Mar 3, 2008, 10:39 AM
Post #404 of 2090
Fiction had around 80 applicants. Whatís that, a 2% acceptance rate amongst very stiff competition?
Iíve just realized that itís pointless to work myself up over this whole process any longer, and that the best thing to do is to keep writing and keep applying until someone offers me or I finally get in off a waitlist.
What a lot of people don't realize is that the 2% acceptance rate--and the very stiff, crazy competition for spots that this seems to breed--is one of the most hellish statistics out there. There are so many people who have said to me from day 1 things like:
"Well your GREs sucked, so you're still going to apply? I mean, really?"
"Well you went to Harvard, so you're smart, so you should get into a program."
"You've been teaching for like 6 years now, so of course you'd get into a program. And I know you spend a lot of time on your writing..."
It has been so hard to try to explain to people the so many different ways of looking at one's writing, of evaluating whether it's good, it's solid, it's interesting, it's accomplished, *and* it provides opportunities for guidance and mentorship. It has been so hard to explain to people how lucky I would be to get into 1 program, if any, and how my enthusiasm over programs has absolutely nothing to do with any of the handful of ranking systems that are out there, how Missouri (ranked--I don't even know) is so much better a place for me and the direction I am headed than FSU (ranked #1 on Atlantic Monthly, if I am correct...), how I had been so worried over my GRE scores being the thing that trumped my application as equally as I thought that maybe programs would overlook my GREs--my one achilles heel--if they were enthusiastic enough about my writing, my personal statement, and the promise of intelligence and capability that my recommenders wove into their letters.
It's a strange mix of things. I think it's a bit hard for many of my friends to get that I feel, on the one hand, like I totally earned my one admissions offer and, on the other hand, like I am the luckiest little shit alive to even get one admissions offer. This is, well, except for my friend who is a budding composer and who has applied for doctoral programs in music & composition--the mix of achievement and subjectivity and the super-crazy-slim-odds apply for her and for music. It's like the same thing, except that her applications wind up costing more money than mine do.
One of my recommenders, Lucie, who is one of my mentors and one of the best teachers I have ever had, said it this way (I am paraphrasing here): if you're a good writer--a really good writer--and if the work in your application manuscript shows that accomplishment and promise--then you should have your application included in that really small, whittled-down group of final possibilities. Once the faculty has that group--maybe about 15 or so applicants--formed, then it's almost like drawing names out of a hat. Of those 15 people who the poets (orfiction writers, or CNF writers...) really like, any combination of 2, or 4, or whatever other small number, could work for them really well. And at that point, even the rest of your application might not matter too much. That's when it really becomes luck of the draw. And that's beyond anyone's guess.
GCSUMFA, I really dig on the distance you have from all of this--the "whatever, I'll just keep on writing" attitude. That's the most important thing. :)
My fingers are totally crossed for everyone this week!!!