? Aside from my proffesors and workshop classes of course, I would love some additional comments. Since I'm applying straight out of undergrad I'm worried my writing may not be up to par as some who have had time off to work on their writing.


Good luck to those starting the process. I fear anxiety will be my closest companion during the following months.


karinr
Karin Rosman


May 2, 2011, 11:51 AM

Post #44 of 169 (8504 views)
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Re: [mds2179] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I bet everything you are submitting has been workshopped, and seen by plenty of eyes. I say choose the work you are most confident about, and then buy yourself a beer and some pretzels. Good luck!


bighark


May 2, 2011, 12:37 PM

Post #45 of 169 (8499 views)
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Re: [mds2179] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.zoetrope.com is a good site for workshopping. Members have to review other work in order to have their work reviewed, so there's always movement on the site. Some reviewers are better than others, of course, but you will get more eyeballs on your stuff.

You should also be submitting for publication. If you're especially hungry for feedback, search for markets with reputations for personalized letters. Duotrope.com is a useful tool for that kind of thing. Start here: http://www.duotrope.com/RTstats.aspx?report=RPs&pubtype=S


mds2179
Michelle

May 2, 2011, 1:01 PM

Post #46 of 169 (8493 views)
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Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Karinr, thanks for the vote of confidence :) Always nice to be surrounded by optimists.

Bigshark, thanks also for the response. I've already checked out the sites you posted and I'm feeling a little better about the extra eyes!


JessieB


May 5, 2011, 11:41 AM

Post #47 of 169 (8397 views)
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Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Bighark, where on Zoetrope can you do workshopping? I clicked everywhere, but couldn't seem to find that area.


bighark


May 5, 2011, 1:29 PM

Post #48 of 169 (8386 views)
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Re: [JessieB] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

It's the "Virtual Studio" area, and you have to register to the site in order to view it.

http://www.zoetrope.com/join.cgi


JessieB


May 5, 2011, 1:44 PM

Post #49 of 169 (8382 views)
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Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you!


RM2
Rosalie Mingus

May 10, 2011, 8:39 AM

Post #50 of 169 (8262 views)
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Re: [mgaby22] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, there. I read this paper and saw this article. It's a short collection of thoughts and perspectives on the teaching of writing. The level of discussion on our forum is more advanced than the article, perhaps, but maybe it's of interest, anyway.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/may/10/creative-writing-courses

Be well,

rm


pdunn


May 11, 2011, 7:45 PM

Post #51 of 169 (8292 views)
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In Reply To
I think I have officially drowned myself in MFA programs and requirements. With months left before the application submissions are started I am already losing faith in myself! At the moment I am looking to apply to 8 programs: Brooklyn College, Hunter College, The New School, Queens College, Sarah Lawrence, City College, Long Island U (Brooklyn Campus), and UNC Wilmington [I know- NY is the place for me :)]. My biggest fear at the moment is my writing sample. I'm currently an undergrad at UNCWilmington, English Major- Creative Writing minor (fiction) and I feel as if I need MORE eyes for my writing sample. Does anyone have advice/ or ideas for more eyes? Aside from my proffesors and workshop classes of course, I would love some additional comments. Since I'm applying straight out of undergrad I'm worried my writing may not be up to par as some who have had time off to work on their writing.


Good luck to those starting the process. I fear anxiety will be my closest companion during the following months.


Since you're looking at mostly NYC-area schools, I'd recommend checking out Stony Brook Southampton. You can take your classes at their Manhattan Facility during the year and then take the Summer Conference for credit in Southampton in July. I'm headed there in the fall and am very excited about it. Plus, tuition is cheap since it's a state school.


cigarettes


May 14, 2011, 11:33 AM

Post #52 of 169 (8219 views)
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Re: [mds2179] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Michelle,

Maybe check out Driftless House: http://www.driftlesshouse.com/driftlesshouse.com-t/index.htm

I haven't used their services, but people seem to be getting good results. They are totally in tune with the MFA application process, which your professors may not be.


JoanneMerriam
Joanne Merriam


May 27, 2011, 9:23 PM

Post #53 of 169 (8016 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Just popping in to let people know I got into Vanderbilt's MLAS program. There are apparently at least two writing courses, one of which is a poetry workshop with Kate Daniels. I'm psyched about that. Otherwise my other courses will likely have no particular relationship to creative writing, except in the sense that everything's fodder.


Editor: 7x20 * Upper Rubber Boot Books
Most recently: Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days (Atwood, Bacigalupi, JCO, etc.)

Writer: joannemerriam.com * The Glaze from Breaking (poetry)


maybemd


May 27, 2011, 10:11 PM

Post #54 of 169 (8010 views)
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Joanne! Congratulations and may your time in school be wonderful!


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

May 27, 2011, 11:01 PM

Post #55 of 169 (8007 views)
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Re: [maybemd] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello mudder, hello fodder!


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/


karinr
Karin Rosman


May 27, 2011, 11:55 PM

Post #56 of 169 (8003 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Congratulations!


maida


May 28, 2011, 8:37 PM

Post #57 of 169 (7966 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yay! I hope it's a wonderful experience!


jitall
jenniey


Jun 1, 2011, 11:08 AM

Post #58 of 169 (7886 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

congratulations joanne! i've been doing gender studies, as you know, and the creativity abounds when you are not studying writing specifically -- or at least it does for me. i am sure it will for you as well.


jenniey tallman


rjkostuck
Robert Kostuck


Jun 1, 2011, 4:49 PM

Post #59 of 169 (7861 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

That is very cool. Congratulations!


Om Shanti


mds2179
Michelle

Jun 12, 2011, 7:42 PM

Post #60 of 169 (7691 views)
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In Reply To


Since you're looking at mostly NYC-area schools, I'd recommend checking out Stony Brook Southampton. You can take your classes at their Manhattan Facility during the year and then take the Summer Conference for credit in Southampton in July. I'm headed there in the fall and am very excited about it. Plus, tuition is cheap since it's a state school.



Thanks for the addition, I've recently added South Hampton to my list! I'm curious if you'd be willing to share the writing sample/Sop you used to get in, I'd love to have some comparisons against mine :)


decemberfinch
Kat Finch


Jun 17, 2011, 6:15 PM

Post #61 of 169 (7604 views)
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Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've started assembling materials for grad school, and feel completely overwhelmed. After looking through Poets&Writers and AWP, I've finally got my schools selected: (all for poetry)
University of Iowa
Indiana University
Columbia College Chicago
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Arizona State University
University of Boulder Colorado
Georgia College & State University
New Mexico State University

I've got some great professors for my letters of rec. I'm hoping to get my letters of intent done by September and hopefully most of my portfolio too. Is anyone else applying to these schools, or go to them? I'd really love to hear more about them from a view other than what the web sites have to say. Something I really liked about Indiana was that they had profiles of their current students, which I thought was really helpful to see if I would fit in. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, words of wisdom, etc. This whole process makes me feel a bit lost or like a deer in headlights.


polaroid
K. George

Jun 20, 2011, 2:18 PM

Post #62 of 169 (7556 views)
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Re: [decemberfinch] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I have had some trouble narrowing it down, but am going to apply to 14 schools (in Poetry), some of which are the same as yours decemberfinch

In no particular order:

U Montana
U Wyoming
U Oregon
U Washington
Notre Dame
U Iowa
Indiana U
New Mexico U
Colorado State
U Idaho
UT Austin
U Houston
Cornell
U Michigan

phew....I am solidifying my manuscript now, have some good reccomenders lined up, and all my scores and transcripts in line. Basically what I really need to focus on now are the SOPs, which are wide and varied for every school...I have been chomping at the bit to apply for a few years now but wanted to wait a little longer until I felt my writing up to par. It's a nerve-wracking and exciting feeling...


decemberfinch
Kat Finch


Jun 20, 2011, 4:31 PM

Post #63 of 169 (7542 views)
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Re: [polaroid] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

SOPs are hard because when I write them I feel like I'm bragging, and I don't want to come across that way. And as you said, each one has to be (at least, if not more) slightly rewritten. I originally had about 11 schools after talking with one of my professors, and we crossed some off and added a few. And then I researched the new schools and decided just on adding Indiana and Columbia Chicago. (The two I didn't include were SIU Carbondale and U Alabama.)

I'm on the fence about UW (we call it U DUB here) because I'm a local and think it's time to get out. I went to WWU and am only taking a year off (I just graduated). Heather McHugh, I think, would be really good for me and she seems interesting. Oregon is a good school, and I would apply there too except I'd rather be in Portland and I hear the program is more traditional.

I still need to take care of transcripts and GREs, which I'm not too worried about except for getting them done and out of the way. Good luck! Maybe we'll even end up sharing a class! :)


siaopeng
peng shepherd

Jun 20, 2011, 6:12 PM

Post #64 of 169 (7528 views)
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Studio vs Academic MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi everyone,

I apologize in advance if this is covered in depth somewhere else... I did try to pre-empt this post with a scan of this forum to look for a previous related thread, but did not come up with anything.

Anyway, I'm a total noob here, and I have just started to compile my list of schools for fall 2012 (fiction). After coming across the "The Top Fifty" MFA rankings for 2011, I have noticed that half are Academic and half are Studio MFAs (and some are Academic MFAs with a *, the footnote for which I also don't quite understand. I can't tell if it means it's academic-with-a-studio-leaning or academic-further-from-studio-than-regular-academic).

I scoured google and all I was able to come up with was a very short post that described the difference at a very basic level (actually it was the creative writing mfa handbook blog, at http://creative-writing-mfa-handbook.blogspot.com/2006/08/studio-vs-academic-programs.html), and I do grasp the fundamental difference between the two, but I was hoping maybe people on here would jump in and go into more depth, and elaborate on the nuances of Studio vs Academic... Their personal feelings and preferences, what is the big difference to them, why one might be "better" than the other (subjectively of course), advantages and disadvantages to each, how much writing is actually done in an Academic MFA vs a Studio MFA, etc.

After doing my preliminary research, I think that I want studio, but it seems like so many of the top schools are academic MFAs, so maybe I am just missing something or not seeing the big picture?

Thanks so much in advance! I appreciate everyone's views.


blue_skies


Jun 22, 2011, 5:39 PM

Post #65 of 169 (7463 views)
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Re: [siaopeng] Studio vs Academic MFAs [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm currently in a program that has an academic slant. My husband earned his MFA from a studio program, so I've been able to compare, and as you said, they both have advantages and disadvantages. No matter where you go, you'll probably be expected to produce the same level and quantity of creative work. The difference is in how much time you can spend towards your writing. In my academic program, I've taken quite a few theory classes. I definitely feel like this takes away from my writing time, and that can be frustrating. However, I also feel as though I am being instructed in the language of academia. If you want to go on in academia after your MFA (either for a PhD or a full-time job), then you might benefit from an academic program. It's certainly not required, but I feel more comfortable talking about Foucoult or DeCerteau (among others) than my husband, and I've also presented at academic conferences. If you have no intention of pursuing an academic job, then I would suggest a studio program. Still, an academic program won't help you get a better job if you don't have a book published; it will just help you navigate the territory a bit more, so you'll have to decide for yourself.

Ultimately, you should choose the program that excites you. Look for little things that might make you a good fit for their program. Do they like eco-literature, or do they have a travel component? Are they excited to have students who speak multiple languages? Do they have a literary journal or public reading series? For all of their similarities, programs can vary widely. If you focus all of your energies on looking at "top" programs, you might miss that one program that would really speak to you as a writer and learner.


panic


Jun 24, 2011, 7:18 PM

Post #66 of 169 (7413 views)
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Re: [polaroid] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all,I'm currently whittling down my list of schools to apply to and so far haveChapman UCSU - LBSDSUUCSDOregon State UU of Oregonand UC - Riverside
I'd like to stay West Coast but my biggest hurdle is getting my bachelor's in Sept in Advertising and this is keeping me from applying to more selective schools (like Irvine) because I'm afraid it'll count against me no matter how good my writing sample may or may not be. Has anybody had any luck with an undergrad in something other than English?


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Jun 24, 2011, 10:13 PM

Post #67 of 169 (7404 views)
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Re: [panic] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Has anybody had any luck with an undergrad in something other than English?


I don't have an English degree. I have a theater degree and a law degree. And I'm finishing up my thesis at my MFA program this year.


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jun 24, 2011, 10:30 PM

Post #68 of 169 (7400 views)
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Re: [alamana] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I had an MFA classmate who didn't have an undergraduate degree at all.


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/


spamela


Jun 26, 2011, 5:27 PM

Post #69 of 169 (7348 views)
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Re: [panic] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure how much it matters (maybe in terms of funding opportunities, but maybe not). The quality of your work matters more. I have friends with MFAs who have undergrad degrees in microbiology, anthropology, computer science, Spanish, French, business, etc., and, like Pongo, a couple of friends with no undergrad degrees at all. If you're really worried about it, you might call up the programs and ask what sort of lit-crit expectations they have of their students.


mpk333
Michael Keen

Jun 27, 2011, 12:16 PM

Post #70 of 169 (7313 views)
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Re: [spamela] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,
Sorry to shift the subject, but I had a question in regards to the two-year vs three-year thing. I've all but decided to go to a three-year program, mainly because of the extra time it will afford me to get some writing done. But I know that there are some programs that, while officially listed as two-year programs, are effectively three-year programs. The two best examples I can think of this in this regard are michigan, which (from what I gather) provides students with funding for a third year after graduation has occurred, and cornell. I think the deal with cornell is that they all but guarantee you a third-year lectureship after graduation.
So. My question is this: are there are any other two-year programs that are known to have similar situations? I'm wondering in particular about whether people at either iowa or brown have ways of funding a third-year of study (eg lectureships, fellowships, etc). Any input would be greatly appreciated. And, again, sorry for kind of abruptly changing the subject.


azer
A Z

Jun 28, 2011, 8:05 AM

Post #71 of 169 (7273 views)
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Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

While we're tossing new subjects in, I thought I would offer another one up as well. I have noticed while scanning the boards that some programs are considered to prefer more traditional literary styles, and almost frown on other styles, while others allow and embrace more experimental writing styles. From what I recall, people have said Iowa and university of Arizona are fairly traditional (although with the new director, some feel it may become more open soon)?

Right now my dream list is:

Iowa
University of Virginia
Uv irvine
University of az
Brooklyn CUNY
NYU
Arizona state university
Johns Hopkins

I know, such an unrealistic list, but I can dream, no?

Anyway, would anyone like to share their thoughts about which programs on the list above, or their own program even, are a little more restrictive or prefer a more traditional literary aesthetic, and which are more free and open to more styles of fiction? I have been scouring the boards and have found some clues, but it's usually in relation to another topic. Id love to hear more about this one directly.


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Jun 28, 2011, 8:27 AM

Post #72 of 169 (7271 views)
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Re: [azer] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I know, such an unrealistic list, but I can dream, no?Anyway, would anyone like to share their thoughts about which programs on the list above, or their own program even, are a little more restrictive or prefer a more traditional literary aesthetic, and which are more free and open to more styles of fiction? I have been scouring the boards and have found some clues, but it's usually in relation to another topic. Id love to hear more about this one directly.


Perhaps the best clues are to be found in the work of the faculty? I would start reading. . .


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


azer
A Z

Jun 28, 2011, 8:50 AM

Post #73 of 169 (7264 views)
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Re: [alamana] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

For sure. I was just hoping for some personal opinions to compare to my own conclusions as well, that's all. It's like the cities/local life thread... I'm sure we have all exhaustively researched our target cities where our schools of choice are, but it's always nice to hear the opinions of people who have lived/visited there too.


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Jul 3, 2011, 8:45 PM

Post #74 of 169 (7064 views)
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Re: [azer] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

My experience at NYU has been that there's no "house style"; I have classmates who write more traditional/conservative poetry/fiction and those who are very experimental. Feel free to PM me if you have further/more specific questions!


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.


edwriter



Jul 8, 2011, 6:19 PM

Post #75 of 169 (6975 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

As you all think about choosing an MFA program, you might want to consider some of Stephanie Vanderslice's thoughts as expressed in her new book, Rethinking Creative Writing in Higher Education. I've recently interviewed Prof. Vanderslice and you can (hopefully) get a sense of her ideas from this Q&A.

Best,
Erika D.


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



FreddyBensonDRS


Jul 10, 2011, 12:48 PM

Post #76 of 169 (8859 views)
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Programs in England or Ireland? [In reply to] Can't Post

Does have information on MFA or MA programs in the United Kingdom?

I've looked through the archives and haven't much information. A few programs popped up on a google search but I'm not sure of their reputations as they aren't included in any rankings or blog posts I've found.

Any help would be appreciated.


edwriter



Jul 10, 2011, 1:16 PM

Post #77 of 169 (8854 views)
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Re: [FreddyBensonDRS] Programs in England or Ireland? [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, Stephanie Vanderslice has done a lot of research on programs in the UK. You might want to try to get a copy of her book. You could also check with NAWE (http://www.nawe.co.uk/), which Prof. Vanderslice has called the UK analog for Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), for guidance.

Good luck.

Best,
Erika


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



Lydiah A.
Lydiah
e-mail user

Jul 11, 2011, 10:43 PM

Post #78 of 169 (8805 views)
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Re: [azer] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey guys, I have a question that kind of relates to studio v academic. Has anyone heard of:
1. A Medical Humanities grad program that *is friendly to poets.* (these programs are a combo study of lit, history, phil, ethics, medicine, etc)

2. A solid ranking of these programs?

Like many of you, I've spent hours looking at M.F.A programs(and this forum), but recently I've wondered about a more diverse study. I am a poet with a simultaneous second Bachelors in Philosophy. B/c of my academic and creative focus, I'm very interested in the fantastical dream that is the interdisciplinary program. Ethics, medicine and phil already appear in the creative work, you know?

Any thoughts, friends?

Thanks all.

-L


bighark


Jul 11, 2011, 11:08 PM

Post #79 of 169 (8798 views)
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Re: [Lydiah A.] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

The Langone Medical Center at NYU would be a good place to start looking. They sponsor the Bellevue Literary Review. It doesn't look like they host any humanities programs that aren't part of a dual MD/MA program, but I'd bet you could shake something loose if you start sniffing around NYU's programs in general.

Another place you might look is the Iowa Writer's Workshop. They're not going to host any special degree program, per se, but Ethan Canin is a physician, and the degree requirements of Iowa's MFA can accommodate a deep dive in other university departments.

Anyway, your work sounds interesting. Good luck.


Lydiah A.
Lydiah
e-mail user

Jul 11, 2011, 11:55 PM

Post #80 of 169 (8794 views)
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Re: [bighark] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello Bighark,

I seriously appreciate the thoughts. I would never have thought of Iowa (for this reason) and didn't know abt Canin! I know UTMB has a ma in Medical Humanities and so does Northwestern. I also looked to see if Fady Joudah is teaching somewhere, but as far as I can tell, he's actually practicing medicine at the moment. And as we know, William Carlos Williams isn't as active as he once was. ;)

Yes, it's a hard thing to sift through the programs and perceive which wouldn't mind a poet/Phil kind of person. That's not as apparent online.

And you know, I haven't turned down the idea of ma/md or phd/md, and then teaching *or* practicing while writing.
But the thing about this...writers all need time. We need to help people(for ex), but also time to write. I'm scared of being taken away from writing and the "study."

In any case, please know that I so appreciate your feedback. I will hit New York again and see what shakes out. :)
And continue searching programs, etc.

Thank you.
-L


newapplicant
N A

Jul 12, 2011, 11:53 AM

Post #81 of 169 (8735 views)
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Revised GRE test [In reply to] Can't Post

This is my first time applying for the MFA, and some of the schools on my list require or would like the GRE, so I'm signing up. This is probably overkill, but as we all go through this application panic, I'm going to ask anyway...

I am wondering if there is any benefit to still taking the current GRE as opposed to the new revised GRE? As in, do schools prefer the current format because they are more familiar with the scores, and I'd thus have a better chance with financial aid/etc. than if I had the crazy new scores? Or do schools favor them equally? It looks like half the price to take the revised GRE format, and I'd have more time to cram... Or should I rush and take the current test by the July 31 deadline? Is anyone else in this same over-paranoid situation?


Truth & Fiction



Jul 13, 2011, 2:35 PM

Post #82 of 169 (8675 views)
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Re: [newapplicant] Revised GRE test [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi newapplicant,

What you'll hear from most people about the GRE is that it doesn't matter. Yes, you have to take it for those schools that require it, but it's usually a requirement of the graduate program itself, not the MFA program specifically. And while I admittedly don't know anything about the revised GRE, I think you can take either version based on what makes the most sense for you. The GRE is one thing you actually don't need to stress about.

Do any MFA programs actually take the GRE into consideration for funding? I know some have requirements for the verbal scores -- but only like a minimum of 600 -- and other than that, I thought all funding decisions were based on the writing and personal statements.


Truth and Fiction


azer
A Z

Jul 13, 2011, 4:11 PM

Post #83 of 169 (8663 views)
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Re: [Truth & Fiction] Revised GRE test [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah, So anything over a 600 in verbal is good enough? I got a 630 when I originally took it, and I was agonizing over whether to take it again or if the score was good enough. I know it is not as important to the creative writing department, but I was thinking for financial aid and fellowships. Is 630 verbal and 5 on the writing portion competitive for that purpose?




In Reply To
Hi newapplicant,

What you'll hear from most people about the GRE is that it doesn't matter. Yes, you have to take it for those schools that require it, but it's usually a requirement of the graduate program itself, not the MFA program specifically. And while I admittedly don't know anything about the revised GRE, I think you can take either version based on what makes the most sense for you. The GRE is one thing you actually don't need to stress about.

Do any MFA programs actually take the GRE into consideration for funding? I know some have requirements for the verbal scores -- but only like a minimum of 600 -- and other than that, I thought all funding decisions were based on the writing and personal statements.



bighark


Jul 13, 2011, 10:50 PM

Post #84 of 169 (8631 views)
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Re: [azer] Revised GRE test [In reply to] Can't Post

In terms of merit awards based on GRE scores, a 630 Verbal probably won't amount to much. Depending on the year, a score like that is somewhere in the 90th percentile. It's good, but not free-money good.
These types of GRE awards are usually university- (not writing program-) based, and consider combined scores. To be competitive, you'd need to be above the 1,500 mark, with a 700-800 Verbal, 700-800 Quant.
But don't despair--MFA funding never considers GRE. It's writing sample based.
Good luck.


elissa
Elissa Field


Jul 13, 2011, 11:08 PM

Post #85 of 169 (8628 views)
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Re: [bighark] Revised GRE test [In reply to] Can't Post

The only published score target I've seen, on a competitive program's site, was 1000 (total) -- which was a base requirement for the grad English dept overall, not a priority for the MFA program itself.

I was debating between the current or new GRE also and never did see a statement of how they are different. I used to teach LSAT prep, and remember when the LSAT was revised one year, they published some general differences -- in scoring, content, number of questions, etc. I haven't seen that for the new GRE - has anyone else?

Barring that, the consideration, to me, came down to the date scores are needed. Most programs I'm looking at either don't need a GRE, or don't need it until 12/18 at the earliest -- so I am likely to go with the revised GRE merely because it will cost less. (I've already shelled out $800 in standardized testing to complete secondary certification this year... so would gladly take a $discount on this one.)


http://elissafield.wordpress.com/
http://www.facebook.com/...p?id=100001772022683


edwriter



Jul 14, 2011, 8:52 PM

Post #86 of 169 (8579 views)
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Re: [Lydiah A.] Traditional vs experimental [In reply to] Can't Post

Lydiah, not sure if this is anywhere in the realm of what you're looking for, but I thought immediately of the Columbia M.S. in Narrative Medicine: http://ce.columbia.edu/Narrative-Medicine.

Also, it's not a degree program, but another Iowa strength as far as this topic goes is the (apparently annual) conference, "The Examined Life: Writing and the Art of Medicine." It looks as though the 2011 conference featured pre-conference workshops, including one in poetry.

Good luck! Please keep us posted.

Best,
Erika


Quiet Americans: Stories
http://www.erikadreifus.com



umass76


Aug 3, 2011, 8:40 PM

Post #87 of 169 (8351 views)
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Re: NEW MFA Applicant Community [In reply to] Can't Post

Just an FYI: Anyone looking to participate in multiple MFA-applicant communities this coming application cycle should take a look at the MFA Draft '12 Facebook Group. If you click on the link and request to join, you'll be let in in fairly short order. Right now there are close to 375 applicants in the group, and it's a great resource for dozens of real-time MFA-related discussions (just as this website is; I'm only mentioning this because many applicants appreciate being members of multiple MFA-related communities at once). Best of luck to all!
Seth


readbutnap
Matthew Winkler


Aug 5, 2011, 3:57 PM

Post #88 of 169 (8266 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm new here. The Choosing an MFA Program (2012) thread seems to have expired. When does the 2013 thread go live? The Poets and Writers top 50 rankings data claims to be solicited here. How does that work?


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 5, 2011, 4:07 PM

Post #89 of 169 (8265 views)
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Re: [readbutnap] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Choosing an MFA Program (2012) thread seems to have expired.


I don't think the 2012 thread has expired. . . I think it just hasn't heated up yet. . .


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


readbutnap
Matthew Winkler


Aug 5, 2011, 4:26 PM

Post #90 of 169 (8259 views)
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Re: [alamana] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Can you tell me how the data for this rankings list is collected? From this discussion? Or is there a poll?http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/...p-low-residency.html


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 5, 2011, 4:30 PM

Post #91 of 169 (8258 views)
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Re: [readbutnap] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Can you tell me how the data for this rankings list is collected? From this discussion? Or is there a poll?http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/...p-low-residency.html


I think Seth collects data from multiple places--he will probably see this and respond himself. . .


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


umass76


Aug 8, 2011, 9:34 PM

Post #92 of 169 (8129 views)
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Re: [readbutnap] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Matthew,
An older version of the Methodology Article is here--
http://www.pw.org/...king_of_mfa_programs
--and should answer your question (at least as to past low-res rankings). Regarding the data I'm collecting right now, there's been a change in the methodology which I won't be announcing until 2012 so as not to in any way affect the research I'm doing for this upcoming application cycle. I hope you understand.
Best,
S.


azer
A Z

Aug 9, 2011, 6:43 AM

Post #93 of 169 (8101 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I was over at the Creative Writing MFA Blog just now and noticed the 2012 Fiction Rankings on the sidebar. Are those the finalized rankings using the changed methodology you mentioned in your post above? Or is that an informal ranking? When will the final chart be released (the one that looks like the lovely 2011 one available on PW.)
I noticed University of Arizona's huge drop, from 22 to 40. What is the reason for that? Is it just based on the votes?


umass76


Aug 9, 2011, 3:32 PM

Post #94 of 169 (8077 views)
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Re: [azer] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Azer, I can't comment on most of that except to clarify that the new methodology I was referring to above applies to polling I'm doing, under my own auspices (i.e. via/for TSE), right now -- the results of which wouldn't appear on TSE until 2012. I can't comment on specific programs or on the publication of any rankings besides those I put up on my personal blog. The 2012 rankings on TSE now represent the polling I conducted through the end of this past application cycle (i.e., through April 15, 2011).


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 9, 2011, 3:32 PM)


azer
A Z

Aug 9, 2011, 3:38 PM

Post #95 of 169 (8074 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the clarification. When in 2012 do those rankings come out, just out of curiosity? Somewhere I thought I saw something that said September 2011, but I must have mixed something else up as you mention they'll be released in 2012.


umass76


Aug 9, 2011, 5:39 PM

Post #96 of 169 (8064 views)
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Re: [azer] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Azer, yes, I think we're speaking of different things -- I was only referring to the rankings posted on my blog, The Suburban Ecstasies, not rankings appearing anywhere else. The "2012" TSE rankings were posted on my blog a few weeks ago, and the "2013" TSE rankings will appear on my blog probably late next spring.


azer
A Z

Aug 10, 2011, 4:16 AM

Post #97 of 169 (8026 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, let me try to be more specific so I don't keep sending you running in confused circles :).
The rankings you have up on your personal blog are these, correct?: http://sethabramson.blogspot.com/2011/02/2012-mfa-rankings-fiction.html
So, looking at these, since you can comment on them, I was wondering if those are final rankings for 2012 or just draft rankings, since data like selectivity, job placement, funding, all of the other columns that are on the 2011 chart that can be found on pw.org, is absent.

And regarding methodology, these rankings were determined using the "old"/current methodology, and you mean that the new methodology you have developed will be used for the 2013 rankings, is that correct? Or you mean to modify these rankings linked above once your research is complete?
Ok thanks! Hopefully I made more sense this time.


In Reply To
Hi Azer, I can't comment on most of that except to clarify that the new methodology I was referring to above applies to polling I'm doing, under my own auspices (i.e. via/for TSE), right now -- the results of which wouldn't appear on TSE until 2012. I can't comment on specific programs or on the publication of any rankings besides those I put up on my personal blog. The 2012 rankings on TSE now represent the polling I conducted through the end of this past application cycle (i.e., through April 15, 2011).



(This post was edited by azer on Aug 10, 2011, 4:18 AM)


umass76


Aug 10, 2011, 11:52 AM

Post #98 of 169 (8005 views)
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Re: [azer] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Azer,
Any item in the sidebar of TSE that has a "2012" next to it is a "final" TSE ranking for this year (i.e., the 2010-2011 application cycle). The items with no year next to them -- for instance, the selectivity and funding rankings -- are updated in real time, so they are also current. Re: methodology, the 2012 rankings on TSE will not be modified further; the "new" methodology, which replaces the current methodology -- though to be clear, the two methodologies are much, much more alike than they are dissimilar -- will only be applied to the 2013 rankings, i.e. the rankings based on data taken during the current (2011-2012) application cycle. So the "new" methodology won't really be relevant for another year (and again, will not retroactively affect any data currently on TSE). Hopefully that makes sense(!) :-)

S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 10, 2011, 11:52 AM)


azer
A Z

Aug 10, 2011, 3:08 PM

Post #99 of 169 (7985 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I am all clear now. :) Thank you for your infinite patience... You must have to answer this question 9 times a day on every different website.


umass76


Aug 11, 2011, 12:06 AM

Post #100 of 169 (7955 views)
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Re: [azer] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

No worries.
S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Aug 11, 2011, 12:06 AM)


moonslice


Aug 11, 2011, 3:40 PM

Post #101 of 169 (7528 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello. It's been a number of years since I've posted in the Speakeasy. I had to register again. I've been working in writing, editing, etc for several years, but not in a literary way (advertising, professional blogging, etc.). I have a BA in English, and am considering applying for an MFA (not a low res) in poetry.

I have a few questions which I believe haven't been addressed in this thread yet:
Does it matter if you apply early? I know it probably varies among schools, but do you think they start selecting people before the deadline arrives?

Do more people apply for fiction than poetry? I'm trying to figure out which is more competitive.

Is it wise, if allowed, to have a dual focus (poetry and fiction)?

Would you shy away from a studio version of an MFA which requires almost no literature classes? U of Memphis gives this option, but I'm not sure if it's a smart one for teaching later. Then again, the teaching jobs are so competitive I'm not sure it matters.

For programs that are fully funded and require teaching (like Vanderbilt), does it help to play up your high school level English teaching license?


bighark


Aug 11, 2011, 4:10 PM

Post #102 of 169 (7523 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Applying Before Deadline: It's not going to hurt you, but you won't be helped, either. Your application content will be filed until it's time for the admissions committee to begin its work several months from now.
Poetry v. Fiction Applications: MFAs are hard to get into period. While there are a larger number of fiction applicants, getting into poetry programs isn't any easier by comparison.
Wisdom: If your practice involves writing both fiction and poetry, then I'd look for places that allow you to do both. They're out there.
Studio v. Academic: A personal choice. You'll be exposed to plenty of literature regardless of which kind of program you choose. If you feel a more academic approach will better inform your writing, go with that. I wouldn't make this decision based on the prospect of finding a job.
Teaching: You'll never be accepted into a program over a better qualified writer on account of teaching experience, but it's certainly a skill that will be appreciated in the places where you might be required to teach. If any of your applications require a teaching statement, that's the place to bring up your teaching.


umass76


Aug 11, 2011, 10:53 PM

Post #103 of 169 (7494 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Moonslice,
Acceptance rates for MFA programs are low across the board, but as a general rule yield-exclusive acceptance rates for poetry programs are approximately twice those of their same-university, fiction-program peers.
S.


moonslice


Aug 12, 2011, 2:02 AM

Post #104 of 169 (7482 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems as though more people probably want to write fiction because so few people actually buy poetry. Am I wrong here?

In Reply To
Moonslice,
Acceptance rates for MFA programs are low across the board, but as a general rule yield-exclusive acceptance rates for poetry programs are approximately twice those of their same-university, fiction-program peers.
S.



moonslice


Aug 14, 2011, 2:26 AM

Post #105 of 169 (7435 views)
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Re: [bighark] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks bighark for your response.
I'm wondering if asking to focus on both makes me look, uh, well unfocused! I know that professors expect most students to have an interest in both poetry and fiction, but I can't help thinking that they want students who display a clear commitment to one or the other, not a divided one to both.
Am I being paranoid?
I've written much more poetry than fiction. I'm very unsure of my ability to get in based on fiction samples. Plus, my references know me better as a poet. While I have plenty to learn about writing poetry, I have much more to learn about fiction. Not sure what this says about where I should place my focus.


In Reply To

Wisdom: If your practice involves writing both fiction and poetry, then I'd look for places that allow you to do both. They're out there.



bighark


Aug 14, 2011, 11:07 PM

Post #106 of 169 (7404 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't say paranoid--just uninformed. Some schools embrace the multigenre approach, and others would rather you focus your efforts in one area. Some will let you enter in the poetry track and take classes in fiction once you're in the program (or vice versa), and others might require you to apply and be accepted to both the fiction and poetry tracks if you want to work in those genres at the same time.
My advice is to seek the schools that are open to experimentation. I'm sure you have a tentative list of schools right now, so you can start to see which places can accommodate your needs. If you're not sure, send an email or make a phone call. There's no harm in asking. And if you are determined to apply to a school that wants you to focus in one area, then maybe you shouldn't mention your interest in fiction in your statement of purpose for that particular place.
There's plenty of time between now and when the first round of application deadlines (the earliest are usually December 1), so I'm sure you can find the schools that will be right for you.
Good luck.


moonslice


Aug 15, 2011, 1:18 AM

Post #107 of 169 (7399 views)
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Re: [bighark] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks bighark. I guess I'm feeling like there's not much time since I haven't started studying for the GRE or put together samples. It feels like there's lots to do. I need to make a schedule for myself to work on these things.
I've seen that a few people here have said not to worry about the math section of the GRE, but I know I'll totally bomb it if I don't study. And there's all those vocab words.


zackperici
Zack Perici

Aug 18, 2011, 9:05 AM

Post #108 of 169 (7324 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the same boat with the GRE and application materials. Studying and getting my samples together and contacting faculty from my undergrad for recs and writing the PS, ayayay.
Anyway, as far as the GRE thing I was freaking out about the math until I actually took a practice test and realized it's more reasoning than actual calculations. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I did better on quant than on verbal. Just go through a quick refresher of basic algebra, triangles, circles, etc. For the vocab: I don't have the time or energy to cram all those words in my head. I grouped them in to categories like positive connotation words and negative connotation words, criticism and assistance, happy and sad. After a week of studying the words like that and i was getting 100% on the verbal practice sets. Even if you don't know the words you'll know enough to eliminate the wrong words.
Spend 90% of your time working on the samples because that's what 90% of the consideration for acceptance will be.


moonslice


Aug 18, 2011, 9:32 PM

Post #109 of 169 (7295 views)
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Re: [zackperici] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the tips zackperici. I have always been particularly bad at math, and I took the GRE with no prep at all back in 1996, just after graduation from college. I made a 360 on the math!
At the time I was thinking about grad school for psychology, my other major. I still struggle with the choice between the two. It seems more practical to study psychology, but if you think that grad school for MFA is difficult to get into, just take a look at forums for psy people trying to get in. It's not pretty. At least with an MFA you don't have to worry about getting an APA-approved internship once you graduate or having incredible math scores. I got As in all my psy classes, even the ones involving math. The GRE doesn't really do what it should.
Besides, poetry is where my heart is. Psychology is merely interesting to me and helpful in many ways. For example, I'm working on everything under the sun besides poetry samples right now because I'm afraid of failing. I know that, but it's still hard to control those fears. I still haven't made a schedule for myself.
PS- Kaplan has a free GRE vocab study app for your mobile.


zackperici
Zack Perici

Aug 19, 2011, 5:38 AM

Post #110 of 169 (7271 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

I also had that quandary. I was deciding between going back for an MFA or going to a one year portfolio school for advertising to pursue copy writing. I'm sure that the latter was a more sensible option, but after thinking on it, doing some research into schools, and taking inventory of who i am as a person I realized that the MFA was what really got me excited. Choose the option that you're more passionate about.
For now, take the test. Don't psych yourself out (yes, pun intended). And work on your portfolio. You don't have to apply anywhere but if you do decide to move forward with the MFA you'll be in better shape.
And as for those GRE vocab flash cards, having them on my phone is quite addicting. It's like word of the day on steroids.


moonslice


Aug 20, 2011, 7:46 PM

Post #111 of 169 (7228 views)
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zackperici,
I did the advertising thing. Maybe you need a special degree for an edge, but it's something you can teach yourself or learn on the job easily if you get your foot in the door first. I think you're doing the right thing. Advertising can feel like it kills your soul, spending your life promoting products or companies you don't always believe in. (And working very late often or sitting around with nothing to do wondering when you'll get fired.) Nonprofit is the way to go if you do copywriting. It doesn't pay as well, but you feel like you're doing something worthwhile. And if you get into the right place, it can be a fun environment (i.e., wearing jeans to work!). But still, copywriting is a sales job. A lot of people don't realize that, or think about how you'll have clients crapping all over your work.
I've been watching HBOGO on my phone while exercising, but now I'm wondering if I could use the vocab thing. Probably too dangerous!
By the way, if you need GRE prep books or 2012 planning calendars, check your Borders store before they close. Mine has a few left at half off.
Back to the MFA, I know you're right about working on all this stuff. It can't hurt anything. The worst that would happen is I spend a little money on the GRE without needing it.
Next week, I need to ask to observe a workshop at my local university with an MFA. It think this will give me a better sense of whether I'd enjoy a program. Or it could be I'd hate it while I'd like another one...


aparke23
Anna Parker

Aug 25, 2011, 9:56 PM

Post #112 of 169 (7167 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I am applying to MFA programs in fiction this fall. I have been working on a novel for over a year now, and I believe that it is my best work. I feel that it is in a polished form and feel comfortable with a segment of the novel representing my abilities as a writer. However, I have recently seen posts on this forum and on the MFA creative writing blog that suggest that novel excerpts are frowned upon by MFA programs even if the programs themselves officially accept them. I was wondering if anyone had any informed feedback as far this claim is concerned, or perhaps, could put this claim into a more specific context. Thanks!


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 26, 2011, 8:33 AM

Post #113 of 169 (7140 views)
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Re: [aparke23] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I was accepted into my program (from which I graduated some time ago) on a novel excerpt. If you're working on a novel, why would a program want you to submit something else?


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/


aparke23
Anna Parker

Aug 26, 2011, 11:38 AM

Post #114 of 169 (7124 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the help. Also, many of the programs that I am applying to do not specifically ask for a novel synopsis. Should I include this in my manuscript anyway or do I need one at all?


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Aug 26, 2011, 11:46 AM

Post #115 of 169 (7120 views)
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Re: [aparke23] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't include a synopsis in mine.


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/


aparke23
Anna Parker

Aug 26, 2011, 11:58 AM

Post #116 of 169 (7117 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you!


bighark


Aug 26, 2011, 12:27 PM

Post #117 of 169 (7110 views)
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Re: [aparke23] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

For MFA applications, novel excerpts need to serve as a discrete unit of story. If you feel the need to include a synopsis in order to let your reader know what's going on with your piece, then you might want to consider other options.


moonslice


Aug 30, 2011, 3:19 AM

Post #118 of 169 (7029 views)
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Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Do any of you check out potential professors on http://blog.ratemyprofessors.com/ -- Rate My Professor?
I have to wonder whether only bitter students bother reviewing there, but then I did see several very positive reviews as well. I was a bit nervous to see several bad reviews for professors from schools I'm considering.


skilar
Paul Habeeb

Aug 31, 2011, 9:38 PM

Post #119 of 169 (6973 views)
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Re: [moonslice] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I studied abroad for a year as an undergraduate, but those classes and grades are listed on my US institution's transcript. Do I need to request transcripts from my university abroad, or should my US transcript be fine? Thanks.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 1, 2011, 8:13 AM

Post #120 of 169 (6945 views)
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Re: [skilar] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

The U.S. transcript will cover it. As long as it lists all the classes and mentions that you graduated. (Although not everyone I met in my MFA program had a bachelor's degree.)

Very little about the application really matters except the statement of purpose and the writing sample.


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/


bighark


Sep 1, 2011, 10:58 AM

Post #121 of 169 (6936 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Seconded. Also, I had a similar undergraduate study abroad experience, and my US transcript was all the was required.


skilar
Paul Habeeb

Sep 1, 2011, 3:38 PM

Post #122 of 169 (6914 views)
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Re: [bighark] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Awesome. Thanks for the info. I assumed the MFA program itself wouldn't care, but I didn't want the graduate school to cause a fuss.


mds2179
Michelle

Sep 20, 2011, 1:25 PM

Post #123 of 169 (6668 views)
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Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Seasoned writers and the like- Would anyone like to swap WS or SOP for a little editorial revision?> I'd love to get some feed back, both grammatically and what not on them. I'd love especially to get feedback from those who have been accepted into MFA Fiction programs :)

Additionally, could anyone shed some light on the program experience with George Mason's MFA in fiction?


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Sep 22, 2011, 5:24 PM

Post #124 of 169 (6590 views)
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Re: [mds2179] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Michelle, I'm a fiction candidate at George Mason. Feel free to send me a message.


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


mds2179
Michelle

Sep 22, 2011, 6:25 PM

Post #125 of 169 (7238 views)
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Re: [alamana] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Jennifer,

I'd love to pick your brain! For some reason my account is giving me limited access to send messages, so, if you wouldn't mind emailing me at mds2179@uncw.edu that would be great!! I'd love to ask you a few things.


AgedAgedMan
Ruth Shannon

Oct 5, 2011, 1:37 PM

Post #126 of 169 (13378 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi everyone -- I'm new to the Speakeasy. I'm applying for MFA programs in fiction and I was hoping to get some advice from the group here at P&W. I made the decision to apply fairly late in the game, so I've been cramming in many hours of research over the last few weeks and hope to have my list of schools finalized within the next week or so. I'm trying to get a range of locations (I've lived in and around NYC my whole life and am ready to go somewhere else for awhile) and program sizes. Ideally I will go somewhere that's more studio- than literature-oriented, supportive of a range of writing styles, where I can get some teaching experience and hopefully some funding along with it (although funding is not my number one concern at this point -- if I make it to that bridge I'll cross it), with a nice sense of community among students and in a nice town where I'll be happy to live for a few years. Beautiful scenery is a big plus, as is any kind of travel opportunity included in the program.
Here's my list. Can those of you who have lots of knowledge and experience in this area let me know if this seems like a good group, and if there are any obvious places I'm overlooking?
Definitely probably: Boston U, Emerson, U of New Hampshire, U of Michigan, U of Wisconsin, Washington U St Louis, Hollins, U Texas Austin (English Dept), U of New Orleans, U of Arizona, U of Washington, U of Montana, Colorado State.
And/or also maybe possibly: U of Iowa, U of Indiana, U of Kansas, U of Alabama, U of Wyoming, Bowling Green State, U of South Carolina.

As you can see I'm planning on applying to a lot of schools, as I really really want to get in somewhere. I would greatly, greatly appreciate any feedback or advice on this list. Also if anyone has been to any of these schools, by all means, let me know what your experience was like! Thanks a million!


(This post was edited by motet on Aug 9, 2012, 7:03 PM)


whitnee111
Whitnee Thorp

Nov 3, 2011, 8:55 AM

Post #127 of 169 (13152 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello! I am going to be applying for 2012 MFA programs. I am currently teaching in China...so my access to some websites is limited. I wanted to know if anyone could suggest any good MFA programs (good funding, and no gre requirement)...that is in a smaller town (hippie, artsy, unique...lol), and is somewhere on the east coast, the south or in the midwest...I do not want any west coast schools. Any help is greatly appreciated!


pdunn


Nov 11, 2011, 1:20 AM

Post #128 of 169 (13049 views)
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Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Haven't been on here in a while. I'm currently a first year MFA student at Stony Brook Southampton (New York). I'd be happy to answer questions about the program if anyone is interested. Send me a PM here.

Our program is a little different than some others. We have classes in Southampton (Eastern Long Island) as well as in Manhattan (where I take my classes). Students don't need to declare a specific focus. That can be a turn off for some people, which I get, but I like it. I'm primarily a fiction writer -- that's what I'm focusing on -- but there are a lot of opportunities to take workshops in other genres. I'm taking a playwriting class next semester, which should be interesting.

I wanted to get my MFA in New York for personal reasons, but I've been surprised at how plugged in everyone is to the literary scene here (one of my teachers is an ex-Fiction Editor from the New Yorker and was Editor-in-Chief at Random House). It's not for everyone, especially if you're looking to get an MFA in a place where you can hide away from the world and only write for a couple of years. But the trade off is being in NY at a program with state school tuition and a solid community.

Sorry if this sounds like a sell. Just trying to offer some info.


umass76


Nov 16, 2011, 7:02 PM

Post #129 of 169 (12966 views)
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Re: [pdunn] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

New MFA-related website: The MFA Research Project


emilychristine
Emily Sims

e-mail user

Nov 17, 2011, 9:02 PM

Post #130 of 169 (12929 views)
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Re: [whitnee111] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Whitnee!

Teaching in China? That sounds amazing! I've compiled a schools that I thought might be a good fit for what you're looking for...


Georgia College & State University
Iowa State
University of Kansas
UNC-Wilmington
UNC-Greensboro
SIU-Carbondale (I love Carbondale. My parents are from there, and it's a great college town IMO).

Just a few ideas. I hope this helps!




Our Daily Tales / Travel Tales



elissa
Elissa Field


Feb 1, 2012, 6:22 PM

Post #131 of 169 (12637 views)
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Re: [emilychristine] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's an article just out on Ploughshares website that gives a very level headed answer to whether or not an MFA is one's best bet: The Great MFA Debate... by Speakeasy's own Eric Weinstein, right Eric? It's worth a read.


http://elissafield.wordpress.com/
http://www.facebook.com/...p?id=100001772022683


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Feb 1, 2012, 10:09 PM

Post #132 of 169 (12619 views)
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Re: [elissa] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Yep‚ÄĒ& thanks, Elissa! If y'all have any questions/responses/ideas/&c, please feel free to comment on the blog or post here.


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.


maybemd


Feb 12, 2012, 10:50 AM

Post #133 of 169 (12493 views)
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Re: [ericweinstein] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Just an FYI: Penn State has shut down its MFA program, due to lack of funding.
http://www.centredaily.com/...m.html#storylink=cpy


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Feb 12, 2012, 2:50 PM

Post #134 of 169 (12473 views)
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In Reply To
Just an FYI: Penn State has shut down its MFA program, due to lack of funding.
http://www.centredaily.com/...m.html#storylink=cpy


I thought this decision had been made some time ago, but I see that according to this article they downsized the program (taking it to two tears instead of three) in 2009 instead of eliminating it. I live in Pennsylvania, about 90 mins from the main campus (where this program resided) but never looked at it seriously, since it didn't seem all that attractive.

Cuts to education in general and arts funding in particular are deeper than ever in Pennsylvania this year. Individual artist grants have not been offered for at least two cycles for prose (prose alternated with poetry).


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Aug 9, 2012, 7:13 PM

Post #135 of 169 (11893 views)
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Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

The application season for 2013 is approaching and choosing the right MFA program can be a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision. There are so many choices to be made when it comes to the type of program, cost, location, and duration. Which is best, a full-time program or a low residency? Is it affordable? How's the funding? Will you be freezing cold for most of the year or sweltering in the humidity? Can you spend three years or only two?

This topic is a good place to start answering these questions and others.


Click on this link to view Choosing an MFA thread 2009 - 2011

For a complete listing of all the active topics in this forum as well as our archives, click here: DIRECTORY - Topics in the MFA Forum

Good luck to all 2013 applicants!


Mitchimus
mitchell tillison

Aug 20, 2012, 11:56 PM

Post #136 of 169 (11779 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Until this afternoon I was absolutely confident I would get into a program somewhere. But then I found out that a classmate in my creative writing undergrad had not been accepted anywhere. I considered his writing some of the best in our program, so that news came as a shock. Now it's made me determined to learn as much as I can about my target schools to be more effective in writing my LOIs and choosing the right writing sample for the write school.

So I beseech thee Speakeasy forum-land, is there anyone here that knows a thing or two about the professors or programs at New Mexico State, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, or Colorado State? And is there anyone here who has, or know someone who has, earned an MPW? And if so how has it served him/her in the field?


kvly
M J

Aug 21, 2012, 10:48 AM

Post #137 of 169 (11767 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello fellow applicants! I am nervously putting together my applications for MFA Fiction programs that start next year. I have narrowed down my list of schools (thank goodness), so just wanted to share my list.

University of British Columbia
University of Guelph-Humber
Cornell University
New York University
University of Iowa
University of Texas - Michener Centre
Indiana University
Syracuse University
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

I have asked three people to write letters of recommendation. One is a published fiction writer who I workshopped with; one is a professor (not a writer) under whose supervision I wrote a creative thesis (part of a novel); and one is a professor who I was close to and took one undergraduate course with. The latter is actually a poet and writing workshops are available at my alma mater because he kept pushing for them.

Anyway, looking forward to connecting/sharing with fellow applicants!


AbbigailRosewood
Abbi Nguyen

Aug 22, 2012, 5:43 PM

Post #138 of 169 (11726 views)
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Re: [kvly] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there! I'm applying for Fall 2013 as well. I hope this forum gets used more often.
Here is my list. It also includes the deadline for application. I know it's a lot but I have heard of people not getting into any school so better safe than sorry. I've started working on my SOP and personal statement. Hope to hear from the rest of you out there.

No GRE:
University of Michigan- jan 1
UC Irvine- Dec 15
University of Minnesota (3yrs)- Dec 1
University Iowa - jan 3
Syracuse- jan 1
Columbia- jan 4, 2012
University of Massachusetts- Dec 15
University of North Caroline Wilmington- Jan 1
Portland State University-jan 3
San Francisco State University- dec 15
Oregon State University- jan 6


GRE:
Cornell Uni- dec 15
NYU- dec 18
University of Notre Dame- jan 2
University of Oregon oct 15-jan 15
Boston University-
UC Davis- dec 1
Uni of Washington- jan 2


nmomo
Noah LeBien

Aug 29, 2012, 11:21 PM

Post #139 of 169 (11624 views)
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Re: [AbbigailRosewood] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

New to Speakeasy, I have a few perhaps unnecessarily specific questions. Each school I've requested information has given me what seems like the bare minimum of info... maybe I'm just too picky.

Anyway, I'm currently attending a Great Books school and I've always been really into classic lit. I'm mainly interested in poetry. It seems like a lot of mfa programs' classes are geared around mainly contemporary authors; I was wondering what mfa programs, if any, cover a broader timeline so to speak for their required reading. For example, I've read that Michigan has a required reading list or something that covers what would be considered English classics - something broad like that.

In the opposite direction, I suppose, I haven't been able to figure out much info about Bard College's mfa which is very interdisciplinary and artsy. They have a reasonable amount of info on their website, but I haven't read any first-hand accounts of what it's like. And with Naropa University's Poetics program, they seem pretty unique, but I have no idea what it actually consists of. Is there anyone who has attended or has any more in-depth info about these programs? None of the Best MFA Program lists seem to even mention them.


tdr
T.D. R

Sep 24, 2012, 6:32 PM

Post #140 of 169 (11395 views)
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Re: [nmomo] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry to say but I don't have exact information on your program in question, but can commiserate with getting no information. I emailed about 20 schools I'm looking into and got very little information that way. I tried calling grad admissions at my said schools once I had narrowed the list to about half of them, and even some of the grad admissions could not give me any information. I had to talk to the CW MFA department if they had one, or English Department. That's probably the best people to start contacting to get information.


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Sep 25, 2012, 7:08 PM

Post #141 of 169 (11371 views)
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Re: [tdr] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

As a general rule, graduate admissions are departmentally based. It's radically different from the undergrad case where the admissions office rules. Your best point of contact is always the department.


http://dahosek.com


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Sep 25, 2012, 7:14 PM

Post #142 of 169 (11370 views)
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Re: [nmomo] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Both Bard and Naropa have had alumni in the prize anthologies, Naropa had two in Best American Poetry and Bard had one in Pushcart, so that's some indication that these are higher quality schools.
Bard is a rare bird among low-residency programs in that it provides funding to a majority of its students.
In my notes on Naropa, I have "Cross-genre experimentation is encouraged and no genre declaration is required of incoming students." as well as a note that assistantships and scholarships are available.

In Reply To
In the opposite direction, I suppose, I haven't been able to figure out much info about Bard College's mfa which is very interdisciplinary and artsy. They have a reasonable amount of info on their website, but I haven't read any first-hand accounts of what it's like. And with Naropa University's Poetics program, they seem pretty unique, but I have no idea what it actually consists of. Is there anyone who has attended or has any more in-depth info about these programs? None of the Best MFA Program lists seem to even mention them.



http://dahosek.com


tdr
T.D. R

Oct 8, 2012, 5:31 PM

Post #143 of 169 (11247 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've contacted a lot of programs because I don't have a job, therefore do not have the funds for application fees. I also am only looking into programs that do not require the GRE. So far here is where I am applying :

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
Hollin’s University in Roanoke, Virginia
University of Massachusetts in Amherst
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale
University of California (either San Diego or Irvine -- as I'm not sure if both would give me a fee waiver?)
I will probably also apply to Cleveland State University.

I'm kind of scared because I've lurked around on peoples blogs about MFA programs and have seen people go as far as to apply to all the fully funded, and only get accepted to one. I don't want to have to wait a whole year to do the applications all over, and really I'm not interested in trying to trying to apply to other schools for any major outside of the English/Writing hemisphere.

So I'm looking for some "safety schools", preferably that have a fee waiver and does not require the GRE. But I would be interested in MFA or even MA English/Writing programs safety schools as long as they do not require the GRE. I prefer a brick and mortar college, not online or low res.

Or if anyone knows any programs that help with application fees besides McNairs?


(This post was edited by tdr on Oct 8, 2012, 5:32 PM)


bighark


Oct 16, 2012, 5:34 PM

Post #144 of 169 (11141 views)
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Re: [tdr] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

There's no such thing as an MFA safety school. Just saying.
If you want to increase your chances of admission, then your best bet is to look at newer programs and programs that do not waive tuition. Even then, the application process will be competitive.
Anyway, you're going to have to do some legwork to find schools that will be willing to waive your application fee. They're just not going to make that information plainly available. However, if you can prove that paying the application fee would be a financial hardship, I think you'll find that many places will be willing to work with you. But that's going to require a lot of work on your end. And you'll find that the bar for financial hardship is pretty high.
Good luck


acalmbefore
Amber


Dec 9, 2012, 6:10 PM

Post #145 of 169 (10654 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all,

I'm currently applying to:

U of Houston
U of Texas (MA in Creative Writing)
Texas State
Louisiana State
U of New Orleans*
Ole Miss
U of Alabama
Georgia College
Irvine
Iowa

*personal top choice, although I would be delighted to attend any of the programs. I've visited UNO, met with staff, and read the most from their faculty. In an attempt to unload some of my crazy, I have to say that I hope they love me as much as I love them. How do you get that across in an SOP without begging? ^_^

I've opted to send in a novel excerpt and a short story. The short story has been my bread and butter, but my novel is what I want to develop, so I thought both were a solid choice. I've gathered differing opinions considering the etiquette for submissions, so I'm going with my gut. What is everyone else sending in?

Also, I wanted to know if anyone is applying (or has applied) to the above schools? Come March/April, I'm sure we will all be buzzing.

Good luck everyone!
Amber


"There are years that ask questions and years that answer" - ZNH


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Dec 10, 2012, 11:06 AM

Post #146 of 169 (10632 views)
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Re: [RM2] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm looking at applying to MFA programs for fall 2014. (Yes, I know. It's quite a ways off, LoL). I live in the Cleveland area, and was wondering if anyone knew anything about the NEOMFA program. Most especially - are they amenable to genre writers?


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


tyrante
Nathan Goldman

Feb 24, 2013, 12:43 AM

Post #147 of 169 (10239 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, guys! I'm not actually considering applying to programs until next fall (I'm currently a college junior), but I was wondering if anyone had any advice for programs (either MFA or MA) especially known for combining intensive creative workshops with a lot of rigorous critical work. In addition to normal literature classes, I'm particularly interested in aesthetics, philosophy of literature, literary theory, etc., and ideally I'd like a program that not only emphasizes both the creative and the critical, but also addresses the intersection of the two. Thanks!


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Feb 24, 2013, 6:03 PM

Post #148 of 169 (10212 views)
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Re: [tyrante] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Hey, guys! I'm not actually considering applying to programs until next fall (I'm currently a college junior), but I was wondering if anyone had any advice for programs (either MFA or MA) especially known for combining intensive creative workshops with a lot of rigorous critical work. In addition to normal literature classes, I'm particularly interested in aesthetics, philosophy of literature, literary theory, etc., and ideally I'd like a program that not only emphasizes both the creative and the critical, but also addresses the intersection of the two. Thanks!


When I asked a similar question at a writers' conference years ago I was told to look at Brown. That was 5 years ago though . . .


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


SailorSapporo
Alejandro Morales
e-mail user

May 15, 2013, 5:47 PM

Post #149 of 169 (8547 views)
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Re: [pdunn] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for this. I never considered SUNY as an option, but if there are Manhattan classes, I would definitely consider applying. I wanted to throw my hat in the ring for City College and Hunter as well.

In Reply To
Haven't been on here in a while. I'm currently a first year MFA student at Stony Brook Southampton (New York). I'd be happy to answer questions about the program if anyone is interested. Send me a PM here.

Our program is a little different than some others. We have classes in Southampton (Eastern Long Island) as well as in Manhattan (where I take my classes). Students don't need to declare a specific focus. That can be a turn off for some people, which I get, but I like it. I'm primarily a fiction writer -- that's what I'm focusing on -- but there are a lot of opportunities to take workshops in other genres. I'm taking a playwriting class next semester, which should be interesting.

I wanted to get my MFA in New York for personal reasons, but I've been surprised at how plugged in everyone is to the literary scene here (one of my teachers is an ex-Fiction Editor from the New Yorker and was Editor-in-Chief at Random House). It's not for everyone, especially if you're looking to get an MFA in a place where you can hide away from the world and only write for a couple of years. But the trade off is being in NY at a program with state school tuition and a solid community.

Sorry if this sounds like a sell. Just trying to offer some info.



erikadane
Erika Kielsgard

Sep 1, 2013, 8:56 PM

Post #150 of 169 (5647 views)
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Re: [motet] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there!
I began my research for the MFA (poetry) in January and am still compiling a list of schools. I've found a well of information concerning programs that offer full or partial funding, including blogs detailing lesser-known schools, etc., but I haven't found too much written on programs with a focus on visual art collaborations/opportunities to take visual art courses. I am really interested in collaborations between writer and artist (i.e., ekphrastic) with an emphasis on artistic community. Thus far I have dug up Vanderbilt, Purdue, VCU, UC: Riverside, University of Minnesota, and Mills in Oakland, CA. I am a Virginia resident and concerned with funding (pretty set on applying to fully- and mostly-funded programs). Any advice is greatly appreciated. And, this is a long-shot: in addition to writing poetry, I am interested in poetry therapy and workshop facilitation for anxiety/depression. Has anyone heard of an experimental MFA within this line of thought?
Thank you so much,
Erika


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 1, 2013, 9:25 PM

Post #151 of 169 (21062 views)
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Re: [erikadane] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

For cross-media programs, I suspect that Columbia College (in Chicago, not Columbia University in New York) might have something along those lines. And Cal Arts is the kind of school that might do that.


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/


erikadane
Erika Kielsgard

Sep 1, 2013, 10:33 PM

Post #152 of 169 (21060 views)
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Re: [pongo] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks so much! Cal Arts is out of my budget, but Columbia College looks great. I'm adding it to my list.


Ali Unal
Ali √únal


Sep 13, 2013, 9:27 AM

Post #153 of 169 (20872 views)
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Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello fellow applicants!

I have been preparing for the Fall 2014 Submission, and I have a question about the critical papers.

Some schools, namely Cornell, Purdue, Ohio, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa State and Virginia Commonwealth, require a critical/academic paper of at least 10 pages along with the creative sample. I wonder if you have any information or guess regarding how it is supposed to be. I have a bachelor degree from Engineering, therefore I am not well equipped to produce an academic paper. So, I would like to know if I have a herculean task ahead of me.

Can you please shed some light on this, please? And if you have any paper you submitted before, I would very much appreciate if you can share it.

Thanks in advance
Best of luck!
Ali


"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Sep 13, 2013, 9:36 AM

Post #154 of 169 (20868 views)
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Re: [Ali Unal] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

If you feel you are "not well equipped to produce an academic paper," I suggest not applying to programs that have a strong critical component.


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/


Ali Unal
Ali √únal


Sep 13, 2013, 9:37 AM

Post #155 of 169 (20867 views)
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Re: [pongo] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, that is the road I should (and will) probably take, but I thought it won't harm to know something more about this requirement. Perhaps to read one or two.


"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."


karinr
Karin Rosman


Sep 13, 2013, 1:34 PM

Post #156 of 169 (20859 views)
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Re: [Ali Unal] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

Critical papers are very broad, but typically involve analysis of a book or two. I'm working on my critical thesis and have found two books to be helpful in tone: "How Fiction Works" by James Wood and "The Lost Art of Reading," by David Ulin. Also, the Georgia Review publishes critical essays; I loved their Spring 2013 issue. I would recommend starting with that.


(This post was edited by karinr on Sep 13, 2013, 1:35 PM)


Ali Unal
Ali √únal


Sep 13, 2013, 3:39 PM

Post #157 of 169 (20849 views)
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Re: [karinr] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, that's very helpful. I have just checked, and I think I can subscribe to online edition of the magazine. I'll look into it and the books.

Cheers.


"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Sep 16, 2013, 11:09 AM

Post #158 of 169 (20805 views)
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Re: [karinr] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Critical papers are very broad, but typically involve analysis of a book or two. I'm working on my critical thesis and have found two books to be helpful in tone: "How Fiction Works" by James Wood and "The Lost Art of Reading," by David Ulin. Also, the Georgia Review publishes critical essays; I loved their Spring 2013 issue. I would recommend starting with that.


I really wish I'd've had the opportunity to read James Wood as an undergrad (except that he wasn't publishing in the 80s). He's a great model for writing critical essays. For models of more craft-oriented pieces, I'd point people at Prime Number Magazine which runs craft essays in each on-line issue.


http://dahosek.com


karinr
Karin Rosman


Sep 16, 2013, 12:34 PM

Post #159 of 169 (20801 views)
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Re: [dahosek] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been tearing through Wood's book with pen in hand. I love it that he's not afraid to take an opinion, and his first sections with his sideways look at point of view have me shouting "Yes! This!" as if watching some sport.

Could also suggest Poets & Writers' craft essays, which are not really critical essays but give insight into how books and stories are written.


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Sep 16, 2013, 12:59 PM

Post #160 of 169 (20795 views)
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Re: [karinr] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

James Wood's book is the only one that has ever helped me understand how third person narration works. It was assigned reading in one of my MFA workshops. We discussed free indirect style in that class, and you could see the lightbulbs going on over heads. I'm not a big fan of "how to" writing books, but How Fiction Works is a gem.


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


dahosek
D. A. Hosek
e-mail user

Sep 16, 2013, 4:51 PM

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Re: [alamana] Critical Essay [In reply to] Can't Post

I've not read that particular Wood. The Wood that I read was more on the critical side of things, The Irresponsible Self. For craft, a couple books that I'd recommend would be Josip Novakovich's Fiction Writer's Workshop and Robert Boswell's The Half-Known World. (That latter, I've just realized, I omitted from my works cited for my MFA critical paper whose first iteration I turned in last night... I'll have to fix that when I get home before I forget).

-dh


http://dahosek.com


bighark


Oct 11, 2013, 12:41 AM

Post #162 of 169 (20387 views)
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Re: [erikadane] Choosing an MFA Program (2013) [In reply to] Can't Post

Check out the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to encouraging the kind of experimentation you're describing with visual art, they have an art therapy program.


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Oct 12, 2013, 12:49 AM

Post #163 of 169 (20371 views)
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Funding at NEOMFA Program [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wondering if anyone knows what the funding situation is like (size of stipends, etc.) at the NEOMFA program in northeast Ohio. In particular, I'm curious if anyone knows which consortial school is best to go through - Kent State, Youngstown, University of Akron, or Cleveland State - for the best chance of getting a teaching assistantship. Tips will be much appreciated!


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


DHouston
Dwayne Houston

Oct 23, 2013, 12:42 PM

Post #164 of 169 (20114 views)
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Full-residency programs for Genre Fiction Writers? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I've scanned a few of these threads and Seton Hill seems to be the top recommendation for someone seeking a low-residency program for genre fiction/popular fiction.

Does anyone know of a FULL-RESIDENCY PROGRAM that are friendly toward Genre Fiction? I'm not looking to take a course in it, but it would be nice to submit story chapters from a vampire novel (yes, I said vampires...) and not be given the stink eye.


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Oct 23, 2013, 1:05 PM

Post #165 of 169 (20112 views)
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Re: [DHouston] Full-residency programs for Genre Fiction Writers? [In reply to] Can't Post

Try Rutgers in New Jersey or Rosemont College in Philadelphia. I've been in touch with the program directors at both schools, and they've assured me they have writers in their program of all genres.

Brown and North Carolina State are rumored to be pretty amenable as well, but I haven't actually spoken to anyone there. As for low residency programs, U.C. Riverside and Stonecoast at Southern Maine have sci-fi, fantasy, and urban fantasy writers on their faculty, and Stonecoast, Seton Hill, and Western State Colorado University have actual emphases in writing popular fiction. The Red Earth program in Oklahoma City seems pretty hospitable as well; one of the faculty members even lists in his bio that he enjoys exploring the boundary between popular and "mainstream" fiction, and in fact is "not even sure they are actually two different kinds of writing."


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


DHouston
Dwayne Houston

Oct 23, 2013, 1:32 PM

Post #166 of 169 (20107 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] Full-residency programs for Genre Fiction Writers? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I did my undergrad at NC State and took a few creative writing courses. Also, I'm friends with a few alums. Never considered it before as I would rather broaden my horizons and check out somewhere else. But, I'll ask them about the program and see what they say.

Rutgers and Rosemont might be my top contenders. I'll look them up. Thanks for the tip.



(This post was edited by DHouston on Oct 23, 2013, 1:38 PM)


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Nov 7, 2013, 1:50 AM

Post #167 of 169 (19799 views)
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Wichita State [In reply to] Can't Post

Question: I keep seeing Wichita State being mentioned as a "well-funded" program, but according to what I saw on their site, they only offer an 8k/year stipend. Is that really livable in the Wichita area? What are the teaching load and faculty like?


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


DHouston
Dwayne Houston

Nov 7, 2013, 3:47 PM

Post #168 of 169 (19770 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] Wichita State [In reply to] Can't Post

I checked out craiglist ads for rooms to rent for Wichita, Kansas and they look pretty affordable. $250-$500. I wasn't able to find any information about teaching load.


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Nov 7, 2013, 4:19 PM

Post #169 of 169 (19767 views)
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Re: [DHouston] Wichita State [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah. I live in Dayton, where you can get a 1-bedroom for $325, if you're lucky (average at an actual apartment complex is probably $450). So that DOES sound reasonable. $8k/yr - $4,250/semester, to be precise - still seems awfully chintzy, though, and far below most other programs that I've heard described as "well-funded," which usually go at least 12. Unless they fund during summer semester, of course, but I've heard that's rare.

Anyway, it's kind of an odd situation, since what I saw on their site didn't seem all that promising... but what I'm hearing elsewhere and around the web is just the opposite; not specifics, but just generally good vibes. I was just wondering if anyone else could elaborate a bit.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.

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