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Scrat1


Nov 27, 2007, 1:54 PM

Post #726 of 1175 (14690 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I re-checked Iowa's site and they don't mention anything about cover letters for Letter of Recs. At least not that I saw.

I also couldn't find it in IU's website, but then again a lot of the websites seem to have link sites that I miss. My eyes glaze over that sort of stuff, which isn't exactly a good thing at this point.

I already knew about UMass, but it says that the form is not required to be filled out, but they'd appreciate a cover sheet.

Unfortunately, I did not know that Cornell required a recommender's form and even when I looked for it I couldn't find it. I wonder if I could get rejected on account that my Letters of Rec don't have cover sheets. That would suck. But oh well, the damage has been done.


mpagan


Nov 27, 2007, 2:00 PM

Post #727 of 1175 (14685 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Your right. What sucks it that one of my recs was already sent to Iowa without the form - so I hope they don't trash it.


bennyprof


Nov 27, 2007, 2:05 PM

Post #728 of 1175 (14678 views)
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Re: [mpagan] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I really don't think it'll be a deal breaker by any means. If your writing is of Iowa / Cornell caliber, there's every reason to believe they'll let the small stuff slide.


monarca


Nov 27, 2007, 2:42 PM

Post #729 of 1175 (14661 views)
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Re: [bennyprof] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, I'm never sure if it's reassuring or terrifying that there is almost nothing a program won't "let slide" if your writing sample is good enough.


forthedogs


Nov 27, 2007, 4:46 PM

Post #730 of 1175 (14630 views)
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Re: [mpagan] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

all three of my letters arrived to me today without the form. i had no idea we even needed it. i still can't see where on the ww site it says they are required. odd because there's otherwise a very specific paragraph about the letters and to where and from whom they should be sent.

anyway, if they reject on this basis, i'm out.


mpagan


Nov 27, 2007, 4:58 PM

Post #731 of 1175 (14627 views)
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Re: [JWhelan] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

I called Iowa - and they said not to worry - that most people don't bother to use them - they'll just file them away as per usual with your apps.

So no worries - Breathe more easy.


forthedogs


Nov 27, 2007, 5:06 PM

Post #732 of 1175 (14622 views)
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Re: [mpagan] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

excellent sleuthing, mpagan. thanks for putting me at ease.


hamlet3145


Nov 27, 2007, 5:52 PM

Post #733 of 1175 (14608 views)
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Re: [DMiller] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

RE: Michigan, back when I was applying to MFA program I used a credential file maintained by my undergrad school. While very handy, it doesn't fit the reccommendation form format. I called Michigan and asked if this was okay. Turned out they didn't care.


Scrat1


Nov 27, 2007, 8:13 PM

Post #734 of 1175 (14576 views)
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Re: [mpagan] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I called Iowa - and they said not to worry - that most people don't bother to use them - they'll just file them away as per usual with your apps.

So no worries - Breathe more easy.


Male or female, I love you. Just one less thing I have to worry about.


Scrat1


Nov 27, 2007, 8:19 PM

Post #735 of 1175 (14574 views)
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Re: [Scrat1] [Application Time [In reply to] Can't Post

Although now I feel like a regular fool for not applying to Michigan over something as stupid as this. Guess that is the prize to pay for laziness. At least there's less competition for you guys.


__________



Nov 27, 2007, 10:11 PM

Post #736 of 1175 (14549 views)
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What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a new one for you: I was surprised to learn that several high-profile programs such as Syracuse only receive about 200 applications. Even if a school accepts 6-7 people, as most claim, this equals one slot for every thirty people. I mean, am I wrong? Is my math wacky? Because given the amount of crap schools receive, I feel infinitely better about applying.


six five four three two one 0 ->


bennyprof


Nov 27, 2007, 10:30 PM

Post #737 of 1175 (14542 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

You feel infinitely better about a 3.3% acceptance rate? Man, I wish I had your confidence!


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Nov 27, 2007, 10:31 PM)


umass76


Nov 27, 2007, 10:31 PM

Post #738 of 1175 (14539 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

JM,

Here's the most recent data I've got re: application numbers (ranked most to least, of those schools for which this data is available; these numbers have likely all risen, in some cases substantially, since this data was collected over a year ago) [data taken from:
http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/]:

1210 University of Iowa

0850 New York University

0750 The New School
0716 Brown University

0650 Columbia University
0610 University of Massachusetts
0600 University of Michigan

0575 University of Virginia
0540 University of Oregon
0525 Cornell University

0500 University of Minnesota

0410 Indiana University
0400 Bard College [low-residency]

0375 San Francisco State University
0375 Boston University
0355 University of Washington
0350 University of Arizona
0325 University of Texas
0325 George Mason University
0320 Brooklyn College

0250 Syracuse University
0250 University of Arkansas
0250 Univ. of North Carolina at Wilmington
0225 University of Montana
0218 University of San Francisco
0201 Hollins College
0200 University of Florida
0200 CUNY [Hunter College]
0200 Warren Wilson College [low-residency]

0192 University of Notre Dame
0192 University of British Columbia [Canada]
0160 Queens University of Charlotte [low-residency]
0125 California College of the Arts
0120 Washington University at St. Louis
0100 University of North Carolina at Greensboro

0075 Bowling Green State University
0043 North Carolina State University
0028 Naropa University [low-residency]
0024 Georgia College and State University


I can also add that UC-Irvine has 300 applications just in fiction, which likely means about 500 total (my research seems to show about 2 applications in poetry for every 3 in fiction, at most schools); Purdue has 100 in fiction (165 total, est.); University of Illinois has 62 in fiction (100 total, est.). Of course, you always have to keep in mind class size: Purdue, for instance, accepts 8 people total per year--at last count--so 165 applications could still mean a 4.8% acceptance rate (not accounting for "yield," which at this point is unknowable), or, about the acceptance rate for Harvard Medical School.

Cheers,
Seth



(This post was edited by umass76 on Nov 27, 2007, 10:43 PM)


bennyprof


Nov 27, 2007, 10:36 PM

Post #739 of 1175 (14533 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Great info, Seth. Thanks.


sovietsleepover


Nov 28, 2007, 12:17 AM

Post #740 of 1175 (14509 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

1. I'm pretty sure the Michener Center receives over 700 applications. 400+ in fiction (5-6 slots); around 300 in poetry (3-4 slots); something like 50 or 75 for playwriting (2 slots); and 25 or so for screenwriting (1 slot). Programs like Michigan seem like they should be closer to those numbers, too.

2. If the pool of people applying to MFA writing programs is at all like the pool of people submitting to literary magazines, then keep in mind that a big handful of those 165 applications for 8 slots will be dismissed out of hand: sample printed on rose-scented paper in unreadable curly font, poems about mind-meld with pet cat, etc. If you've been writing seriously, not for catharsis purposes, for several years, chances are you've already got an advantage against half the applicants. It's the other half you've gotta worry about!


umass76


Nov 28, 2007, 12:37 AM

Post #741 of 1175 (14504 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi SS,

Re: Texas. I'd be very surprised if that was the case, honestly. The Michigan numbers come from the school. Texas, being a far more recent entrant to the top ten in MFAs (due almost entirely to their funding package; they don't even have a proper "permanent" faculty), would be expected to draw far fewer applications than Michigan, which not only has an identical or better package (containing, as it does, a likelihood of post-grad fellowships), but has been a prominent program and national university for some time. While I do believe Texas has been shooting upward in applications each year since their new funding scheme was announced (and is likely well over 400 by this point, if I had to guess), the numbers you've provided above would make Texas the hardest MFA program to get into in the world--literally.

And not by a little bit, either.

To my knowledge, no program has reached that magical 1% acceptance rate yet. Cornell and Virginia are closest, with Brown close behind (again, established programs with far-from-recent reputations). The most telling evidence that your numbers for Texas are high is, actually, UC-Irvine's fiction-application number: Irvine is almost certainly the #1 fiction program in America (though I'm sure Iowa is right up there), and according to the school itself it receives around 300 applications in fiction per year. The notion that Texas gets 33%+ more applications in fiction than Irvine strikes me as unlikely at best, impossible at worst. Realize, too, that application numbers fluctuate: NYU, in the past five years, has been as high as 917 and as low as 658 (and that number has not been sequentially rising, either). So, I suppose it's always possible that UT had a peak somewhere 700+, but that certainly wouldn't preclude its usual figure hovering at 400-500.

Best,
Seth



(This post was edited by umass76 on Nov 28, 2007, 12:42 AM)


sovietsleepover


Nov 28, 2007, 1:07 AM

Post #742 of 1175 (14496 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth, to respectfully disagree: I go there, and I asked during application time last year. It's completely possible that my memory could be off, but I don't think by much :)

That said, I think it's a falsely competitive program: if the fellowship were $10k (or at least not so wildly out of proportion with most other MFA funding schemes) I'd hardly expect it to be in the top thirty most-competitive programs. To some extent I feel like the administration has rested on their laurels, using money as their main draw, and it's really frustrated me in the past. But, I think things are really improving, and I'm feeling much happier about the program as I leave it than I did when I first started.

Irvine may be the #1 school in the nation, but I'd imagine that stems from opportunities available to students in the program, to faculty, and to its alumni's publication/awards record. I don't think these things necessarily correlate directly with the number of applicants. Perfect case-in-point: the Michener Center.


__________



Nov 28, 2007, 1:41 AM

Post #743 of 1175 (14495 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Seth! That's a whole bunch of numbers...and man are they surprising. It looks like there's a lot more than faculty or reputation guiding these decisions. Otherwise, I couldn't fathom why NYU draws four times the apps as George Saunders and Mary Gaitskill.

1 in 30 does sound better than "3% -- worse than Harvard Medical School!". I had to whip out a calculator just to check. I mean, think of your undergrad workshop. It probably had about thirty people. And of those thirty, you probably considered yourself in the top five, and between you five, surely it was just a matter of taste.


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Nov 28, 2007, 1:43 AM)


umass76


Nov 28, 2007, 1:56 AM

Post #744 of 1175 (14490 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi SS,

I'll defer to you, then.

I still wonder whether that figure's an outlier, though, or whether the numbers were like that as recently as two/three years ago, which may well be where that 325 figure comes from.

That said, I recall someone wondering, last year, how certain schools could rank 10-15 in the LJPW Reader Poll (which charts this site's users' favorite schools), but appear (at least) to rank 5-10 in actual applications. At the time, I speculated that certain schools ranked 1-25 in the LJPW Reader Poll might well have application numbers higher than we originally thought--either because we didn't have the numbers in the first place (in some cases, for some very highly ranked schools) or because some of the applications/year data was 2-3 years old, and could have changed recently. If Texas has 700+ applications and that figure is not an outlier for the school, it might help to explain that slight discrepancy between the LJPW Reader Poll and the figures for applications/year, as Texas originally ranked much higher in the LJPW Reader Poll than it did in the ranking of applications/year, as you can see in my post above (though I'll always feel the best explanation for the slight discrepancy was/is that this community is more informed, or, at least, "differently" informed, than the rest of the nation's MFA applicants).

I've heard the same things about Texas that you're discussing (including from some folks who applied and got in), and so I'm a little wary of UT myself, recently. I think they need to realize that funding alone isn't enough. They need a real, actual, permanent faculty, and a commitment to having that faculty be a constant, guiding presence in their students' lives.

I'll have to amend Texas's acceptance rate, now(!)

Best,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Nov 28, 2007, 1:57 AM)


sovietsleepover


Nov 28, 2007, 2:31 AM

Post #745 of 1175 (14480 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I've heard the same things about Texas that you're discussing (including from some folks who applied and got in), and so I'm a little wary of UT myself, recently. I think they need to realize that funding alone isn't enough. They need a real, actual, permanent faculty, and a commitment to having that faculty be a constant, guiding presence in their students' lives.



Well, to defend them a bit, they DO have permanent faculty to some extent--they share faculty with the UT English department, so poets work with A. Van Jordan, Judith Kroll, Kurt Heinzelman (who teaches poetics classes but also advises poetry theses) and whoever the Big Deal New Hire will be, as well as any visiting professors the English department & the Michener Center bring in (and until this year, David Wevill, who's just retired). But because of their visiting faculty schtick, it can feel like feast or famine: when there's a visiting fiction writer, there's usually not a visiting poet, and vice versa. I wish I'd known this going into the program--I'd applied to writing programs hoping for mentorship, particularly because at that point I felt comfortable writing on my own and knew I could, but also knew that I had a lot of development as a writer left to do (and I felt like the whole point of applying to an MFA program was to get a little bit of hand-holding with the process). Coming in with that expectation, I was really shocked at the lack of continuity between students and faculty members, and the fact that the program doesn't seem to be cohesive on campus (i.e. no one drops by the department to hang out, and while the English department faculty members are very accessible if you pursue meeting with them, the administrative and faculty offices are spread across several floors of two buildings, which means that it's somewhat rare to run into faculty or other students unless you make an effort to do so). All that said, my classmates are almost all incredible. I've made a lot of good friends, I'm really happy with the low level of competition and drama in the program, and most of all, I've been able to look to a small handful of the poets when I've needed advice on my writing outside the workshop setting.

I feel like I'm being a little too forthright in a public setting (my username here is also part of my email address), and may go back and edit later on. As much as I have a lot of complaints about the Michener Center, I'm really happy with it now--though I certainly wasn't for about my first year there--but prospective applicants should know what they're getting into. If you just need "time to write" and a fun peer group made up of committed writers, it's a perfect place. If you're hoping for close mentoring relationships with faculty, you're going to be very, very dissatisfied. I'm hoping this will change for poets with the new hire, though.

Anyway, I realize I've gotten far offtrack from Seth's comments!


drasticmania1


Nov 28, 2007, 7:50 AM

Post #746 of 1175 (14469 views)
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Re: [sovietsleepover] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

Any idea how many people Queens University of Charlotte admits each year? It being a low res program I would imagine a fair amount ?

Thanks

Tommy


jaywalke


Nov 28, 2007, 9:15 AM

Post #747 of 1175 (14456 views)
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Re: [drasticmania1] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Seth,

Any idea how many people Queens University of Charlotte admits each year? It being a low res program I would imagine a fair amount ?

Thanks

Tommy



I'm not Seth, but I was accepted to Queens this year and asked the director about numbers when he called.

He said they will accept 40 this year, which puts the program at 100 students total across all genres and classes. That is their maximum desired size. The number of apps grows every semester, so maintaining that size (assuming a standard rate of graduation) will automatically lower their acceptance rate as time goes on.


(This post was edited by jaywalke on Nov 28, 2007, 9:22 AM)


umass76


Nov 28, 2007, 9:17 AM

Post #748 of 1175 (14455 views)
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Re: [drasticmania1] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

DM1,

Jaywalke clearly has the most recent info, mine says 48/year on average w/ 160 apps--an approximately 30% acceptance rate, excluding yield (meaning, in real-world terms the acceptance rate is actually higher). Right now the website says that there are 70 students enrolled, which would mean 35/year, as the website also says it's a four-semester program.

I'm a little confused, then, about the "30/year, 100 total" info that the program's giving out. Is the standard completion time for the program 3+ years, despite it being a four-semester program? That'd be extremely unusual, especially given that low-res programs are designed to minimalize the strain on participants' time (i.e., one shouldn't have difficulty making four "semesters" of one week each).

It would have to be a 3+ year program, I think, for 30/year to mean 100 total. While my understanding was that it had 100 total--that much is acknowledged across-the-board (except, apparently, on the website)--I also had it down as a two-year program, and so had just under 50 per class as the acceptance figure. I'm always a little bit skeptical when the numbers put out by the school have the effect of dramatically lowering its acceptance rate. Something's not quite right there.

(ON EDIT: Looks like "Jaywalke" has amended his post to reflect 40/year, which would make a lot more sense, though it still doesn't mathematically add up exactly. On the other hand, it's pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the figure I had and what the current version of the website implies--40 is right between 35 and 48, basically--so 40 certainly could be accurate).

Either way, it's a nice acceptance rate, as it's competitive with Vermont College (which has a 25% acceptance rate; that info comes right from the school), which at the moment is probably sitting in the #2 spot, along with Bennington College, among low-res MFA programs (after Warren Wilson, which looks to have a 12.5% acceptance rate, and I really do think is the class of that field).

Best,
Seth



(This post was edited by umass76 on Nov 28, 2007, 9:33 AM)


jaywalke


Nov 28, 2007, 9:36 AM

Post #749 of 1175 (14441 views)
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Re: [umass76] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth:

I confused us both, by trying to remember a conversation from mid-August. I think your numbers come from me (30%, 160, etc.) because I sent them to you after I talked to Fred. The 30 stuck in my head, but as a head-count rather than a percentage . . .

Fred Leebron said: "We'll accept 40 out of 160 this round, which is 30%. I know it doesn't sound like it, but it is."

Fuzzy math for English majors? Yield vs. invited? I don't know. I also think there is some confusion because low-res runs year round and may get as many apps in the winter as in the spring. Your numbers may be skewed by that. For example, Iowa likely doesn't get many apps in winter, while Queens will get another 160.

My head hurts. It is 40, though, and 30%. Ow.

Oh, and he also said that this January will be the first semester they reach the 100 student plateau, so the website may just be old news. They are not planning on getting any bigger, which is why the acceptance rate will drop in the future if the app growth continues.

[One final edit - (and Seth, we spend too much time here) The "welcome!" emails to the January fiction class have 16 names attached, including me.]


(This post was edited by jaywalke on Nov 28, 2007, 9:47 AM)


Scrat1


Nov 28, 2007, 2:32 PM

Post #750 of 1175 (14382 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] What are the odds? [In reply to] Can't Post

Some questions about transcripts:

- IU only wants one copy sent directly to the program, correct?

- Iowa wants one copy sent to both the program and the Graduate School?

- And UMass wants two copies sent to only the Graduate School (what's up with that)?

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