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gussy

e-mail user

Feb 28, 2006, 8:54 PM

Post #1 of 161 (8314 views)
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UMass (Fiction) Questions Can't Post

Hey all,

Congrats on those acceptances, all of you.

And let's try not to get too down (it's too early) if we've been rejected, or, perhaps worse, if we haven't heard anything yet. This horrible first-person plural obeys to the fact that I was in this last group until a couple of hours ago. But then I got an e-mail from UMass. I'm in for Fiction. I'm exhilarated, but now I'm a bit concerned because it seems acceptees will have to compete to get a TA position.

Does anyone know how this works? If you're like me, you don't have money to spare, so you were sort of taking for granted that you'd get an offer that involved some financial assurance (I don't mean the Michener dream-like offer, but at least a confirmed TAship). Is this standard? Anybody who is attending or has attended UMass could please clarify the mind of a sadly confused, still dazed, acceptee?


gussy

e-mail user

Feb 28, 2006, 8:55 PM

Post #2 of 161 (8303 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Needless to say, if other Fiction UMass acceptees would like to send a priv. message and compare notes, that would be great.


REliana


Feb 28, 2006, 9:23 PM

Post #3 of 161 (8290 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

You got an email a few hours ago? What time was the email sent? Sorry to sound insane, but it was my first choice and I've been a mess...atleast I know they are still sending out acceptances...eeeeeeaaaggghhhhh


(This post was edited by REliana on Feb 28, 2006, 9:25 PM)


gussy

e-mail user

Feb 28, 2006, 9:29 PM

Post #4 of 161 (8286 views)
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Re: [REliana] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi,

Oh, I'm a mess, too, no need to apologize :)

I got it in the late morning, toward noon. I can't really trust the time indicated in the e-mail, because it's screwed up and I can't handle computers very well (it's amazing I've managed to create an account for this forum!).

But yes, they're still contacting people. Maybe you can check your status online? UMass must have sent you a letter with an ID number and a password. And I"ve been told there is a waiting list, so there's still hope. Who knows, maybe we'll be classmates !! I am very excited, but very nervous, too, because no TAship would mean no MFA for me. Anyway, we'll see...


REliana


Feb 28, 2006, 9:38 PM

Post #5 of 161 (8280 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I've been checking online CONSTANTLY (did you even question that??) - but it went frome "applied" to "pending". No answers there. I have a bad feeling...

Anyways, in regards to the TA position - I wouldnt stress. I believe if they cant get you one - you can find your own work over a certain number of hours per week (20?) and your tuition can be waived. I know the feeling of having no money for school - which is why i applied to UMass. I do have an acceptance and the low-residency program at Lesley - but def. NO funding there...another day of stressing approaches. Congrats by the way - and I am very jealous!!


orangegirl


Feb 28, 2006, 10:23 PM

Post #6 of 161 (8248 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

gussy, congratulations! that's a terrific program in a terrific place to live, particularly if you like live music.


RainDog


Feb 28, 2006, 10:30 PM

Post #7 of 161 (8241 views)
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Re: [orangegirl] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Gussy: Ask Tom Kealey, the mfa handbook/blog guy. He went there and could probably answer your funding questions.


gussy

e-mail user

Mar 1, 2006, 12:36 PM

Post #8 of 161 (8169 views)
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Re: [orangegirl] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks!

REliana: If your online page says "pending", it might mean you've been waitlisted -- otherwise it should say either you've been accepted, or rejected. I think people here at the Speakeasy have reported both, you should check it out. Of course, this is sheer speculation, but why would they post a rejection for someone else, and let you hanging from that "pending" -- it should mean "waitlisted", right?

Orangegirl: Thanks for the tips on Amherst; yes, I love live music. Any other tips, anyone, would be welcome (there's another thread on places)

Raindog: Thanks; yes, I e-mailed Tom, we'll see what he says. I'm just a little concerned because, being an international student, my possibilities of finding a job other than the one that might come with the offer (i.e. a TAship) might be fairly restricted.

(I posted a similar reply last night, but this morning I realized it didn't come through... mystery...)


franz

e-mail user

Mar 1, 2006, 12:59 PM

Post #9 of 161 (8158 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

[reply

Raindog: Thanks; yes, I e-mailed Tom, we'll see what he says. I'm just a little concerned because, being an international student, my possibilities of finding a job other than the one that might come with the offer (i.e. a TAship) might be fairly restricted.


I received my "official" email letter from UMass today. The way I read the funding situation is this: the graduate school, not the MFA program, decides who teaches (this seems unusual and different from other programs, but is that actually the case?) I'm guessing that our writing samples don't matter as much in this case (how can the grad school evaluate that anyway, unless the MFA program recommends some candidates?) So this is where transcripts, GRE scores, letters of rec and those things come in handy. I was also under the impression that the sooner a student accepts the offer, the more likely s/he is to get a position. And we've only got until March 31st to make a decision! I hope these other schools step up and let us all know soon!


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


gussy

e-mail user

Mar 1, 2006, 1:11 PM

Post #10 of 161 (8149 views)
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Re: [franz] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Franz,

Congrats ! It would be great to have you as a classmate !

So you see those ambiguities or odd things in the letter, too? Well, I'm glad it's not just me. There are two things that strike me as particularly odd:

1) The text seems to say that our chances of getting a TA position might be improved if we accept soon. I understood this, too, but I e-mailed them asking for a clarification, because I think the passage is ambiguous, and I'm hoping one can apply for the TAship before accepting their offer. Otherwise, how could one commit to going to UMass without having some sort of confirmation that one will be able to pay the bills?. I'll let people know when they get back to me.

2) The text suggests that we have to respond by March 31. However, I know from a good source that there's this college council agreement that should be respected, in virtue of which acceptees have until April 15 to make their final decisions. So maybe March 31 is their suggested deadline.

Anyway, I'm not implying that there's a wrongful intention behind all this, but as a matter of fact, these two ambiguities make it the case that acceptees feel pressed to make a decision faster than it would be sensible to do.

That said, I'd love to go to UMass !!

(What's with the italics in this post, Gussy !? Why so much emphasis, man!)


REliana


Mar 1, 2006, 1:28 PM

Post #11 of 161 (8135 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Gussy -thanks for the optimistic views...I wasn't aware that people had seen a rejection on their online profile...I had only heard of one person (Franz) seeing an acceptance. Now, I'm kind of hoping to not see anything from UMass in my mailbox anytime soon -- I would assume if I did, it would be a rejection.


gatsby


Mar 1, 2006, 1:35 PM

Post #12 of 161 (8129 views)
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Re: [gussy] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Gussy and franz,

Congrats on your fiction acceptances! I received a similar letter and have the exact same questions about the same ambiguities. I'm under the impression that there are about 25 sections of undergraduate multi-genre creative writing classes that are staffed by the creative writing TA's (which there are about 60 of.) I'm not sure whether or not accepting early will help the chances of getting one of the positions, though I completely understand the department's use of ambiguous language when addressing the topic. I wrote to Tom Kealey, too, though he hasn't posted anything and he hasn't gotten back to me so we'll see what happens. I wish we could apply for the TAships before accepting, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Keep us posted whatever you hear back from the department.

And again, congrats! I've been to Northhampton once, a long time ago, and I really liked it. Lots of music/little stores/galleries. I'm going to visit Amherst though, and I'll report back when I do.


gatsby


Mar 1, 2006, 1:38 PM

Post #13 of 161 (8125 views)
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Re: [gatsby] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

"I'm under the impression that there are about 25 sections of undergraduate multi-genre creative writing classes that are staffed by the creative writing TA's (which there are about 60 of.)"

Bah, what I meant was: I think there are 25 spots for teaching, and there are 60 students competing for them (10 each year in each genre, for three years.)



franz

e-mail user

Mar 1, 2006, 4:33 PM

Post #14 of 161 (8075 views)
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Re: [gatsby] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

And now I just received the official letter from UMass in the mail-- wow, this is quite a questionaire. I feel like I'm in comp again, or something like that. But I'm up for the task.

So they accept about 20 people a year? And the letter says almost 500 applicants. I'm feeling very grateful. It's a beautiful day here in Portland, and the cherry blossoms are already blooming.


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


gatsby


Mar 1, 2006, 4:41 PM

Post #15 of 161 (8068 views)
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Re: [franz] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

I was under the impression that they chose 10 people out of 500 poetry applications. I don't know anything about fiction side of things.

On another note, does anyone know how to go about finding information about housing in the Pioneer Valley?


franz

e-mail user

Mar 1, 2006, 7:14 PM

Post #16 of 161 (8025 views)
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Re: [gatsby] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I was under the impression that they chose 10 people out of 500 poetry applications. I don't know anything about fiction side of things.

On another note, does anyone know how to go about finding information about housing in the Pioneer Valley?


The fiction letter says 500 applicants too-- I was thinking they probably mean applicants for both programs combined. I've heard that these numbers are often inflated to make the program appear even more competitive. Well, 20 out of 500 is a 4% chance-- still pretty damn competitive.
For those of you worrying about paying the bills at UMass, it says in the letter that everyone who wants to teach is generally able to teach. Considering the reduced tuition (in-state) that comes with the work, it sounds to me like UMass does all it can to make the program affordable. I really don't think that money worries should drive people away. (Now the Emerson financial aid plan I've read about-- that's money worries, and will almost certainly drive me away from there.)


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


commanda
Amanda

Mar 1, 2006, 7:18 PM

Post #17 of 161 (8022 views)
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Valley Housing [In reply to] Can't Post

The UMass housing site is amazing. I've found two great apartments through it. You can find it at: http://cshrc.org/housing.php. I think they've even spruced it up since my last use.

Northampton is a really great town and it's a short commute (easy by car, a little obnoxious but mostly just fine by free bus). It's a nice place to live, if the most expensive Valley option. Amherst is very small, but still boasts a main drag. If you want to go the farmhouse route, try Hadley, Belchertwon, or Montague (home of the awesome Bookmill). It's not too difficult to find cheap rent, but cost of living can add up what with Massachusetts winters -- so make sure to look out for places with utilities included versus gas and oil. I'm living in Northampton right now and oil heating has been sucking my bank account dry.

I'm still waiting on UMass, myself -- having hopelessly lost my username/password in the ridiculous amount of papers on my desk. Congratulations to everyone who's gotten in. Fingers crossed.


poetastin


Mar 2, 2006, 3:06 AM

Post #18 of 161 (7967 views)
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Re: [franz] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
20 out of 500 is a 4% chance-- still pretty damn competitive.

That's correct, but only if they're hosting a Cheetos random drawing sweepstakes, or something. The search for an actual percentage continues.

Currently, I'm collecting data--application manuscripts, the styles/themes of these stories, teacher's published works--and trying to devise some sort of software that'll crunch numbers and deliver a key-like story that grants entrance to whatever institution I type in. For instance, I'll key in Brown, and out will come this 15,000 word, Choose Your Own Adventure type story full of footnotes, hypertext, and ambiguity. Then I'll key in Iowa, and will receive a streamlined, 3500 word story of a migrant worker who loses his son in a television accident, complete with a trite epiphany. It's still in the development stage, but I'm pretty psyched...

If anyone would like to contribute their acceptance-granting stories for my project, please send a private message--I'll be eternally grateful!


(This post was edited by poetastin on Mar 2, 2006, 3:07 AM)


willbell
Will

Mar 2, 2006, 9:16 AM

Post #19 of 161 (7944 views)
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Re: [gatsby] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Check the Valley Advocate (www.valleyadvocate.com) for art, food, music, theatre, etc. It's an alternative news weekly...

If I remember correctly, Northampton has a great Chamber of Commerce website also. I agree with commanda that Northampton is a short commute and great place to live...that said, crossing the bridge (over the CT river) from Amherst/Hadley to Northampton is a giant headache...esp. on Fridays.

The Amherst Chamber:
http://www.amherstarea.com/

The Newspaper is the Hampshire Gazette. http://www.gazettenet.com/

Hope this helps.


gussy

e-mail user

Mar 2, 2006, 11:29 PM

Post #20 of 161 (7894 views)
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Re: [willbell] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, everybody. This is very helpful. (Of course, first, UMass should treat me with a TAship, but, well, let's hope that happens...)


brooklynpoet


Mar 3, 2006, 2:24 AM

Post #21 of 161 (7877 views)
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Re: [poetastin] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

If anyone would like to contribute their acceptance-granting stories for my project, please send a private message--I'll be eternally grateful!


But when will the version for poets be available?


brooklynpoet


Mar 3, 2006, 2:28 AM

Post #22 of 161 (7875 views)
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Re: [brooklynpoet] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, congratulations to gussy and Franz for the UMass acceptances!

The website, though, is of little use. It says that they don't post acceptance/rejection for 21 days so that applicants will be informed first by mail. Which is, I think, what the "pending" messages are about.

It's also down right now. (But then, it's the middle of the night--I should be down too.)

BP


poetastin


Mar 3, 2006, 3:22 AM

Post #23 of 161 (7869 views)
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In Reply To

In Reply To

If anyone would like to contribute their acceptance-granting stories for my project, please send a private message--I'll be eternally grateful!


But when will the version for poets be available?



Versions currently available are the offspring of Burroughs' cut-up generator. They're available through Google, but have not yet been tested by me. I will use them to bombard Fence in the near future.

Your acceptance-granting stories can still be sent to me at poetastin at hotmail dot com or by private message. They will be encrypted to my hard drive and erased upon their reading. Help me end the guesswork, and the suffering.

Thank you so very, very much...


deweese


Mar 3, 2006, 9:19 AM

Post #24 of 161 (7851 views)
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Re: UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello everyone-

I'm a current UMass MFA student (in my second year for poetry) who had many of the same questions as ya'll when I was accepted. So I thought I'd clear up a few.

1. Franz- if you have a TA or TO position, you get full tuition remission, not In-state tuition. Due to a great union (GEO, an affiliate of the United Auto Workers of all groups) we get paid very fairly, w/ good health care.

2. Applying to teach 112 (comp) is definately important, but their number of new hires shifts every year (depending on how many sections are being offered, how many veteran staff are planning on teaching the next year, etc.). That said, there are many sections (close to 100) to teach. Also, teaching 112 isn't the only way to receive tuition remission- I suggest combing through the UMass website, even emailing each department to see if they have any TA or TO positions. In a school of this size, there are a lot of positions available- off the top of my head, I can think of first years holding positions TA-ing for Jewish Studies courses, junior-year biology writing courses, discussion sections of The Lively Arts, etc.

I'm out of time. Good luck!

-cnd


gussy

e-mail user

Mar 3, 2006, 12:38 PM

Post #25 of 161 (7815 views)
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Re: [deweese] UMass (Fiction) Questions [In reply to] Can't Post

Deweese,

This is extremely helpful. Thank you !!

Gussy

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