Mar 28, 2005, 10:07 AM
Post #3 of 33
I would recommend reading the P&W Nov/Dec. 04 article on applying to MFA progams. There is some good information in that piece. One thing the article emphasizes is that the manuscript is the most important part of the application. I have just finished applying to a bunch of programs (New England College, Vermont College, Bennington and Warren Wilson). So far I've gotten into all of them. When I was preparing my applications earlier in the year, I spoke with people in the program offices, and they confirmed that the MS was king in determining who gets considered seriously. One person even told me, "Even a fabulous GPA will not make up for weak manuscript." There's also a lot of good information on this site--scan the posts in the other MFA threads and you'll learn a lot.
So, I would say, don't worry about your grades so much. Worry about whether your MS is the most polished and professional it can be.
The second most important part of the application is the personal statement. I found the essay to be very difficult to write--I think everyone does. I would say, based on my research, that being emotionally and creatively honest is important. Don't say something just because you think it will impress people. You should find and discuss some strong reason why grad school will help you--beyond just saying you want the structure or discipline or whatever. Is there some specific aspect of craft you want to work on? That would be a good thing to mention in the essay.
None of the schools I applied to required GREs, so I can't comment on what impact GREs have on an MFA application. I have taken GREs twice in the past, though, when I applied to straight literature programs (that was before I started writing poetry). The second time, I took a preparation course and I would definitely say that it was worth it. I know did a lot better the second time, although I honestly don't remember my scores too well.