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commanda
Amanda

Mar 9, 2007, 2:25 PM

Post #326 of 1632 (10338 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] early in the game still [In reply to] Can't Post

Curatorial, as in...faculty choosing writers based not only on the quality of their writing, but also what they (bot the faculty and the appplicants) are most magnetized to when it comes to the pursuit of writing. It makes more sense to send experimental writing to Brown than it does to Iowa, for instance. I imagine (and have heard as hearsay) that faculty members choose applciants based on the material they as teachers would most like to work with, support and nuture. So when one doesn't get chosen to be in a program, there might be some credence in the "please don't take this as a reflection on the quality of your writing" moments in rejection letters. It might simply be that a person's writing just isn't a good fit for a particular program.


(edited to make slightly more sense)


(This post was edited by commanda on Mar 9, 2007, 2:29 PM)


a2poet


Mar 9, 2007, 4:46 PM

Post #327 of 1632 (10247 views)
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Re: [piratelizzy] early in the game still [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel your pain lizzy, ma'am. Just got back from a two day conference at Notre Dame where I heard Komanyaka read, only to find a rejection in my mailbox from Syracuse. At this point it's hard to gage who's going to think you're genius or full of shit. In any event, here's my scoreboard:

In at Indiana (with funding) and Kansas (not sure about funding but I wouldn't go there anyway).
Out at Michigan and Syracuse.

7 more schools to go :(


http://mwicker.blogspot.com/


stellalovers


Mar 12, 2007, 2:33 PM

Post #328 of 1632 (10020 views)
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Re: [a2poet] early in the game still [In reply to] Can't Post

two rejections today, from umass amherst and alabama. they were my top two, but i actually feel a litle relieved. getting used to the idea of emerson.


dunnkc


Mar 12, 2007, 5:13 PM

Post #329 of 1632 (9924 views)
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Re: [stellalovers] early in the game still [In reply to] Can't Post

Got my first response today - rejected by Hollins University in fiction. Very, very short letter. I'm a little sad, but still holding out hope for my other four schools. Houston, I'm still waiting for your call!


mrsriley72


Mar 12, 2007, 7:32 PM

Post #330 of 1632 (9849 views)
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its now late in the game. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It seems like everyone is "in" somewhere. Is that the case or are there a whole bunch of hangers on who have not yet heard a positive word? Say I am not the only one! I only applied to 3 MFA programs, got one "no" and still waiting on two schools, neither of which has sent out anything to anyone so far as I can tell.



Keegan


Mar 12, 2007, 7:49 PM

Post #331 of 1632 (9822 views)
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Re: [mrsriley72] its now late in the game. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've also not heard anything positive yet. I'm applying in poetry, and I've received an official no from Cornell and University of New Mexico, but haven't heard from anyone else (UNC-Wilmington, Houston, Indiana, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Florida). All of my schools have accepted at least one person so far, so I'm starting to plan for next year assuming I haven't been accepted anywhere. Whatever happens, I'm moving out of Kalamazoo. If anyone's applying to Western Michigan, I'm more than willing to answer questions (or just ramble at length) about the city.


Arkinese


Mar 12, 2007, 7:49 PM

Post #332 of 1632 (9821 views)
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Re: [mrsriley72] its in the middle of the game... Halftime, if you will [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm in the same boat, MrsRiley. Five rejections, nothing from nine others. So that's why I say it's "halftime" -- it's not even the Ides of March and most schools say they notify in March, right? ....Right....?


mrsriley72


Mar 12, 2007, 8:32 PM

Post #333 of 1632 (9788 views)
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Re: [Arkinese] its in the middle of the game... Halftime, if you will [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'm in the same boat, MrsRiley. Five rejections, nothing from nine others. So that's why I say it's "halftime" -- it's not even the Ides of March and most schools say they notify in March, right? ....Right....?



Ok, ok, so we should have a big halftime shebang. No wadrobe malfunctions, please!


papichulo


Mar 13, 2007, 6:30 AM

Post #334 of 1632 (9642 views)
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Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it's halftime and the other team has just scored:

Michigan, Iowa, and JHU rejections have finally arrived in my mailbox!

I know someone already commented on the snotty tone of Michigan's: it's completely mean-spirited, implying that those who were rejected were definitely not part of a small group they found "exceptionally well prepared and compelling" (in other words: you are part of the masses who suck and we found your application about as exciting as an empty paper sack).

But what annoyed me more was that they couldn't be bothered to have a real person sign the rejection letter. They actually used scanned jpeg signatures where you could see the outline of the cut and pasted images...so tacky! At least for Iowa, LSC had the class to sign it herself (or thoughtfully instructed her assistant to do so; the mysterious LSC/jz at the bottom is the clue). I guess if Michigan doesn't find you well-prepared or compelling, you are surely not worth the 0.3 seconds it takes to autograph a rejection letter! Ouch!!!


Mainer


Mar 13, 2007, 7:52 AM

Post #335 of 1632 (9623 views)
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Re: [papichulo] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

Does it really matter what the rejection letter says, or how long it is, or whether the director signed it? Just be glad you actually received a letter and get over it. MFA programs have better things to do than artfully craft and sign rejection letters. It's easy to over-think every bit of minutiae in the process as we sit and wait on pins and needles, but I think dissecting letters for "clues" and critiquing and interpreting the language used is a bit much. The signature, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with your worth as a person or a writer. And to consider it an indication of how "rude" a program is seems a little silly to me.


EastCoastPoet


Mar 13, 2007, 10:45 AM

Post #336 of 1632 (9549 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know, I'm sort of with "papichulo" on this one but only because for the roughly $100 it costs to apply to a school, the least they can do is send me a nice piece of paper with multitudes of ink and thought. It isn't like they have to do a personalized letter for each applicant, but to sign 500 pieces of paper might take 10 total minutes. For my $100 the professors rarely read any of it, they make up some half hearted rejection letter that doesn't really ease the blow, and then they have the secretary forge the signature. If I hadn't been accepted somewhere I'd have felt a lot more cheated by the whole process. Just my two $.02 (all the change I have left from the post office.)


Mainer


Mar 13, 2007, 11:53 AM

Post #337 of 1632 (9492 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

My response is based, in large part, on my experience working as a student employee at an MFA program. The fact of the matter is that right now these programs have to focus on getting commitments from the applicants they accepted, not stroking the egos of those they rejected. They are doing this while also taking care of the day-to-day administrative work for current students and faculty. University programs are notoriously understaffed and underfunded. The application fees don't go to the MFA program, they go to the university, and they're used to pay the football coach's salary. There are issues of timeliness to consider, too. The director of a proram may not be in the office when the letters need to go out, so they're stamped or signed by a surrogate. Big deal.
As for "professors rarely read[ing] any of" your writing sample before making a decision, that's hogwash. If the writing sucks, they may only read a page, but in my experience working for a program, I was impressed by how thoughtful and detailed the process is. Each applicant was evaluated and a detailed explanation justifying the decision of the reader was articulated. Further, manuscripts and applications were judged not just as "accept" or "reject", but by gradation: "High accept", "accept", "marginal accept", etc. If there was a deviation in reader opinions, the entire application went to at least one more reader before the committee met to discuss the manuscripts that received any level of "accept" from any individual reader.

If it salves your bruised ego to think the process is callous and random, then cling to your conspiracy theory hypotheses, but I know from experience that the entire process is not treated lightly.

For the record, I was impressed that LSC signed every letter. The "clue" stated above as "proof" that her signature was forged is absurd. It merely shows that someone TYPED the letter on her behalf, not that the signature was forged.

Anybody with skin too thin to handle rejection during the MFA application process might want to consider another career path. This won't be the end of terse rejection letters if you plan to write for a living.


(This post was edited by Mainer on Mar 13, 2007, 11:55 AM)


gasolinefight


Mar 13, 2007, 12:03 PM

Post #338 of 1632 (9473 views)
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Re: [EastCoastPoet] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree too. I don't think the lack of signature on my Michigan rejection reflected my talent as writer (I almost didn't even apply there, but decided, "ah, what the hell" at that point in the process).

I just think the lack of actual signature was a little tasteless. I know these people are busy, but I don't even ask that they sign it themselves--just have someone put that little bit of effort into it. We took the time to apply to that program, to work with those people. And paid a lot of money to do so.

I guess it really doesn't matter. It just looks bad, the signatures are all jagged and of bad quality. Kind of like the signature on my college diploma.


papichulo


Mar 13, 2007, 12:16 PM

Post #339 of 1632 (9448 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow. I'm not sure what I did to draw your ire or an attack about who I am as a writer or a person. You don't like my complaint about a rejection letter? That's a little silly, considering the topic of this thread.

My complaint about Michigan's letter has nothing to do with "thin skin" or ego. I've been in plenty of brutal writing workshops, grew up in an area most people are afraid to even drive through, etc. Since you don't even know anything about me, your personal attack is out of place and unnecessary.

I just have higher expectations about common courtesy and respect for others. If someone took the time and spent their hard-earned money to go through the application process, the least a program can do is treat someone with consideration and be tactful. It's just an appreciated social gesture, an acknowledgement of the humanity of others. I don't think there's anything wrong with having that sort of expectation, especially from a nationally-respected institution that is based on spreading enlightenment and nuturing the minds of others. I've worked in so-called "inner city" public education for years and completely understand "understaffed and underfunded" programs and employees. Yet that never caused me to excuse myself to behave caustically towards others.

My impression of this thread is that this was the appropriate place to vent about not getting in somewhere.

Which is what I was doing: venting about rejection letters from a place I didn't get into.

What's the big deal? Geez, Louise.


BlueVelveeta


Mar 13, 2007, 12:23 PM

Post #340 of 1632 (9429 views)
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Late bloomer [In reply to] Can't Post

I got a little nervous about my "applied" status on the UMass-Amherst web site and just got off the phone with admissions; the secretary said that she had not yet received a decision from the committee yet.

It's weird---Oregon is basically perfect for me, not only because of the funding but because Eugene appeals to me and allows me to stay on this side of the country. Still, most everyone in my life has told me to wait until I hear from all of the other programs. Which seems vaguely pointless, as I'm not expecting much; my acceptance at UO feels like something of a fluke considering that I've been roundly rejected everywhere else, whereas my fellow acceptees seem to have racked up some impressive offers.

I'm overthinking this, right?

Screw it, I'm going to go eat a cookie.


Mainer


Mar 13, 2007, 12:30 PM

Post #341 of 1632 (9416 views)
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Re: [papichulo] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

My intention was not to attack or make judgments about anybody as a person or a writer. That line was in direct response to the post that implied Michigan was making an assessment of applicants based on the terse letter sent to rejected applicants.

I merely felt that MFA programs, in general, have been unfairly characterized in this thread (and others) as faceless bureaucracies who gladly gobble up application fees. If I offended you in the process I apologize. My posts have never been written with ire or as personal attacks.

It's not a big deal to me. Venting is fine, but I thought my experiences working in a program might shed some light on the realities of the situation.

Again, I apologize for any offense resulting from my posts.


papichulo


Mar 13, 2007, 12:36 PM

Post #342 of 1632 (9402 views)
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Re: [Mainer] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

Understood, and thanks for your response.

Peace.


mrsriley72


Mar 13, 2007, 12:44 PM

Post #343 of 1632 (9391 views)
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Re: [papichulo] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Understood, and thanks for your response.

Peace.




Not for nothing but, first and foremost a University is a business.
And, as such, they have PR people and etc. Those who follow public trend and
present the face of the univeristy to the public. They also have staff to design websites, brochures and etc.
Why, not, then have one of these "experts" construct appropriate letters to potential future students (future donators!). It would seem time and money well spent.

instead, you have some hasitly constructed email from a secretary.

They are busy in this process and I guess that is to be expected.

I got one letter with a glaring typo/incorrectly spelled word.

Whatever. You cant take it personally-- ANY of it.


tenderloner
Geary'n Hyde

Mar 13, 2007, 12:49 PM

Post #344 of 1632 (9378 views)
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Re: [BlueVelveeta] Late bloomer [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm with you Blue. On the one hand, I am beside myself that I got in somewhere, as it was looking pretty bleak. I'm in my 30s, I have yet to find a job related to my interests and I can scarcely afford another round of applications. It was bad enough this year.

On the one hand, I feel like the ugly girl who finally got asked to dance (oh, how telling this analogy is...), but on the other, I think the admissions gods can be wiser than we. I was so confused about what programs would be good for me, but then look what program I got into. Like you, I'm still holding out a final decision based on the other schools I'm waiting on and funding. It's not like I'm sitting on a bunch of acceptances, of course.

I'll be glad when this month is over!


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Mar 13, 2007, 12:50 PM

Post #345 of 1632 (9376 views)
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Re: [a2poet] early in the game still [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Kansas (not sure about funding but I wouldn't go there anyway).


Hey! What's wrong with Kansas!

Actually, I know what you mean. I was going to apply, but when Rebecca Curtis left, I lost heart. And Kansas was my only viable option, I felt. Next year I'll apply to ten programs and drag my hubby and kids along if I get in.


Aubrie


Mar 13, 2007, 1:03 PM

Post #346 of 1632 (9348 views)
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Re: [BlueVelveeta] Late bloomer [In reply to] Can't Post

Blue - I know what you mean, too. This has been a rough process for me, after full rejection last year and a lot of rejection this year. I keep thinking that perhaps The New School sent me an acceptance letter by mistake. But then again, the more I look into the program, the more I become enamored with it, and I get that comfy "this is what was meant to be" feeling.

I will say this though - I feel like admissions were tough this year, more so than the past couple years that I've obsessively scoured the PW boards.
I'd like to think that says something about the increasing number of MFA applicants - and not the applicant pool here at PW. :)

Congrats again to everyone who's found a writing home, and I have my fingers crossed for those who are still waiting.

I too, will eat a cookie. And make some chili for the cold, grey day.


SweetJane


e-mail user

Mar 13, 2007, 1:21 PM

Post #347 of 1632 (9317 views)
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Re: [Aubrie] Late bloomer [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't it funny? I'm feeling the same way about University of Florida, which is my only full acceptance so far. Although I feel a little wounded at not getting in to some of the other programs I applied to, I also have a feeling that they wouldn't be too high on my list if I had gotten in! (Not that they're bad programs, of course, but honestly, all along I wasn't too confident that Iowa was really the place for me, anyway, for a variety of reasons). Maybe we're just patching up our egos through this kind of self-preservation, but I really do think that if the program is right for you, really right, it works out, anyhow.


In Reply To
Blue - I know what you mean, too. This has been a rough process for me, after full rejection last year and a lot of rejection this year. I keep thinking that perhaps The New School sent me an acceptance letter by mistake. But then again, the more I look into the program, the more I become enamored with it, and I get that comfy "this is what was meant to be" feeling.



SJ

"Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
and those ladies, they rolled their eyes"


jargreen

e-mail user

Mar 13, 2007, 2:07 PM

Post #348 of 1632 (9274 views)
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Re: [papichulo] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll add my two cents two hours too late. I've got to side with the folks who require a well crafted rejection letter and an actual signature penned by either the person who read my manuscript or the director of the program (and, thus, ambassador to the unaccepted).

As I look to applying next year, I'll remember the indelible impression these schools have made on me. Johns Hopkins apparently thought it unnecessary to let applicants know that the centerpiece of their program (Stephen Dixon, the most prolific American short story writer) would be leaving, and that they'd be accepting only two people this year. If I hadn't read it on Speakeasy, I wouldn't have known about it a month after I'd applied. My application to Michigan was a royal disaster, though I accept nearly all the responsibility. However, even before the troubles I'd helped to create for myself, I found their office people to be unresponsive, unhelpful, unfriendly. They also lost several of the materials I hand-delivered to the proper departments, which I found out by calling them to see when their decisions would be made. I never received responses to the pleasant, few, and hardly demanding emails I sent to Florida and Southern Illinois. It was harder than hell to get anyone at Florida on the phone, and when I finally spoke to that delicate peach, she was a real meanie. Finally, Washington University sent the most formulaic rejection letter I could ever imagine. I was embarrassed for them. It's as if they didn't have any good writers on campus to pen something halfway decent.

On the other hand, I had tremendously positive experiences with UMASS Amherst, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, and Bowling Green State. COMPLETE CLASS ACTS. Sylvia Snape at Amherst, Mary McGowan at Bowling Green, and the kind lady who answers the phone at Illinois whose name I regretfully forget, are the type of program secretaries that sell a program nearly as effectively as location. To think they have to put up with all our demands, procrastination, desperate phone calls, and impending anger and disappointment, and they're still committed to answering every question with a smile and a friendly tone!! I would add to this list the importance of an informative, up-to-date, and attractive website and brochures, which has been discussed in-depth elsewhere on Speakeasy. But after I get my rejection letter and cry myself a river, it is the human touch that the program may (should) have had that leaves me thinking positively or negatively about that particular group of people in Ann Arbor, Amherst, and so on.

Now, I certainly don't believe that I can expect to encounter only civil and forthcoming institutions in the future. Lord knows I know from experience that they are rare. The whole idea of higher education used to be that you could be so esteemed that you could be rude and demanding of students (See: "The Paper Chase," dir. James Bridges, 1973). But there are some institutions that dedicate themselves to an honesty and competence that has raised the bar for the communication between young poets and storytellers and the giants with whom they wish to study.

The rejection letter is a final handshake before I hit the road. It's always good to have a firm handshake and to look 'em straight in the eye.


BlueVelveeta


Mar 13, 2007, 2:15 PM

Post #349 of 1632 (9258 views)
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Re: [SweetJane] Late bloomer [In reply to] Can't Post

Speak of the fu#@ing devil.

I just (as in precisely 2 minutes ago) got an e-mail from Davis McCombs in Arkansas, telling me that I'm very high on their very short waitlist. My life is sometimes like a really, really bad indie flick.


Lglabor


Mar 13, 2007, 3:01 PM

Post #350 of 1632 (9215 views)
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Re: [jargreen] Michigan Gets the Rudest Rejection Award [In reply to] Can't Post

Courtesy and kindness rank high with me too, in MFA programs and in life. As a university secretary at a graduate school program, though, let me add two tiny thoughts. One is about the personal signature. In my department, as at some of the top MFA programs, we have occasion once a year to send out about 1,000 letters that the administration does strongly suggest be signed in ink. The director, however, would not dream of spending about one full day -- and yes, that's about how long it takes, and by the way it results in much hand pain for a couple days thereafter -- signing letters. His name is signed, but by the clerical staff and/or student aides. This is just the way it is. And two, regarding how the secretaries treat callers: I'm sure this doesn't apply to anyone here at Speakeasy, but oh my what nasty, arrogant, elitist, supercilious calls we have to deal with all the time, students and admission applicants who are certain of their intellectual superiority and who know they're either richer or soon will be than the lowly secretary they can't stand having to talk to in the first place. In general I think most of us, despite all provocations, grit our teeth and stay calm and courteous. But it isn't always easy.

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