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Choosing an MFA Program (2013 - 2014)
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pdunn


May 11, 2011, 7:45 PM

Post #51 of 169 (8223 views)
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Re: [mds2179] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


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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 (8150 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 (7947 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 (7941 views)
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Re: [JoanneMerriam] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post

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 (7938 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 (7934 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 (7897 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 (7817 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 (7792 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 (7622 views)
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Re: [pdunn] Choosing an MFA Program (2012) [In reply to] Can't Post


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 (7535 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 (7487 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 (7473 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 (7459 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 (7394 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 (7344 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 (7335 views)
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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 (7331 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 (7279 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 (7244 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 (7204 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 (7202 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 (7195 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 (6995 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 (6906 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


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