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Aubrie


Oct 10, 2005, 12:08 AM

Post #1 of 1175 (25225 views)
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Application Time Can't Post

I'm trying to revive a lost thread! I've been looking back through all the old postings and long for the community of the past two years. I'm applying this winter. Columbia, NYU, New School, Hunter. I have to stay in NYC, it's where I live and work. I'm not interested in lo-res because I really, really want to work closely with other writers HERE in NYC. I worked with a professor from Vermont College this summer at the National Book Foundation's summer writing program and I think she is AMAZING and I encourage anyone interested in VC to go - it's just not the right program for me.
Anyone else out there struggling with personal statements? Anyone with sage advice? NYU is Dec. 15th. Time to get moving!!!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Oct 12, 2005, 6:02 PM

Post #2 of 1175 (25164 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie--

The thread usually picks up in February/March, after all the applications are in and everyone's waiting for results. I'm also applying to programs for fall 2006; I have three deadlines in December.

I've spent the last week putting together instructions and materials for my recommenders and working on my personal statement(s). Each application asks for something slightly different, but I'm trying to get down the main ideas in a concise and (hopefully) compelling essay that I can tweak for most of them. I'm finding it difficult to shift back and forth between my ever-evolving manuscript and these essays. I'm feeling a bit panicky--there's precious little time left. . .


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


amarier


Oct 13, 2005, 2:31 PM

Post #3 of 1175 (25140 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm applying this winter too, but I probably only to low-res programs. I prefer how the low-res programs are set up. My applications aren't due until Feb 1, March 1 and April 1. But time goes so fast and I already feel behind! I don't know which manuscript I'll send yet, or if it will be something new I'm working on. I also haven't yet started on the personal or critical essays. I think this week I'm going to decide which short story I'll write the critical essay for, for the schools that need that, and start working on it. Really though, I'm still deciding exactly which schools I'll apply to. Definitely Warren Wilson, Bennington and Vermont College. Also thinking about Lesley, Goddard, Whidbey (which I haven't heard a lot about, I guess because it's new) and Queens U (which, for some reason I can't put my finger on, I'm not terribly interested in applying there or going there even though I've heard good things about it). Maybe Stonecast or the one in Vancouver (though I don't really like that you only have a workshop there once a year, not twice. And I don't want a lot, or any, online courses).


Aubrie


Oct 15, 2005, 11:32 PM

Post #4 of 1175 (25096 views)
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Re: [amarier] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I worked very closely with a professor from VC this summer and she was fantastic. If I were interested in a low res school I would def. apply there.
Right now I'm working on the writing portfolio and my personal statement. It's a bit daunting.
I'll be applying to Columbia, NYU, New School, and Hunter. I don't think there's a single program out of the four that I'd be disappointed with. They seem to all have their strengths (though some are a bit more feasible financially!).
Take it as it comes though, right?
Speaking of financial though, is anyone applying FAFSA? I did it for undergrad...
Looks like I'm ready for another time around.


chitown


Oct 16, 2005, 8:36 PM

Post #5 of 1175 (25080 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Aubrie, if you want to stay in NY you might also want to check out Brooklyn College. Don't know if that's too far, but I've good things about their program.


amarier


Oct 23, 2005, 3:03 PM

Post #6 of 1175 (25087 views)
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the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone else working on, or thinking about starting to work on, the application annotation (aka the 'critical essay')? I don't mean the personal essay, and I'm not so worried about that one, because I have an idea already of what I'll write for that. I think most of the schools I'm applying to require this essay. I thought I was going to be on top of everything and have a rought draft, or at least a pre-rough draft by this point, but I don't. Actually, I'm still deciding what short story I'm going to focus on, and then I'll have to decide what element I'll focus on. Previously, I'd been thinking of doing 'the scheme of things' by d'ambrosio, but decided not to do it when I remembered/realized he's at Warren Wilson, one of the schools I'm applying to. I really wouldn't want to write about a short story that's written by someone associated with the school...

Then I'm thinking, besides the fact that I should chose a story I love and which interests me, should it be contemporary or should I go with something older, something O Henry, something, I don't know. Should it be well-known, like in a Best American Short Stories, or should I chose something lesser-known? The last few questions I'm mostly posing to myself, no need to reply to that part unless you want to. Just brainstorming, and would like responses from others brainstorming as well!




Aubrie


Oct 24, 2005, 12:39 AM

Post #7 of 1175 (25066 views)
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Re: [amarier] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel your pain, for Columbia you have to comment on a piece of literature written within the past ten years... and I stressed about it for a long time. I've decided on Disgrace by Coetzee. It's going to be tough, he's a literary genius (in my humble opinion) and I adore his work. How do I keep my adoration out? What can be said that hasn't already been said? I don't have any answers as I'm appying and fumbling around as well, but I do wish you best of luck! Let me know how it works out!


rooblue


Oct 24, 2005, 11:25 AM

Post #8 of 1175 (25053 views)
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Re: [amarier] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't matter that Charlie's at Warren Wilson and you want to annotate one of his stories. Without knowing that he was joining the faculty, I wrote my critical essay on his story "The Point" last year, and I got in. If you write on that story, they wouldn't give him your folder to read for admission, but that would be the only impact. We don't even know who the readers are, so I have no idea what fac members actually read the applications. If you want to write about that story you should feel free to do so.


Aubrie


Nov 15, 2005, 6:22 PM

Post #9 of 1175 (24961 views)
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Re: [rooblue] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Just wanted to jump into this thread again and share my feelings of utter and complete anxiety.
I've never felt so up and down - some days I'm confident I'll get into a program, and other days I'm confident I'm wasting money on application fees.
AND I'm basically writing my writing sample from scratch - so I'm always stressing about that, too.
I've started convincing myself that it might not be the best time for me to go back to school, just so that if/when I'm not accepted anywhere it won't be so much of a blow.
Anybody else feeling crappy?


HopperFu


Nov 15, 2005, 8:34 PM

Post #10 of 1175 (24949 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I'm feeling rather anxious. I mailed my applications off and then thought rather seriously about puking on the mailbox.
A friend of mine made a rather nice point, however: going to graduate school is not what is or is not going to make me a writer. And (this is my point), I can always apply again next year, right?
Now I just have to wait for, what, five months?


hazelmotes


Nov 15, 2005, 8:46 PM

Post #11 of 1175 (24946 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Um, yeah, I'm stressed out too. And I haven't even finished yet! I don't know, my anxiety is just really really high, but if I don't get in, my life will go on, and I'll still write. So maybe I should just calm the hell down!


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 15, 2005, 9:48 PM

Post #12 of 1175 (24941 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Definitely suffering from nervous energy and personal statement anxiety. Here's what a genius I am: I let my mother read my personal statement. "Is this a--a fragment, dear?" And no less than 3 phone calls and one email with suggestions on how I could rethink it. Yikes.

Drowning in online forms and constantly stressing that I'm forgetting something. I can't believe that HopperFu has mailed everything in already. Congratulations, that's huge. I'm sure I'll be down to the wire with most.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


Aubrie


Nov 15, 2005, 11:29 PM

Post #13 of 1175 (24936 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Also impressed that HopperFu has mailed everything out. I'm not so much in the same place.
Now I feel even more stressed out.


motet
Dana Davis / Moderator
e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 8:00 AM

Post #14 of 1175 (24926 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I mailed my applications off and then thought rather seriously about puking on the mailbox.



Ah, you might want to reconsider that, HopperFu. After all, you don't want to risk getting the acceptance letter all stinky!

I can actually relate to everyone's anxiety. Although I'm not pursuing an MFA, I am studying for the GREs and starting to pull the grad school applications together.

It does seem like a huge mountain in front of me but I have another friend who is also applying for admission this fall and we are commiseration buddies and that really helps. Even though it would take a séance (and a sever lapse in the "What the hell was I thinking?!" department) to send my mother my personal statement, my friend and I have looked at each other's and I'm pretty happy about that. Mine was a lot better than his. ;)

So, I look at this as a finite piece of time in my life. It will be over relatively soon because there's a timeframe for applications and there are deadlines that will sooner than later be reached. And in the meanwhile, I'll still be doing what I'm doing and planning my next step....whatever that may be.


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 8:16 AM

Post #15 of 1175 (24922 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Good advice Dana. I have a feeling that a vomit-fouled application might not get a fair consideration. Interested in telling us what you are applying to grad school for?
For everybody else - don't be so impressed I got the applications out. I had a serious head start.
I have a deal with my spouse that involved me applying to only one school last year. Anyway, I had my personal statement from that done, which made things a lot easier, plus I had to take my GRE's last year and had a copy of my application from last year. That meant that this year, I pretty much just had to refill out application forms (for four schools, another part of my deal with my spouse), and then make sure the personal statement was right for each school. Oh yeah, and then I "only" had to do the writing samples.
I was lucky with the personal statement. My brother, for whatever reason, is phenomenal at those kind of essays, and helped me out quite a bit. Thank god I didn't need to use my mother!


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 8:19 AM)


curbludgeon


Nov 16, 2005, 12:00 PM

Post #16 of 1175 (24903 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Here's what a genius I am: I let my mother read my personal statement.


Yikes. Sounds like a story in itself- a mother helps her child revise a personal statement. A rumination on how family defines us! My father's actually been having me critique his statement for grad school... Personally, I intend to bring my materials to the post office, buy envelopes, and have them mailed then and there. That way, I'm compelled to smile and act casual for the person at the counter, while not vomiting on anything important.


texasgurl
Stacy Patton Anderson

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 12:41 PM

Post #17 of 1175 (24897 views)
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Re: [curbludgeon] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I was hoping of course, that she would love it and I would have a small boost to my confidence in this whole process. That backfired, but her concerns prompted me to send it out to actual writers, and they had more helpful things to say. Now I have to cut and paste and retrofit for individual schools. Onward to December.


Stacy Patton Anderson
http://family-of-five.com


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 1:55 PM

Post #18 of 1175 (24891 views)
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Re: [curbludgeon] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Personally, I intend to bring my materials to the post office, buy envelopes, and have them mailed then and there. That way, I'm compelled to smile and act casual for the person at the counter, while not vomiting on anything important.


I hate to admit it, but I went when the post-office was closed and just used one of the self-service machines. I couldn't deal with an actual person.


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 1:56 PM)


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 2:09 PM

Post #19 of 1175 (24884 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

All right, everyone. Take a deep breath. Go out and buy a copy of THE RELAXATION RESPONSE, turn to p. 162, and follow the instructions there. (No, really. I recently used those instructions to lower my blood pressure twenty points in ten minutes.)

Your lives and careers do not depend on getting into the right MFA program, or on getting into one at all. Yes, an MFA program can change your life -- for the better or for the worse, and just as any other experience can change your life. You can be a good writer without the degree, and some people will be better without it than with it.

The MFA can be a very interesting experience, and I'm glad I did it, but if there has to be puking involved, let it be at one of those late-night drinking-and-arguing-about-poetry sessions.

dmh


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/


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:04 PM

Post #20 of 1175 (24880 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Your lives and careers do not depend on getting into the right MFA program, or on getting into one at all. Yes, an MFA program can change your life -- for the better or for the worse, and just as any other experience can change your life. You can be a good writer without the degree, and some people will be better without it than with it.


I think Pongo / David (what is the proper etiquette for that? Do you address people by screen names or real names?) is spot on, though I think - hope, believe - that all of the people who are applying here are pretty sure that they will benefit from an MFA program.
I'm actually feeling much more relaxed now that it is actually mailed. Not sure what my blood pressure is, but I think it is lower. I guess at this point, all I can do is relax and wait.
Though being a student again would be nice just so I could have late-night drinking-and-arguing-about-poetry sessions (which I would probably enjoy more if my children did not wake up every morning at 5:50 a.m.).


(This post was edited by HopperFu on Nov 16, 2005, 3:06 PM)


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:08 PM

Post #21 of 1175 (24876 views)
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Re: [texasgurl] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yeah, I was hoping of course, that she would love it and I would have a small boost to my confidence in this whole process. That backfired, but her concerns prompted me to send it out to actual writers, and they had more helpful things to say. Now I have to cut and paste and retrofit for individual schools. Onward to December.



If you have somebody who you trust who is in business, they actually might be a great person to have read the personal statement. NOT your writing samples, but your personal statement. My brother, who does some sort of finance thing, god only knows what, said that writing a good personal statment was surprisingly similar to business writing (except without words like synergy).


Aubrie


Nov 16, 2005, 3:15 PM

Post #22 of 1175 (24875 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Late night drinking and arguing about poetry sessions?
I'm in.

Locking myself in room to commit to personal statement.
Hmm... how does one sell oneself?


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 3:29 PM

Post #23 of 1175 (24872 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

Try not to think of it as selling yourself. This is going to sound condescending, and I don't mean it to be, but I'm not sure how else to put it: simply try to answer the questions.
All four of the places I applied had a question that was essentially, "Why do you want an MFA, why here, and what are you going to do with it?"
Sure, there is some selling - "I will do well with the University of Implosion's underground classrooms because I suffer from agrophobia; I concentrate very well in enclosed spaces." - but I think that in the course of answering those questions you will actually tell the faculty a lot about yourself (which, I'm going to give you the benifit of the doubt (insert one of those "ha ha" emoticons here) is a good thing).

Besides, I hear that they just pin all the applications on a wall, get drunk, and throw darts.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Nov 16, 2005, 3:56 PM

Post #24 of 1175 (22574 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

My apologies to Dana and anyone I offended. I only meant to give people an opportunity (and perhaps a technique) to reduce the stress levels.

dmh


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/


HopperFu


Nov 16, 2005, 4:18 PM

Post #25 of 1175 (22572 views)
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Re: [pongo] the application annotation [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with these message boards (as opposed to actual conversation) is that tone is never properly conveyed, and unfortunately, sometimes that means that even with good intentions, messages go amiss. Thanks Pongo. Even though you and I haven't agreed on everything, I do appreciate your contributions to the boards. There are a lot of things that you have much more experience with.
And thanks to you as well, Dana. It must be an incredibly difficult and mostly thankless job to moderate the forums, and I really doubt I could do as good a job as you are doing. Plus, I'm already spending way more time checking the message boards than is healthy.
As for reducing stress levels, maybe we should skip the poetry part and just do the late night drinking. Unfortunately, my tolerance for alcohol is limited - two glasses of wine and I'm down for the count. Plus, since I've had kids, a late night is anything after 9 p.m.

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