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jtomscha


Feb 21, 2010, 11:47 PM

Post #151 of 165 (8819 views)
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Re: [K. Peaquah] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi there, K. Peaquah,

I'm a first-year here in fiction. Just now, as I looked out my kitchen window and saw the beginnings of the latest winter snowstorm descending upon Ann Arbor, I felt yet another rush of gratitude (yes, even on a Sunday night). The program, my cohort, the second-year cohort, the professors, and the opportunities this past year have really surpassed my every expectation. We are truly spoiled. Ann Arbor definitely doesn't feel like a city, but it is not a bad place to spend two/three years. Let me know if you have any particular questions. You can pm me, if you'd like. Hope to see you at the visit weekend. - J


bluepoet1


Feb 23, 2010, 2:04 PM

Post #152 of 165 (8679 views)
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Re: [K. Peaquah] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

I have applied there but for poetry. Congratulations to you! Did you receive a telephone call, an email or letter?


(This post was edited by bluepoet1 on Feb 23, 2010, 2:05 PM)


Peaquah

e-mail user

Feb 23, 2010, 2:07 PM

Post #153 of 165 (8674 views)
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Re: [bluepoet1] Michigan 2010 [In reply to] Can't Post

I received an email last Friday and a phone call yesterday. Good luck to you!


chicagofog

e-mail user

Aug 12, 2010, 2:08 PM

Post #154 of 165 (6173 views)
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Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

I am senior undergrad and planning on applying to the fall 2011 program. I've been reading the different posts about MFAs in general but I'm most interested in going to U of M. How selective of a program is it? I have been a writer since I was a child but went to school for computer science because it seemed like the "right" thing to do...now I am in my senior year and getting recruited to all these high paying tech jobs but I just want to spend 2-3 years focusing on my writing in a MFA program...could care less about money, I just want to spend more time writing! I'm just a little bit worried about the GPA portion. I'm sure by the time I apply in December my GPA will be up but right now the cumulative is only lingering around a 3.0, my major GPA is at 3.7. I have worked as an editor in chief and managing editor at various local publications as well as worked as an editor at a literary journal some years back. I'm hoping my experience in writing (resume), my writing sample, and letters of recommendation will offset my lower GPA...any advice you can give me?


hamlet3145


Aug 12, 2010, 3:20 PM

Post #155 of 165 (6164 views)
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Re: [kneelis] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

I got an email from AWP (Associated Writing Programs) the other day with the results of their survey on writing programs. The average acceptance rate to an MFA program was 9%. Average. That Michigan is regularly ranked in the top part of the top tier of programs likely places their acceptance rate in the 3% range, or less. I think Harvard Med School is around 4-5%.

Now, for the good news. =) Don't worry about your GPA. As long as you meet the minimum grad school requirement (usually a 3.0) that won't keep you from being accepted. It's all about your writing sample and . . . your writing sample. If there is one spot left and they can't make up their mind between you and another student they will start looking at reccomendations, etc. GPA is probably about 7th on a list of other things.

If it were me, I'd take the high paying tech job for a couple of years while enrolling in writing classes online via the Gotham Writer's Workshop or comprable institution (think Stanford offers creative writing classes online now as well). Save money. Get a great writing sample together, then apply. Your future self will thank you when you walk away from a good MFA program with little or no debt. ;)


Peaquah

e-mail user

Aug 12, 2010, 5:47 PM

Post #156 of 165 (6147 views)
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Re: [kneelis] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi kneelis -

I will be a first year student in Michigan's program starting this fall (or, rather, in about one month). It's definitely a competitive program - they got around 1100 applications this year for 12 spots in fiction and 10 in poetry. Yikes. However, I think it's worth taking a shot. When I went out there to visit, the profs all said that it was completely based on the writing samples, and they were just looking for people that they felt they could teach. It's really not a reflection on your writing (at all) if you don't get in to some schools. And you never know, the people at Iowa and Virginia could think you're the best thing since sliced bread while the people at Michigan and Indiana don't even get past your first story. Give yourself lots of options. :-)

If you have more program-specific questions feel free to throw them out there or PM me.


downeyr


Sep 9, 2011, 4:30 AM

Post #157 of 165 (5247 views)
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Re: [Peaquah] Michigan 2011 [In reply to] Can't Post

This thread has been dead for far too long. Now that the submission deadline is beginning to peek its head above the horizon, I'll venture to continue the conversation about Michigan's MFA program. Right now I'm trying to write my statement of purpose and personal statement. Do any of you Michigan attendees have any words of wisdom on this? I'm especially wondering how personal they want you to get on the statement. I'm sure a personal running-off-at-the-mouth memoir isn't what they want, but I'm finding it hard to stay focused on the point of the statement. Advice?


"Only a talent that doesn't exist at all can't be improved."
-John Gardner

"A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination--any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others."
-William Faulkner

"You must have chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star."
-Friedrich Nietzsche



TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Aug 7, 2013, 11:18 AM

Post #158 of 165 (3092 views)
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Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

Any current (or recent?) UM students still on the boards? I'm mostly curious about Ann Arbor's proximity to/relationship with the Greater Detroit metro area - is unemployment in that part of the state really high, or is the economic desolation mostly limited to the city itself? I definitely plan on applying here, but I'd like to work while pursuing my MFA (in addition to teaching/etc.), and I'm concerned there won't be much chance of that in Greater Detroit right about now...


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 7, 2013, 12:56 PM

Post #159 of 165 (3088 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn’t attend U of M’s MFA program, but I grew up in Michigan. I’d be surprised if there were many U of M students commuting to the Detroit area to work. It is less than an hour away—I think about 45 mins, depending on where in the “Detroit area” we are talking about—but to many folks in Michigan that is a crazy long commute (sadly that is not so where I live now). But maybe I'm wrong or this has changed and some current/recent U of M students can jump in here and tell you that.

As we know from the news, things in the city of Detroit are tough. Unemployment is high and in many communities hopes are low. There are, however, suburbs where that is not the case. I guess you need to know what kind of job you want. I’m sure there are many opportunities in Ann Arbor if what you want is a part-time job of the type many in my MFA program held (bookstore, barista, server, bartender, tutor, etc.). If you have an established career, and need to make a certain amount of money to support a family or something like that, job opportunities are going to vary depending not only on place (Ann Arbor vs. city of Detroit v. well-to-do suburb like Birmingham) but on job type. Although there are unemployment problems in Detroit, there are also opportunities for individuals with certain skills.

Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to live. The Detroit area can be as well; my sister lived there for years—all the way through med school and her residency and I think she loved it. Bottom line is that opportunities in that part of Michigan are going to vary by job type. Good luck to you. Michigan is a beautiful place.


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

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Oct 20, 2013, 3:41 PM

Post #160 of 165 (2650 views)
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Re: [alamana] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the reply! Application deadlines are looming here in another month and a half or so, but I've narrowed it down to about 8 programs I want to apply to in December and another 3 or 4 with deadlines in January or February. UM is at the top of my list, along with Cornell and UW Madison.

I'll be a fiction applicant, with my main focus being genre stories (horror and suspense, mostly) and more dramatic pieces dealing with loneliness and social isolation. Anyone have any insight as to the type of themes the UM faculty like/are interested in? I know the faculty of many schools can be kind of idiosyncratic about this, with some programs having a straight up emphasis in political activism, nature/environmentally-themed work, and so on.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


zagcollins
Ayush Sengupta

Nov 18, 2013, 10:08 PM

Post #161 of 165 (2486 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] Resurrecting this thread [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for the reply! Application deadlines are looming here in another month and a half or so, but I've narrowed it down to about 8 programs I want to apply to in December and another 3 or 4 with deadlines in January or February. UM is at the top of my list, along with Cornell and UW Madison.

I'll be a fiction applicant, with my main focus being genre stories (horror and suspense, mostly) and more dramatic pieces dealing with loneliness and social isolation. Anyone have any insight as to the type of themes the UM faculty like/are interested in? I know the faculty of many schools can be kind of idiosyncratic about this, with some programs having a straight up emphasis in political activism, nature/environmentally-themed work, and so on.

Tony,

All the schools you are applying to are looking at literary fiction and not genre fiction. I am an international student (yeah, imagine that), so these schools are on my list as well. Sadly, I am not sure whether I am going to be applying this year or not.



TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Nov 21, 2013, 7:49 PM

Post #162 of 165 (2450 views)
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Re: [zagcollins] [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, I've heard that some programs (including Michigan and Syracuse) are more receptive than others. I'm not planning on applying with genre material, though. I have some ideas for a mainstream novel I'd want to work on while I'm there.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


zagcollins
Ayush Sengupta

Nov 21, 2013, 9:22 PM

Post #163 of 165 (2446 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] [In reply to] Can't Post

These guys are never going to openly say NO to genre fiction. They say 'submit your best work, but we do not really see how we can help people interested in getting their books stocked anywhere else except the FICTION shelf'.


TonyB79
Tony Baker
e-mail user

Nov 21, 2013, 10:36 PM

Post #164 of 165 (2443 views)
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Re: [zagcollins] [In reply to] Can't Post

On the contrary... many schools ARE more than happy to outright say no to genre fiction, while many others dissemble, as you said. If you're a genre writer and you want to have a shot at getting into a decently funded MFA program, you have to be prepared to have your views of the kind of fiction you want to write challenged, I think. And, if you're going to try and turn in fiction that contains genre elements, you're going to have to be prepared to still have that fiction held to a high literary standard.

And there *are* "genre" writers out there doing high-end, high-quality work. I'd put the horror of Peter Straub, the epic fantasy of Justin Cronin, the dark fantasy of Clive Barker, or the mystery of Thomas H. Cook up against any high-falutin' "MFA novel" about alcoholism or life after divorce that you can muster.

Programs like Stonecoast, Red Earth or Goddard are undeniably attractive (sucky funding aside), but I wonder if "for-profit" programs like that aren't ultimately going to let you write whatever the heck you please, as long as your tuition checks don't bounce. I ultimately decided I wanted to be challenged. I just hope I have the courage to challenge their views on what constitutes literature as well.


Mercy is the mark of a great man.

I guess I'm just a good man.


zagcollins
Ayush Sengupta

Nov 21, 2013, 10:44 PM

Post #165 of 165 (2442 views)
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Re: [TonyB79] [In reply to] Can't Post

Am sure you will impress their pants off! :)

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