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viviandarkbloom


Mar 15, 2006, 1:43 AM

Post #26 of 793 (7413 views)
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Re: [sara15] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sara the 15th, first of all congratulations. Second, I have what might be a dumb question, but I've often wondered about it: what exactly do creative non-fictioners do? Do they focus on personal essays, or more journalistic stuff? I'm also curious how nonfiction gets workshopped. What kind of feedback do you get?


lytonyawename



Mar 15, 2006, 5:25 AM

Post #27 of 793 (7403 views)
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Re: [franz] Has Anybody Made a Final Decision? [In reply to] Can't Post

i know i have four schools to hear from. but it doesn't matter. i know i want to go to alabama and have known and i somehow magically got in.

alabama it is. signed the papers and sent them back today.

it is done. i get at least three years with the option at a fourth year. with funding. great teachers. climate i like. a smaller town with hopefully a little more quiet to be found than here in San Francisco (i need a break from the big city). experimental workshops and forms courses. lots and lots of readings. involved students and teachers. not too many students...

time. time. time.

i do, in fact, feel at ease.

promise i'll let everyone know how it turns out.


sibyline


Mar 15, 2006, 8:38 AM

Post #28 of 793 (7377 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

[replyBut don't feel like being waitlisted puts you at a disadvantage to the people accepted outright should you decide to accept.

I think it matters somewhat. It wouldn't prevent me from going somewhere I really want to go to, but if I only marginally prefer one school that waitlisted me over a school that accepted me outright, it would make me think twice.

In my case, I happened to be accepted to the program I ended up feeling was the best choice for me regardless (Cornell) and waitlisted at another really good program (Michigan). If it was reversed, I would have possibly picked Michigan over Cornell, even though Cornell has a better environment for me and more funding.

And people do know if you've been waitlisted, especially in a small department. Questions come up like when people visited and who accepted and declined offers. Not that it would affect me in the long run, but it's definitely a psychological barrier I would personally have to get over. I don't think it's insurmountable at all, but I just feel like I should make people aware of the reality of things.


clarabow


Mar 15, 2006, 9:15 AM

Post #29 of 793 (7631 views)
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Re: [lytonyawename] Has Anybody Made a Final Decision? [In reply to] Can't Post

Possibly four years at Alabama, Lytonyawename? That's amazing. What a luxury. Good for you.


clarabow


Mar 15, 2006, 9:17 AM

Post #30 of 793 (7631 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't care if people knew I was waitlisted or not. If they want to hold it against me, that's their problem. I trust faculty not to hold it against me, and if students are going to get a superiority complex over something like that, then they aren't so smart themselves.

Course, now I need to get in (or wait listed) somewhere good! I still have a lot of places left to hear from...


theapplepicker


Mar 15, 2006, 10:26 AM

Post #31 of 793 (7606 views)
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Re: [clarabow] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Clarabow:
I wouldn't care if people knew I was waitlisted or not.


That's the most important thing. See, I'm not sure I wouldn't care. And it could be a big mental hurdle for me. It's possible that mental hurdle could mean I wouldn't get as much out of the program.

That's what I'm tangoing with now, with Ohio State. I've been in love with that program for three years now. They waitlisted me, and although that shows they do appreciate my work, it also shows that they appreciated someone else at least a little bit more, maybe a lot more. I also don't know how many people are ahead of me.

If I were called up from the waitlist now, I'm not sure how I would feel or what I would do. The program is great; I love Columbus; it's not too far from home and my boyfriend; and the funding is superior to many other programs' funding.

But I would be worried that I'd feel inferior to other MFA candidates. (Even though, if I don't go to OSU, and I find out that one or more of my colleagues was waitlisted, I can't imagine that I'd really think about that when I considered their work. I know how competitive programs are and that even many talented people are rejected. The waitlisted people are talented, too. Just like I am, dammit.)


(This post was edited by theapplepicker on Mar 15, 2006, 10:28 AM)


bighark


Mar 15, 2006, 10:43 AM

Post #32 of 793 (7587 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

In my apartment, it costs one dollar and fifty cents to do a load of laundry. I use the change making machine to covert two one dollar bills into eight quarters.

Each of those eight quarters can fill the slots in the washing and drying machines equally well. I don't even think about which would be better suited for the job. They're all capable.

Anyway, since there are only six slots in the washing/drying machines, I usually have two quarters left over.

Isn't that neat?


Aubrie


Mar 15, 2006, 10:52 AM

Post #33 of 793 (7576 views)
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Re: [bighark] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh how I feel like a leftover quarter....


augustmaria


Mar 15, 2006, 11:01 AM

Post #34 of 793 (7567 views)
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Re: [bighark] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would totally pick the ones with the best states on them.


zyzzyvas1


Mar 15, 2006, 11:41 AM

Post #35 of 793 (7537 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Waitlist Angst [In reply to] Can't Post

The fact that anyone would consider not going to one of their top choices because they were waitlisted seems insane to me. Whatever reasons School X is #1 to you have not changed -- waitlist or not. And when you're talking about admitting 1 or 2% of the applicants like the most competitive programs do, do you think there is really a big difference between a waitlisted writing sample and an first choice sample? If any difference? If you made the waitlist, you already cut through the masses. From there, maybe you didn't quite click with a particular reader, maybe your (gasp, I know I'm not supposed to mention these things, but) gender skewed the final list too far in one direction, maybe your story was about horses and the app committee wasn't sure they could read horse stories for the next two years, but damn if if it wasn't a perfect story anyway, etc, etc, etc.

The entire process is capricious. In my mind if I get in to The Perfect School For Me -- no matter how that comes about -- then it would be crazy not to go there. Besides, I've never, ever read a bio on a dust jacket that said "So and so received their MFA from the University of Blank (where they were let in off the waitlist).


staple
Colleen

Mar 15, 2006, 11:43 AM

Post #36 of 793 (7533 views)
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Re: [lytonyawename] Has Anybody Made a Final Decision? [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah, I'm thinking of doing the exact same thing, for all those reasons. So tempted, just to get it all done. Alabama has so many things going for it, at this point. But I'm waiting on two others, plus the two waitlists - should I wait on them, just so I can say I considered all my options (and I keep thinking 'hey! what if I get in to Brown! Wouldn't that be cool!'), even though I'd probably go to Alabama anyway? Hmmm, I don't know.
Good for you on making that decision.


knjay
Nick Kocz
e-mail user

Mar 15, 2006, 11:44 AM

Post #37 of 793 (7532 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Clarabow:
I wouldn't care if people knew I was waitlisted or not.


That's the most important thing. See, I'm not sure I wouldn't care. And it could be a big mental hurdle for me. It's possible that mental hurdle could mean I wouldn't get as much out of the program.

That's what I'm tangoing with now, with Ohio State. I've been in love with that program for three years now. They waitlisted me, and although that shows they do appreciate my work, it also shows that they appreciated someone else at least a little bit more, maybe a lot more. I also don't know how many people are ahead of me.

If I were called up from the waitlist now, I'm not sure how I would feel or what I would do. The program is great; I love Columbus; it's not too far from home and my boyfriend; and the funding is superior to many other programs' funding.

But I would be worried that I'd feel inferior to other MFA candidates. (Even though, if I don't go to OSU, and I find out that one or more of my colleagues was waitlisted, I can't imagine that I'd really think about that when I considered their work. I know how competitive programs are and that even many talented people are rejected. The waitlisted people are talented, too. Just like I am, dammit.)



I wouldn't be too concerned about the percieved slight of being a waitlistee who was eventually accepted into a program. George Saunders did an interview last fall in which he said that once a program whittles their applications down to the top ten or fifteen people, the qualitative differences between those writing samples is very slight. All those people, he said, write "beautifully." And I would imagine that each of those waitlistees would be more than capable of carrying their weight in a workshop.

Plus bear in mind that whatever internal student hierarchy that might exist is going to change constantly throughout your years in the program to reflect the quality of work actually being workshopped.

If OSU is your first choice and you otherwise like everything about the program, jump at the opportunity if your name gets called off the waitlist. So what if you feel a bit slighted right now? By September, you'll be feeling a whole let better there if you get in.

Also about OSU-- what really impressed me about the Brad Vice episode last fall was how Erin McGraw rushed to his defense. She was the only "name person" out there (out of many who endorsed Vice's work over the years) that stood up for him. Say what you will about Vice's problems, but you could tell that OSU makes it a point to stand behind their writers.


miekekoo


Mar 15, 2006, 12:01 PM

Post #38 of 793 (7512 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm leaning towards the school that accepted me off the waitlist over the school that accepted me outright, so I wanted to chime in. It does feel great to be accepted outright and talk to faculty members who tell you how much they liked your work. You like me? I’m one of your top 10 choices? Oh, I like you too!

But in the end, I feel like I have to decide based on which school best meets my own needs.

And I feel ok doing that because really, the admissions process for writing programs is so imperfect. The writers on these committees are fallible human beings trying to measure and predict each applicant’s potential through a couple of stories or a handful of poems--it’s bound to be hit or miss. A writer who seemed fabulous might not live up to the potential of his writing sample whereas someone off the waitlist might learn rapidly and really come into her own during the program. In the end, what the committee thought of you based on the two stories you applied with doesn’t matter. It’s what you do when you’re in the program that matters.

Once the quarters are in their slots, who cares how they got there.

Meanwhile, the program that accepted me off the waitlist has really reached out and made me feel wanted and welcome, and that is very important too. If that hadn’t happened, I would have more doubts about potentially going there.


sibyline


Mar 15, 2006, 12:07 PM

Post #39 of 793 (7505 views)
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Re: [knjay] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

i'm not arguing that it makes a big difference. i'm arguing that it makes some difference. i've been on admission committees before (for photography MFA's) and was with a professor for a long time. being waitlisted often reflects that there's disagreement between faculty members about someone's work, and i've seen cases where that bias has persisted throughout a person's time in grad school. i would rather go to a school where i'm pretty confident that i have unanimous faculty support. it wouldn't prevent me from going to my dream school if i was waitlisted there, but if i had two really good options, i would definitely consider it a factor.


knjay
Nick Kocz
e-mail user

Mar 15, 2006, 12:42 PM

Post #40 of 793 (7477 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
i've been on admission committees before (for photography MFA's) and was with a professor for a long time. being waitlisted often reflects that there's disagreement between faculty members about someone's work, and i've seen cases where that bias has persisted throughout a person's time in grad school. i would rather go to a school where i'm pretty confident that i have unanimous faculty support. it wouldn't prevent me from going to my dream school if i was waitlisted there, but if i had two really good options, i would definitely consider it a factor.


Sibyline, you raised some valid points that I had not considered. Having been on the other side of the fence, how would you suggest a waitlistee ascertain whether or not they might face such faculty disagreements should the get accepted? No one wants to make a big move and devote 2-4 years of their life to a program only to find that the program begrudgingly accepted them because they needed to round out a class roster list.


theapplepicker


Mar 15, 2006, 12:54 PM

Post #41 of 793 (7463 views)
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Re: [zyzzyvas1] Waitlist Angst [In reply to] Can't Post

Stop trying to pierce my shield of nonsense!


theapplepicker


Mar 15, 2006, 1:06 PM

Post #42 of 793 (7444 views)
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Re: [knjay] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

You all bring up important points. I have thought about them before, but my concern lingered still.

I do hope I get called up. Maybe my ambivalence will burn up in a blast of enthusiasm.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Mar 15, 2006, 1:15 PM

Post #43 of 793 (7431 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

But there could also be (and probably is) faculty disagreement over people who end up being admitted outright, too.

I think most schools probably rank the top applicants, then extend offers to the top six, or eight, or twenty five (depending on program size), then if some of those people decline, they just go down the list. So, say you're waitlisted at a school that accepts eight people -- if they had funding and faculty to accept 9 or 10, you probably would have been in from the beginning and never known where you were on the list.

It seems to me the issue is mostly psychological. Are you going to constantly feel waitlisted? Because once you start the program, I'm not sure it really matters; you're there just like everyone else, how you got there is pretty immaterial.

So I wouldn't sweat the waitlist too much. If you're in somewhere, and it's a school you want to attend, go for it.


duderedman


Mar 15, 2006, 1:25 PM

Post #44 of 793 (7421 views)
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Re: [mingram] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

My roommate in college (Yale) was admitted off the waitlist in late June. The waitlist had officially been dismissed and he had already enrolled at Duke - in fact, he was in the Duke facebook that fall.

He turned out to be the one of the smartest and thoughtful people I've ever met.

If you have an opportunity off the waitlist, take it! Once you're in, it's the work you do in the program that matters, not the battle to get there.


eirene


Mar 15, 2006, 1:41 PM

Post #45 of 793 (7400 views)
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Re: [theapplepicker] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

Speaking of wait lists, I emailed UW (Seattle) to ask how long their list is. I didn't really expect a direct answer but here it is: 15 people, and not ranked "at this time." It will take a couple of weeks to gauge "retention of acceptees" etc. This might be of interest to some folks.

And applepicker, I hear your angst r.e. the wait list situation. But there's no way to know what transpired in those admissions committee meetings, no way to know what those faculty think individually about your sample. You know you want to write, you know what schools you want to attend, and that's what matters. I say this as I hang in the balance myself -- waitlisted at my two top choices.


viviandarkbloom


Mar 15, 2006, 1:50 PM

Post #46 of 793 (7389 views)
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Re: [bighark] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In my apartment, it costs one dollar and fifty cents to do a load of laundry. I use the change making machine to covert two one dollar bills into eight quarters.

Each of those eight quarters can fill the slots in the washing and drying machines equally well. I don't even think about which would be better suited for the job. They're all capable.

Anyway, since there are only six slots in the washing/drying machines, I usually have two quarters left over.

Isn't that neat?


Then I think I'm a bent bustoken that has tried to pass itself off as a quarter.

By the way, what was "the Brad Vice episode" that knjay mentioned?

Sincerely,
Bustoken


emptymug


Mar 15, 2006, 2:10 PM

Post #47 of 793 (7366 views)
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Re: [eirene] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

15 people on the UW wait list? All in one genre? How many people do they accept in fiction and in poetry?


eirene


Mar 15, 2006, 2:17 PM

Post #48 of 793 (7357 views)
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Re: [emptymug] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I knew! I assume she means 15 people all together, both poets and fiction writers. I don't know how many they accept, but the MFA program total in both genres at any given time is 30-40 ppl (this according to their website).


Jendago


Mar 15, 2006, 2:21 PM

Post #49 of 793 (7347 views)
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Re: [eirene] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah, I was thinking 15 sounded like a hefty number for just fiction. Eirene, I hope you're right and it's both combined! Emptymug, are you on that list with us?


knjay
Nick Kocz
e-mail user

Mar 15, 2006, 2:41 PM

Post #50 of 793 (7318 views)
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Re: [viviandarkbloom] Decision making process... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

By the way, what was "the Brad Vice episode" that knjay mentioned?

Sincerely,
Bustoken


Brad Vice is a short story writer who graduated with an MFA from OSU. His short stories have apppeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Shenandoah and Five Points and BEST NEW STORIES OF THE SOUTH. His first collection won the Flannery O'Connor prize last fall.

Allegations surfaced that he plagairized a couple of background descriptions in his stories from non-fiction sources and he was stripped of the Flannery O'Connor prize. He argued that what he "borrowed" amounted to "fair use."

I'm not a copyright expert and haven't felt troubled to review the full extant of what he may or may not have done, but I have read a few of his stories and thought they were excellent. It troubled me that such an obviously talented writer's career was in jeopardy and I was glad that someone stood up for him.

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